10 Famous Authors Who Made Unlikely Genre Jumps

You may know Robert Silverberg as one of the great science fiction writers of the second half of the 20th century — not only has he published dozens of novels in the genre, but he won five Hugo Awards, including one for “best new writer” in 1956, five Nebula Awards, and was named a Grand Master by the Science Fiction Writers of America in 2004 (the organization’s highest honor). What’s less well known about Silverberg is that early in his career he also wrote more than a million words of crime fiction under a variety of pen names, and was a mainstay of the pulp crime magazines of the 1950s and ’60s.

One of the best of his hardboiled thrillers, Blood on the Mink, has never appeared in book form or under Silverberg’s real name, and in fact hasn’t appeared in any form whatsoever for half a century. But thanks to the award-winning Hard Case Crime series, the novel is hitting bookstores this week. In honor of the book’s publication and Silverberg’s many literary talents, we asked Charles Ardai, the book’s editor, to come up with some other examples of authors best known for their work in one genre but who also made a splash — sometimes surprisingly — in another. Click through to read Ardai’s list, and be sure to chime in with your own favorite genre-hoppers in the comments.

Ian Fleming

Fleming became world famous for his series of novels (and two collections of short stories) about international super-spy James Bond. It’s hard to imagine a less likely source for a classic children’s picture book than the creator of the martini-drinking, damsel-bedding, thug-slaying 007, but after telling his son, Caspar, a series of bedtime stories about a car than can fly and float and alert its driver to danger, Fleming wrote the story down and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was born.