Robert J. Sawyer

Hugo and Nebula Award-Winning Science Fiction Writer

Archive for the 'Milestones' Category

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 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

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 below), for the princely sum of Canadian$1,495, in large measure because it came bundled with [...]

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 [...]

Three For The Future

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

Thirty years ago, the November 1982 issue of Leisure Ways (the members’ magazine for the Canadian Automobile Association) published “Three For the Future” — three short-short science-fiction stories by Terence M. Green, Robert J. Sawyer, and Andrew Weiner, collected and introduced by John Robert Colombo. Last night, at John’s house, we all got together for a 30th [...]

RTA School of Media Wall of Fame

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

On Saturday, September 22, 2012, the RTA School of Media Wall of Fame was unveiled at my alma mater, Ryerson University in Toronto; I am thrilled to be one of the initial twelve inductees. The Wall of Fame is sponsored by the RTA School of Media (formerly the School of Radio and Television Arts, the [...]

History-making Aurora Award win

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

To my absolute astonishment and delight, my twenty-first novel, Wonder, has just won the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Award (“the Aurora”) for Best Novel of the Year. An excerpt from the official Aurora Awards press release: Mississauga, Ontario, author Robert J. Sawyer has done it again. Not only is this his third consecutive Aurora [...]

Humanism in the Arts Award

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

On Saturday, August 4, 2012, at the annual conference of Humanist Canada, held this year in Montreal in conjunction with the General Assembly of the International Humanist and Ethical Union, bestselling science-fiction writer Robert J. Sawyer was presented with Humanist Canada’s first-ever Humanism in the Arts award (click the photo above for a high-resolution version). [...]

30 years ago: working at Bakka

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Pictured: Dune author Frank Herbert and Bakka owner John Rose, outside of Bakka’s old 282 Queen Street West location in Toronto, where Robert J. Sawyer worked in 1982; Bakka was named for “the weeper who mourns for all mankind” from Dune. Photo by Tom Robe from 1981. Just about exactly thirty years ago, I started [...]

Two million words of science fiction

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Now that I’ve received the first copies of my 21st novel, Triggers, I am delighted to realize that I have published two million words of science fiction in my career. More than that — and here’s a claim very few authors can make — all two million words of it are still in print. My [...]

Finished with the WWW books

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

Just sent corrections for the paperback of Wonder to Ace and Penguin Canada — the very last work I’ll ever do on the WWW trilogy books. It’s the end of an era that began getting on to nine years ago, on Friday, January 10, 2003, when I wrote this in my journal:Wrote 300 words explaining [...]

Ten years of reading ebooks

Friday, September 16th, 2011

This week marks my tenth anniversary as a reader of ebooks. I got in early because, as a science-fiction writer, I’d long been expecting this technology. After all, Captain Kirk read reports off a wedge-shaped device back in 1966, and the astronauts in the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey used tablet computers for viewing [...]

Martin H. Greenberg, R.I.P.

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

Rest in peace, Martin H. Greenberg. Marty was a consummate anthologist. He bought one of my very first short stories (“The Contest,” for 100 Great Fantasy Short Short Stories, way back in 1984), and bought many others from me since, and I had the honor of late to serve with him on the jury for [...]

15th anniversary of winning the Nebula Award

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

Many articles about me have suggested that having ABC make a TV series out of my 1999 novel FlashForward was the biggest thing that ever happened to me. Yes, that was cool, but it wasn’t the thing that changed my life the most. No, that was winning the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America’s [...]

30 Years Ago Today: My First SF Publication

Friday, January 14th, 2011

The second (and most recent) edition of The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction by John Clute and Peter Nicholls begins its entry on me thus: SAWYER, ROBERT J(AMES) (1960-        ) Canadian writer who began publishing sf with “If I’m Here, Imagine Where They Sent my Luggage” for The Village Voice in 1981 … And indeed I did. I’d [...]

Ralph Vicinanza, R.I.P.

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Literary agent Ralph Vicinanza, 60, died peacefully Sunday night, September 26, of a brain aneurysm. He was my agent for the past fifteen years, and one of the executive producers of FlashForward, the TV series based on my novel of the same name. I remember, years ago, when I was looking for a new agent [...]

Short stories: five years after giving them up

Saturday, February 6th, 2010

It was five years ago today that I finished writing my last short story. That story, “Biding Time,” was written for the DAW Books anthology Slipstreams, edited by Martin Harry Greenberg and John Helfers. I guess I went out with a bang. The story was reprinted in the prestigious Penguin Book of Crime Stories and [...]

30th anniversary of my first sale

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

Thirty years ago today — Friday, January 18, 1980 — I made my first writing sale, launching my career as a professional science-fiction writer. All the details about that first sale are here. Visit The Robert J. Sawyer Web Siteand WakeWatchWonder.com

Peter de Jager receives Lifeboat Foundation’s Guardian Award

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

I am a proud member of the Advisory Boards of the Lifeboat Foundation, which is dedicated to ensuring that humanity survive the advent of artificial intelligence and other perils. In that capacity, I was asked to nominate a potential recipient for the organization’s highest honour, the Guardian Award. I submitted this nomination: On this tenth [...]