Twitter has become the world's digital water cooler. Millions of people use the microblogging service to post their thoughts in snippets of 140 characters or less, and a huge number of them are in the science fiction field.
Since the hardest part of Twitter can often be figuring out who to follow, we've compiled a list of 18 of the best you should be tracking—plus five more we'd love to recommend, but can't.
The brilliant, and occasionally warped, mind behind Freak Angels, Planetary and Transmetropolitan has a twitterfeed that's antagonistic, insulting, never safe for workand always entertaining.
"Apparently I just gave a guy an anxiety/heart attack simply by responding to his tweet. I believe I like this new power"
Fans of Heroes' Greg Grunberg (psychic cop Matt Parkman) tweets about the show, Band from TV (his charity cover band) and real life. More importantly, unlike some of the other big names on Twitter, he makes a point to respond to those who are following him. Grunberg landed on Twitter thanks to Heroes castmate Brea Grant (@breagrant, speedster Daphne on the show) and in turn he's convinced James Kyson Lee (@jameskysonlee, who plays Ando) to join.
"Okay, one cliffhanger thing I can reveal is... well.. how do I put this? Uh, you see, Parkman... he, uh... well, he and uh... that guy with"
Some may always consider him the once and future Wesley Crusher, but Wheaton's moved beyond that, with several books (Just a Geek, The Happiest Days of Our Lives), acting gigs and his blog, Wil Wheaton Dot Net (in Exile). He's amassed an impressive legion of followers on Twitter and tweets about life, acting, parenting, writing and whatever catches his geeky eye.
"Today is GEEKTASTIC: Not only is it pi day, it's the 15th birthday of version 1.0 of the Linux Kernel. Also, I'm DMing tonight. *snort*"
Bear's a writer (Hammered, Undertow, Dust) who proudly proclaims she tells lies to strangers for money. Her tweets include word counts, misadventures in moving, occasional geekouts about movies, and technological ruminations.
"Ways to spot a writer: She has a mountain of baby name books in seven languages, and has never been pregnant."
Hewlett played the neurotic genius Dr. Meredith Rodney McKay on Stargate: Atlantis and when the series was in production, he used Twitter to update followers about scripts and on-set adventures. As big a geek in real life as he is on the show, he's used Twitter to promote his projects and random encounters with the real world.
"Meeting Flanigan for lunch...seeing Joe always makes me wish I had more hair...in the RIGHT places...have I just made lunch weird?!"
The Dr. Horrible alumna and writer/actor on The Guild tweets about her online comedy about a day in the life of a MMORPG-obsessed gamer and her dysfunctional guildmates. An avid gamer in real life, she also tweets about playing Fallout 3 and Dungeons & Dragons, what's on her SF/fantasy reading list and her trials upgrading WordPress.
"Read my #PHB2 on the plane, lady next to me spilled water on it. Wanted to kill her. Sorcerer is out of control want to roll one now please!"
The author of Old Man's War and its sequels as well as the blog Whatever, Scalzi's demonstrated he's not afraid of trying new things by posting his first novel online, twittering and taping bacon to his cat.
"Staying off the computer for the whole day. Unless, you know, I get bored with real life. But what are the chances of THAT?"
Kevin J. Anderson
Anderson, author of Star Wars and X-Files tie-in novels and the Dune prequels, twitters about the creation of his best-selling books, hiking in Colorado and the daily details of a writer's life.
"deaths, conspiracies, mayhem, poisonings, rampaging sandworms, just another day at the office on DUNE."
Agent M is a Marvel.com blogger who brought the company into the Twitterverse. You can thank him by following the official @Marvel twitter feed, as well as that of longtime Marvel editor Joe Queseda (@JoeQuesada).
"We have the Howard the Duck DVD on while cleaning. You can't recognize how far we've come unless you take a hard look back."
Star Trek: The Next Generation's Levar Burton (Geordi La Forge) recently battled his online doppelganger, defeating him in single combat. Or at least managed to get the admins at Twitter to eject the imposter and give him the account. Since then he's been a prolific Twitterer.
"@MargoEve The inspiration for the VISOR was a Banana Clip. How much was the wager? Even more important, how much is my cut?"
Nothing like his Data persona from Star Trek: TNG, Spiner's engaging, amusing and often chatty. It's great when Burton, Spiner and Wheaton go on a Star Trek jag riffing on the series and each other. Spiner's engaged with his fans, often replying to tweets, and recently ran a contest to give away his 500th tweet based on the funniest/smartest fan reply.
