[Robert J. Sawyer] Science Fiction Writer
Hugo and Nebula Winner

SFWRITER.COM > About Rob > 1998 Year in Review

Robert J. Sawyer's 1998 Year in Review

Here's what happened to Rob Sawyer professionally in 1998.


During 1998, Rob finished his eleventh novel, FlashForward, for editor David G. Hartwell at Tor, and made a good start on his twelfth.

In January, Rob registered his own Internet domain name: SFWRITER.COM. His extensive web site was moved to www.sfwriter.com; almost twelve thousand hits were made on it during 1998.

In May, Rob was elected President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the first non-American ever to hold that post.



Rob's tenth novel, Factoring Humanity, was published in June by Tor. Launch parties for the book were held both at Toronto's Ad Astra 18 (at which Rob was Guest of Honor) and Toronto's Bakka Science Fiction Bookstore, were Rob had worked in 1982. The Ottawa Citizen included the book on its list of the nine best fiction titles of 1998.

Meanwhile, in November, the mass-market paperback version of Rob's eighth novel, Frameshift, was published by Tor. It was Rob's first mass-market release in over two years (the previous one was Starplex, which came out in paperback in October 1996).

Limited Editions

The third limited-edition collectible hardcover version of a book by Rob was produced in 1998. SoulWave Publishers, a company in Tennessee, which licensed its name (a term from The Terminal Experiment) from Rob, produced a limited-edition hardcover of Rob's first novel, Golden Fleece, in October. This edition was limited to 200 signed and 26 lettered copies, and included a new introduction by Orson Scott Card, a new afterword by Rob, and the only planned reprint ever of the original "Golden Fleece" novelette, which was the cover story in the September 1988 issue of Amazing Stories. All copies were signed by both Sawyer and Card.


Crossing the Line, a reprint collection of Canadian mystery stories that also happen to be science fiction, fantasy, or horror, edited by Rob and David Skene-Melvin, was published in trade paperback by Pottersfield Press of Nova Scotia in October.

Short Fiction

Rob had one new short story published in 1998: "Stream of Consciousness" in Packing Fraction and Other Tales of Science and Imagination, edited by Julie E. Czerneda (Trifolium); the story was reprinted in the associated teachers' guide, No Limits: Developing Scientific Literacy Using Science Fiction, also edited by Czerneda. Rob also wrote a new short story called "Fallen Angel" for an anthology entitled Strange Attraction, edited by Ed Kramer, to be published at the 1999 World Horror Convention in Atlanta.


Award Wins

For the second year in a row, Rob won the Premio UPC de Ciencia Ficción — the world's largest annual cash prize for science-fiction writing, and, in the words of critic Brian Aldiss, "the most prestigious science-fiction award in all of Europe" — for best novella-length work of the year (for a portion of Rob's forthcoming eleventh novel, FlashForward).

Rob's short story "The Hand You're Dealt" won the seventeenth annual Science Fiction Chronicle Reader Award for Best Short Story of the Year, voted on by the readers of Science Fiction Chronicle: The Science Fiction & Fantasy Newsmagazine, published in New York.

Award Nominations

Rob was nominated for a staggering twelve awards this year:

  • The Hugo Award — science fiction's international "people's choice" award — for Best Novel published in 1997 (for Frameshift).
  • A second Hugo award nomination for Best Short Story published in 1997 (for "The Hand You're Dealt").
  • An Arthur Ellis Award from the Crime Writers of Canada for Best Novel published in 1997 (for Illegal Alien).
  • A second Arthur Ellis Award for Best Short Story published in 1997 (for "The Hand You're Dealt").
  • A Seiun Award — Japan's highest honor in SF — for Best Foreign Novel of 1997 (for The Terminal Experiment).
  • A second Seiun Award for Best Foreign Short Story of 1997 (for "Just Like Old Times").
  • Two nominations for the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Award ("the Aurora") for Best English-Language Novel of 1997 (for both Frameshift and Illegal Alien).
  • An Aurora nomination for Best English-Language Short Story of 1997 (for "Just Like Old Times").
  • An Aurora nomination, jointly with Carolyn Clink, for Best English "Other" of 1997 (for the anthology Tesseracts 6).
  • Two nominations for the CompuServe Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature Forum's HOMer Award for Best Novel of 1997 (both Frameshift and Illegal Alien).


