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50 Greatest Science Fiction Pioneers


Libby

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  • Elders (Admins)

This is from the X-Files newsgroup. The poster is teasing people a bit by getting them to guess who could be on this list. Bear in mind that SFX is a UK magazine so might be skewed somewhat for that reason - X-Files was, and still is, shown regularly on UK TV but Millennium was treated very badly, so the ranking of Chris Carter at No. 7 is more likely to be based on XF rather than MM. The poster hasn't posted the full list yet, and if needs be I can get hold of a copy of the magazine tomorrow. But here's the list so far:

1. George Lucas

2. HG Wells

3. Gene Roddenberry

4. Steven Spielberg

5. Stan Lee

7. Chris Carter

10. Tim Burton

11. Philip K Dick

12. JRR Tolkien

13. Stanley Kubrick

14. Joss Whedon

19. James Cameron

21. Arthur C Clarke

27. Isaac Asimov

36. Bram Stoker

38. Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster

40. Jules Verne

41. William Gibson

47. Ray Harryhausen

50. Mary Shelley

What do people here think of this ranking?

Libby

"Humans need fantasy to be human. To be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape." Terry Pratchett

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Guest Seraphim

I think Phillip K. Dick should be higher than Chris Carter and Time Burton (Who, imo, is way up too high on that list). And Asimov, Verne, and Clarke should be higher up.

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Guest arcanamundi

When I saw the subject I expected it would be ranking of SF writers, which I would have liked to have seen, though I admit it probably would have been a predictable list of the usual suspects.

Its a weird mix of SF writers, fantasy writers, and film directors, all highly accomplished in their fields. But I don't see what's pioneering - in the field of SF - about Joss Whedon, Tim Burton, Tolkien, or Bram Stoker. Seems odd to rank such a mix of media. The true pioneers of science fiction in my opinion are the writers; I see SF as essentially a literary genre (a purely subjective prejudice, I realize) & distinct from fantasy as a literary or dramatic genre. So I don't see those guys I mentioned as working in science fiction.

However, there's no doubt that Cameron, Harryhausen, Carter, Roddenberry, Kubrick, Lucas were pioneers in SF cinema and television.

The ranking seems whacked, though. How does Joss Whedon ranks above anybody else on that list? And, as august figures as they are in the field of SF, what's so 'pioneering' about the writing of Asimov and Clarke? They worked within a tradition, a form, alongside other greats like Heinlein.

Maybe I'm hung up on the word 'pioneers'. The list is more like a ranking of most popular science fiction & fantasy creators, rather than 'greatest pioneers'.

I'm curious to see the complete list. :alien2:

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  • 5 months later...
Guest zombieromero

I would have also put Phillip K Dick higher. He's provided material for some classic films like Total Recall and Minority Report.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest Wepwawet

What do I think...

1) Who's Joss Whedon?

2) Harryhausen should be in the top 10, not top 50. His influence upon the last 50 years of film, animation, and the computer games industry, is incalculable. (Watch 'Clash of the Titans' or 'Jason & the Argonauts' - then go play 'God of War'!)

3) Stanley Kubrick ... why? He made 2 sci-fi films and 1 horror movie. He also directed films in every other genre; war, comedy, historical, costume drama, crime, etc.

4) I do hope HP Lovecraft is somewhere within those gaps. Preferably in positions 6, 8 or 9, since he inspired everyone from Robert Bloch, Stephen King and John Carpenter, to Clive Barker, and is probably more influential now than at any time.

5) Can't see why James Cameron is in the list at all. He made some very good sci-fi flicks. So did Paul Verhoeven. And Ridley Scott. And John Carpenter. And Devlin & Emmerich... etc. The problem seems to stem from the very real difference between 'popular and famous', and 'true visionaries whom 90% of folks may never have heard of but who paved the way for those who came after them to become popular and famous'. I mean, where's Georges Meliere...? You know, the guy who made the first ever sci-fi movie...

Saying that, I'd still be intrigued to read the complete list! :o)

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  • Elders (Admins)

Apologies - I'd forgotten that I hadn't posted the full list. Here it is with comments by the original poster:

1. George Lucas

2. HG Wells

3. Gene Roddenberry

4. Steven Spielberg

5. Stan Lee

6. Ed Catmull & Steve Jobs (Pixar)

7. Chris Carter

8. Terry Nation (creator of the Daleks???)

9. Gerry Anderson (puppet guy - Thunderbird creator)

10. Tim Burton

11. Philip K Dick

12. JRR Tolkien

13. Stanley Kubrick

14. Joss Whedon

15. Sydney Newman (Dr Who, Avengers creator)

16. HR Giger

17. Osamu Tezuka (Anime pioneer)

18. The Wachowskis

19. James Cameron

20. Douglas Adams (Brit merchant & Hitchikers Guide writer

21. Arthur C Clarke

22. M Night Shyamalan

23. Stan Winston (Special effects genius - I really tried hard to get you to guess this one)

24. Jack Kirby (Comic book artist - Marvel & DC)

25. JK Rowling (the other woman)

26. John Carpenter (director)

27. Isaac Asimov

28. Peter Jackson (director)

29. Russell T Davies (the man who resurrected Dr Who)

30. Sam Raimi (director)

31. JM Straczynski (Babylon 5)

32. Nick Landau (Forbidden Planet store owner???)

33. Terry Pratchett (writer)

34. John Wyndham (classic Brit sci fi writer - Day of The Triffids, etc.)

35. Stephen King (author)

36. Bram Stoker

37. Gary Gygax (role playing games D&D)

38. Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster

39. Ridley Scott

40. Jules Verne

41. William Gibson

42. Bob Kane (comic book artist - Batman principal creator)

43. Pat Mills (comic book guy - Judge Dredd)

44. Fritz Lang

45. Neil Gaiman (author)

46. David Lynch (director)

47. Ray Harryhausen

48. Michael Moorcock (editor of New Worlds magazine)

49. George Romero (as SFX puts it, Don of the dead)

50. Mary Shelley

Who's Joss Whedon? Famous for Buffy, Angel, Firefly.

Don't forget that this is a Brit list, a USian would be very different - it probably wouldn't include Terry Pratchett, for instance. Also, don't forget that a lot of readers of any TV magazine, even an SF one, will be buying the mag for the pretty pictures and probably won't have heard of Harryhausen. And James Cameron is a name so I wonder how many fans of Dark Angel realised he didn't actually have much to do with making the show.

Libby

"Humans need fantasy to be human. To be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape." Terry Pratchett

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Guest Wepwawet
Don't forget that this is a Brit list, a USian would be very different - it probably wouldn't include Terry Pratchett, for instance. Also, don't forget that a lot of readers of any TV magazine, even an SF one, will be buying the mag for the pretty pictures and probably won't have heard of Harryhausen. And James Cameron is a name so I wonder how many fans of Dark Angel realised he didn't actually have much to do with making the show.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Hmmm, just as I feared!! :doh:

I'm British and am quite surprised at some of the inclusions there. Pleasantly surprised to see Pat Mills, Ridley Scott, Gary Gygax, Fritz Lang (I guess he's more famous than Meliere), Terry Nation & Sydney Newman.

Not impressed to see no Lovecraft, but that's my only real quibble. Apart from JK Rowling. And George Lucas being over-rated, again.

But I'd guess probably at least 75% of that readership is 25 or under, and as you say, buy it for pretty pin-ups of Buffy and Darth Blehh.

Thanks for sharing anyway!

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