Saturday, March 31, 2007

An auspicious sales start for Rollback

After being on sale for just one day at the World Horror Convention, Rollback is now officially Bakka-Phoenix Books' number-one bestselling hardcover title for the entire month of March. Woohoo!

(Bakka-Phoenix is Toronto's SF specialty bookstore, and the principal new-book dealer at the World Horror Convention now on in Toronto; they are also one of the stores surveyed for the Locus bestsellers' list.)

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Friday, March 30, 2007

SETI podcast features Rollback

"Are We Alone?" -- the SETI Institute's Weekly Science Radio Program (podcast) -- features Robert J. Sawyer on his SETI related novel Rollback, in the episode "Array of Hope," which went online on March 29, 2007. Host is Seth Shostak. The segment with me runs starts at 32:45, and goes to 41:13.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Rob's latest newsletter available

I do a newsletter for booksellers and media whenever I have a new book, and the latest issue -- number 23 -- is going in the mail starting today. You can get a PDF of it here, if you're curious, and if you'd like to see back issues going back several years, they're all here.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Rollback to debut at Toronto World Horror Convention

By special arrangement with H.B. Fenn, Tor's Canadian distributor, my new novel Rollback will have its world debut tomorrow at the World Horror Convention in Toronto. Bakka-Phoenix Books will have the first copies on sale anywhere at their table in the dealers' room. Carolyn just got back from the Fenn warehouse, where she picked up the copies. I'll be at the convention all weekend, and will be happy to sign copies.

For those not going to World Horror, don't forget that the public book-launch party is 17 days away, on Saturday, April 14, at 3:00 p.m., at Bakka-Phoenix Books in Toronto.

Official pub date is Tuesday of next week, April 3.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Dumped by the CBC!

Just got a phone call from a producer at The Gill Deacon Show. Everyone there was delighted with the interview I did yesterday on the suburbs, but after the show was in the can someone higher up the food chain at the CBC looked at the program and decided that it had too many men on it. Gill's show is aimed at housewives, in this person's estimation, and so the guests should be the same. They recorded a new segment responding to the film Radiant City today with three suburban housewives, and that's what will air in place of me talking to the two filmmakers tomorrow.

I must say, the producer I was dealing with at the CBC was a total pro about this, and they're sending me a cheque to compensate me for my time, so that's nice.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

The Enterprise has arrived!

Yes, I am a total geek. :)

Months ago, I ordered a limited-edition 33-inch reproduction of the U.S.S. Enterprise from the original Star Trek TV series from Master Replicas, and it arrived today. I must say, it's gorgeous.

The attention to detail in making this model is very good, and the lighting effects are terrific: the warp nacelle domes spin just like in the original series, the port and starboard navigation lights blink on and off, and so on.

I've yet to find the perfect place to display it; as you can see, right now, it's on my desk in my office.

I bought the "Limited Edition," and got number 206 of 1250. And, I must say, I was very pleased with the arrival of the parcel in Canada: DHL charged only Cdn$7 in brokerage fees, and there was no duty, just 6% GST to be paid. (UPS could take a lesson from this.)

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Monday, March 26, 2007

Berton House revealed!

As I mentioned back in December, Carolyn and I are going to Dawson City, the heart of the Klondike Gold Rush, in Canada's far-north Yukon Territory for the months of July, August, and September on a writing retreat at Berton House, the childhood home of famed Canadian writer Pierre Berton.

Well, the Designer Guys -- who have a show on the Canadian cable channel HGTV (Home and Garden Television) -- recently did a remodelling on Berton House, and the episode of their program that debuts tomorrow will take you inside. So, if you're curious about where I'll be this summer, tune in! The program airs at the following times:

Tuesday, March 27
10:00 PM EST

Wednesday, March 28
1:00 AM EST

Wednesday, March 28
4:00 AM EST

Saturday, March 31
4:30 PM EST

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Rob on The Gill Deacon Show on Wednesday

Recognize her? That's Gillian Deacon, former co-host of, the nightly science program on Discovery Channel Canada. I used to be a regular columnist for them in the 1997-98 season, doing a segment called 2020 Vision, and on January 2, 2000, Gill and I co-hosted a two-hour prime-time documentary for Discovery Channel Canada called Inventing the Future: 2000 Years of Discovery.

