So Who Are You?

You learn something every day. I only allowed myself one shot at this, and did not go back to try to change it. I found that:

Apparently, I am:

Cordwainer Smith (Paul M.A. Linebarger)

This inimitably unique storyteller created a future with so many deep layers of history that all the world we know is practically lost in it.

Go on then, find out which Science Fiction writer you are and come and tell us…


Via Dynamics of Cats, via Pharyngula (where does he find this stuff?)

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22 Responses to So Who Are You?

  1. Justin says:

    I’m flattered to find that I’m this person whom I’ve never heard of:

    I am:

    Gregory Benford

    A master literary stylist who is also a working scientist.
    Which science fiction writer are you?

  2. Amara says:

    Justin: Don’t worry. Gregory Benford is great!
    Me? the answers aren’t reproducible, I’m either Stanislaw Lem, Hal Clement, Arthur C. Clarke, or Isaac Asimov. (Maybe I should clear the web browser cache.)

  3. Carl Brannen says:

    I got Arthur C. Clark. But it turns out that I collect Benford, who’s a physics prof still at U. Cal., Irvine.

  4. Aggie says:

    I am:

    Gregory Benford

    A master literary stylist who is also a working scientist.
    Which science fiction writer are you?

  5. Romain says:

    I am also Cordwainer Smith. Let’s write a story together Cliff 🙂

  6. Bee says:

    Hmm, I’m Stanislav Lem:

    This pessimistic Pole has spent a whole career telling ironic stories of futility and frustration. Yet he is also a master of wordplay so witty that it sparkles even when translated into English.

    I always found his stories seriously depressing. I’d have hoped for Jules Verne. Anybody found out whether he’s on the list at all?

    btw, Clifford: speaking of writing, I’ve written some lines about what inspires me… hope you were serious with the guest post?



  7. Navneeth says:

    table width=’90%’ border=1 cellpadding=8 align=’center’>I am:

    Hal Clement (Harry C. Stubbs)

    A quiet and underrated master of “hard science” fiction who, among other things, foresaw integrated circuits back in the 1940s.
    Which science fiction writer are you?

  8. Paul says:

    I’m Olaf Stapledon – who’d have thunk it?

    “Standing outside the science fiction “field”, he wrote fictional explorations of the futures of whole species and galaxies.”

    Very nice. Very nice.

    I wanted Roger Zelazny or Philip K. Dick though 🙁 Nevertheless, I am happy with my lot.

  9. Plato says:


    I’m, the real Gregory Benford? 🙂

    A master literary stylist who is also a working scientist…um…..a literary stylist for sure….um…maybe?

    The real Greg Benford once took this quiz, and it told him he was Arthur C. Clarke.

  10. Athena says:

    I’m James Tiptree, Jr. (Alice B. Sheldon).

    “In the 1970s she was perhaps the most memorable, and one of the most popular, short story writers. Her real life was as fantastic as her fiction.”

    A surprising result; I thought I might be Octavia Butler. Sheldon’s stories were lyrical and imaginative. Out of curiosity, I read the Wikipedia entry on her life, and found a few interesting similarities in background, thought I don’t think that sets me for a career in science fiction writing — ha! We both worked in military intelligence, and I studied (human) responses to stimuli in grad school. Also, I’ve never been one to take on traditional female roles.

  11. spyder says:

    Cordwainer Smith (Paul Linbarger, Ph.D.) has always been one of my heroes, and in the top five of my preferenced sci-fi authors. Really an amazing man: professor, military intelligence officer and analyst, China expert, psy-ops advocate, etc.. Oddly, struggling to decide between two choices in two sections (6 & 7) revealed that i was stuck between Cordwainer and HG Wells. mmmmmmm fun though…

  12. TBB says:

    I’m Kurt Vonnegut, which is fine, since I am most familiar with him out of that list, and I am fond of 1960s absurdist fiction besides. But if I change #2 to what I’m currently interested/focusing on, then I become Gregory Benford, who I’m not familiar with. Should I be? A find a lot of science fiction writing to be clunky (too juvenile?) and dull in terms of style, even if the ideas are interesting. :-/

  13. JoAnne says:

    Chalk up another one for Gregory Benford, who happens to be a former professor of mine.

  14. Jude says:

    I was Arthur C. Clarke, an author whose writing I’ve never liked–too dry for me–but who always seemed like a nice enough fellow. I haven’t read any Gregory Benford in so long that I can’t remember his writing. Interesting how they mostly chose dead white guys for us to be like.

  15. theoreticalminimum says:

    I’m Isaac Asimov. Quoting:
    “One of the most prolific writers in history, on any imaginable subject. Cared little for art but created lasting and memorable tales.”
    This, admittedly, comes as a surprise. Sadly, I have never read anything written by Asimov.

  16. candace says:

    Samuel R. Delany. Maybe I’ll get one of his books, then.
    I expected Lem, honestly.

  17. Zuska says:

    I am:

    John Brunner
    His best known works are dystopias — vivid realizations of the futures we want to avoid.

    I’ve never read anything by John Brunner but dystopian sci fi seems appropriate for me. “The futures we want to avoid” does seem to be an obssession of mine, I will admit.

    I was hoping for Ursula K. Le Guin, though.

  18. spyder says:

    Brunner is awesome Zuska. One of my top ten favorite sci-fi books is Brunner’s 1968 classic:Stand on Zanzibar. Prescient and poignant, he introduces a new form of dilettante, one who is fascinated by intelligence gathering and pattern recognition utilizing computers.

  19. Jeff says:

    I’m Isaac Asimov. That’s cool. I’m kinda inspired to go read something of his now, though I think I like Arthur C Clarke a bit more. Benford was one of my profs too — Joanne, were you at UCI? And since he may read these boards, I’ll refrain from any critiques of his writing or his professorial manner.

  20. Elliot says:

    Another Beneford here. BTW if you haven’t read Asimov’s foundation trilogy you are missing a great work. Home of one of my favorite quotes…

    violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.


  21. Sara T says:

    Omigod, Robert Heinlein!
    I quite like SOME of his stuff, actually, but the way sexist stuff like “Podkayne of Mars” drove me up the wall in my 20s.
    I didn’t discover his juveniles til I was an adult, and some, like the above, were just too annoying. But some, like “Star Beast” were fascinating.
    I liked “Stranger in a Strange Land” quite a bit in my 20s, now find it boring.
    Still quite like “Moon is a Harsh Mistress.”
    But wow, I still don’t feel like I’m he!!!

  22. janet says:

    I am:

    Ursula K. LeGuin

    Perhaps the most admired writing talent in the science fiction field.
    Which science fiction writer are you?

    …which is thrilling, since I’ve been a gigantic fan of hers since I was 11.