Monday, February 5, 2007

Research and more research

I do a lot of research for my novels, and so I thought I'd share a list of the nonfiction books currently on my desk, for those who might be interested:

Hoffman, Donald D. Visual Intelligence: How We Create What We See.

Wolfram, Stephen. A New Kind of Science.

Farah, Martha. The Cognitive Neuroscience of Vision.

Kuijsten, Marcel. Reflections on the Dawn of Consciousness: Julian Jaynes's Bicameral Mind Theory Revisited (just published by the Julian Jaynes Society)

Minsky, Marvin. The Emotion Machine.

Harris, Sam. Letter to a Christian Nation.

Not entirely coincidentally, I'm off to buy my first pair of bifocals this week ... :)

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site


At February 05, 2007 3:29 PM , Anonymous Jim Shannon said...

Hi Rob, I've had 2 cataract operations within the last 2 years and last month a Yag laser. It worked for one eye but we're going to try again March 10th on my good eye. Before the laser "operation" I had this vision of a huge industrial type laser like something out of science fiction beaming a laser beam from ten feet away into my eyes. Hehe, it's not quite like that. 80% of my vision comes from my left eye, but thanks to a posterior capsular haze, which is like a 2nd cataract (20-30% of post cataract patients will get this haze)I'm back to being visually impaired again but the specialist is saying that there is no retina damage caused by my diabetes. No Macular degeneration.

I used to wear glassed most of my life until the cataract's were removed.

I work with people who have bifocals and they tell me bifocals are a bit tricky to get used to in the beginning.There's even bifocal contact lenses.Bifocals don't come cheep either and watch the stairs when your first wearing them but they tell you all about that. Most people have no problem wearing bifocals if they've worn glasses all their lives anyway

At February 05, 2007 3:39 PM , Blogger Julia said...

Hey Mr. Sawyer,

Have you considered setting up a LibraryThing page? Inquiring minds want to know what's in your library.


At February 05, 2007 3:44 PM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

Jim: thanks!

Julia: fascinating! I might just do that ... :)

At February 05, 2007 6:40 PM , Blogger Lou_Sytsma said...

Indeed, that is a great idea Julia!

At February 05, 2007 8:27 PM , Blogger Cameron said...

I've heard that "New Kind of Science" is a great 200 page book struggling to be released from a 1200 page tome. I've tried to read it, but returned it unread to the library completely daunted by the scale. I'd be interested in your capsule review as an author/editor.

At February 05, 2007 8:32 PM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

Yeah, it's gigantic, and could be much shorter, I think. I'm skimming it, not reading the whole thing. Lots of pretty pictures, though! ;)

At February 06, 2007 9:24 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...


Do you subscribe to any science magazines, or other to help in research, or just for pleasure?


At February 06, 2007 9:34 PM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

I subscribe to:

* New Scientist

* Science News

* Discover

* Astronomy

* SkyNews (Canadian astronomy magazine)

* The Journal of Consciousness Studies

* Wired

and I'm sure some others that I'm not thinking of at the moment. In my humble opinion, the one to have if you're only having one is NEW SCIENTIST.

And it's worth noting that the full name of the #1 bestselling SF magazine in the English-speaking world is ANALOG SCIENCE FICTION AND FACT for a very good reason: it publishes excellent science nonfiction, too. :)

At March 03, 2007 10:45 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting reading... how is the new book on Jaynes' ideas?

At March 04, 2007 12:18 AM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

The Jaynes book (Reflections on the Dawn of Consciousness: Julian Jaynes's Bicameral Mind Theory Revisited ) is excellent; I had a couple of very pleasant and stimulating evenings with it. Only drawback: a number of the papers are in fact reprints.

At March 04, 2007 3:03 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, Robert - I'll be sure to order a copy!

At March 20, 2007 11:31 PM , Anonymous MikeP said...

Robert, if you're interested in more along the lines of Minsky, you might check out anything by Keith Oatley, Paul Thagard, or Chris Eliasmith. (Thagard in particular has a lot linked to from I found Emotions in Humans and Artifacts useful recently. Martha Nussbaum is cited a lot too.

Disclosure: I'm taking a course from Dr. Thagard and just finished writing a short paper on emotions. Philosophy undergrads can be overenthusiastic. ;)


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