After that, Gill took a hiatus from being on TV (and no, smartypants, it wasn't because she was traumatized by working with me -- she took a break to start a family), but now she's back hosting a daily show on CBC Television called -- appropriately enough -- The Gill Deacon Show.

Gill and I had a reunion today, as I taped an appearance for that show, which will air this Wedensday, March 28, at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. coast-to-coast in Canada.

Although Gill very nicely plugged my upcoming novel Rollback, this was actually more a Rob-as-citizen piece. I was on defending the notion of suburban living against a couple of filmmakers who have produced a mockumentary about the horrors of living in the suburbs. (I live in Mississauga, which, although a city of 650,000 in its own right, abuts Toronto's western border, and is often thought of as a Toronto suburb.)

Anyway, if you're in Canada, check it out on Wednesday! Given that I've had a miserable cold for the last few days, I think I acquitted myself all right, but you can be the judge of that ... :)

Here's a picture of Gill and me, from back in the day ...

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Wikipedia on Quintaglio

To my astonishment (and delight!) I stumbled on the fact this evening that Wikipedia has an entry on "Quintaglio," the species of intelligent dinosaurs that feature in my novels Far-Seer, Fossil Hunter, and Foreigner. There's also an entry on the "Quintaglio Ascension Trilogy", and one on the main character of the trilogy, "Afsan". Cool!

The Quintaglio article is accompanied by the above very nice picture drawn (according to the caption) by the original author of the articles, who, judging by his list of other contributions to Wikipedia has a special fondness for reptiles in science fiction.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Friday, March 23, 2007


I now have a MySpace page. Check it out!

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Fall and Rise

Phyllis Gotlieb, Jay Lake, and I have stories in the anthology Fall and Rise edited by Ahmed A. Khan. My contribution, "The Shoulders of Giants," is a reprint -- but also, I think, one of my very best stories.

The anthology's theme is instriguing:
There have been anthologies of post-apocalyptic fiction ,but none such as this one. When it comes to post-apocalyptic survival, the paradigm is the usual "survival of the fittest." "Fittest" is taken to mean the meanest, the most unethical, the most selfish. Is it possible to survive apocalypse without giving up one's ethics?
You can get the book from the publisher, Whortleberry Press.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

LabLit loves Rob

Stumbled across a wonderful little article about me on a web site called The Culture of Science in Fiction & Fact.

The (pseudonymous) author is a scientist in Philadelphia, according to the bionote. The article concludes:
If this doesn’t sound like your father’s science fiction, it isn’t. Sawyer’s novels are thought-provoking, literate, erudite and often thrilling. They manage to appeal to both the heart and the mind. Those are considerable accomplishments, and not something your average adolescent-aimed space opera or even Crichton-esque thriller can hope to achieve. This is lab lit writ large and executed with style.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Nebula Awards Showcase 2007

Last week I noticed for the first time that Nebula Awards Showcase 2007, edited by Mike Resnick, is now out. Although I didn't win the Nebula last year, I was nominated for it -- and this anthology includes my nominated novella "Identity Theft." It also includes a non-fiction piece by me on the state of Canadian science fiction.

It's a very beautiful book, I must say, and I'm proud to be in it.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Easton Press renews its license on Terminal Experiment

I'm pleased to report that The Easton Press has renewed its license on my 1995 Nebula Award-winning novel The Terminal Experiment; they've been producing a beautiful leather-bound edition with a great introduction by James Gunn (this year's SFWA Grand Master), and now they get to continue to do so (they license five-year periods).

(This means I get a new advance for the book from them -- yay!)

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Book Club in a Bag

An innovative program, offered by the Kitchener Public Library, where I was writer-in-residence last year: Book Club in a Bag. A set of ten copies of the same book, plus a book-club discussion guide, all circulating from the library as a single item, nicely packaged in a canvas bag. My Hominids is one of the titles offered under this program.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Playback covers my keynote

Twenty years ago, back in 1987, I used to write for Playback, a Canadian trade publication about the broadcasting and production industries -- although I'm sure no one at Playback today has any idea about that.

