Here at TIME, we think a lot about the question of influence. Our annual TIME 100 issue takes a close look at the most influential figures in the world in any given year — from activists and actors to politicians and pop stars.
One of the clear lessons of the TIME 100 is that influence comes in many forms. Influencers can change public policy, start trends, and make us laugh or cry. And there’s one thing these influencers share, beyond the power to change lives: they’re real.
But is that actually a necessary qualification for influence?
The fictional characters who have fronted important ad campaigns, taught lessons to children and given birth to whole new kinds of storytelling might beg to differ.
That’s the premise of the forthcoming book The TIME 100 Most Influential People Who Never Lived, in stores July 12.
Here’s a chance for you to weigh in. Of the 50 figures we’ve chosen from the book, who do you think most exerts an influence on the way we live? Make your selections now – voting ends at 5 PM (ET) on Friday, May 24.
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