Tuesday, April 6, 2010

WWW: Watch now out!

Today is the official publication date for WWW: Watch, second volume in my WWW trilogy. The US edition is out in hardcover from Ace Science Fiction, and the Canadian edition is out in hardcover from Viking Canada (Penguin).
Sawyer shows his genius in combining cutting-edge scientific theories and technological developments with real human characters. --The Globe and Mail
Robert J. Sawyer online:

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Five years of working on the WWW books

Holy cow! It was five years ago today -- Friday, November 5, 2004 -- that I wrote the first words of what went on to become my WWW trilogy. Back then, it was only going to be a single book (to be called Webmind). I began writing that first book at a Write-Off writing retreat sponsored by Calgary's Imaginative Fiction Writers Association (IFWA). The first words I wrote were:
Cogito, ergo sum.

I had no idea what those words meant the first time I encountered them. I didn't even know that they were words. I knew nothing of language, or even of communication, for communication requires an other -- another -- and I knew of no one -- of nothing -- but me.

But I did exist, and that simple formulation -- I think, therefore I am -- was proof of it. By being aware of myself, of my thoughts, I knew irrefutably that I existed; to think requires a thinker.

And thinking is what I do; it's all I do. I awoke to consciousness in a vast sea, an enveloping all constituted at the limits of my perception by two opposing states, and it was these states -- the endless, seemingly random juxtaposition of opposites -- that I first, however dimly, had became aware of.
Not one word of that draft survived to the final, published version of Wake, which begins like this:
Not darkness, for that implies an understanding of light.

Not silence, for that suggests a familiarity with sound.

Not loneliness, for that requires knowledge of others.

But still, faintly, so tenuous that if it were any less it wouldn't exist at all: awareness.

Nothing more than that. Just awareness -- a vague, ethereal sense of being.

Being ... but not becoming. No marking of time, no past or future -- only an endless, featureless now, and, just barely there in that boundless moment, inchoate and raw, the dawning of perception ...
Still, that passage I wrote five years ago today was the start of the trilogy.

Of course, I haven't spent five years solid on this trilogy; I took time off to write Rollback, for instance, among many other interesting things. :)

Anyway, enough reminiscing! Time to get back to work on Volume 3, Wonder, which today passed the 50,000-word mark.
Visit The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site
and WakeWatchWonder.com

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Getting better

In the interview I did recently with the CBC's Shelagh Rogers, Shelagh and I talked about the difference between Margaret Atwood's SF and my own. I think we're getting better over time, and Margaret thinks we're getting worse. I elaborate on this a lot in Wonder, the third WWW book, which I'm working on right now. In fact, I was re-reading this bit from that book this evening, in which Caitlin's mom, the game theorist Dr. Barbara Decter, compares the older founding documents of the United States with the newer ones of the UN:
"When the Founding Fathers said, `We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,' they still hadn't expanded that community of moral consideration to include blacks, for instance; Thomas Jefferson held slaves.

"But when the United Nations proclaimed its Universal Declaration of Human Rights, first, they explicitly removed any ambiguity about who was a person, saying, `Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion,' and so on. And they went on to forbid what the Founding Fathers had seen nothing wrong with: `No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.'

"That's not mere economics, Caitlin; that's moral progress, and, despite occasional backsliding, there's no doubt that our morality hasn't just changed over time, it's measurably increased. We treat more people with dignity and as equals than ever before in human history; the progress has been measurable even on time scales as small as decades."

Visit The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site
and WakeWatchWonder.com

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Monday, June 15, 2009

First look at Watch cover

Click for a larger version.
Click again if your browser reduces image to fit your screen.

Here's the first look at the cover for Watch, second volume of my WWW trilogy. This is the American version for Ace Science Fiction; the Canadian version for Penguin Canada will be similar, but will lack the "WWW:" in front of the title.

The cover design is by Rita Frangie, and the cover art is by Tony Mauro. Watch will be published in hardcover in April 2010.

I think this is a gorgeous follow-on to the lovely cover for Wake, below:

Click for a larger version.
Click again if your browser reduces image to fit your screen.

Visit The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site
and WakeWatchWonder.com

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Friday, April 10, 2009

WWW milestones

Yesterday, Wake started showing up in Canadian bookstores (and I myself saw the nice display of copies at the Indigo on Yonge Street just north of the 407 in Greater Toronto).