But today, the tables were turned and Playback wrote about me. In its coverage of the ICE 07 conference, at which I gave the keynote this morning, it said:
Gaming is just one hot button topic at ICE, a two-day conference organized by the New Media Business Alliance that has drawn more than 400 delegates and speakers from the creative and business sides of North American new media.

In his keynote speech Wednesday morning, Canadian sci-fi author and furturist Robert Sawyer took attendees on a trip to the not-so-distant future, where he predicted a blurring of the line between the online and offline worlds, and the further rise of streaming media, within the next five years.

Sawyer says the most interesting challenge of the next 10 years will be the role played by online content creators in the industry's monetization. Branding, he suggests, will drive consumers from new products such as an online video or games to older products and increase overall brand loyalty.

"New things drive always the sales of older things," said Sawyer.

At least for the moment, the article is online here.

From Playback to Rollback ... it's been an interesting journey. :)

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Why we love McNally Robinson

On Thursday, March 15, I was in Calgary, to give a talk to the local branch of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

My escort from the RASC, Anna Maria Bortolotto, took me to the Calgary store in the McNally Robinson bookstore chain. This was 48 days -- almost seven weeks -- in advance of my scheduled signing there as part of the book tour for Rollback, and they had no idea that I was in town, or that I'd be dropping by.

But right at the front cash desk they had the poster and flyer display shown at top, and in the science-fiction section they had the one shown beneath it. I've done signings in the past at other stores in which no in-store publicity has been done. I even did one once where, when they took me into the backroom so they could hang up my coat, I saw the posters my publisher had sent to the store shoved in a corner, never put out on display.

But not McNally Robinson. One of the (many) reasons Canadian authors like dealing with them is they really go all-out on promoting events in their (very attractive) stores.

On the Rollback book tour, I'll be at these McNally Robinson stores:

Winnipeg: Thursday, April 26, 2007, at 7:00 p.m.

Calgary: Wednesday, May 2, 2007, at 7:00 p.m.

and the Saskatoon McNally Robinson will be handling the book sales at this lecture I'm giving at the Saskatoon Public Library.

You can visit McNally Robinson online here.

Thanks, guys!

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Hugo bookshelf

The website for this year's World Science Fiction Convention in Japan has a nifty photo of a Hugo bookshelf -- novels that have won the Hugo Award, including my own Hominids. It's a cool photo, which you can see full-size here (click on the photo if your browser reduces it).

(No, it's not a complete set of Hugo winners -- that'd be something really neat to have! -- but it's a good representative sampling.)

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Monday, March 19, 2007

Rollback in my hands

... well, almost!

Carolyn tells me a couple of copies of Rollback, my 17th novel, have shown up at our place in Toronto (I'm in the Air Canada lounge at the Calgary Airport right now, heading home after giving my talk to the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada's Calgary Centre). She says they look gorgeous! (And I can believe it -- the finished dustjacket, which I have seen, is stunning.)


Official pub date is now 15 days away ... :)

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Film options

For those who are interested in how this business works, an email I sent this week. Canada is full of small-time producers who are always making offers like the one referred to in my letter; in this case, the producer wanted an option on the film rights to one of my novels for Cdn$2,000 for two years -- and, even at that low level, they didn't want to have to pay it until six months down the road, and then only if they could get a government grant.

Many thanks for your draft option proposal and purchase agreement.

I have a reputation -- which irritates my Hollywood agents, I'm sure -- for bending over backwards to make deals work on a Canadian scale. I've done options with individual scriptwriters and directors without any studio or corporate backing -- and even those have been substantially better in financial terms than what you're offering. I understand you're just testing the waters here, and that's fine; no offense taken.

Still, there's a cost of doing business at my end that has to be borne, and free options -- which is what you're asking for, for the initial six-month period -- simply don't cover that. My agents work on a 15% commission; I can't ask them to trawl through pages of legalese for the mere hope that six months down the road they might receive a Cdn$300 commission.

