Classic Authors and Editors of Science Fiction
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My personal library of books makes my games collection look paltry by comparison. As much as I love playing games, to me reading a book is even better. What I read is fairly diversified. Within the realm of fiction, my favorite genre is science fiction-- particularly Golden Age science fiction. Here I am listing (with nominal games as headings) authors of classic works of the genre with my comments.

My collection concentrates on Golden Age SF and so I don't know later stuff as well as I would like, something referred to with those authors below who are later than the Golden Age. Some exceptions like Frank Herbert exist.

I am allowing public additions, but I reserve the right to edit the items. Please list all non-English items in the original with the language identified as well as an English title if one exists.

Unfortunately I do not know non-English SF as well as I would like, especially Russian SF. For German SF, I'm aware of the Perry Rhodan series but little else although I know it does exist. French SF I also only know a few authors from. Please add the classic non-English authors to this list but please only the classic ones.

NB: No, L. Ron Hubbard is not classic SF. His work could make him the poster-child for bad pulp writing and lack of either research or common sense
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Moshe Callen
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Brian Aldiss.

While others works by Aldiss might qualify as classic, the one that stands out most is the novel Starship. The plot has become a cliche, but that's because this landmark novel has had so many imitators. This is the original (not necessarily the first but the best done) which became the cliche of a generations ship whose crew has forgotten they are on a spaceship.
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2. Board Game: Adams Ahn [Average Rating:5.40 Unranked]
Moshe Callen
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Douglas Adams.

His classic work in my opinion, when limited to literature, consists of the first four books of the series, the Hitchhiker's Trilogy as the four books were known when I found them. Very little SF humor has had the depth and quality to be regarded as a genuine classic; this work stands out as an exception.

NB: To forestall comments, no, I don't think Robert Sheckley's work (which many assert must have influenced Adams) is classic.
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3. Board Game: Andersonville [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Moshe Callen
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Poul Anderson.

Star Ways stands out as a realistic attempt to deal with the cultural changes years-long journeys in space would lead to. Likewise We Claim These Stars addressed what Realpolitik engaged in with non-humans could mean.
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4. Board Game: Asimov's Foundation and Empire War Game [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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Isaac Asimov.

Asimov stands out most particularly for two things: his robot stories and his Foundation series.

While Asimov liked to toot his own horn in many ways, he was basically correct that he was the first author to really depart from the extremes of "robot as pathos" or more commonly "robot as monster". The Czech play which coined the term robot is partly responsible for those two classes of early takes. Asimov was the first to treat robots as machines in every sense of the word-- mechanical devices built for practical purposes with real world constraints in the form of his 3 Laws of Robotics.

The Foundation stories which became the Foundation trilogy-- since in my opinion the later novels should be avoided-- combine galaxy-sweeping space opera with a genuine underlying question of to what extent human choices really can shape the world while at the same time telling a ripping good story.
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5. Board Game: Ballast [Average Rating:5.06 Overall Rank:12104]
Andy Leighton
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J.G. Ballard

A long and varied career. Many excellent short stories and novels could be highlighted - from the early dystopia to his mid-career look at violence, sex and cars in Crash, to the hallucinatory visions of The Unlimited Dream Company, to his latter (more mainstream) novels.
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6. Board Game: BattleLore [Average Rating:7.40 Overall Rank:214]
Moshe Callen
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Stephen Baxter.

With any current author, listing classics is a guess, but Baxter's first novel Raft was a stunning hard SF romp addressing how humans brought into a universe with different physical constants would adapt to survive. To my knowledge, no other work as addressed the topic at the same level.
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7. Board Game: Bear Buddies [Average Rating:3.61 Unranked]
Moshe Callen
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Greg Bear.

Frankly what I have read of Bear does not favorably impress me, but most regard his novels Darwin's Radio and Forge of G-d as classics of the genre. The former deals with evolution via a retrovirus that speeds up the process so that it becomes observable within a human lifetime. While the science of it might be suspect, it allows one to deal with evolution in a SF context in a way much more graspable by the reader than what has previously been done. The latter novel addresses Fermi's paradox, a fundamental objection to the aliens of SF, by postulating a scenario in which species who are visible from afar attract their own destruction. Certainly the ideas have a far-reaching effect on the genre.
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8. Board Game: Bendomino [Average Rating:5.56 Overall Rank:12228]
Moshe Callen
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Gregory Benford.