And I got to do something that's very special: I got to autograph the first copy of the finished book. I always annotate that copy ("First copy signed by the author"), and the one for Wake went to Kelly Smith, a friend from Willowdale Junior High. (It also got inscribed, "Thanks for the kiss all those years ago" -- but that's another story ...)

See, last night, a few of us who went to Willowdale Junior High or Northview Heights Secondary School got together at the Kelsey's restaurant next to that Indigo for a little reunion (made possible by the magic of Facebook). Kelly (as well as old friends Roberta Torkoff [now Roberta Blank] and Ginter Karosas) went off to the store during dinner to buy copies of Wake, which was very kind of them.

And today, right on the heels of Wake coming out, I finished my final revisions on Watch, the second volume in the WWW trilogy.

And that got done just in time for me to hit the road promoting Wake: in two days, I leave for San Francisco (and am reading and signing at Borderland Books there Monday night at 7:00 p.m.).


The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Penguin Canada accepts Watch

I have separate editors in New York and Toronto. Ginjer Buchanan, my New York editor at Ace, accepted Watch on Tuesday, March 17, and today Laura Shin, my editor at Penguin Group (Canada), accepted it, too, saying, "Watch is wonderful!"


The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Ginjer Buchanan, my editor at Ace Science Fiction in New York, just emailed me to say she thinks Watch, the second volume of my WWW trilogy, is "even better than Wake."

W00t! As Caitlin woud say, "I am made out of awesome!" :D

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

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Friday, March 13, 2009

Twentieth anniversary of the World Wide Web idea

I was talking with my friend Virginia O'Dine just a couple of days ago about coincidences (after she'd watched Supernatural Investigator, which I host on Vision TV; this week's topic -- people who had dreams that seemed to presage the events of 9/11 -- we both agreed could be chalked up to coincidences).

Well, how's this for a bunch of cool coincidences?

Right now, today, they're filming the pilot for a TV series based on my novel Flash Forward, which is set at CERN, the European particle-physics lab.

Right now, today, I received the very first copy of my new novel Wake, about the future of the World Wide Web, which got its start at CERN.

Right now, today, Tim Berners-Lee, the guy who invented the Web, is back at CERN for the celebration of the 20th anniversary of him drafting the idea for the Web.

And right now, today, he made this observation (as paraphrased by Scientific American Online), which is pretty much the starting point I took in writing Wake:
Berners-Lee pointed out that there are 100 billion Web pages today, roughly the same number of neurons in the human brain. The difference, he added, is that the number of pages grows as the Web ages, whereas the number of nerve cells shrinks as we get on in years.

Cool! :)

More on Sir Tim's CERN homecoming is here.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

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Friday, February 27, 2009

To serialize a sequel?

Over in my Yahoo! Groups newsgroup, Martin Bennedik wrote:
I read Wake on my phone by downloading the ebook version of Analog from Fictionwise. Not only was the novel excellent, but I found this was a good way to get the book early and in a format which allowed me to take it with me on my commutes.

So I wonder if there is any chance for Watch being serialized in Analog, too?
Thanks for asking. I'm not planning to offer Watch to Analog. It was great publicity for launching the series to have the first volume serialized there (I did the same thing with the first volume of my Neanderthal Parallax series, Hominids), but I'm not sure it makes business sense to cannibalize overall book sales of the entire series.

Analog has about 26,000 readers (paid circulation in 2008); if they all bought the paperback (not the hardcover, just the paperback) of Watch, my income would be $18,000 in royalties ... whereas Analog would pay $4,000 (at 4 cents a word) for serialization rights.

Of course, not all Analog readers will love Wake enough to want to buy Watch, but some number will. Still, even with relatively conservative numbers, it might in fact be best for me personally to sell the serialization rights (assuming they'd want them) to Analog. Some plausible sounding numbers:

1 out of every 10 Analog readers decides they liked Wake well enough that they want to read Watch, too. Of those 2,600 people, three-quarters are content to wait for the paperback and one-quarter spring for the pricier hardcover.