More: this sort of free option, which converts to a payment only if you're successful with Telefilm or another funding body amounts to this:

I've got a lottery ticket; you want me to hand it to you so you can hold onto it until such time as the drawing is held. If it's a loser, well, then you'll give it back to me. And if it's a winner, then you'll make a small payment to me.

Sorry, but I've been burned by such offers in the past (the very last time I agreed to do such a thing, the guy I'd given the free option to simply failed to get a proposal into Telefilm related to my property by the funding deadline -- because, of course, he had to concentrate his efforts on the properties he HAD paid money to option, since that money would be lost if he didn't get those proposals in).

Also, frankly, even when I used to allow such options, I had a really hard time selling my US agent on them, since the totally non-entrepreneurial nature of them is literally foreign to their American sensibilities: no cash of your own will be risked, only sure-thing government money, and then only once it's in hand -- but I'm to turn down any firm offers that do show up during the six-month period. Sorry, but I can't do this.

Now, yes, you want to minimize your risk, and I understand that. Minimizing is fine, but eliminating all your risk while I take on a considerable risk, namely that I have to turn down firm offers of immediate cash in case you might possibly get funding, just won't do.

But I'm willing to give you a break. Whatever first-year option fee we agree on, you can pay 1/3 now, and 2/3 at the six-month mark (normally we'd require the entire year up front; and sorry, but we don't do two-year option periods, at least not for the kind of money we're talking about here; twelve-month chunks are appropriate on this scale).

We also always require option fees to rise at each renewal; this is industry-standard, as I'm sure you know. And on purchase price, we look for 2%, not the 1% you've offered; again, that's industry-standard.

And speaking of money, what you're offering for the option is coffee money: Cdn$2.75 a day (Cdn$2,000 divided by the 730 days in two years). Sorry, but that's not going to cut it.

So, where do we go from here?

Well, here are the numbers I'd like to see; they're typical of the deals I've done with small Canadian producers:

Twelve-month option periods:

Initial Option Period: Cdn$XXXXX, applicable

First Additional Option Period: Cdn$XXXXX, non-applicable

Second Additional Option Period: Cdn$XXXXX, non-applicable

Purchase price: 2% of budget with a floor of Cdn$XXXXXXX.

Also, please note that we never authorize novelizations. The real money for you guys is in the sales of the actual film; the real money for an author can be in the boost a film gives to sales of his or her actual book -- and allowing a novelization by someone else does us out of that.

There will be other terms that will have to be discussed, of course, but, again, on the faint promise of Cdn$300 in commission sometime this autumn, I can't even begin to ask my people to spend any time on this.

All best wishes.


The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

I wish I was a spaceman ...

My own personal theme song has always been Barry Gray's end-title music for the 1963 British TV series Fireball XL5, produced by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson. It's one of the songs I'll sing at the drop of a hat at parties. And finally it is getting the recognition it deserves: the latest edition of the Penguin Television Companion has named it the #2 greatest theme song of all time.

Most US viewers won't likely know it, but Brits (and Canadians of my generation) certainly do. Interestingly, the HBO series From the Earth to the Moon used it as the theme music for one episode, too (the episode "Spider," about the designing of the Lunar Module).

You can hear it here. The composer is Barry Gray; the vocalist is Don Spencer.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Mark Leslie interview

With the World Horror Convention set to start in Toronto two weeks from tomorrow, this interview between Canadian horror writer Mark Leslie and UK reviewer "Critical Mick" seems apropos -- and if it happens to also contain some nice comments about me, well, who am I to complain? :)

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Quill & Quire loves Rollback

Quill & Quire, Canada's publishing trade journal, has just weighed in with its review of Rollback. The review is by Robert J. Wiersema.

The full text is online here (at least for the moment; it might disappear to where you need a paid Quill Online account to read it at some point).

