Harlan Jay Ellison is an American writer. His principal genre is speculative fiction. His published works include over 1,700 short stories, novellas, screenplays, teleplays, essays, a wide range of criticism covering literature, film, television, and print media. He was editor and anthologist for two ground-breaking science fiction anthologies, Dangerous Visions and Again, Dangerous Visions. Ellison has won numerous awards including multiple Hugos, Nebulas and Edgars. Ellison moved to California in 1962, and subsequently began to sell his writing to Hollywood. He wrote the screenplay for The Oscar, starring Stephen Boyd and Elke Sommer. Ellison also sold scripts to many television shows: The Flying Nun, Burke’s Law, Route 66, The Outer Limits, Star Trek, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Cimarron Strip and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. During the late 1960s, Ellison wrote a column about television for the Los Angeles Free Press. Titled “The Glass Teat”, the column addressed political and social issues and their portrayal on television at the time. The columns were gathered into two collections, The Glass Teat and The Other Glass Teat.
George Walton Lucas, Jr. is an American film producer, screenwriter, director, and entrepreneur. He is the founder, chairman and chief executive of Lucasfilm. He is best known as the creator of the space opera franchise Star Wars and the archaeologist-adventurer character Indiana Jones. Lucas is one of the American film industry’s most financially successful directors/producers, with an estimated net worth of $3.2 billion as of 2011. George Lucas was born in Modesto, California, the son of Dorothy Ellinore (née Bomberger) and George Walton Lucas, Sr. (1913–1991), who owned a stationery store. Lucas grew up in the Central Valley town of Modesto and his early passion for cars and motor racing would eventually serve as inspiration for his USC student film 1:42.08, as well as his Oscar-nominated low-budget phenomenon, American Graffiti. Long before Lucas became obsessed with film making, he wanted to be a race-car driver, and he spent most of his high school years racing on the underground circuit at fairgrounds and hanging out at garages. However, a near-fatal accident in his souped-up Autobianchi Bianchina on June 12, 1962, just days before his high school graduation, quickly changed his mind. Instead of racing, he attended Modesto Junior College and later got accepted into a junior college to study anthropology. While taking liberal arts courses, he developed a passion for cinematography and camera tricks. George Lucas graduated from USC in California.
Roger Joseph Zelazny was an American writer of fantasy and science fiction short stories and novels, best known for his The Chronicles of Amber series. He won the Nebula award three times (out of 14 nominations) and the Hugo award six times (also out of 14 nominations), including two Hugos for novels: the serialized novel …And Call Me Conrad (1965; subsequently published under the title This Immortal, 1966) and then the novel Lord of Light (1967). The ostracod Sclerocypris zelaznyi was named after him. Roger Zelazny was born in Euclid, Ohio, the only child of Polish immigrant Joseph Frank Zelazny and Irish-American Josephine Flora Sweet. In high school, he became the editor of the school newspaper and joined the Creative Writing Club. In the fall of 1955, he began attending Western Reserve University and graduated with a B.A. in English in 1959. He was accepted to Columbia University in New York and specialized in Elizabethan and Jacobean drama, graduating with an M.A. in 1962. His M.A. thesis was entitled Two traditions and Cyril Tourneur: an examination of morality and humor comedy conventions in The Revenger’s Tragedy. Between 1962 and 1969 he worked for the U.S. Social Security Administration in Cleveland, Ohio and then in Baltimore, Maryland spending his evenings writing science fiction. He deliberately progressed from short-shorts to novelettes to novellas and finally to novel-length works by 1965. On May 1, 1969, he quit to become a full-time writer, and thereafter concentrated on writing novels in order to maintain his income. During this period, he was an active and vocal member of the Baltimore Science Fiction Society, whose members included writers Jack Chalker and Joe and Jack Haldeman among others.