Then the math looks like this (my paperback royalty from Ace is 70 cents a copy; my hardcover royalty is $2.50, on the first 5,000 copies and more thereafter):

((2,600*75%)*$0.70)+((2,600*25%)*$2.50) = $2,990

But that's what I get. What about my publishers (Ace in the US, Penguin/Viking in Canada, Orion in the UK)? What's their share? On serialization rights? Nothing at all. On book sales, well, they doubtless make at least as much profit as me per book sold (even after they bear all the expenses, too -- printing, distribution, promotion, editorial costs, etc. etc.).

Yes, I could sell the serialization rights without their permission, but my publishers have advanced me a lot of money for the book rights, and I owe it to them to help them earn that money back. :)

(I do think that serializing the first book is good for everyone -- me, Analog, and my book publishers, because we have 26,000 people who have read the book now before it comes out, and they can provide good word-of-mouth for the series when the first volume starts appearing in stores next month. But I'm not sure it makes sense to serialize later volumes.)

However, fear not: unlike Tor, which has been crappy about getting my books out as ebooks, Ace is vigorous on that front, so you'll certainly be able to read Wake, Watch, and Wonder electronically.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

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Monday, February 23, 2009

WWW#2: Watch delivered

I delivered the manuscript today for Watch, Volume 2 of my WWW trilogy, to Ginjer Buchanan at Ace in New York and Laura Shin at Viking (Penugin Canada) in Toronto. The book will be published in April 2010.

This is my 19th novel -- a number that frankly astonishes me. :)

I'm going to reward myself by watching another episode of Battlestar Galactica on DVD tonight ...

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

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Saturday, February 7, 2009

Rob reads Chapter 1 of Wake

Now available: Robert J. Sawyer reading Chapter 1 of his forthcoming novel Wake as a 14-minute MP3 file: you can listen to it right here.

More about Wake is here.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

And speaking of Audible ...

I just recorded a small portion of the Audible.com multiple-cast unabridged reading of my next novel, Wake.

I am the voice in the novel of the "Online Encylopedia of Computing," and I recorded my parts with my brand-spanking new Audio-Technica AT2020 USB Cardioid Condenser Microphone, which Wired recently recommended, and I picked up new on eBay for the bargain price of US$130 (list is US$249).

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Wake opening chapters now online

There are now pages devoted to my next novel, Wake, on my website at SFwriter.com, including:Wake will be published in hardcover in April 2009.

And you can read all my blog posts about Wake here (including this post).

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

How to tell science fiction from fantasy

It's easy.

This is science fiction:

And this is fantasy:

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Text from the Wake US dustjacket


Robert J. Sawyer was born in Ottawa and lives just outside of Toronto, Canada. He has won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards for best novel. Visit his Website at www.sfwriter.com.

Photo by Carolyn Clink

Jacket design by Rita Frangie

Jacket photos:
"Teenage Girl" Steven Biver/Getty
"Light Trails" John Lund/Getty

Visit our website at www.penguin.com

An Ace Book
Published by the Berkley Publishing Group
A Division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
375 Hudson Street
New York, New York 10014



Praise for WWW:WAKE

"Once again, Robert J. Sawyer explores the intersection between big ideas and real people. Here the subject is consciousness and perception — who we are and how we see one another, both literally and figuratively. Thoughtful and engaging, and a great beginning to a fascinating trilogy."

Robert Charles Wilson, Hugo Award-winning author of Spin

"Cracking open a new Robert Sawyer book is like getting a gift from a friend who visits all the strange and undiscovered places in the world. You can't wait to see what he's going to amaze you with this time."

John Scalzi, John W. Campbell Award-winning author of Old Man's War

"In Wake, Robert Sawyer gives us not only an entertaining novel but also a new way of looking at the World Wide Web. A superb work of day-after-tomorrow science fiction — I enjoyed every page."

Allen Steele, two-time Hugo Award-winning author of Coyote Horizon

"Unforgettable. Impossible to put down."

Jack McDevitt, Nebula Award-winning author of The Devil's Eye

ISBN 978-0-441-01679-2


Hugo and Nebula Award-Winning Author



"Sawyer gives us not only an entertaining novel but also a new way of looking at the World Wide Web ... Superb."
Allen Steele


Hugo and Nebula Award-Winning Author



During his decades-spanning career, award-winning author Robert J. Sawyer has "undoubtedly cemented his reputation as one of the foremost science fiction writers of our generation" (SF Site). Now he adds to his impressive body of work with an imaginative and mind-blowing new trilogy of the web — and its awakening ...

