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

11 to 07

11. Simon Stålenhag

Even if you haven’t seen the art of Stålenhag you’ve certainly seen its imitators. The mundane scene of suburban life penetrated by a single element of science fiction has become the most copied idea in contemporary illustration. A Netflix streaming show didn’t quite capture the transreal heart of Stålenhag’s storytelling, which remains best experienced in the print editions of his art books.

10. Becky Chambers

The world didn’t know it needed the space opera reinvented as delightful character portraiture, until Becky Chambers launched a Kickstarter to write and self-publish exactly that. It seems increasingly that the future of publishing is in amplifying the success of stories that have first proven themselves in self-publishing.

09. Syama Pedersen

Unreal Engine has quietly become the tool storytellers always dreamed of, a way to visualise their imagination in real-world, real-time detail. Syama Pedersen borrowed the Warhammer 40k IP to create Astartes, a mind-numbingly well realised animated series that wracked up tens of millions of views, before Games Workshop recruited its creator.

08. Adam Roberts

English novelist and academic Adam Roberts has quietly but assuredly established himself as the 21st century H G Wells. No other science fiction author working today comes close to the depth and breadth of vision that Adam Robert’s prolific output of novels encapsulates. 

07. Jon Favreau

The Marvel Cinematic Universe looked doomed to mediocrity before Favreau rescued it with his first Iron Man movie. He has guided that shared universe ever since, then repeated the same miracle for Disney by resuscitating the rebooted Star Wars franchise with The Mandalorian.

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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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