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For Release Friday, January 8, 2016
Psychopaths Are Everywhere
What if the person next to you was a psychopath? And that person over
there? And your boss? Your spouse? That's the chilling possibility
brought forth in bestselling author Robert J. Sawyer's
new novel Quantum Night.
Psychopaths aren't just murdering monsters: anyone devoid of empathy and conscience
fits the bill, and Sawyer's new science-fiction thriller suggests
that there are as many as two billion psychopaths worldwide.
A far-out notion? Not at all. As Oxford Professor Kevin Dutton,
the bestselling author of The Wisdom of Psychopaths, says,
"Sawyer has certainly done his homework
about psychopaths and he understands well that, far from being just the
occasional headline-grabbing serial killer, they're everywhere."
Sawyer says: "Reviewers often call me an optimistic writer
one of the few positive voices left in a science-fiction field that has
grown increasingly dystopian. I like to view my optimism as a rational position
rather than just naïveté, and so I felt it was necessary to
devote a novel to confronting the question of evil head on: what causes it, why
it flourishes, why there seems to be more and more of it and what
we can do about it. The theme is simple: the worst lie humanity has ever told itself
is, ‘You can't change human nature.’"
Tuesday, March 1, 2016, is the long-anticipated hardcover release of
Quantum Night (with simultaneous ebook and audiobook)
from Penguin Random House Canada's Viking imprint
and Penguin Random House USA's Ace imprint.
The novel's main character is Jim Marchuk, an experimental psychologist at the
University of Manitoba in Winnipeg who develops a flawless technique
for identifying psychopaths. Suddenly, though, the finger is being pointed at him, as
it's uncovered that not only had he himself been a psychopath twenty years earlier,
but that he'd been responsible for horrible suffering.
With Sawyer's usual flair for mixing science fiction with political upheaval,
Quantum Night takes current real-life Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi
and makes him Canada's first Muslim Prime Minister spurring a psychopathic
U.S. president to try to annex Canada.
Much of the novel's action takes place at the Canadian Light Source,
Canada's national synchrotron, in Saskatoon. Sawyer was
writer-in-residence there in
2009, a position created especially for him and the first-ever
writer-in-residence post at a Canadian science facility.
Sawyer extensively researched the nature of human consciousness for this book,
leading to an invitation for him to present his conclusions at the world's
most-significant academic conference on this topic, the famed biennial
Science of Consciousness conference sponsored by the University of
Arizona in Tucson; Sawyer will speak there on April 25, 2016.
Penguin Canada is supporting Quantum Night with a
coast-to-coast book tour with stops in Vancouver, Prince George,
Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Regina,
Winnipeg, Waterloo, Toronto, Ottawa, and more.
Ottawa-native Sawyer is one of only eight writers in history and the
only Canadian to win all three of science fiction's top awards for
best novel of the year: the Hugo, the
Nebula, and the
John W. Campbell Memorial Award.
According to the American science-fiction trade journal Locus,
he has won more awards for his novels than anyone else in the history of the
science-fiction and fantasy genres. In 2014, he was one of the initial nine
inductees into the
Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame.
23rd novel and follows such bestsellers as
(the basis for the ABC TV series of the same name);
the WWW trilogy of
which Canadian publishing trade journal Quill & Quire named
top-selling science fiction or fantasy book
in Canada for 2012; and
Red Planet Blues, which peaked
at #3 on the Maclean's Fiction Bestsellers List.
"I had a two-decade run of doing a book a year," Sawyer, 55, says. "But
Quantum Night is
my first novel in three years. I took time off following the death of my
younger brother, the Emmy Award-winning multimedia producer Alan Sawyer,
from lung cancer. That means it's going to take an extra effort to bring
this book to market and I'm very grateful to my readers for their
patience and to my Canadian and US publishers for the big push they're giving
this title. My Canadian editor Adrienne Kerr thinks
Quantum Night is my best book yet and I hope my
readers will agree."
For more information, see Rob's website at
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