Friday, June 29, 2007

Website anniversary

Well, it's just after midnight here, meaning it's now Friday, June 29, 2007 -- and that day happens to be the 12th anniversary of my website. I was, by all accounts, the very first science-fiction writer to have a website, and it's been of enormous value to me over the last dozen years. If you haven't dropped by for a while, check it out at

The website went live on June 29, 1995 (the week before came online). My site (or "home page," as we called them back then) started with 23,000 words of text, and precisely one photo. The text consisted of six novel excerpts, three short stories, some review excerpts, a little biographical information, and a little recent news.

Today, the website has well over a million words of text, and (of course!) hundreds of photos, including the smiling one above that beams out from each page on my site. :)

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Science recommends Frameshift

Yes, that Science -- the world's leading journal of original scientific research -- recommends Robert J. Sawyer's Frameshift as one of its summer reading choices in the June 29, 2007, issue -- and Frameshift is mentioned in the Science podcast for that same date, starting at the 32-minute mark:
What will you be reading on the beach this summer? How about Robert Sawyer's medical thriller Frameshift, or the real-life medical mystery The Family that Couldn't Sleep by D.T. Max, or A Guinea Pig's History of Biology, which tells the story of the life sciences from the point of view of the plants and animals that have been some of that story's central players. These are just three of 40 recommendations for summer reading -- both fiction and nonfiction -- from Science's advisory board, reviewers, and editorial staff. The list appears in the Book Review section of the June 29th issue of Science. Check it out before you pack for that summer holiday.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Rollback errata

Normally, by this point in one of my books' lives, my readers would have pointed out several typos, but so far no one has found a single one in Rollback. However, three astute readers have pointed out three errors I made, and I've asked Tor to fix them in the paperback:

Page 145, fourth full paragraph: "Nine-year-old Emily" should be "Ten-year-old Emily" (spotted by Shoshana Glick).

Page 298, first paragraph: "His Royal Highness" should say "His Majesty" (spotted by Danny M -- you're only "His Royal Highness" while a prince; once you become king, you're "Your Majesty").

Page 312, third full paragraph: "his father's first wife" should say "her father's first wife" (her, not his -- spotted by several people).

So: my typing skills are good; it's just my thinking that's defective! :)

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Praise for Rollback

The paperback of Rollback comes out February 6, 2008. That seems a long time from now (and it is, it is!, so you should all rush out and buy the hardcover!<grin>), but by the time I'm back in Toronto in October, the cover for the paperback will long since be done, and so I spent a little time today pulling together review excerpts and sending them on to Tor, so that they'd have them handy for choosing the ones to put on the paperback cover. Here are the quotes I pulled out:

"Sawyer, who has won Hugo and Nebula awards, may well win another major SF award with this superior effort." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"The characters bear their human strengths and weaknesses with dignity and poise. An elegantly told story; highly recommended." -- Library Journal (starred review)

"A novel to be savored by science-fiction and mainstream readers alike." -- The Globe and Mail

"Touching and thought-provoking, Rollback has become one of my favorite science fiction novels. Sawyer has written another classic." -- The Davis Enterprise

"An early candidate for sci-fi book of the year." -- Kansas City Star

"Highly recommended; it's a shoo-in to be short-listed for next year's major awards." -- SciFiDimensions

"Rollback gets my vote as SF novel of the year. A joy to read." -- Jack McDevitt

"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." -- Quill & Quire

"A thoroughly engaging story, with some of the most memorable people you'll ever meet." -- Analog

"Highly emotional and original, with sympathetic and believable characters. A riveting book." -- Romantic Times Book Reviews

"A fascinating drama, where joy and tragedy take human form; worth reading by genre and mainstream readers alike." -- SFRevu

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Lou Anders and I are on the same wavelength

... as you can see here, in Lou's blog, in which he cites John Scalzi's interview with me.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Off to NASA!

Yeah, it's totally true: my life rocks. :)

Tomorrow, I fly off to California for a two-day invitation-only workshop at the NASA Ames Research Center. The conference is entitled "The Future of Intelligence in the Cosmos," and it's being jointly organized by NASA Ames, the SETI Institute, and the University of California Santa Cruz.

The participants include:

Gregory Benford
Andre Bormanis
Ben Bova
Paul Davies
Frank Drake
Jack McDevitt
Marvin Minsky
Robert J. Sawyer
Seth Shostak
Jill Tarter
Pete Worden

Way, way cool!

I'm chairing the session on Cultural Evolution, the foundational talk for which will be given by Kathryn Denning, an anthropologist at York University here in Toronto; I've followed her work with interest for years, and it's ironic that we'll finally meet half-a-continent away!

The whole amazing agenda is here.

