Not everyone on the list regularly writes super powered beings, but don’t let that scare you away from some great fiction. Some are just great at simple things like dialogue or the combination of amazing wonder with a real world setting. All of them can be great inspirations for any writer of super powered fiction and come with the highest recommendation from this author. Here they are presented in no particular order.
- Madeline L’Engle – L’Engle had an amazing ability to ground the most insane idea in reality. A Wrinkle in Time is built around crazy ideas presented with an air of the normal.
- Adam Troy Castro – His Sinister Six novels that came at the end of the 90s Marvel novels showed how to juggle a ton of characters in super powered prose, a trait shared by…
- Van Allen Plexico – Van’s Sentinels series juggles a huge cast in compelling tales about a unit somewhere between the Avengers and the Defenders. One of the first true independent creators of super powered fiction, Van in many ways built the archetype for how to create a super powered prose universe and I learn from his work every time I read it.
- Stephen King – Several of King’s earliest works very much fall into the super powered fiction category: Carrie, Firestarter, The Dead Zone, etc.
- Robert Parker – No one does dialogue as well as Parker. Anyone can learn from reading his stories.
- Orson Scott Card – Card has an ability to build big ideas around human stories, both in his solid Ender series and his far stronger Alvin Maker fantasy tales.. I argue it is a tact he learned from…
- Robert Heinlein – Heinlein is a master of the art of interweaving his ideas into a human narrative, even if it is one of the future. He’s also great for challenging social contracts decades before the present day.
- Diane Duane – Duane’s Spider-Man and Venom trilogy taught me that a superhero like Spider-Man could be a compelling lead in prose at a time when such things weren’t really done. Her trilogy also shows exactly how to use Mary Jane as Peter’s wife and make her compelling, something Marvel Comics writers and editors found so hard they used a demon to end their marriage.
- George R. R. Martin & the Wild Card Trust – For obvious reasons, the creatives behind the Wild Cards series all deserve every ounce of praise they receive. Some of the best minds in super powered prose ever.
- Octavia Butler – Butler deserves to be on the top of this list for Wild Seed alone, but every novel she wrote is a master class on short, tight narrative. Wild Seed is a major inspiration for the historical metahuman stories still developing in the Quadrant Universe while its sequels build an interesting narrative of secret super powered beings among us.
I still routinely pull out books by all these writers when I need a bit of inspiration. I highly recommend any lovers of great fiction to do the same.