10 Best Authors Like Orson Scott Card to Take You to New Worlds

Discover our list of the best authors like Orson Scott Card that science fiction and fantasy lovers will want to add to their bookshelves.

Born in Washington state, Orson Scott Card is a distant grandson of Brigham Young. After high school, Card attended Brigham Young University and served as a missionary in Brazil for his church before starting his work as a writer. Between 1978 and 1979, he published 27 short stories, earning him the John W. Campbell Award for best new writer. Most of his works were in the science fiction and fantasy genres, though he also wrote some historical fiction works. He has over 50 novels and 45 short stories to his name. Today, he teaches English at Southern Virginia University.

He is known as one of the best fantasy authors, and his most famous is Ender’s Game, which he published in 1985. The book tells the story of a boy who thinks he is playing war games while training as a soldier, only to discover that the truth is far more dire. The book won both the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award, and the sequel, Speaker for the Dead, did as well.

Card is the only author to win both awards in two consecutive years. In 1999, he returned to the world of Ender’s Game to write the shadow books. These tell the stories of other characters from the original work. If you are a fan of the intriguing science fiction worlds Card created, then explore the works of these authors like Orson Scott Card.

Best Authors Like Orson Scott Card Ranked

1. George R.R. Martin, 1949 –

George R.R. Martin
George R.R. Martin

Author George R.R. Martin writes short stories, novels, and screenplays. Martin started writing young, publishing short stories at the age of 21. He spent some years teaching at Clarke University before starting the quest to write full-time. In 1997, he published his first novel, Dying of the Light. This science fiction work was nominated for the British Fantasy Award and the Hugo Award for Best Novel.

A Song of Ice and Fire is his epic fantasy novel series, which became the basis of the Game of Thrones television show. The first book, A Game of Thrones, was published in 1996. The series has sold over 90 million copies. Often called the American Tolkien, he has been on Time magazine’s list of 100 most influential people worldwide. 

“Give me honorable enemies rather than ambitious ones, and I’ll sleep more easily by night.”

George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones
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A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1)
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Martin, George R. R. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 704 Pages - 05/28/2002 (Publication Date) - Bantam (Publisher)

2. Margaret George, 1943 –

Margaret George
Margaret George

Margaret George writes fictional biographies. The American historical novelist’s books are about real people but tell fictional stories about them. Many of her books are New York Times bestsellers, and The Memoirs of Cleopatra, her 1997 novel, became a TV miniseries in 1999. George’s books are known for their historical accuracy due to her excellent research skills.

The author was born in Nashville but toured much of the world due to her father’s U.S. Foreign Service career. After graduating from Tufts University with her bachelor’s degree, she earned a master’s from Stanford, majoring in biological science and English literature. In addition to novel writing, she has written science papers for the National Institutes of Health.

“It is almost impossible to describe happiness, because at the time it feels entirely natural, as if all the rest of your life has been the aberration; only in retrospect does it swim into focus as the rare and precious thing it is.”

Margaret George, The Memoirs of Cleopatra 
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The Memoirs of Cleopatra: A Novel
  • George, Margaret (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 976 Pages - 05/15/1998 (Publication Date) - St. Martin's Griffin (Publisher)

3. Frank Herbert, 1920 – 1986

Frank Herbert
Frank Herbert

Frank Herbert is a writer of New Wave science fiction novels. As a young man, he worked for the Glendale Star newspaper and got a taste of the writing world. In 1945, while in college, he sold a short story to Modern Romance magazine. These early writings showed that he had the skill to be an author, but it took some time before he could quit his other work to write. In 1952, he published a short science fiction story in Startling Stories, his entrance to the genre.

Herbert began researching his most famous work, Dune, in 1959. It took him six years to write the work, and he originally published it as a series of eight installments in Analog. The book struggled to find a publisher, but in 1965 the hardcover finally came out. It won the Nebula Award for Best Novel and tied with another book for the Hugo Award. When David Lynch created a film based on Dune in 1984, Herbert’s writing career took off. Today, Dune has sold over 20 million copies in dozens of languages.

