The 21 most significant science fiction storytellers of the 21st century (so far)

21 to 17

21. John Scalzi

The multiple Hugo award winning author of Old Man’s War and Redshirts established his reputation as a bombastic blogger before branching into fiction. Scalzi’s frontline role in the Sad Puppy wars and long running feud with the far-right of science fiction have also contributed to his renown. 

20. Beeple

Even before selling the NFT collage Everyday’s: the First 5000 Days for $69,400,000 (yes you read that right) Beeple had a cult online following for his iconic imagery, that often subverts the symbols of scifi to create its baroque and hilarious effects.

19. Liu Cixin

It’s hard to overstate the centrality of Liu Cixin to Chinese science fiction, or count how many times he has won their biggest awards. His fiction captures the hard edged scientism and cultural conservatism that once characterised American SF literature. Cixin has controversially supported the state persecution of Uighur muslims.

18. Jenova Chen

As the founder of Thatgamestudio, Chen was the creative visionary behind Journey, a watershed moment for video game storytelling. Chen’s narrative style is beautiful, resonant and transcendent. Many describe his games as a near spiritual experience. His thesis on narrative design is required reading for anyone entering the game industry.

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17. Tamsyn Muir

The Millennial generation has begun to express itself in science fiction through authors like Tamsyn Muir. Harrow the Ninth captures many of this generation’s concerns about power and identity, all permeated with the post-ironic humour and meme play of the digital native.


See numbers 16-12

Published by Damien Walter

Writer and storyteller. Contributor to The Guardian, Independent, BBC, Wired, Buzzfeed and Aeon magazine. Special forces librarian (retired). Teaches the Rhetoric of Story to over 35,000 students worldwide.

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