Robert J. Sawyer

Hugo and Nebula Award-Winning Science Fiction Writer

Archive for the 'Milestones' Category

Happy 20th birthday to my website

Sunday, June 28th, 2015

Happy 20th birthday to my World Wide Web site! I freely admit it shows its age — but it also has grown to over a million words of text and over 800 documents — and it’s been online since June 28, 1995. Give it a visit at Robert J. Sawyer online:Website • Facebook • […]

A parable on the day SCOTUS recognized gay marriage

Friday, June 26th, 2015

A parable for today. I went to what was then called Ryerson Polytechnical Institute, an unusual institution. Although granting bachelor’s degrees in many programs via the authority of the Ontario government, it was not a traditional university, and most of its instructors were recruited from industry. Very few of the instructors back then held doctorates […]

Oh, the car vanity!

Saturday, May 30th, 2015

Fifteen years ago today, the Sawyermobile first started sporting this puppy: a vanity licence plate reading SFWRITER. Carolyn Clink got it for me for my 40th birthday. Ontario had only just started allowing eight characters on a vanity plate, and was charging a premium then if you wanted that many; it cost $500 — but […]

Martian War Machine lands in Mississauga

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

My great friend Michael Lennick, who passed away November 7, 2014, was a special-effects supervisor for the 1988 War of the Worlds television series — a direct sequel to the George Pal film. For the series, this Martian War Machine was built, exactly copying the move version. This original screen-used fiberglass miniature — 45 inches […]


Friday, May 1st, 2015

Twenty years ago today, my novel The Terminal Experiment — which went on to win the Nebula Award for Best Novel of the Year, was a finalist for the Hugo Award and Japan’s Seiun Award, and won Canada’s Aurora Award — was published by HarperPrism (following full-text serialization in Analog). The novel is still in […]

My next novel comes out one year from today

Sunday, April 5th, 2015

UPDATE: Actually, my next novel is coming out even sooner! In part to take advantage of some promotional opportunties that presented themselves, my US and Canadian publishers have moved the publication date up five weeks. The new official publication date for my next novel is TUESDAY, MARCH 1, 2016. The official publication date for my […]

35th anniversary of my first sale

Sunday, January 18th, 2015

Thirty-five years ago today, on January 18, 1980, I made my first professional sale: a science-fiction story about a starship called Starplex, with a crew that included reptilian aliens called Quintaglios, to the Strasenburgh Planetarium in Rochester, New York, which dramatized the story as part their summer 1980 starshow “Futurescapes.” Read the history of that […]

NASFA 40th anniversary coming up

Sunday, January 4th, 2015

I’m hoping Google searches will bring some people here: On October 16, 1975, Robert J. Sawyer, Richard Gotlib, and Ted Bleaney founded NASFA, the Northview Association for Science Fiction Addicts, based at Northview Heights Secondary School in Willowdale (later North York; later still, Toronto), Ontario, Canada. We’re having a 40th anniversary reunion party on Saturday, […]

2014 Year in Review

Friday, December 26th, 2014

For me, 2014 was a bittersweet year, with the loss of dear friends Colin Edmond, 19, and Michael Lennick, 61, both way too young. It was also the year we moved my parents out of the home I grew up in and closed up the house. Because of the time I took off during and […]

Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame

Friday, December 19th, 2014

I realized today that I hadn’t noted yet here in my blog one of the biggest honours of my career: On Saturday, October 5, 2014, I was one of the initial inductees into The Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame, administered by The Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association — the same people […]

Tributes to Michael Lennick

Friday, December 19th, 2014

Here are some of the tributes that came in to my great friend Michael Lennick, who passed away November 7, 2014. (The picture is of Michael and his wife Shirley Gulliford.) Michael will be missed by all who knew him. I enjoyed the wonderful times we shared working on The All-Night Show. I am very […]

Michael Lennick memorial gathering

Saturday, November 15th, 2014

Please join us Saturday, November 29, 2014, from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. at Bakka-Phoenix Books, 84 Harbord Street, Toronto, to celebrate the life and memory of special-effects producer and science documentarian Michael Lennick, who passed away November 7. Everyone is welcome. We’ll be downstairs in the function room. Many thanks to Bakka-Phoenix for making the […]

Michael Lennick, R.I.P.

Saturday, November 8th, 2014

DETAILS OF MEMORIAL GATHERING My great friend Michael Lennick passed away yesterday. He’d been admitted to hospital a month ago, and was diagnosed with a very aggressive brain tumor. His wife and business partner Shirley Guilliford made the decision to have him taken off life support yesterday afternoon, and he was gone within minutes. Michael […]

I finished writing Golden Fleece 25 years ago today

Friday, September 26th, 2014

Twenty-five years ago today, on 26 September 1989, when I was 29 years old, I finished the manuscript for what would turn out to be my first published novel, Golden Fleece, and sent it off by courier to my then-agent, Richard Curtis. (The first novel I actually wrote was End of an Era, but that […]

Free science-fiction festival in Greater Toronto

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

Science Fiction Spectacular! Mississauga Central Library in the Noel Ryan Auditorium 301 Burnhamthorpe Rd. West, adjacent to City Hall Mississauga, Ontario Saturday, October 18, 2014, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Free — but space is limited. Please register in advance with the Central Library’s “Readers’ Den” Department: Phone 905-615-3200, extension 3544. In honour of Mississauga […]