And tomorrow also begins my summer of being away from home: I go directly from the NASA Ames conference to Dawson City in the Yukon, to begin my three-month-long writing retreat at Berton House, which will be interrupted in August for two weeks in China.

My father, who is house-sitting for us, was over this afternoon, and we got him settled in. And I've just returned from Lick's, my favorite hamburger joint -- for the last time until October!

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

My twin resigns

I feel rather sad about this. For the last couple of years, about half the Google news alerts that I've seen for my name have really been related to another Robert Sawyer, the gentleman pictured above.

Dr. Sawyer was chairman of California's Air Resources Board -- but today he resigned, and I suspect I won't be hearing as much about him. I wish him well, though!

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Identity Theft and Other Stories

I delivered today the final, revised manuscript for my forthcoming short-story collection Identity Theft and Other Stories. It will be published in February 2008 by Red Deer Press, and distributed by Fitzhenry & Whiteside (the same fine people who do my Robert J. Sawyer Books imprint).

Meanwhile, I'm delighted to report that Red Deer Press is going back to press on my previous short-story collection, Iterations, and that the new printing will have a new cover (to match the upcoming Identity Theft cover).

Identity Theft and Other Stories features an overall introduction by Robert Charles Wilson, and individual story introductions by me. The included stories are:
"Identity Theft," copyright 2005 by Robert J. Sawyer. First published in Down These Dark Spaceways, edited by Mike Resnick, Science Fiction Book Club, New York, May 2005.

"Come All Ye Faithful," copyright 2003 by Robert J. Sawyer. First published in Space Inc., edited by Julie E. Czerneda, DAW Books, New York, July 2003.

"Immortality," copyright 2003 by Robert J. Sawyer. First published in Janis Ian's Stars, edited by Janis Ian and Mike Resnick, DAW Books, New York, August 2003.

"Ineluctable," copyright 2002 by Robert J. Sawyer. First published in Analog Science Fiction and Fact, November 2002.

"Shed Skin," copyright 2002 by Robert J. Sawyer. First published in The Bakka Anthology, edited by Kristen Pederson Chew, The Bakka Collection, Toronto, December 2002; first U.S. publication in Analog Science Fiction and Fact, January-February 2004.

"The Stanley Cup Caper," copyright 2003 by Robert J. Sawyer. First published in The Toronto Star, Sunday, August 24, 2003, page M1.

"On The Surface," copyright 2003 by Robert J. Sawyer. First published in Future Wars, edited by Martin H. Greenberg and Larry Segriff, DAW Books, New York, April 2003.

"The Eagle Has Landed," copyright 2005 by Robert J. Sawyer. First published in I, Alien, edited by Mike Resnick, DAW Books, New York, April 2005.

"Mikeys," copyright 2004 by Robert J. Sawyer. First published in Space Stations, edited by Martin H. Greenberg and John Helfers, DAW Books, New York, March 2004.

"The Good Doctor," copyright 1989 by Robert J. Sawyer. First published in Amazing Stories, January 1989.

"The Right's Tough," copyright 2004 by Robert J. Sawyer. First published in Visions of Liberty, edited by Mark Tier and Martin H. Greenberg, DAW Books, New York, July 2004.

"Kata Bindu," copyright 2004 by Robert J. Sawyer. First published in Microcosms, edited by Gregory Benford, DAW Books, New York, January 2004.

"Driving A Bargain," copyright 2002 by Robert J. Sawyer. First published in Be VERY Afraid!: More Tales of Horror, edited by Edo van Belkom, Tundra Books, Toronto, 2002.

"Flashes," copyright 2006 by Robert J. Sawyer. First published in FutureShocks, edited by Lou Anders, Roc Books, New York, January 2006.

"Relativity," copyright 2003 by Robert J. Sawyer. First published in Men Writing Science Fiction as Women, edited by Mike Resnick, DAW Books, New York, November 2003.

"Biding Time," copyright 2006 by Robert J. Sawyer. First published in Slipstreams, edited by Martin H. Greenberg and John Helfers, DAW Books, New York, May 2006.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

John Scalzi interviews Robert J. Sawyer

John Scalzi (above), the wonderful author of Old Man's War, interviews Robert J. Sawyer over on John's Ficlets blog. It's a hefty interview, weighing in at 3,400 words.

(John also very nicely promotes the interview on his famed Whatever blog, and links to the interview with me, plus one he just did with my great writing buddy Allen Steele, right here.)

Thanks, John!

