- Race / Species / Gender Breakdown of Star Trek Characters
This page lists famous actors who have written (or co-written) science fiction or fantasy.
Early in the process of generating our list of the most famous science fiction and fantasy authors we realized that many individuals have only tangentially been science fiction/fantasy writers, yet are very famous for their accomplishments in other fields. The "Famous List" is intended to be a list of famous and influential writers who have written science fiction and fantasy, so even though some of the authors on the list are not primarily considered sf/f authors (Stephen King, Anne Perry, Carl Sagan, etc.), we nevertheless listed them. These and other individuals may not be in the core of the sf/f writing community, but they've certainly written their own books, in addition to being well known.
If our criteria were purely twofold: 1) the person has written science fiction or fantasy; and 2) the person is famous, we would have to admit that there are many individuals left off this list. These are actors who have become famous through television and film work, and then, because of their fame, been awarded contracts to write fiction. In most cases, these actors have co-authored the resulting novels. Readers have no way of knowing exactly how much of the writing was actually done by the actor, and how much was done by the collaborator. In most cases, the actors have worked with a professional writer to generate story ideas, and the bulk of the writing was actually done by the writer.
If one measures "fame" in terms of raw number of people who are familiar with an "celebrity", then the fame of TV and film actors nearly always trumps literary fame. Even a mediocre actor on a poorly rated sitcom is likely to be more "famous" than all but a tiny handful of science fiction and fantasy writers. As painful as the observation may be, more people in the world are familiar with Jennifer Aniston ("Friends") than with Anne McCaffrey (Dragonriders, etc.)
Lately, one of the major sources of actor-authors has been the Star Trek casts. Along with many science fiction fans, we have enjoyed the TV and film work of many of these actors, and we wish them well in their writing projects. But we do not wish to change the overall dynamic of the "famous sf/f authors" list by including every Star Trek author who happens to have co-written a novel, even if LeVar Burton ("Geordi" on Star Trek: The Next Generation) is better known by the general population than Philip K. Dick.
William Shatner has a large number of science fiction novels to his name, including "Star Trek" novels as well as other series. Had he actually written all of these himself, we would include him as one of the most famous science fiction writers. But apparently Shatner's novels are ghostwritten.
Another actor who is different from others in this list is film star Richard Dreyfuss. He co-write the very literary alternative history The Two Georges with Harry Turtledove. The original story idea, and much of the writing, was Dreyfuss's. Also, he isn't famous as an actor in the science fiction genre. Although his fame as an actor may have given him access to author Turtledove, he really came to this project as a fan of literature and an original storyteller.
|Known as an|
|Steve Allen||First host of the "Tonight Show"||Author of two sf stories: "The Public Hating" which first appeared in Bluebook (Jan 1955), and later in the The World Treasury of Science Fiction, ed. David G. Hartwell, Little Brown, 1989. Also: "The Secret" (Colliers Sep 28, 1956; later in Masques #4, ed. J. N. Williamson, 1991). Steve Allen, of course, also wrote dozens of books and literally thousands of songs. Few people are aware that he also wrote any science fiction.|
|Woody Allen||Jewish (raised Orthodox); agnostic||Famed director, screenwriter and star of numerous films, including "Annie Hall"||Author of two sf stories, some of which appared under the pseudonym Allen Stewart Konigsberg: "The Kugelmass Episode" (appeared in New Yorker, May 2 '77; F&SF Dec '77; Year's Finest Fantasy, Berkley/Putnam, 1978); "The Scrolls" (appeared in The New Republic and More Wandering Stars, ed. Jack M. Dann, Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1981)|
|J. Scott Bronson||LDS||Many TV movies and miniseries, including Stephen King's "The Stand" (1994); "Anya's Bell" (1999); "A Town Has Turned to Dust" (1998); "Dead by Midnight" (1997); "Not In This Town" (1997); "Double Jeopardy (1992); "The President's Child" (1992); and "Brigham City" (2001). He has also played a variety of roles on the TV show "Touched by an Angel."||Darkness at the Edge of Light, a collection of short sf/f/h stories.|
|LeVar Burton||star of the historic Roots miniseries; Geordi LaForge on Star Trek: The Next Generation; host of The Reading Rainbow||Aftermath (1997): Post-apocalyptic novel. Non-fiction: Native Artists of Africa; Native Artists of North America|
|Jim Byrnes||"Joe Dawson" from "Highlander" series||"Letters from Vietnam" in Highlander: An Evening at Joe's, edited by Gillian Horvath. Berkley (2000)|
|John de Lancie||"Q" from Star Trek (ST:TNG, DS9; and VOY)||Co-author (with Peter David) of I, Q (1999), about the character he played on Star Trek: Q. Also author and voice talent of "Spock vs. Q", an Alien Voices audio presentation, co-created with Leonard Nimoy. Co-author (with Tom Cool) of non-Trek s.f. novel Soldier of Light, about a family struggling versus an alien force during the collapse of all civilization on Earth.|
|Roxann Dawson||"B'Elanna Torres" from Star Trek: Voyager||Co-author (Daniel Graham) of Entering Tenebria (2000); Tenebrea's Hope (2001).|
|Michael Dorn||"Worf" from Star Trek ("Next Generation" and "Deep Space Nine")||Time Blender: Not a Trek story. An archeologist is involved in adventure on a mysterious island, plus a rip in the fabric of space-time.|
