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December 13, 2002

Which SF writer are you?
Posted by Teresa at 07:30 AM *

Yes, it’s another one of those dumb tests, if not quite as dumb as some of them: Which SF Writer Are You?

It’s making the rounds in the SF community. Politically-heterodox-Scottish-commie-with-libertarian-leanings Ken MacLeod was amused to discover he’s Ayn Rand. Not surprisingly, Jordin Kare came up as Hal Clement. What we need now is to have Hal Clement take the test.

(Me? Alfred Bester. Patrick came up as Robert A. Heinlein.)

Comments on Which SF writer are you?:
#1 ::: John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2002, 09:38 AM:

Hmm, I haven't taken the test yet (linking over noew), but I like to think of myself as a mix of James Blish (er, without his reported sympathy for fascism, that is...)and Larry Niven.

:)

#2 ::: John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2002, 09:41 AM:

Okay...so, I'm EE "Doc" Smith...? I was close, huh?

#3 ::: Dorothy Rothschild ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2002, 10:04 AM:

I'm William Gibson?!

#4 ::: John Owen ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2002, 10:05 AM:

Hmm, I came out as Stanislav Lem, which surprised the hell out of me, but sort of makes sense -- Maybe.
Rastus

#5 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2002, 10:10 AM:

Apparently I am Hal Clement, which I think would amuse Harry Stubbs no end.

Actually, I thought I was (for this particular value of the verb) Chip Delany, except for, well, that, and that, though not necessarily that, and Iva. But I'm not sure he's an available answer and I'm not sure I want to see the generative questions therefor.

And Ayn Rand is a science fiction writer in the same way that Poli-Grip is a toothpaste.

#6 ::: David Moles ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2002, 10:19 AM:

I also came up Hal Clement, which really tightens the screws on me to finally get around to reading Mission of Gravity.

I had a go at trying to get the thing to come up with Chip Delany, but the best I could manage was John Brunner. (Not bad, though.)

#7 ::: David Moles ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2002, 10:20 AM:

Mr. Ford, I am going to treasure that description of Ayn Rand forever.

#8 ::: Iain J Coleman ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2002, 10:24 AM:

I got Heinlein, but I'm going to pretend I got Bester.

#9 ::: Christopher Hatton ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2002, 11:02 AM:

I'm Ursula K. LeGuin, which pleases me more than I understand.

And yes, Mr. Ford, that description of Rand is not nailed down.

#10 ::: Greg van Eekhout ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2002, 11:17 AM:

I'm Hal Clement. Half the people I know are Hal Clement. And I so wanted to be Ursula K. LeGuin.

#11 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2002, 11:33 AM:

We can test this! T -- call all the ones that are still with us, and see what their answers are, and see if they are really them.

"I'm sorry, Mr. Benford, you're really Hal Clement."

(Call it abusing editorial privledge for the sake of science. Or something.)

#12 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2002, 12:03 PM:

I'm Arthur C. Clarke, apparently, and Feorag is William Gibson. But the really weird thing is that Ken MacLeod came out as ...


... wait for it ...

Ayn Rand!

#13 ::: Emmet ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2002, 12:10 PM:

I would appear to be Ursula LeGuin too. If that's so, I hope I can get to be a pre-Always Coming Home Ursula LeGuin. I'm a bit peeved with some of the questions - question 2, frex, could really do with an "all of the above bar the first and last" option - which would I think have applied rather well to Dr. Asimov for one - and question 5 feels orthogonal to anything sensible I could say on the subject.

#14 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2002, 12:23 PM:

Huh.

Apparently, I'm James Tiptree Jr., AKA Alice Sheldon.

There go my dreams of being the new Raymond Z. Gallun, (AKA Ramona Aloyisius Garboyne III.)

#15 ::: Adam Rice ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2002, 12:28 PM:

Somehow I could just tell that I'd be William Gibson before I was halfway through...And so I am.

#16 ::: Paul Riddell ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2002, 12:58 PM:

I got Stanislav Lem. And here I was, hoping that I'd get someone cool, like John Shirley or Ernest Hogan. Ah well.