Note: there's a fairly extensive plot synopsis; if you're worried about spoilers, skip those parts. Oh, heck, I'll save you the bother; here are the opening and closing paragraphs of the review. Says Quill and Quire:

In Rollback, bestselling Toronto science-fiction writer Robert J. Sawyer explores both the nature of time and the questions surrounding the scientific ability to fundamentally alter the human lifespan. In the process, he also delves deeply into the strange territory of the human heart.

The repercussions of the rollback surgery are genuinely surprising, but rooted firmly in the skillfully crafted and realistic thoughts and emotions of Don and Sarah. When the plotlines converge late in the book, it is a reminder of why Sawyer is one of our most highly regarded writers of speculative fiction, able to handle the demands of the heart and the cosmos with equal skill.

P.S.: Quill & Quire sometimes styles its name Quill and Quire; it's often known in the industry as just Quill or Q&Q; I'm just mentioning that so that search engines will find this post easily. :)
The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Rollback featured at NEW BOOKS blog

Rollback is featured today at NEW BOOKS, a blog by Marshal Zeringue that spotlights new titles in all genres. And, unlike just about everybody else, he's actually got the correct version of the Rollback cover (note the typeface for the book's title).

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Rob in Calgary this Thursday: Free Lecture

Yup, I'm off to Cow Town! And I'm giving a free public lecture at the Telus World of Science (formerly the Calgary Science Centre) this coming Thursday, March 15, at 7:30 p.m., in the Discovery Dome.

My talk is on "Astronomy and Science Fiction," and is presented by the Calgary Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

If you're in the area, come on out! All the details are here.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Centre for Inquiry talk

After the talk at McMaster, I scooted back to Toronto and gave another talk: I was the final speaker on a program of 20 (!) speakers at the grand opening of the Centre for Inquiry Ontario.

I was quite honoured to be given the final slot, and I think I shook things up a bit. As it happens, yesterday I was contacted by the op-ed editor for The Ottawa Citizen (the largest circulation newspaper in Canada's capital city) to ask if I wanted to do another op-ed piece for them -- and so I sold him on the idea of running an expanded version of my speech. I'll post a link here when it's available on-line.

By the way, see the photo of me on the wall behind me? That's part of the Centre's display of (cough, cough) famous Canadian freethinkers. Cool!

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Global warming talk

This morning, I was the last of four speakers, each giving an hour-long talk, at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Collectively, we were the program for the conference "Do You CO2?," about global warming and climate change, sponsored by the McMaster Science for Peace / Pugwash Society.

The other speakers were a McMaster grad student, giving a supposedly "neutral" account on climate change, a fellow from Greenpeace, and a fellow from "Friends of Science," a group about which has this to say.

I only got this speaking assignment late Thursday afternoon; I was replacing Severn Cullis-Suzuki (David Suzuki's daughter), who works with the same speakers' bureau I do; she had to bow out because of a family emergency. So, I didn't have a lot of time to prepare -- but my talk was very well received. I recorded it, and hope to make a podcast out of it, in my copious spare time. :)

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Friday, March 9, 2007

A rare day indeed

I thought about not even posting about this, since nothing at all concrete has actually happened, but, then again, a day like this is so rare in a writer's career, I decided I'd like to at least mark it.

I spent a good hunk of today dealing with not one, not two, but three different inquiries about the availability of film rights. Miraculously, all three inquiries were for different books, and all three happened to be books that are not currently under option.

Of course, nothing might come of any of these -- most such inquiries ultimately don't end up going anywhere. But it's fun to daydream about the possibilities (and at least one of the producers is actually drafting an option agreement right now, according to my film agent in Hollywood) ...

(Picture: now we know why Rob is smiling ...)

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Romanian rights; NYRSF

Today's mail brought a contract for Romanian rights to my 1995 Nebula-Award-winning novel The Terminal Experiment. The Romanian edition will be published by Nemira. Yay!