|James Doohan||"Scotty" on the original Star Trek||Co-author (with S. M. Stirling) of The Rising (1996), a military SF novel, volume one of "The Flight Engineer" series. Rising; The Independent Command|
|Richard Dreyfuss||Judaism||Mr. Holland's Opus; many other films||Dreyfuss is the co-author with Harry Turtledove of the short story "The Two Georges" (based on an original idea by Dreyfuss). They later expanded the story into a novel which was nominated for a 1995 Sideways Award. The novel is now in its fourth printing.|
|David Duchovny||father as a Russian Jew; mother was Scottish||"Fox Mulder" on X-Files||X-Files scripts, including "L.A. 2000 A.D."|
|Jonathan Frakes||"Commander William T. Riker" on "Star Trek: The Next Generation"||The Abductors: Conspiracy. An ex-cop discovers an alien plot to invade the Earth. (Co-author: Dean Wesley Smith)|
|Richard Hatch||"Apollo" on "Battlestar Galactica"||Exciting Battlestar Galactica novels by the show's star: Armageddon and Warhawk, both co-written by Christopher Golden|
|Peter Hudson||"James Horton" from "Highlander" series||"Words to the Highlander" in Highlander: An Evening at Joe's|
|Stan Kirsch||"Richie Ryan" from "Highlander" series||"From The Grave" in Highlander: An Evening at Joe's|
|Walter Koenig||"Chekov" from "Star Trek"||Buck Alice and the Actor-Robot (satirical fantasy novel); "The Infinite Vulcan" in Star Trek Log #2 (Ballantine, 1974); also created three issues of the "Raver" comic book (Malibu); The Man Who Wasn't There (in progress). Non-fiction: Chekov's Enterprise; Warped Factors|
|Anthony De Longis||"Otavio Consone" from "Highlander" series||"The Consone Journals" in Highlander: An Evening at Joe's|
|F. Braun McAsh||Swordmaster and the role of "Hans Kershner" from "Highlander" series||"Death Shall Have No Dominion" in Highlander: An Evening at Joe's|
|Kate Mulgrew||Catholic||"Catain Janeway" on "Star Trek: Voyager"||Mulgrew has written unpublished poetry.|
|Nichelle Nichols||"Uhura" on the original Star Trek||Saturn's Child: Science fiction novel about the heroine Saturna: half-Human, half-Fazis. (Co-author: Margaret Wander Bonanno)|
|Leonard Nimoy||Jewish||"Spock" on the original Star Trek||As an author, Nimoy is best known for his non-fiction autobiographical works I Am Not Spock and I Am Spock. He has also contributed to the development of comic book projects (such as Primemortals). Also author and voice talent of "Spock vs. Q", an Alien Voices audio presentation, co-created with John de Lancie.|
|Valentine Pelka||"Kronos" from "Highlander" series||"The Staircase" in Highlander: An Evening at Joe's|
|Ethan Phillips||"Neelix" on Star Trek: Voyager||Star Trek Cookbook, co-written with William J. Birnes. Also: "Penguin Blues" (a one-act play)|
|Pat Robertson||Baptist (Evangelical)||Robertson is not an actor per se, but a popular televangelist and host of "The 700 Club"||The End of the Age, a Christian "End Times" novel|
|Andrew J. Robinson||"Garak" on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine||Deep Space Nine: A Stitch in Time (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, No. 27): The life story of the fascinating and enigmatic Cardassian tailor-spy Garak, by the actor who portrayed Garak.|
|William Shatner||Jewish||Best known as Captain James T. Kirk on the original Star Trek series. Has also starred in T. J. Hooker; Rescue 911; Tekwar, etc.||As an author, Shatner has both enthusiasts and detractors, but his science fiction novels are best sellers and he may be the most famous, most recognizable person on this list.]
Star Trek novels (The Ashes of Eden; Avenger; Dark Victory; The Return; Spectre); In Alien Hands: Quest for Tomorrow; The Law of War; Man O'War; Tek novels (Tek Kill; Tek Money; Tek Net; Tek Power; Tek Secret; Tek Vengeance; Teklab; Teklords; Tekwar); Beyond the Stars; Step into Chaos
|Armin Shimmerman||Jewish||"Quark" on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine||The 34th Rule (Star Trek Deep Space Nine, No. 23), co-written with David R. George III; The Merchant Prince, co-written with Michael Scott.|
|George Takei||"Sulu" on "Star Trek"||Mirror Friend, Mirror Foe, futuristic ninja/spy thriller, co-written with Robert Asprin.|
|Peter Wingfield||"Methos" from "Highlander" series||"A Time of Innocents" in Highlander: An Evening at Joe's|
Note: This is a list of people who have written (or co-written) fiction, but who are not primarily known as authors. This list does not include authors who are best known for their writing, and who happen to have made guest appearances on TV shows on in movies, or who have hosted a TV series (e.g. Arthur C. Clarke).
Also, this list does not include authors who have been portrayed in film. That is a separate list: SF/F Authors Who are Major Characters in Feature Films.
If you are a fan of "real" science fiction, are shocked that this page (about actors who have written "science fiction") exists, and wonder why I would have compiled this data... Let me just say that I'm a sociologist, not a literary critic. Hence, I think that people like Jack Weyland, Tim F. LaHaye, Jerry B. Jenkins, J. K. Rowling, Poppy Z. Brite, and Starhawk are important writers. We don't expect that every reader will be interested in every one of these books, but many people could enjoy many of them, especially people who fans of the associated actor-author, television show or movie. And, there are some real literary gems among these works. For example, Richard Dreyfuss's The Two Georges was nominated for a Sidwise award and is a fine book, regardless of who wrote it. I've heard wonderful things about Andrew J. Robinson's novel about his character "Garak." Some people may have hated Walter Koenig's Buck Alice and the Actor-Robot, but it received some critical acclaim.