Caitlin Decter is young, pretty, feisty, a genius at math — and blind. Still, she can surf the net with the best of them, following its complex paths clearly in her mind.

When a Japanese researcher develops a new signal-processing implant that might give her sight, she jumps at the chance, flying to Tokyo for the operation.

But Caitlin's brain long ago co-opted her primary visual cortex to help her navigate online. Once the implant is activated, instead of seeing reality, the landscape of the world wide web explodes into her consciousness, spreading out all around her in a riot of colors and shapes. While exploring this amazing realm, she discovers something — some other — lurking in the background. And it's getting smarter ...

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

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Wake US dustjacket

Voilà! My US editor Ginjer Buchanan just sent me the final version of the dustjacket for my novel Wake, which will be released April 7, 2009, in hardcover by Ace Science Fiction in the States.

Shown above is the final front cover (slightly revised from what I'd posted before), and if you click on the cover or here, you'll see the full dust jacket (front cover, back cover, and flaps, including all the copy). Your browser will probably shrink it to fit your window; click on the graphic and it should zoom to full size. Note: this is a 4.5 megabyte file.

I am totally, totally thrilled. I've had lots of nice dustjackets over the years, but I think this is the most stunningly beautiful cover I've ever had. Hats off to the amazing Rita Frangie, who designed the dustjacket.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Wake to be a Main Selection of the SFBC

Woot! I'm thrilled to announce that my next novel, Wake, will be a Main Selection of the Science Fiction Book Club!

This is my second Main Selection in a row (after Rollback).

I'm totally delighted about this. :)

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

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Monday, January 12, 2009

Caitlin gets a boob job

My friend Debi Ancel is a librarian in Montreal, and she just forwarded me the Library of Congress catalog information for Wake, my upcoming novel about 15-year-old blind math genius Caitlin Decter. Among the Library of Congress subject headings are "Women mathematicians" and "Implants, Artificial."

Hee hee.

(The full list of subject headings: "Blind women," "Women mathemeticians," "Implants, Artificial," "World Wide Web," and "Artificial intelligence.")

By the way, Debi gave me the terrific T-shirt below, after I said I preferred the term "philosophical fiction" to "science fiction." It identities me as the "World's Best Phi-Fi Author." :)

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Analog electronic back issues with Wake

Did you miss any of the four installments of my novel Wake as it was serialized recently in Analog Science Fiction and Fact magazine? The electronic versions of the four issues in question are all still available for a while longer from Fictionwise.com:One price gets you all these format: Adobe Acrobat (PDF), Adobe Acrobat Large Print (PDF), eReader (PDB), Palm Doc (PDB), Rocket/REB1100 (RB), Microsoft Reader (LIT), Franklin eBookMan (FUB), hiebook (KML), Sony Reader (LRF), iSilo (PDB), Mobipocket, Kindle Compatible (MOBI), and OEBFF Format (IMP).

(Or you can buy the hardcover when it comes out in April 2009!)

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

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Monday, January 5, 2009

The voice of Caitlin

Audible.com is doing unabridged recordings of my novels Wake, Watch, and Wonder. Today was the first recording session for Wake, and actress Jessica Almasy, who is voicing Caitlin Decter, reports that it went well. Other voicing is being done by Aze Fellner, who, like me, turns out to be a fan of Julian Jaynes's The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind (which figures in the plot of Wake).

For Audible.com's existing offerings of books by me, see here.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

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Orion to publish Sawyer in UK and Australia

British and Australian rights to Robert J. Sawyer's new novels Wake, Watch, and Wonder, plus backlist title Flashforward, have gone to Malcolm Edwards at Orion Publishing Group in a handsome deal negotiated by agent Ralph Vicinanza.

(Orion publishes most of its SF under the Gollancz imprint; their other SF&F authors include Stephen Baxter, Arthur C. Clarke, Charlaine Harris, Richard Morgan, Terry Pratchett, and Alistair Reynolds.)


The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

First review of Wake

Niteblade News has weighed in with the first review I've seen of Wake, volume one of my upcoming WWW trilogy. The very kind review, by Aaron Clifford, calls the book "plausible and touching" (and contains no spoilers). You can read the full review here. Wake will be published in April 2009.