Since he's a physics professor, I'd love to know what his research specialization(s) is/are. I'd love to read some of his articles.

His work is award winning, but I've only read a couple of works by Benford which neither especially wowed me nor turned me off. Of course one of those was his first novel, the only one of his books I own, which his own website says he regards as not his best work.
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9. Board Game: Bestemshe [Average Rating:3.00 Unranked]
Moshe Callen
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Alfred Bester.

Fellow Babylon 5 fans should recognize that their favorite Psy-Cop to hate is named after this author whom many contend wrote the best novel in the genre. I disagree strongly with that common characterization of The Stars, My Destination. Yet while I don't think it the best novel of the genre, I cannot escape that fact that it is so well written that its anti-hero made me want at times to fling the book across the room as I read it.

His next best work is The Demolished Man about a criminal in a society where the death penalty has been replaced by a death of personality. Clearly the creator of B5 knew this author and the fact that the character named after this author is loathsome is probably no coincidence.
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10. Board Game: Bliss o' still [Average Rating:5.14 Unranked]
Moshe Callen
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James Blish.

Unfortunately Blish is best known for his adaptations of the original Star Trek series, but these are by no means the best representation of his work. Some argue that his best novel is A Case of Conscience about a Catholic priest who struggles with the existence of a world which seems to contradict Catholic beliefs by its very existence. He ends up the first person tried before the Pope for heresy in hundreds of years but he receives correction from the Pope. What follows is interesting to say the least. I would argue that his Cities in Flight series is his best work though.
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11. Board Game: Börja räkna [Average Rating:4.00 Unranked]
Moshe Callen
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Jorge Luis Borges (or in English).

In many ways, Borges has always struck me as weird but in a good way. Works like El Aleph place him firmly in the genre of science fiction although he wrote non-genre works as well. That was why years ago I bought the three volume Obras Completas as soon as I saw it. To all his works, Borges brings a vivid imagination and the influence of his work goes well beyond his native language.
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12. Board Game: Boulder On Board [Average Rating:3.00 Unranked]
Moshe Callen
Israel
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Pierre Boulle (or in English here).

Boulle's La planète des singes may actually have been read by the people who made the films, but I strongly doubt it. For example, the main character in the novel ends up a celebrity who even does a tour of the late night talk shows.

Annoyingly the publishers of my copy (which I've mislaid at the moment) packaged the book as folio junior because being SF somehow it must be for young readers even though they could not possibly get much that happens in the book. In short, the book deals with what it means to be human and how that humanity can be gained or lost.

Boulle's other four works of SF are collections of short stories, mostly ironic treatments of Cold War issues. Even so, Boulle's influence on the genre of SF far surpasses what one might expect by the small quantity of his work in the genre.
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13. Board Game: Boum! [Average Rating:5.70 Unranked]
Moshe Callen
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Anthony Boucher.

Boucher briefly edited the magazine Unknown and wrote some classic works himself. Specifically Boucher's work may be hard to find but is well worth getting in virtually every case.
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14. Board Game: Bounty [Average Rating:5.25 Overall Rank:12564]
Moshe Callen
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Ben Bova.

This is another classic author who really isn't my cup of tea usually. His premier novel The Star Conquerors attempts a realistic depiction of a galaxy-spanning war of conquest.
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15. Board Game: Brace [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Moshe Callen
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Leigh Brackett.

While much of her work fails to rise above the level of pulp fiction, when Brackett was good she was usually very good. The 1950's were her heyday. I would say The Big Jump is her best work, although frankly The Starmen and The Sword of Rhiannon are just fun reads. The Big Jump attempts to deal with the development of interstellar travel in realistic human terms. The big dumb lug of a protagonist reminds one that Brackett payed her bills by writing screen-plays, most commonly for westerns.
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16. Board Game: Brass: Lancashire [Average Rating:8.01 Overall Rank:29]
Moshe Callen
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Ray Bradbury.