#17 ::: Arthur D. Hlavaty ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2002, 01:14 PM:

I'm happy with mine: Isaac Asimov.

#18 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2002, 01:22 PM:

I think this is all my fault. I ran across the test on Live Journal and posted it to RASFF where Patrick saw it and seems to have passed it on. No doubt others are doing the same. Wow, I've never been a virus before.

I turned out to be William Gibson myself. But then I went back and changes several of the questions where I had trouble choosing to my other possible choice and turned out to be Ursula LeGuin. An interesting combination.

I also went through choosing what I thought of as the Pournelle answers and ended up with Mickey Spillane! The test maker avers he uses 'futuristic elements'.

Teresa: I had said I went through answering as I thought Jordin would and got Hal Clement. Last night he got back fromt he freezing wilds of Conn. and took the test, and sure enough, Hal Clement.

MKK

#19 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2002, 01:42 PM:

I'm another James Tiptree Jr. I linked to this on my LiveJournal on Dec. 6th, after seeing it on Bruce Baugh's LJ. Don't know where he got it from.

#20 ::: Jane Yolen ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2002, 01:54 PM:

Hal Clement here, though with one change I was Asimov. Go figure. I wanted to be Le Guin. In my dreams I am her.

Jane

#21 ::: Myke ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2002, 01:56 PM:

I got Mickey Spillane, who I've never even heard of before.

If I had my druther's I'd be China "it-boy" Mieville, but I suppose he's more Weird Fiction (as he puts it) than SF.

#22 ::: Adrienne Martini ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2002, 02:11 PM:

Just for the record, Delany is possible. And, it would seem, I am he.

#23 ::: Mark Bourne ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2002, 02:25 PM:

Another Hal Clement here. Now I'll never eat lobster without thinking of Mesklinites.

#24 ::: Derryl Murphy ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2002, 03:36 PM:

I'm John Brunner. Karl Schroeder ended up as Ursula Le Guin (she and Tiptree are the only women I've heard of on the list), Candas Jane Dorsey was Delaney, Peter Watts was Vonnegut - he was disappointed he wasn't Brunner.

D

#25 ::: Scott Janssens ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2002, 03:47 PM:

I'm Frank Herbert. That's kind of nice since Dune is my favorite novel. Here's a list of the authors possible:

a: Isaac Asimov
b: Alfred Bester
c: Arthur C. Clarke
d: David Brin
e: Octavia E. Butler
f: Philip Jose9 Farmer
g: Gregory Benford
h: Frank Herbert
i: Samuel R. Delany
j: Jerry Pournelle
k: Mickey Spillane
l: Ursula LeGuin
m: Stanislav Lem
n: William Gibson
o: Olaf Stapledon
p: Philip K. Dick
q: Hal Clement
r: Robert A. Heinlein
s: E.E. "Doc" Smith
t: James Tiptree, Jr.
u: Jules Verne
v: Kurt Vonnegut
w: H.G. Wells
x: Cordwainer Smith
y: Ayn Rand
z: John Brunner

#26 ::: Greg van Eekhout ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2002, 04:50 PM:

Mickey Spillane wrote SF?

#27 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2002, 05:18 PM:

Oh, well, I'm John Brunner, then.

(The answsers page wouldn't load, but the letters show up in the URL.)

#28 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2002, 05:19 PM:

I can't think of anything sfnal by Spillane -- he wrote a children's book (about pirates. "'Arr,' she said huskily, her cutlass peeling off like barnacles.") There might have been a short story or two in his pulp career. The alternative is to imagine that the test designer confused him with John D. McDonald or Donald Westlake, which is an extremely big imagine with Cadillac tailfins.

Porquoi c'est pas des Jules Vernes?

#29 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2002, 08:30 PM:

I don't _like_ cyberpunk. Why am I William Gibson?

#30 ::: Paul Riddell ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2002, 10:08 PM:

Could be worse, Kate. You could be Bruce Sterling. Or Terry Brooks.