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Maisonneuve on RJS

Maisonneuve is a glossy, classy Canadian newsstand magazine subtitled "Eclectic Curiosity;" it's a bit like a Canadian Harper's. The just released Summer 2007 issue (issue number 24) has a one-page profile of me written by Nathan Whitlock; it's quite a nice piece. Only the opening is online on the Maisonneuve website; you can read the opening here, and the whole thing on page 17 of the print edition.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Paul Levinson podcasts Robert J. Sawyer

My great friend Paul Levinson -- author of such wonderful novels as The Plot to Save Socrates and The Silk Code -- podcasts an interview with me right here at Light on Light Through.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Friday, June 22, 2007

Osprey Media

Just back from an overnight trip to Collingwood, Ontario, where I gave a keynote at the annual leadership conference of Osprey Media, Ontario's leading publisher of community newspapers. Lots of fun, and a great bunch of people -- and the weather has been gorgeous the last couple of days, so it was great getting out into the countryside to do this talk.

Oh, and this is cool: a note about the tuned-laser decontamination technology I postulate in Hybrids.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Monday, June 18, 2007

WordStar geekery: getting preview with any graphics card

As many of you know, I'm a diehard user of WordStar for DOS, for all the reasons I outline here.

Back in January 2007, I worked out a system for getting WordStar 7.0 (and only 7.0 -- this won't work with earlier versions) to do graphic previews of pages on any computer, and at high resolution. (WordStar's built-in Advanced Page Preview only works with a limited number of graphics cards; many modern cards don't support it at all -- and those that do often only preview WordStar files in VGA resolution or lower.)

My system works flawlessly for me, and I've found it so indispensable that I now have a second monitor swiveled permanently into portrait mode to facilitate the best-possible preview experience.

Since figuring this out for myself, I've been trying to find the time to convert the system from working specifically on my particular computer setup (using JP Software's 4NT instead of the Windows version of DOS), but I haven't found that time, and I'm going away for the next three months.

So, instead, I'm simply posting what works for me, and leaving it as an exercise for knowledgeable users to get it working for themselves. I'm afraid I can't provide tech support for this, but I do encourage others to come up with a more user-friendly anyone-can-do-it set of instructions.

The instructions are here.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Those darn academic publishers!

So, I'm asked -- nay, begged -- to contribute something to an academic collection about science fiction, and I offer up a really fine essay, if I do say so myself. Of course, there's no payment for use, even though they intend to sell the book at a high price. And here's the license they want for the work:
Each contributor retains the copyright to their contribution to the manuscript and may use it without permission for any purpose except publishing or selling the work. If you need to publish your contribution as part of a different publication, you may do so, granted that you obtain permission from us; we do not normally charge for any such permissions. We will hold the publishing rights.

So, um, exactly what value is retainig the copyright if I don't have the right to publish or sell the work without their permission? And, gee, thanks, on letting me use it for any other purpose -- but what, pray tell, might one do with an essay besides publish it or sell it?

Still, at least they're not out-and-out demanding a transfer of copyright. I've countered by offering the editor this: "You, and your publisher, may have an unlimited, in-perpetuity, non-exclusive, worldwide license to publish my essay in all languages in conjunction with your book." But the last time I dealt with one of these academic publishers they said that wasn't good enough, and so I dropped out. We'll see what happens this time ...

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Book dedicated to Rob

One of the special privileges of being an author or editor is getting to dedicate a book to someone. And I am touched, honoured, and thrilled to have dedicated to me the new two-volume set of Leacock's Fantasia: The Fantastic Stories and Sketches, edited by John Robert Colombo, and published by The Battered Silicon Dispatch Box.

John Colombo's dedication reads:

Dedicated to Robert J. Sawyer
Author, Enthusiast, Friend

and John (pictured) noted when autographing Volume One that he was presenting me with the first copy. Wow!

Many, many thanks, John.

(The books collect the science fiction and fantasy of Stephen Leacock, one of Canada's best-known authors.)

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Rob on Second Life

Second Life's Talis SciFi & Fantasy Portal book-discussion group is doing my novel Rollback this Tuesday, June 19, 2007, 6:30 SLT (Pacific Time).

Open your Second Life desktop software, then click on this Second Life URL to come join the party. My Second Life name is "SF Writer," and our host is "Rebekah Cavan."

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

The Davis Enterprise loves Rollback

The Davis Enterprise is the newspaper in Davis, California. On May 17, 2007 (although I only just found out about it today), the paper reviewed my Rollback; the reviewer was Kristin Gray, and here's some of what she had to say:

Whenever I hear the adage that science fiction one day will become science fact, I think of Sawyer's novels. He explores the hard science behind some of our most sought-after advances, and he also discusses what they'll do to our psyches and morals. ...

[In Rollback] heavy issues are wrapped up in a story that is so poignant that I found myself in tears. I admire Sawyer for not feeding us any easy answers, because there really aren't any. Touching and thought-provoking, Rollback has become one of my favorite science fiction novels. It educates and enlightens, and it just might make you think as well.

