SF Writers Who Served

November 11th, 2014 | by Sqotty |

This year for Veteran’s Day, I thought I would take the time to recognize some of SF’s writers who served in the Armed Forces. Although mainly looking at U.S. writers, I’ll also be recognizing some of the British Commonwealth writers as well.

Robert A. Heinlein, one of SF’s Three Grand Masters, author of Stranger in a Strange Land, Starship Troopers, and many other novels and stories. Graduated Annapolis Naval Academy and served in the United States Navy.

Arthur C. Clarke, the man who gave us 2001: A Space Oddity among many other stories and novels, another member of SF’s Three Grand Masters, served in the Royal Air Force during World War 2.

Isaac Asimov, the third member of SF’s Three Grand Masters served in the United States Army for nine months in 1946. This came after working as a civilian at the Naval Yard during World War 2.

Harlan Ellison, one of fandom’s most celebrated authors, with such stories as A Boy and His Dog. Ellison served in the United States Army during the late ‘50s. I would really like to see pics of Ellison in uniform.

Gordon R. Dickson, United States Army, World War 2, he would go on to give us the Dorsai stories, as well as collaborate with Poul Anderson on the Hoka series of stories.

A.Bertram Chandler was merchant marine and the last master of the HMAS Melbourne. His life as a merchant marine would influence much of his writings, including the Commodore Grimes series.

David Drake, the man who gave us Hammer’s Slammers and many other stories, mainly writing Military SF, served in the 11th Armored Cavalry, US Army, during the Vietnam War.

John Ringo, another fine Military SF writer, 82nd Airborne, US Army. Ringo has contributed a large body of work to SF, including the Posleen series.

John Brunner, whose novel Shockwave Rider who brought forth such computer terms as worm as well as predicting computer viruses, served in the Royal Air Force during the 1950s.

J.R.R. Tolkien, the man who gave us Middle-earth and one of the world’s most brilliant Fantasy authors, served in the British Army in the First World War.

C.S. Lewis, a close friend of Tolkien, and another of the world’s great Fantasy authors, and world bring us the Chronicles of Narnia, also served in the British Army in the First World War.

C. M. Kornbluth, co-author (with Frederick Pohl) of the novel The Space Merchants, served in the US Army during World War 2, and awarded the Bronze Star for his service in the Battle of the Bulge.

Speaking of Frederick Pohl, he also served in the US Army during World War 2, as an air corps weatherman, attached to the 456th Bombardment Group in Italy. Pohl went on to write many SF novels, including HeeChee Rendezvous and Man Plus.

Joe Haldeman, author of The Forever War, which is considered a counter-point to Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, as well as one of the best examples of Military SF. Haldeman served in the US Army during Vietnam.

This list could easily be a lot longer, however, I think I’ll call it here.

My thanks to all who served their country, whether it was during a time of peace, or during a time of war.

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