#31 ::: Mike Kozlowski ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2002, 12:01 AM:

Oddly enough, I appear to be the only David Brin around...

Except for the actual one, I mean.

#32 ::: Graham Sleight ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2002, 12:56 AM:

And I'm Samuel R. Delany as well. (Changing two answers made me Gregory Benford - go figure.) Shame there's no Lionel Fanthorpe option.

#33 ::: Robert "Stanislaw" L ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2002, 06:30 AM:

And i so wanted to be Philip K. Dick.
Spillane had a story in one of the earliest issues of Fantastic. I haven't read it, but I believe it's sort of a Mike Hammer battles ghouls kinda thing. And there's the glowing suitcase in Kiss Me, Deadly (the film, at least).
Actually, though, Spillane's universe is such a total product of his imagination--in the same way, say, that P. G. Wodehouse's is--that it might as well be sf, for all the relation it bears to the actual universe...

#34 ::: Dorothy Rothschild ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2002, 08:39 AM:

Hmm, I'd say Ayn Rand is a bit more of a science fiction writer than that, in the George Orwell/Aldous Huxley negative utopia vein. (Throw Margaret Atwood in there too, I dare ya.)

#35 ::: John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2002, 10:05 AM:

Hmph! James Blish isn't even on the list!

#36 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2002, 11:28 AM:

I came up as Robert Heinlein - something
must be seriously wrong with that test!

#37 ::: Alan Bostick ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2002, 12:46 PM:

I came up "Greg Benford," which kinda leaves me feeling that I'd been slimed.

Talking over dinner last night, it came out that D. Potter is *also* Greg Benford. Maybe she's Greg and I'm Jim?

("Towner, they are husband and wife!")

#38 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2002, 02:26 PM:

I'm GREGORY BENFORD? I'm suing that blankety-blank site!
OK, one of my friends has been bugging me to read some of his stuff. I guess, since I'm writing it, I should read it...

#39 ::: Lucy ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2002, 03:04 PM:

I am honored to be Chip Delaney. And frightened.

#40 ::: BSD ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2002, 03:49 PM:

I came up as the man himself, I. Asimov. Makes me feel kind of warm and happy inside.

#41 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2002, 06:38 PM:

Re KISS ME DEADLY -- in the novel, the McGuffin is just a big stash of narcotics, nothing sci-tech. Spillane did not write the screenplay. I can still make no sense out of the "futuristic elements" comment, though I'm not exerting much effort on it.

#42 ::: Laura ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2002, 08:05 PM:

Greg Benford. Go figure.

(26 authors. 4 of them women. 15%. hmmmmmm. Representative?)

#43 ::: Christopher Hatton ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2002, 02:04 AM:

Didn't they misspell Stanislaw Lem?

#44 ::: Kate ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2002, 02:18 AM:

Hmm, According to this I'm Cordwainer Smith.
I suppose I should actually read something of his, now.

I don't think I can take two or three more weeks of being out of work.

Kate

#45 ::: Robert "Stanislaw" L ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2002, 04:15 AM:

"My name is Gregory Benford."
"My name is Gregory Benford."
"My name is Gregory Benford."
"Good evening, and welcome to 'What's My Line.'..."
Kate, you should definitely read some Cordwainer Smith. Look on the bright side of beinng out of work--at least you have time to read what you want...Why not start at the beginnning, with "Scanners Live in Vain"?

#46 ::: Avedon ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2002, 01:14 PM:

It's a split decision, because there were too many questions where one of three or four answers would have been equally right for me. With a certain amount of messing around, I got: 1. Robert Heinlein, 2. ACC, and 3. Kurt Vonnegut. I think that's pretty funny.

(Now, if only Harry Stubbs could take the test and find out he is John M. Ford....)

#47 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2002, 02:53 PM:

Kate:

Ditto Robert's recommendation of "Scanners Live in Vain."

If you can FIND it, Smith's Norstillia is a trip. Particularly the brilliant prologue / summary.

#48 ::: not really Gregory Benford ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2002, 03:20 PM:

It's interesting that my real answers to most of the questions aren't even in the lists. Materials science, heck, even chemistry isn't listed in (2).

