John Barnes (born 1957) is an American science fiction author. His stories generally focus on moral responsibility and social criticism within social contexts. The four novels in his Thousand Cultures series pose serious questions about the effects of globalization on isolated societies. Barnes holds a doctorate in theatre and for several years taught in Colorado, where he still lives.
Barnes has been married twice, the second to author Kara Dalkey. In the second and third books of the Thousand Cultures series, the protagonist Giraut Leones endures difficult marital tensions. Barnes notes that it has been assumed that these reflect the author's own frustration with the disintegration of his second marriage, but Barnes answers this assumption in the acknowledgments for The Armies of Memory, the fourth book in the series: "This is improbable, at the least, since I don't seem to have the foresight to plan till the end of the week, and for Earth Made of Glass to have been about my second divorce would require about four years of foresight." Barnes points out that the novel was effectively finished in 1996 and first published in 1998, while the events that led to the divorce happened in 2000.