Sunday, May 10, 2009

Time and the Fiction of Robert J. Sawyer

On Thursday, March 19, 2009, Fiona Kelleghan of the University of Miami presented an excellent paper entitled Time and the Fiction of Robert J. Sawyer: Flash Forward to the End of an Era at the 30th annual International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts in Orlando, Florida.

You can listen to the whole thing right here (Prof. Kelleghan is introduced by Daniel Creed of Florida Atlantic University). Running time: about 15 minutes.

Time and the Fiction of Robert J. Sawyer: Flash Forward to the End of an Era

By Fiona Kelleghan
University of Miami

Robert J. Sawyer frequently bends time in his novels and short stories, and always in service of finding deep human truths or making profound philosophical points.

From exploring time dilation in his Aurora Award-winning novel Golden Fleece and the short stories "Relativity," "Where the Heart Is," and "The Shoulders of Giants" (featured in Hartwell & Cramer's The Hard SF Renaissance) ...

... to actual travel through time in the Seiun Award-winning End of an Era, the Hugo-nominated Starplex, and his short stories "If I'm Here, Imagine Where They Sent My Luggage," "Just Like Old Times" (winner of both Canada's top SF award and it stop mystery-fiction award), "You See But You Do Not Observe" (a Sherlock Holmes pastiche that won France's Le Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire for year's best foreign short story), and "On the Surface" (a sequel to H.G. Wells's The Time Machine) ...

... to figurative time travel as with the rolling back of ages in his latest novel, the Hugo nominated Rollback ...

... to the Delphic glimpses of the future given to all of humanity in his Aurora Award-winning novel Flash Forward (and the ABC TV series pilot based on it) ...

... to the sideways treks in time to parallel worlds in his Hugo Award-winning Hominids and its sequels and short stories such as "Iterations" and "Lost in the Mail," few writers have more thoroughly explored the distorting lens of time displacement as a way of uncovering larger realities and providing penetrating insights into characters.

[The short stories not hyperlinked above are available from]

Also available in audio form: Prof. Kelleghan's 2008 ICFA paper "The Intimately Human and the Grandly Cosmic: Humor and the Sublime in the Works of Robert J. Sawyer."

Visit The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site



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