“Deep in the human unconscious is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense. But the real universe is always one step beyond logic.”

Frank Herbert, Dune
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Dune (Penguin Galaxy)
  • Hardcover Book
  • Herbert, Frank (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 720 Pages - 10/25/2016 (Publication Date) - Penguin Classics (Publisher)

4. Michael Crichton, 1942 – 2008

Michael Crichton
Michael Crichton

Michael Crichton is an American writer known for his action and science fiction books, many of which have become motion pictures. The prolific author has sold over 200 million copies of his books throughout his lifetime. Technology is a heavy focus in his books, and they often take a twisted turn as something with the tech goes wrong. Jurassic Park, Congo, and The Andromeda Strain are some of his most famous works.

He has 26 novels in his name, though several were published after his death. Crichton was also a filmmaker who created the hit television series ER. Medical science plays heavily into his works, which makes sense since he graduated from Harvard Medical School as a medical doctor. Looking for more sci-fi novels to read? Check out our round-up of the best Cyberpunk authors!

“A characteristic of all crises is their predictability, in retrospect. They seem to have a certain inevitability, they seem predestined.”

Michael Crichton, The Andromeda Strain
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The Andromeda Strain
  • Crichton, Michael (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 368 Pages - 10/28/2003 (Publication Date) - Avon (Publisher)

5. Garth Nix, 1963 –

Garth Nix
Garth Nix

Garth Nix is an Australian writer who writes fantasy novels for children and young adults. His Keys to the Kingdom and The Seventh Tower series are two of his most famous. Before he started writing professionally, he attended Dickson College and spent some time in the Australian Army Reserve. After his graduation, Nix spent some time working in a bookstore and then as a sales rep and senior editor for HarperCollins.

While working for publishing houses, he started creating his works, beginning with The Ragwitch in 1990. Sabriel is the first book in the Old Kingdom fantasy series. It won the Aurealis Award for best young-adult and best fantasy novel when it was published in 1995. In 2001, he started writing full-time, and he has over 60 published short stories and many novels.

“You have to know where you are to know where to go.”

Garth Nix, The Ragwitch
The Ragwitch by Garth Nix (2011-09-09)
  • Garth Nix (Author)
  • 04/05/1862 (Publication Date) - HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks (Publisher)

6. S. J. Kincaid

Book cover of Insignia by S. J. Kincaid
Book cover of Insignia by S. J. Kincaid

S. J. Kincaid started with a desire to be an astronaut, but she realized early on that she lacked the mathematical skills to make this a practical career choice. Instead, she started writing science fiction, beginning with Insignia, her first novel, in 2012. Its sequels, Vortex and Catalyst, quickly followed, completing The Insignia trilogy. Though she is a relatively new science fiction author, her books have been quite successful and reached the New York Times bestsellers list. Kincaid is now working on The Diabolic trilogy, her next series.

“There really was nothing firm, nothing certain. Even here, even at this place where he thought he’d found something permanent—everything could change in a day. Everything could be lost so quickly.”

S. J. Kincaid, Insignia
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Insignia (Insignia, 1)
  • Hardcover Book
  • Kincaid, S. J. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 464 Pages - 07/10/2012 (Publication Date) - Katherine Tegen Books (Publisher)

7. Ernest Cline, 1972 –

Ernest Cline
Ernest Cline

Novelist Ernest Cline writes science fiction novels, slam poetry, and screenplays. Born in Ohio, Cline spent most of his youth watching movies and playing video games. Star Wars was his favorite film series, and he also enjoyed playing Dungeons and Dragons. In his 20s, he started working in IT and writing screenplays when he had extra time. “Fanboys” was one of these, and it was his first original screenplay. When it was released in 2009, he became a full-time writer.