"Did the interview. Told them my idea for a set with DNA. They didn't seem to go for it but when I left I was missing my little finger tip."
Writer, geek dad, co-editor at Boing Boing and Creative Commons advocate, Doctorow took a break from Twitter for a while, but he's back in force now, talking about new media, digital rights and his creative life.
"The baby just said her first word: Chewbacca. SRSLY!"
"She was having her bath with her Star Wars bath toy and staring intently at Chewy. I said, 'That's Chewbacca' & she said 'Joo-bak-ba!' Lots!"
Marvel's a perfect example of a company that gets Twitter. Instead of a link dump of posts from Marvel.com, Marvel on Twitter regularly polls followers about their favorite comics and heroes, talks about new releases and generally engages their fan base. They're also following a fair number of people.
"Okay! #marvelasks votes are all tallied. Clearly, the Marvel Twitterverse thinks Spider-Man's better friend material than Human Torch. 76-48"
The author of Sandman, American Gods, Neverwhere, Stardust and Coraline tweets from the road, recounting inns, coffee shops and other destinations on his book and movie promotional tours. The release of Coraline in theaters saw him tweeting regularly about the movie.
"Good morning world. I am blinking and strange-haired today. Will be interviewed on Colbert Report tonight, the reality of which just hit me."
One of the writers on Mystery Science Theatre 3000, as well as the voice of the wisecracking Crow T. Robot, Corbett tweets about his new project, Rifftrax. Expect tweets about writing and random encounters with life, some of which include conversations with longtime collaborator Kevin Murphy (@kwmurphy).
"I like Twitter a lot, even if it does tend to make people write in some mashup of Rorschach's Journal and late 80s Seinfeld monologue."
If you ever wanted to peek inside the mind of a comic-book editor, here's your chance. The big boss at Marvel tweets about ongoing projects, (like the Spider-Man musical) and responds to a surprising number of followers.
"Despite popular and conventional belief, simpler covers work best for grabbing the eye. White background covers even more so."
Grant plays the speedster Daphne on Heroes and has a role in Rob Zombie's upcoming Halloween 2. The Halloween role has her researching horror films and tweeting about what she likes.
"Aliens = amazing sequel. I wish my name was Ripley."
Robert Llewellyn (aka Bobby Lew)
Bobby Lew is must-follow for Red Dwarf fans that want to keep up with news about the series' new BBC movies. His tweets feature updates on the project, insights into working on the set, and the TV business.
"It's just possible that my obsession with laundry and clean sheets was picked up by Rob and Doug and woven into Mr K's character. Possible?"
Plus 5 feeds we'd follow if only they ...
... spilled more gossiped:
It's great that DC Comics is on Twitter, but the tweets are mostly link dumps to its Web sites or comic reviews. There's little of the interaction with fans that defines the Marvel side of the comic universe. If I want news, I'll hit your company site.
... tweeted more:
Unlike the Next Generation alumni, William Shatner tweets infrequently, and mostly to promote his own projects. It'd be great see a Generations-stye twitter crossover between Shatner and the prolific ST:TNG crew.
... stayed in character:
Dr. Horrible's attempts to get into the Evil League of Evil are now the stuff of legend, so much so that he's attracted an army of 21,000 followers on Twitter. Unfortunately, most of the tweets are about Dr. Horrible instead of by Dr. Horrible. Given how the musical revolved around our favorite mad scientist's video blog, an in-character Twitter account seems like a no-brainer.
... opened the door:
Futurist/novelist Bruce Sterling tweets links to stories about technology, politics and the economy, and his essays and speeches on those subjects. Unfortunately, he's protected his updates, which means he'll have to approve you before you can read his recent torrent of tweets about SXSW. This is understandable, given the extremely public nature of Twitter and the constant follower requests by people trying to give you a free laptop. The good news is he has a few thousand followers, so if you're not a spambot, there's a good chance he'll let you in.
... remembered what Twitter is:
Abrams created Alias, co-created Lost and is the producer and director of the upcoming Star Trek film. His twitterfeed has attracted followers, but he's only given us six updates, the last one in December. We're interested, JJ, so start updating!
"I totally forgot about Twitter. I know i am not regular on here but really don't have time for computers... errr or anything."