Laurence van Cott Niven is an American science fiction author. His best-known work is Ringworld (1970), which received Hugo, Locus, Ditmar, and Nebula awards. His work is primarily hard science fiction, using big science concepts and theoretical physics. It also often includes elements of detective fiction and adventure stories. His fantasy includes the series The Magic Goes Away, rational fantasy dealing with magic as a non-renewable resource. Niven is the author of numerous science fiction short stories and novels, beginning with his 1964 story “The Coldest Place”. In this story, the coldest place concerned is the dark side of Mercury, which at the time the story was written was thought to be tidally locked with the Sun (it was found to rotate in a 2:3 resonance after Niven received payment for the story, but before it was published). In addition to the Nebula award in 1970 and the Hugo and Locus awards in 1971 for Ringworld, Niven won the Hugo Award for Best Short Story for “Neutron Star” in 1967. He won the same award in 1972, for “Inconstant Moon”, and in 1975 for “The Hole Man”. In 1976, he won the Hugo Award for Best Novelette for “The Borderland of Sol”. Niven has written scripts for various science fiction television shows, including the original Land of the Lost series and Star Trek: The Animated Series, for which he adapted his early story “The Soft Weapon”. He adapted his story “Inconstant Moon” for an episode of the television series The Outer Limits in 1996. Niven has also written for the DC Comics character Green Lantern including in his stories hard science fiction concepts such as universal entropy and the redshift effect.
Robert James Sawyer is a Canadian science fiction writer. He has had 20 novels published, and his short fiction has appeared in Analog Science Fiction and Fact, Amazing Stories, On Spec, Nature, and many anthologies. Sawyer has won over forty awards for his fiction, including the Nebula Award (1995), the Hugo Award (2003), and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award (2006). Sawyer’s work frequently explores the intersection between science and religion, with rationalism frequently winning out over mysticism. He has a great fondness for paleontology, as evidenced in his Quintaglio Ascension trilogy (Far-Seer, Fossil Hunter, and Foreigner), about an alien world to which dinosaurs from Earth were transplanted, and his time-travel novel End of an Era. In addition, the main character of Calculating God is a paleontologist, Wake features a chase scene at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing, and the Neanderthal Parallax novels deal with an alternate version of Earth where Neanderthals did not become extinct. Sawyer often explores the notion of copied or uploaded human consciousness, mind uploading, most fully in his novel Mindscan, but also in Flashforward, Golden Fleece, The Terminal Experiment, “Identity Theft”, “Biding Time”, and “Shed Skin”.
Stephen Russell Davies, better known by his pen name Russell T Davies, is a Welsh television producer and screenwriter whose works include Queer as Folk, Bob & Rose, The Second Coming, Casanova, and the 2005 revival of the classic British science fiction series Doctor Who. Born in Swansea, Davies aspired to work as a comic artist in his adult life, until a careers advisor at his school suggested that he study English literature; he consequently focused on a career of play- and screen-writing. After he graduated from Oxford University, Davies joined the BBC’s children’s department on a part-time basis in 1985 and worked in varying positions, including writing and producing two series, Dark Season and Century Falls. He left the BBC in the early 1990s to work for Granada Television and later became a freelance writer. Davies moved into writing adult television dramas in 1994. His early scripts generally explored concepts of religion and sexuality among various backdrops: Revelations was a soap opera about organised religion and featured a lesbian vicar; Springhill was a soap drama about a Catholic family in contemporary Liverpool; The Grand explored society’s opinion of subjects such as prostitution, abortion, and homosexuality during the interwar period; and Queer as Folk, his first prolific series, recreated his experiences in the Manchester gay scene.
Alfred Elton van Vogt was a Canadian-born science fiction author regarded as one of the most popular and complex science fiction writers of the mid-twentieth century: the “Golden Age” of the genre. Van Vogt’s first published science fiction story, “Black Destroyer” (Astounding Science Fiction, July 1939), was inspired by Voyage of the Beagle by Charles Darwin. The story depicted a fierce, carnivorous alien, the coeurl, stalking the crew of an exploration spaceship. It was the cover story of the issue of Astounding that is sometimes described as having ushered in the “Golden Age” of science fiction. The story served as the inspiration for a number of science fiction movies. In 1950 it was combined with “War of Nerves” (1950), “Discord in Scarlet” (1939) and “M33 in Andromeda” (1943) to form the novel The Voyage of the Space Beagle (1950). In 1941, van Vogt decided to become a full-time writer, quitting his job at the Canadian Department of National Defence. Extremely prolific for a few years, van Vogt wrote a large number of short stories. In the 1950s, many of them were retrospectively patched together into novels, or “fixups” as he called them, a term which entered the vocabulary of science fiction criticism. When the original stories were related (e.g. The War against the Rull) this was often successful. When not (e.g. Quest for the Future), the disparate stories thrown together generally made for a less coherent plot. One of van Vogt’s best-known novels of this period is Slan, which was originally serialised in Astounding Science Fiction (September – December 1940). Using what became one of van Vogt’s recurring themes, it told the story of a 9-year-old superman living in a world in which his kind are slain by Homo sapiens.