Also in today's mail: the March 2007 edition of The New York Review of Science Fiction, which has, on page 3, a nice photo showing Karl Schroeder, Marcel Gagne, Lorna Toolis, and Terence M. Green (misidentified as Terence H. Green). But what the caption doesn't say is that the photo was taken in my home back in December. Terry and Lorna are in my living room, and, behind them, Karl and Marcel are leaning on the open French doors that lead into my office, which is visible in the background.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Centre for Inquiry Ontario

The grand opening of the Centre for Inquiry Ontario ("A new Canadian voice for reason, science and secularism") is tomorrow night, Saturday, March 10, 2007, in Toronto, and I'm one of the speakers there. Also speaking are John Robert Colombo, James Alcock, Robert Buckman, and others. The event starts at 5:00 p.m.; I'll be speaking at 7:50 p.m.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

History of the Star Trek theme song

Those who have seen me at parties know that I will sing the theme song to the original Star Trek at the drop of a hat (yes, it has lyrics!).

My buddy SF writer Edward Willett has drawn this YouTube interview with Alexander Courage, who wrote the music (but not the lyrics -- those are by Roddenberry), to my attention. Check it out!

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Rollback dustjackets

Today's mail brought some copies of the dustjacket for Rollback, my novel that comes out in 26 days. Of course, I'd seen a JPG of the cover before, but that doesn't prepare one for the impact of the actual finished product. I must say it's gorgeous. The cover has a lovely matte (as opposed to glossy/varnished finish), with my name and the title embossed, and my name in a blue metallic foil.

Also, the prices are now set: US$24.95 -- and Cdn$29.95, which is a nice improvement (thanks to shifting exchange rates) over the Cdn$34.95 of my recent hardcovers.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Google summary distorts

My brother and I are both amused by the following, which Google displayed today when he searched on "Sawyer" and "ICE 2007":
Robert J. Sawyer
I'll be keynote speaker at the ICE 2007 conference being held in Toronto on ... got this gig just because my broski, Alan Sawyer, is one of the organizers. ... - 17k - Cached - Similar pages
Of course, if you read the actual blog entry this Google synopsis refers to, it says exactly the opposite: "Now, it's fair to say that I do a lot of keynotes, so I wouldn't want anyone to think I got this gig just because my broski, Alan Sawyer, is one of the organizers."


More on the ICE 2007 conference is here.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Northview Heights 50th Anniversary Reunion

How many high-school reunions can boast that they'll have not one but two Hugo Award-winners present? Well, this one can -- and it's now just two months away. Mike Glicksohn, who won the best-fanzine Hugo in 1973, and Robert J. Sawyer, who won the best-novel Hugo in 2003, are both attending the 50th-anniversary reunion for Northview Heights Secondary School (formerly, Northview Heights Collegiate Institute) in Willowdale / North York / Toronto (the school hasn't moved -- but the place it's in has changed its name!).

The reunion will be held Friday night, May 4, and all day Saturday, May 5, 2007 -- and I will be arriving exhausted, since my flight from the by-plane portion of my book tour gets me in at the Toronto airport just two hours before the cocktail party begins!

Also on hand will be a bunch of good folk from the Northview Association for Science Fiction Addicts (NASFA), the school's SF club, including co-founders Richard Gotlib and Robert J. Sawyer (him again!), and members Ted Bleaney, Gillian Clinton, Carolyn Clink, David Clink, Pat (formerly Patsy -- another name change!) Clink, and, we hope, many more.

Northview opened its doors in 1957, at the very dawn of the space age. If you're a former student, teacher, or staff member, come on out to the celebration.

(Carolyn and I, as well as Rick, Ted, and Gillian, have all committed to both the Friday-night gala, as well as the Saturday festivities.)

The Northview Reunion Web Site

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Probe Control to Probe One ...

Score! I've been wanting one of these hero-prop replica Probe scanners from the 1972 TV series Search for a long while, but kept getting outbid on eBay. But I landed one tonight -- the very last one the maker says he's going to produce. Woohoo!

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Interviews galore

Today was spent doing interviews: a full hour by phone with a radio station in Alamogordo, New Mexico, followed by five hours (!) face-to-face with a magazine journalist in my home -- more about that one soon. :) And tomorrow, I'm off to the headquarters of Space: The Imagination Station to record an interview about Rollback, plus some other things for them.