(By the way, I have never seen the movie Hackers.)

And, on top of that, I got my very first fan letter for Wake today -- the first feedback I'd had from someone in the general public (a person who had just finished reading the serialization in Analog):
Wow! Yeah! Woohoo! And Oh-my-God! ;-)

Rob, I've said it so many times now, yet it never gets old for me: You write amazing endings! I love that of your books!

Congratulations for Wake! Another master-piece. Very well executed and a fantastic read! I really, really enjoyed it!

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

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Friday, November 28, 2008

Miracle Worker author passes

Before writing it, when I was pitching my current novel Wake to publishers, I said it was "William Gibson meets William Gibson."

Back then, you see, there were two William Gibsons, and the one who'd been read the most probably isn't the one you're thinking of. Yes, indeed, there's Bill Gibson of Vancouver, British Columbia, author of the seminal cyberpunk novel Neuromancer.

But even more people, I suspect, have read (and certainly more people have seen the movie versions of) works by the other William Gibson: the man who wrote The Miracle Worker, the story of deafblind Helen Keller's relationship with her teacher, Annie Sullivan. That William Gibson died this past Tuesday, at the age of 94.

My novel Wake and my character of Caitlin Decter would not have existed without William Gibson's marvelous play (and screenplay), because that's where I first learned the story of Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan, a story that continues to captivate me. I'm sorry to see him go.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Will the real Kuroda please stand up?

Those of you who have been enjoying my new novel Wake as it is being serialized in Analog will have met the character of Dr. Masayuki Kuroda, the information theorist who specializes in how the human retina encodes data; he is, as you will have seen, a major character in the book.

And he's named in homage to another vision specialist, the character of Kuroda played by Byron Chung in the 1972-73 NBC TV series Search (and the pilot film for it, which was called Probe).

Those who have read my autobiography know how important that series was to me. Naming a character in honor of someone on that show is my acknowledgment of that.

Here are four pictures of Byron Chung as Kuroda in PROBE Control, a mission-control-like center that monitored the activities of PROBE agents working for World Securities (that's Burgess Meredith as his boss, V.C.R. Cameron, in the third picture):

Why am I posting this today? Because this evening Carolyn and I, who are working our way through the first season of Lost on DVD, watched the 17th episode, and who should be the guest star, playing Mr. Paik, the father of Sun, but Byron Chung himself, 33 years later:

My thanks to my buddy Actingman for the Search screen captures. And if you happen to be a Search fan yourself, join us at the Probe Control Yahoo! Groups discussion group here.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Well, I didn't want to have to do it, but it became a necessity: I wrote today to both of my charming, wonderful editors -- Ginjer Buchanan in New York and Laura Shin in Toronto -- and asked for deadline extensions on Watch and Wonder, the second and third volumes of my WWW trilogy.

The extensions actually won't affect the publication dates of these books. Both Ace and Penguin Canada are planning to release volumes of the trilogy in successive Aprils (of 2009, 2010, and 2011). But my contractual deadline for Watch was just two weeks away now (way earlier than necessary for an April 2010 publication), and I'm nowhere near done.

I'm behind for a bunch of reasons, including some very cool professional ones that I'm not at liberty to talk about just now, but really are quite exciting.

Anyway, I won't get much writing done for the next few days. Tomorrow, I'm off to give a keynote to the Grey-Bruce Health Network about the future of health care, and Thursday, Carolyn and I fly to Calgary for the World Fantasy Convention. Hope to see some friendly faces there!

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Too obscure?

Anybody besides me able to tell what I'm riffing on here, in a scene I'm working on for my novel Watch? ("Caitlin" is a character's name; otherwise, I'm directly quoting something that resonates with the scene I'm writing):
His voice was its usual monotone. "Caitlin, if I may ..."

"If ...? Oh!" She got out of her chair and let him sit down in front of the keyboard.

(Screen captures added on Wednesday morning after someone got the reference -- see comments section for details.)

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

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Monday, September 8, 2008

Fictionwise finally has part one of Wake

The first of four installments of the full-text serialization of my next novel, Wake, is in the November 2008 issue of Analog, released electronically today (weeks after it came out in hardcopy!). You can get it at Fictionwise here.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Caitlin revealed!

