Philip K Dick
A writer that, if nothing else, will never bore you. There's been
a pretty strong mailing list since 1994 of which I keep a
searchable archive. For a few years Patrick Clark
sent out quotes from primary sources (like letters, reviews and articles)
every Tuesday called
The Tuesday Dose
and we had a project to list every musical reference in every PKD story or novel which probably should be in some nicer format.
We've done group reads of Martian Time Slip and The Transmigration of Timothy Archer.
Writers like H.G. Wells, Isaac Asimov and Bob Heinlein have all written
about cities or places where the people stand or walk on
moving sidewalks with accelerating bands so you could get on at
a leisurely pace then walk to faster moving strip then to an
even faster one until you're moving quite rapidly. I found a
real plan for one of these from 1924
which was never actually built. Another pipe dream is
commercial fusion power and I've put
together some information on it.
A Beanstalk is a kind of space elevator another kind is called a Skyhook and either may be a good alternative to rockets for traveling between Earth and orbit, these are featured in a number of SF stories.
In 1929, J.D.Bernal published a slim futurist book called The World, the Flesh and the Devil which Gregory Benford says "examined our prospects in terms that seemed bizarre [then] but resonate strongly today: engineered human reproduction, biotech, our extension into totally new environments such as the deep oceans and outer space."
John W. Campbell
This guy created SF, starting with his ground-breaking early stories, a
series of articles in the 1930's describing the
solar system and his 32 year career editing Astounding/Analog magazine.
Through meetings and copious letters, he developed a talented group
of writers to teach and learn from.