Great Unsung Science Fiction Authors That Everybody Should ReadCharlie Jane Anders3/26/14 4:20pmFiled to: booksclifford d. simakamy thomsonrobert sheckleyjohn brunner33827EditPromoteShare to KinjaToggle Conversation toolsGo to permalinkScience fiction contains more masterpieces of the imagination than anyone could read in a single lifetime. And your local used book store or science fiction bookshop is teeming with great adventures you've never discovered. Here are 12 great science fiction authors who deserve more props.AdvertisementTop image: Clifford Simak book cover by Chris MooreNote: We're not saying that any of these authors is obscure, or that nobody's ever sung their praises — we know that they've all had their praises sung, many of them on io9 in the past. But these are terrific science fiction scribes, whose work deserves more love and appreciation. John BrunnerRight away, we're treading on potentially dangerous ground here — after all, Brunner is legendary for novels like Stand on Zanzibar and Shockwave Rider. He helped pioneer cyberpunk. But we just don't hear enough people mentioning Brunner's influence nowadays, and he doesn't pop up on recommended-reading lists nearly often enough. And people don't delve into the breadth of Brunner's oeuvre, including his thrilling early space operas, and the full range of his later dystopias. Brunner's satirical eye and his focus on ethical questions remain unmatched. Here's a great essay about Brunner, which notes that Brunner "got critical respect as a writer of science fiction, but he never gained the overwhelming fame or fortune that the top few writers enjoy."Doris PiserchiaShe's written tons of novels about aliens and post-apocalyptic Earths and strange journeys beyond our experience. Her work often has a weird sense of humor, and a somewhat "random plot generator" sort of plotting, that becomes mind-blowing after a while. Just read this description of the fantastically entertaining, insane Star Rider, about a teenage girl named Jade who rides around the galaxy on a mutant dog until she gets stuck on post-apocalyptic Earth. As Dani Zweig explains, "Her typical protagonist is a highly (or super-) capable teenaged girl with a bad attitude, or at least what people around her consider to be a bad attitude. Her typical setting is squalid, surreal, sometimes both." It's hard to convey the flavor of reading a Piserchia book, but her work is wild and trippy and yet also like the best adventure anime ever. As Zach on Goodreads says, "Piserchia deserves to be as well-known as Philip Dick, given that she is as inventive as he is."Adam-Troy CastroWe were huge fans of Castro's many fantastic short stories for years, before we discovered his science fiction detective series starring Andrea Cort, in a future interstellar civilization. And then we were totally hooked. The Cort novels feature a tough-as-nails detective in a universe with strange deadly habitats, space elevators, super-weapons and mysterious manipulative artificial intelligences. And the supporting cast includes the Porrinyards, a single consciousness with two bodies, which becomes Andrea's lover. Amazing stuff, which won the Philip K. Dick Award. Castro's also been an immensely prolific and multi-award-nominated author of other books, including a number of media tie-ins. And more recently, he's been publishing the very Tim Burton-esque middle-grade series starring Gustav Gloom, which are well worth getting for that weird kid in your life. (Or yourself.) He's just published a fantastic new story collection, Her Husband's Hands.