Robert J. Sawyer

Hugo and Nebula Award-Winning Science Fiction Writer

Archive for the 'Milestones' Category

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 [...]

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 [...]