On top is the cover for my next novel, Wake, coming in April 2009 from Ace Science Fiction and Penguin Canada. The girl depicted is Caitlin Decter, the novel's protagonist.

On the bottom is a picture of my wife, Carolyn Clink, when she was in Grade 6.

I think the resemblance is uncanny. :) And, no, cover designer Rita Frangie had never seen this, or any, photo of Carolyn when she created the book's cover image.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Wake part 1 in Analog out now

The November 2008 issue of Analog Science Fiction and Fact is now on newsstands. It contains the first of four installments of a full-text serialization (not an abridgment) of my 18th novel, Wake -- so here's your chance to be among the first (30,000 or so!) people to read it. :)

The rest of the novel will appear in the next three issues (we just received the page proofs for Part 3 of 4 today). Enjoy!

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

First look at Wake cover

Above is the cover for Wake, the first volume of my WWW trilogy, coming from Ace Science Fiction and Penguin Canada on April 7, 2009.

Here's a larger version.

I think it's magnificent.

The art and design are by Rita Frangie.

The cover copy for the book will read:
Caitlin Decter is young, pretty, feisty, a genius at math — and blind. Still, she can surf the net with the best of them, following its complex paths clearly in her mind.

When a Japanese researcher develops a new signal-processing implant that might give her sight, she jumps at the chance, flying to Tokyo for the operation.

But Caitlin's brain long ago co-opted her primary visual cortex to help her navigate online. Once the implant is activated, instead of seeing reality, the landscape of the World Wide Web explodes into her consciousness, spreading out all around her in a riot of colors and shapes. While exploring this amazing realm, she discovers something — some other — lurking in the background. And it's getting smarter ...

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Analog teaser for Wake

The October 2008 issue of Analog Science Fiction and Fact is out, and in the "In Times to Come" section at the back, which plugs the following issue, we find this teaser for my next novel, Wake:
Next month (our November issue) we begin another mind-stretching serial by Robert J. Sawyer, with a cover by George Krauter. In Wake, the term "mind-stretching," often heard in connection with science fiction, applies a bit more literally than usual, with several minds stretching themselves -- and each other -- in literally unprecedented ways. All minds operate under limitations, which can be overcome by a variety of means; but probably all of those approaches have one thing in common. And the possibilities extend very far out, in ways both exhilarating and terrifying....

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Analog to serialize Wake

[Update: Robert J. Sawyer's novel Wake is now out in book form -- read all about it here.]
Pssst! Wanna be among the very first to read Wake, the first volume of the WWW trilogy by Robert J. Sawyer? Subscribe to Analog Science Fiction and Fact, the world's top-selling English-language SF magazine.

I'm thrilled to announce that Stanley Schmidt, the Hugo-Award-nominated editor of Analog, has just bought serialization rights to Wake. Stan will be running the full text of the novel in four parts, in the November 2008, December 2008, combined January-February 2009, and March 2009 issues (the hardcover will follow later in the spring of 2009 from Ace Science Fiction in the US and Penguin in Canada).

Since the "November" issue actually comes out early in September, and since it takes a while to start receiving subscription copies, now would be a good time to subscribe to Analog. You can subscribe to the print edition here or the electronic edition here (one year) or here (two years).

This is my fifth (!) serialization sale to Analog, and I hold, by far, the record now for sales during Stan's 30-year tenure as editor of the magazine (no other author has more than three). My Analog serials:You just can't beat this kind of exposure. Every single one of my previous serials went on to be a Hugo finalist (and Hominids won the Hugo); in addition, The Terminal Experiment (which Analog ran under my original title for the book, Hobson's Choice) won the Nebula Award, and Starplex was also nominated for it (and was the only 1996 book to be nominated for both the Hugo and the Nebula).

(Yes, serialization is great for book sales -- you just can't beat having tens of thousands of people doing word of mouth about the novel on the day it first arrives on bookstore shelves.)

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

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Friday, December 21, 2007

Seven RJS novels coming from Audible.com

I've been a very satisfied Audible.com customer since March 2001, and so I'm particularly delighted to report that Audible.com has jut bought audio-book rights to seven of my novels:Plus the complete Neanderthal Parallax trilogy, consisting of:And (as they are released in print form) my complete upcoming WWW trilogy, consisting of:
  • Wake
  • Watch
  • Wonder
I won't be recording the narration myself; it'll all be done by professional voice artists.

