Most Senior SF Writer

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Who (among major writers, admittedly a vague criterion) has been writing for the longest time? And who held the record before them?

First published Born Died Who? Span Years on Top
1818 1797 1851 Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley 33 33
1851 1828 1905 Jules Verne 54 54
1879 1859 1930 Arthur Conan Doyle 51 25
1888 1866 1946 H. G. Wells 58 16
1912 1875 1950 Edgar Rice Burroughs 38 4
1919 1896 1975 Murray Leinster 56 25
1928 1908 2006 Jack Williamson 78 31
1937 1919 2013 Frederik Pohl 68 7
1949 1923 2020 James Gunn 71 7
1952 1933 2022 Ron Goulart 70 1
Current Contenders
1954 1935 Robert Silverberg >68
1956 1939 Michael Moorcock >66
1957 1939 Peter S. Beagle >65

Jack Williamson held the record the longest in modern times.

Note that this list is notOldest Living SF Writer”, which only requires a single story and significant longevity. Here, we are looking for a career which is both long and major.

First, "major" is inevitably subjective to a degree. Early writers for magazines like Weird Tales or the mundanes who published something that was arguably SF and lived on forgotten — or never known — by fandom still qualify for "Oldest Living SF Writer." Here, we're looking for writers who had a major and continued impact on the field.

Second, there are writers who write something important, but whose writing career was relatively brief. We're looking for people with long active careers, not who were simply long-lived. To count, an active career should have spanned a majority of the time since their first published appearance. (And, yes, Mary Shelley is a bit of a dodge, since while undoubtedly a majorly influential SF writer — arguably the very first such — she doesn't have a large body of work. But no one else from that period does, either.)

Most subjective of all, is "major." Given two people who have essentially equivalent careers, where one is of significantly greater stature and influence in the field, we will pick the latter.

Anyway, this is all for fun.

For a somewhat different take, see Dean of Science Fiction. Also see: Most Senior Fan.

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