Ready Player One is one of his most famous works, and he published it in 2011. When Steven Spielberg optioned it for a film, Cline helped create the screenplay. The sequel novel, Ready Player Two, was published in 2020. Armada, Cline’s standalone novel, came out in between these two.

“You’d be amazed how much research you can get done when you have no life whatsoever.”

Ernest Cline, Ready Player One
Ready Player One: A Novel
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Cline, Ernest (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 384 Pages - 06/05/2012 (Publication Date) - Random House Publishing Group (Publisher)

8. Cory Doctorow, 1971 –

Cory Doctorow
Cory Doctorow

Cory Doctorow is a Canadian author and blogger who started selling his fiction writing when he was 17. In 2003 he published Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, and he chose to publish the novel under one of the Creative Commons licenses. This allowed his readers to circulate free digital versions of his novel if they didn’t change it or make money from it. The novel was the first to use this license. It won the Locus Award for Best First Novel. In 2005, Doctorow published Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town, and the Sci-Fi Channel chose the book to launch its now-defunct Sci-Fi Essentials book club.

Several of the author’s works, including Pirate Cinema and Little Brother, won the Prometheus Award. To make money off of his works while still offering the Creative Commons license, Doctorow publishes the print and electronic versions simultaneously. The print versions earn him money, while the electronic versions allow his fans to spread his work and grow his following. You might be interested in exploring more fantasy books, check out our round-up of best JK Rowling books.

“So it fell to Lil to make sure that there were no bugs in the meager attractions of Liberty Square: the Hall of the Presidents, the Liberty Belle riverboat, and the glorious Haunted Mansion, arguably the coolest attraction to come from the fevered minds of the old-time Disney Imagineers.”

Cory Doctorow, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom
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Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom
  • Doctorow, Cory (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 208 Pages - 12/05/2003 (Publication Date) - Tor Books (Publisher)

9. Terry Brooks, 1944 –

Terry Brooks
Terry Brooks

Terry Brooks has 23 New York Times bestsellers to his name. The author’s books have sold over 25 million copies throughout his lifetime. Today, he is one of the best-selling fantasy authors still living. Though writing was a lifelong goal for Brooks, he didn’t start his career as a writer. Instead, he started it as an attorney.

In 1977, that changed when he published The Sword of Shannara, his first novel, which he spent seven years writing. This became the basis for the Shannara trilogy and several follow-up series in the same world. They were successful, and Brooks kept writing, creating the Landover and Word/Void series. Filmmaker George Lucas was impressed with his work and asked Brooks to write the novelization of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.

“They became sleepwalkers in a world of half-dreams and rambling thoughts with no break in the wearing march or the never-ending, silent black trunks that came and passed in countless thousands.”

Terry Brooks, The Sword of Shannara
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The Sword of Shannara Trilogy
  • Hardcover Book
  • Brooks, Terry (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 1200 Pages - 08/27/2002 (Publication Date) - Del Rey (Publisher)

10. Douglas Adams, 1952 – 2001

Douglas Adams
Douglas Adams

Douglas Adams is the author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series of science fiction novels. These books started as radio dramas, which Adams then made into a series of five books. During his life, he sold over 15 million copies of the books, and there were comic books, a computer game, and a feature film all in the Hitchhiker’s world. When he was not writing, Adams worked as an environmental activist. The author also lectured on the subject of technology and its impact on the environment.

“Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?”

Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
  • Adams, Douglas (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 224 Pages - 09/27/1995 (Publication Date) - Del Rey (Publisher)

Looking for more? Check out our round-up of authors like Patrick Rothfuss!

Author

  • Nicole Harms has been writing professionally since 2006. She specializes in education content and real estate writing but enjoys a wide gamut of topics. Her goal is to connect with the reader in an engaging, but informative way. Her work has been featured on USA Today, and she ghostwrites for many high-profile companies. As a former teacher, she is passionate about both research and grammar, giving her clients the quality they demand in today's online marketing world.

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