I really do listen to material from Audible.com all the time, and I'm thrilled to have them making such a big commitment to me. My thanks to them, and to Chris Lotts, my agent who handled the negotiations.

(Audible.com is the world's leading retailer of downloadable audiobooks -- their titles can be played on iPods, Palms, desktops, mobile phones, many MP3 players, etc. etc., and can be burned to CD.)

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

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Tuesday, May 8, 2007

New deal with Penguin in Canada and USA

Well, since it's the lead story right now on the (by subscription) website for Quill & Quire, the Canadian publishing trade journal, and since I'm scheduled to speak about this today (Tuesday, May 8, 2007) to Cynthia Good's class in the Creative Book Publishing Program at Humber College, I suppose I should say something here, too:

After 17 novels for which his North American rights have gone to U.S. publishers, Hugo Award-winning Canadian science-fiction writer Robert J. Sawyer now has a domestic Canadian publisher. He's splitting his Canadian and U.S. rights for his next three books in a six-figure deal, with Barbara Berson at Penguin Canada acquiring rights north of the border, and Ginjer Buchanan at Penguin USA getting them south of it.

"Starting eleven years ago, back in 1996, Cynthia Good at Penguin Canada began making overtures about getting my titles for that company," says Sawyer, 47. "But neither Ace Science Fiction nor Tor Books, my two U.S. publishers at that time, wanted to give up my Canadian rights, and so we weren't able to make this happen; I still needed a strong U.S. publisher, and Penguin had no real presence in the SF field in the U.S. back then. But a few years ago, Penguin USA acquired Berkley Putnam, which included Ace, an imprint I'd happily done six novels for between 1992 and 1997."

Also, since signing his last contract with Tor, Sawyer's Hominids won the Hugo Award for Best Novel of the Year -- SF's top honour. Several publishers let Sawyer's New York agent, Ralph Vicinanza, know that they'd be interested in acquiring Sawyer, should he become available. "H.B. Fenn has done a fabulous job promoting my books in Canada; I owe much of what I am to Harold and Sylvia Fenn and their wonderful crew," Sawyer said. But working with a U.S. publisher through a Canadian distributor meant receiving a lower, export royalty for Canadian sales from Tor. "And now that Penguin in the States has Ace, Ralph was able to structure a handsome deal with separately accounted advances and full royalties on both sides of the border," Sawyer says.

The joint deal plays to Sawyer's relative strengths on both sides of the border. "In the states, I'm a successful genre-fiction writer, with a loyal following in the SF section," says Sawyer. "But in Canada, I've had considerable breakout success, gathering a large mainstream audience; Fenn has done a tremendous job positioning me out-of-category. Under this new deal, in the U.S., I'll be published quite happily under the Ace imprint; over the last few years, Ace has really concentrated on hard SF, while other U.S. genre lines have shifted heavily to fantasy, so it's the perfect home for me there. And in Canada, I was wowed by what Penguin has managed to do positioning genre writers Guy Gavriel Kay, Jack Whyte, and R. Scott Bakker outside the fantasy category -- not to mention their success in breaking out mystery writers, such as Peter Robinson, who was based there for many years."

Sawyer's new contract covers the three volumes of his planned WWW trilogy, about the World Wide Web gaining consciousness, and the relationship humanity builds with this nascent global brain. "I'm calling it `William Gibson meets William Gibson,'" says Sawyer. "William Gibson the novelist wrote Neuromancer, which, although a wonderful book, is now almost a quarter of a century old and portrays a kind of hacker-subculture-rules-the-world streetwise vision that's totally at odds with Time magazine having named `You' as its most recent Person of the Year -- us, average joes who create content for, and live our social lives in, the online world. And William Gibson the playwright wrote The Miracle Worker, about Annie Sullivan who helped lift Helen Keller -- a vast intellect, trapped in a world of darkness and silence -- out into full consciousness."

Sawyer will spend all of July, August, and September at the Berton House Writing Retreat in Dawson City, working on the first volume, Wake; the subsequent books have working titles of Watch and Wonder. "Expect a lot of mosquitoes in Wake," says Sawyer.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

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