[Canada AM logo]

Rob did an extensive Canada/U.S. book tour in 1998, traveling from Seattle to Boston promoting Factoring Humanity.

In July, Rob was "Writer of the Month" for USA Today Online, one of the most popular web sites in the world. Also that month, Rob was "Writer in Electronic Residence" on the web site for Maclean's, Canada's national newsmagazine.

Rob did thirty public readings in 1998 — the most he's ever done in a single year to date — including one as a featured author in the Chapters "Launching Pad" at Toronto's Word on the Street book fair.

Rob also gave several talks in 1998, including a lecture at the University of Waterloo entitled "Science Fiction as the Conscience of the Technological Age," and the keynote address, "The Care and Feeding of Writers," at the Crime Writers of Canada's "Murder on the Maitland" mystery weekend. In addition, Rob was an opening-day luncheon speaker at the 1998 Canadian Booksellers Association convention (and he was the only genre fiction author to be a presenter at the CBA's Libris Awards gala, held at Roy Thompson Hall).

Rob was Guest of Honor or Special Guest at the following science-fiction conventions in 1998:

  • Ad Astra 18, Toronto, Ontario, June 5-7
  • Con-Version XV, Calgary, Alberta, July 17-19
  • Bubonicon 30, Albuquerque, New Mexico, August 28-30
  • Con*Cept 9 (this year's Canadian National SF Convention), Montreal, Quebec, October 2-4
  • ConCat 10, Knoxville, Tennessee, November 27-29

In addition, in February, he was master of ceremonies at a celebration of Phyllis Gotlieb sponsored by the National Science Fiction and Fantasy Society, held at the University of Toronto's Hart House.

Rob made 21 television appearances in 1998, including eight installments of his monthly "2020 Vision" futurism commentaries for The Discovery Channel Canada, and seven appearances on Space: The Imagination Station, plus appearances on such major Canadian programs as Canada A.M., Pamela Wallin, Imprint, and Grumps. [This Morning]

Rob also appeared on dozens of radio programs in Canada and the United States. Highlights included a full hour (along with Leonard Nimoy) on Talk of the Nation's "Science Friday" on National Public Radio, and an hour on Talk Back on the Talk Radio Network, plus two hours each on KINN in Alamogordo, New Mexico, and WLVL in Lewiston, New York; full hours on each of KEYL in Long Prairie, Minnesota, KUKI in Ukiah, California, and KFH in Wichita, Kansas; forty-five minutes on each of WGY in Albany, New York, KFYR in Bismark, North Dakota, and WBAA in East Lafayette, Indiana; and half-hour interviews on KIXL in Austin, Texas, KPAY in Chico, California, and KSIM in Sikeston, Missouri. Rob was heard twice in 1998 on CBC Radio's flagship This Morning (pictured); and on CFRB in Toronto, Ontario; CHAY in Barrie, Ontario; KSMA in Santa Maria, California; KILO in Colorado Springs, Colorado; WXKB in Estero, Florida; WVLK in Lexington, Kentucky; WCHB and WQBH, both in Detroit, Michigan; KDAL in Minneapolis, Minnesota; WHTT in Buffalo, New York; KNEWS in Portland, Oregon; WKDR in Burlington, Vermont; and others.

Starting late in 1998, CompuServe's new SF Authors Forum became accessible by using the "GO" word "SAWYER." Section 12 of the forum is devoted to Rob and his work.

Finally, Rob won the "Show Us Your Stuff" contest for excellence in desktop publishing sponsored by PaperDirect, the world's largest mail-order vendor of specialty laser-printer papers. Rob's picture, and samples of his Soulwave newsletter, appeared on the cover of almost a million catalogs during the summer.

More Good Reading

Rob's 2014 Year in Review
Rob's 2013 Year in Review
Rob's 2007 Year in Review
Rob's 2001 Year in Review
Rob's 2000 Year in Review
Rob's 1999 Year in Review
Rob's 1998 Year in Review
Rob's 1997 Year in Review
Rob's 1996 Year in Review
Rob's 1995 Year in Review

Decade in Review: January 1999 to December 2008

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