Randolph

#49 ::: marty ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2002, 06:33 PM:

I tried to be Ellison, and failed. No wonder, he isn't on the list!

#50 ::: Jack Womack ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2002, 11:41 AM:

Much as I'd have liked to have been Hal Clement, I find that I am instead Robert Heinlein. Which I think speaks for itself.

#51 ::: BethN ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2002, 12:22 PM:

I'm usually Hal Clement, but if I change one answer I turn into either Ursula LeGuin or Octavia Butler. Go figure.

Ditto on rec for Cordwainer Smith. I have a very soft spot for "Alpha Ralpha Boulevard."

#52 ::: Barbara ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2002, 04:17 PM:

I'm Ursula K. LeGuin, which tell me more about the test than about me.

#53 ::: Deborah Green ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2002, 11:49 PM:

Coming in later as per usual...I turned out to be Gregory Benford (although I was hoping to be Ursula LeGuin). Best giggle I had all day. And I really needed it.

#54 ::: Alan Hamilton ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2002, 01:59 AM:

I came out Ursula as well. Someone on SFF-NET said that Jerry Pournelle took it and came out Robert A. Heinlein.

#55 ::: Adina Adler ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2002, 10:45 AM:

Stefan, you can find _Norstrilia_ very easily by ordering it from NESFA press. You can also do a search at abebooks.com if you'd rather have a used copy.

#56 ::: Lenny Bailes ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2002, 03:42 AM:

Per a report on one of the fannish mailing lists, Greg Benford took it and exclaimed "Geez, I'm Clarke. How do you answer to be me?"

I took it, but don't feel like dignifying it by reporting the results. (What a killjoy, eh?)

I usually come out as either Scott McCloud or Kevin Smith on this one.

#57 ::: Lenny Bailes ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2002, 03:46 AM:

Per a report on one of the fannish mailing lists, Greg Benford took it and exclaimed "Geez, I'm Clarke. How do you answer to be me?"

I took it, but don't feel like dignifying it by reporting the results. (What a killjoy, eh?)

I usually come out as either Scott McCloud or Kevin Smith on this one.

#58 ::: Jennie ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2002, 03:10 PM:

Any other Olaf Stapledons out there?

I'm curious enough to try reading him.

#59 ::: Elise Matthesen ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2002, 12:39 AM:

I'm Chip Delany. Cool.

#60 ::: Vera ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2002, 10:18 PM:

I am Gregory Benford.

#61 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2002, 12:18 PM:

Jennie:

You want to read _Star Maker_ and/or _Last and First Men_. Not really novels . . . book-length future histories. Go read my reviews on Amazon.com.

#62 ::: Larry Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2002, 11:02 PM:

I'm Cordwainer Smith? I admire his fiction, but can't I have a living writer?

Puzzled

#63 ::: Jennie ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2002, 11:58 AM:

Mr. Jones,

Thanks very much for the hint, and for the reviews. Whew! From your review, alone, I think that quiz has me pegged entirely wrong (not that I didn't suspect that)! Stapledon will possibly not constitute the light holiday reading I was contemplating for my couple of days this week...but I doubt I could find a copy by tonight, anyway. Perhaps for the next overnight bus journey, though. His writing sounds like it would benefit from long stretches of uninterrupted time.

#64 ::: Anne Murphy ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2003, 08:31 AM:

It says I am Gregory Benford. I like their description of what this means, anyway (a skilled literary writer who is also a real scientist).

Can someone please recommend some Benford I ought to read?

#65 ::: ers ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2003, 01:18 AM:

I'm Chip Delaney, too. I do have a copy of Nova autographed and marked with his lip-prints (and Ellen Kushner's lipstick), but I'm a tad disconcerted nonetheless. But honored.

I shall treasure Mr. Ford's assessment of Ms. Rand's SF credibility. _The Fountainhead_ is one of a number of books with which I fell in love during my high school years that did not age well (especially after a feminist awakening!). Dorothy Dunnett's _Lymond Chronicles_ stood the test of time admirably.

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