Meanwhile, just received copies of the Spanish edition of Starplex -- eleven years after it came out in English. Nice to see it finding new readers -- not to mention generating new income! :)

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Monday, March 5, 2007

Aurora Awards nominating now open

The nominating ballot for the 2007 Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Awards ("the Auroras") is now available here.

I have nothing particular of my own worth considering this year, but certainly Robert Charles Wilson's remarkable novella Julian: A Christmas Story from PS Publishing and Karina Sumner-Smith's Nebula-nominated "An End to All Things" from the DAW anthology "Children of Magic" leap to mind as worthy candidates in the English-language short-form category.

Also, Susan Forest's first major sale, "Immunity" in the December 2006 Asimov's, is worth your attention.

And it's high time we gave the Best Work in English (Other) award to Brian Hades for Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing, the only significant dedicated SF/F book publisher in English Canada.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Locus Online has Rollback tour dates

Mark R. Kelly, the incredibly hard-working editor of Locus Online, has listed the tour dates for Rollback on Locus Online's "Author Appearances" page.

Newly added: events in Winnipeg, Manitoba (on Thursday 26 April at McNally Robinson in Grant Park, at 7:00 p.m. -- actually, Mark's missing this one), Alexandria, Virginia (on on Sunday 22 April), and Sudbury, Ontario (on Sunday 3 June)

Marvel Super Heroes Science Exhbition: save your money

I was going to write a long blog entry about how lame, disappointing, and just downright dull and pathetic the "Mavel Super Heroes Science Exhibition" currently on at the Ontario Science Centre (and traveling to other museums) is, but I don't have time, so this will have to do. Save your money. I have seen many great traveling exhibitions at the Ontario Science Centre over the years, including The Art of the Muppets and Gunther von Hagens’ Body Worlds, but this one was just awful.

Also: the Ontario Science Centre is just falling apart, and the few extant exhibits (there's lots and lots of empty space) are dated and uninteresting. I have very fond memories of that place, but it needs a complete overhaul. I'm normally a very proud Toronto tour guide when I have visitors from out-of-town, but on Friday, I had time to take my friend Bev Geddes, visiting from Winnipeg, to only one place before Ad Astra began, and since the Science Centre is right by the Ad Astra hotel, we went there -- and I was ashamed.

They've simply shut down the horribly dated Apollo-era space gallery and computer gallery, taken away the giant laser, and replaced them with ... well, not much. Ugh.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Writers of the Future panel at Ad Astra

Writer Nick Matthews took a bunch of pictures, which you can find here.

Left to right in the group shot:

Tony Pi
Robert J. Sawyer
James Alan Gardner
Stephen Kotowych
Mike Rimar
Jim C. Hines

I'm a judge; the others are all Canadian winners of the contest.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Birthstones launch tomorrow!

Tomorrow (Friday) at 8:00 p.m. in the Reflections room at AD ASTRA, Toronto's science-fiction convention:

Come celebrate the launch of Phyllis Gotlieb's latest novel BIRTHSTONES, published by Robert J. Sawyer Books.

Phyllis's career is now in its fifth decade, and she's without doubt the founding mother of Canadian SF.

Join Phyllis and her editor for the world premiere of this far-future tale from Gotlieb's famed Galactic Federation, a brilliant hard SF novel with an afterword by Nalo Hopkinson. Refreshments will be served.

Fan Central Station

Carolyn and I are hustling to get ready for the arrival of seven -- count 'em, seven! -- house guests tomorrow, who are all staying with us for Ad Astra, the Toronto SF convention. What did Colonel Taylor say? Oh, yeah: "It's a madhouse! A madhouse!" :)

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Runnymede Library reading

Karl Schroeder and I read today over lunch at the Runnymede Public Library in Toronto. Lou Sytsma, who is active on my Yahoo! Groups newsgroup, has posted some great pictures from the readings here (hover your mouse over each picture to read the caption Lou has written). Thanks for the great pictures, Lou!

As Lou says, this is probably the last public reading I'll ever give from Mindscan; my next reading -- this Saturday at Ad Astra -- marks the switchover to doing readings from my new book, Rollback.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site