Bradbury's classic Martian Chronicles like so much of his work blurs the lines separating fantasy and science fiction. In some ways that works to get across alienness in a way that straight SF does not always.
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17. Board Game: Brawl [Average Rating:6.40 Overall Rank:2222]
Moshe Callen
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Marion Zimmer Bradley.

Except for a few short stories that left no impression I can recall, I have not really read anything by Bradley but she has decidedly left her mark on the genre. Golden Age SF was generally assumed to be written by men for men so that women authors like Andre Norton had to take on male sounding noms de plum. Bradley's SF work was not only openly feminist and written under a woman's name, but also under a nom de plum she wrote about taboo subjects such as her non-genre novel I am a Lesbian. (One should note here that this novel should not necessarily be assumed her "coming out" because she was married to a man; I have no idea is she was bisexual or not and really don't think it matters.)
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18. Board Game: Brin de Jasette [Average Rating:4.65 Unranked]
Moshe Callen
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David Brin.

His Uplift series (which I have not read yet) is usually regarded as his best work. Although he has not written prolifically, his work has won numerous awards. BGG'ers may note that he's written a gamebook. What makes Brin's work standout is his attempts to deal with contacting aliens in the realm of hard science fiction. In other words, within the constraints of known science, how does one contact and deal with aliens and what might an alien civilization be like? He is not the first to tackle the question, but he is one of the first to genuinely do it from a hard science approach.
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19. Board Game: Brown Water Navies [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Moshe Callen
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Frederic Brown.

Brown's mildly humorous but mostly ironic work has in recent years increasingly been lauded for its characterization. His short story The Star Mouse (of which he later wrote a less good novelization Mitkey Astromouse) dealt with the practice of using animals to test space vehicles with sympathy for the animal.
 
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20. Board Game: Brunete [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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John Brunner.

While Brunner's politics does come through in his work, he is never in my experience preachy. His later works do deal a little too explicitly with character's sex-lives for my tastes, but even so he does not simply pander. His novel The World Swappers stands out as one of the few SF novels at the time to deal with the fact that planets suitable for humans may not be suitable for aliens so that human and alien territories could overlap without genuine conflict. Moreover in the same novel he posits humans and aliens dealing peacefully with one another as equals, again an all too unique approach at the time.

His Stand on Zanzibar is much more critically acclaimed but I never managed to get into it and sold my copy years ago.
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21. Board Game: Bujutso [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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Lois McMaster Bujold.

Bujold has in many ways shaped military SF, especially with her Miles Vorkosigan series. While I've not read her work in many years, I still recall its high quality of writing.
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22. Board Game: Burrows [Average Rating:6.26 Overall Rank:3851]
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Edgar Rice Burroughs.

While his work (especially the Tarzan series) is often unabashedly racist and sexist, his Barsoom series spawned an entire sub-genre of sword and sorcery-esque adventures on Mars.
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23. Board Game: Campbell's Soup Game [Average Rating:4.00 Unranked]
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John W. Campbell.

Campbell's stint as editor of Astounding actually defines the Golden Age of Science Fiction. As an editor, he demanded literary quality work and he got it from countless authors. Yet Campbell also wrote such classic works as Who Goes There?.
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24. Board Game: De Cape & d'Épée: La mission secrète [Average Rating:6.95 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.95 Unranked]
Moshe Callen
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L. Sprague de Camp.

His series Viagens Interplanetarias was highly influential as well as often poignant. The mere fact its premise was a resurgence of human civilization from the southern hemisphere after the northern hemisphere is wiped out virtually totally during a nuclear holocaust made it fertile ground for political commentary in the Cold War era. His Lest Darkness Fall is also one of the cornerstones of alternate history.
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25. Board Game: Cardcassonne [Average Rating:6.30 Overall Rank:2445]
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Orson Scott Card.

While personally I avoid Card (having read some of his works) both because his writing is too sexually graphic at times for my taste and because of its overtly religious nature at times, one cannot deny his influence on the genre of SF. His re-telling of Mormon versions of Christian stories as SF were ground-breaking as have been many of his works.
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