University of Winnipeg convocation address

Saturday, June 21st, 2014

On Thursday, June 12, 2014, the University of Winniepg presented me with an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree at its Spring Convocation. I was asked to say a few words to the graduating students in Business, Economics, and Science: I’ve often said the job of a science-fiction writer is not to predict the future. Rather, […]

Honorary doctorate

Friday, June 13th, 2014

On June 12, 2014, the University of Winnipeg — the oldest university in the province of Manitoba, Canada — gave bestselling science-fiction writer Robert J. Sawyer an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree; former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chr├ętien also received the same degree that day. Sawyer was nominated for the honorary doctorate jointly by the […]

30th anniversary of Hydra North

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Thirty years ago today, on April 29, 1984, the first meeting of Hydra North, Canada’s first association of science-fiction professionals, was held at Toronto’s Free Times Café. Founded by Judith Merril, and administered from that first meeting for the next eight years by me, the organization provided wonderful networking and fostered many friendships. Carolyn and […]

Skylark Award

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

I’m absolutely thrilled to be the 2014 winner of the Edward E. Smith Memorial Award for Imaginative Fiction (the Skylark), presented annually since 1966 by the New England Science Fiction Association (NESFA). The award is given to a person who “has contributed significantly to science fiction, both through work in the field and by exemplifying […]

Luther Terry anniversary

Saturday, January 11th, 2014

Fifty years ago today, United States Surgeon General Luther Terry released the landmark report Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the United States, demonstrating the causal link between smoking and lung cancer. That’s right, smokers: you’ve had a half-century of warnings; it really is high time you quit. […]

2013 Year in Review

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

Of course, I’ll always remember 2013 as the year I lost my younger brother Alan Sawyer to lung cancer. But it was also a good year in a lot of ways, including: Marking my 30th anniversary as a full-time self-employed writer Having my 22nd novel Red Planet Blues published in hardcover (bringing to two million […]

30 years of using WordStar; Canadian SF 30 years ago

Monday, December 16th, 2013

NOTE: For information on using WordStar with modern computers under Windows, see my instructions here. Thirty years ago today, on Friday, December 16, 1983, I started learning the word-processing program WordStar. I’d bought my first computer, an Osborne 1 CP/M luggable (24 pounds, the most portable computer in the world back then — see picture […]

30th anniversary of my involvement with Vision TV

Saturday, October 12th, 2013

After my keynote address at Science Fiction: The Interdisciplinary Genre, the academic conference held in my honour in September 2013 at McMaster University, I was asked by an audience member about where my interest in, and sympathetic treatment of, religion — which is clearly evident in many of my works, including Calculating God and Hominids […]

Accepting Lifetime Achievement Aurora Award

Sunday, October 6th, 2013

This morning at Can-Con 2013 in Ottawa, this year’s Canadian National Science Fiction Convention, I received a Lifetime Achievement Aurora Award — the first one given to an author in 30 years — from the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association; the award was presented to by Hayden Trenholm. This was my acceptance speech: Thank […]

Lifetime Achievement Aurora Award

Friday, September 20th, 2013

A press release from the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association: For the first time in 30 years — and only the fourth time ever — the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association (CSFFA) is bestowing a Lifetime Achievement award on an author. The award will be presented in Ottawa on Sunday, October 6, 2013, […]

McMaster conference absolutely wonderful

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

Science Fiction: The Interdisciplinary Genre turned out to be one of the best weekends of my life. Over one hundred scholars from all over North America joined us for this amazing conference in honour of the donation of my archives to McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. The conference was sponsored by the McMaster Faculty of […]

R.I.P., Alan Sawyer

Monday, June 10th, 2013

My younger brother Alan Bruce Sawyer passed away Saturday night. He was born September 12, 1961, in Toronto, and died in that city June 8, 2013, at the age of 51. Alan was diagnosed with lung cancer last September, and by the time it was diagnosed, it had already metastasized to his brain, abdomen, and […]

30th anniversary as a full-time writer

Monday, April 29th, 2013

Today is my 30th anniversary of being a full-time self-employed freelance writer. On Friday, April 29, 1983, I finished the last job I ever had — being a teaching assistant in the School of Radio and Television Arts at Ryerson in Toronto. I’ve never had a boss since then. I spent most of the rest […]

Remembering the 1993 Books in Canada SF issue

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Twenty years ago, the March 1993 issue of Books in Canada — at the time, an influential book-review magazine, although long defunct now — devoted a special issue to science fiction. It was a watershed moment in Canadian SF&F — some of the first serious consideration the field got by the mainstream press here. For […]

Call for papers

Saturday, January 5th, 2013

In honour of the donation of Robert J. Sawyer‘s papers and archives to McMaster University, in Hamilton, Ontario, that institution is hosting an academic conference entitled “Science Fiction: The Interdisciplinary Genre” Friday, September 13, through Sunday, September 15, 2013. The call for papers (CFP) is here. Special guests at the conference are Hugo Award-winning author […]