Sawyer has written another classic.

The full review is here

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Aurora nominating deadline extended to Monday, July 23, 2007

Get information about eligible works here, at the Canadian SF Works Database

Get a nominating ballot here, at the official Aurora Awards site

And -- cough, cough -- see my own eligible story "Biding Time" right here, as a Word document

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

The Cult of the Amateur

I just posted this five-star review on of The Cult of the Amateur: How Today's Internet is Killing our Culture by Andrew Keen:

There's so much received wisdom already about Web 2.0 -- so many people who have already staked out turf, and announced that THIS is the way it's going to be -- that it's very refreshing, and very thought provoking, to see a new take on all this. William Gibson once said that the job of the science-fiction writer (which is what both he and I do for a living) is to be profoundly ambivalent about changes in science and technology. To date, we've had way too much on the plus side of blogging, Wikipedia, Facebook, and, yes,, with very few countervailing voices. You may not agree with everything Keen says -- I certainly don't myself, although I do agree with a lot of it -- but, despite the cult-of-the-amateur approach to most reviewing these days ("I agree with the author" = five stars; "I disagree with the author" = one star -- although Keen doesn't cite this specific example), this book is well-researched, passionately argued, copiously footnoted, and compulsively readable. I recommend it highly.

For more on The Cult of the Amateur, see here.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Verbotomy word game and Rob's latest novel

Check it all out here -- and have fun!

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Talk, Talk, Talk

Well, today's talk for the Health and Science Communications Association went really well; as a friend of mine would say, I kicked butt and took names. :)

Meanwhile, yesterday's talk (gak! was it only yesterday?) for the Canadian Public Relations Society in Edmonton also went really, really well. I did a little interview with one of the CPRS chapter newsletters in advance of my talk. Here's what I had to say:

Q. In your own words, how would you describe what you do as a futurist?

A. I'm both a science-fiction writer and a futurist -- and that combination is important. A futurist on his or her own is good at extrapolating trends and telling you what the population size might be in a given year, or how big our economy will be. But a science-fiction writer's job is to go further, placing all that in societal context: what will the changes coming down the pike actually mean to lives of people here in Canada, at home, at work, at play. PR is public relations -- and I'm going to give a snapshot of what the world the public is going to live in is really going to be like in the next couple of decades.

Q. What will your topic "Fast Forward in the Communications Arena" focus on?

A. Among other things, the ever increasing rate of change. If you stop and think about it, what happened in the last 20 years is enormous -- the fall of the USSR, the birth of the World Wide Web, the cell-phone revolution, the use of DNA screening in criminal cases. But if you think you can just flip that amount of change over to the other side of tomorrow -- if you expect just a comparable amount of change in the next 20 years -- you're wrong. The pace is accelerating rapidly, almost exponentially -- and I'll explain why in my talk. We'll see as much change in the last two years of the next couple of decades as we saw in all of the 1987-2007 period.

Q. What does the theme of the conference -- Fast Forward -- mean to you in terms of public relations?

A. It's the whole key. Time's choice of "You" -- independent content creators -- as the "Person of the Year" for 2007 underscores this. We've left behind the era in which PR leads public perception; henceforth its principal job will be responding to what the public is saying online. PR becomes collaborative not just with the client, but with the consumer, too.

Q. What should a PR practitioner come away with after attending your presentation?

A. An awareness that PR response times will have to be as close to instantaneous as possible: you won't be able to contain leaks about upcoming events, and PR crises will go worldwide within a matter of moments. Nimbleness will be the top skill, and leveraging the power that technology gives you will be the best way to obtain that.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Friday, June 15, 2007

Today's talk

I'm giving a keynote today at the 48th Annual International Conference on Health and Science Communiciation:
Marching Together with Technology into the Future

Robert J. Sawyer
Author and Futurist (

Many industries still haven't embraced 20th-century technology, and we're now well into the 21st! A look at the state-of-the-art in technologies such as voice recognition, face recognition, ubiquitous computing, and artificial intelligence -- and where these technologies will be in just a few years, plus an analysis of what they can do for your business; how to evaluate them, select the appropriate/applicable ones and develop a plan for integration.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Busy times!

Just got back from Alberta. I gave a keynote address to the Canadian Public Relation Society's annual meeting (this year entitled "Fast Forward") in Edmonton. My talk was very well received. My friend Barb Galler-Smith, herself a fine science-fiction writer, picked me up at the airport yesterday, and returned me there today. Last night, she, I, and fantasy writer Ann Marston went out to dinner with some fans of my work who were involved with CPRS; we had a great time.

Although I'm now back in Ontario, there's no rest for the wicked. Tomorrow, I have a 10:30 a.m. meeting with some film producers interested in one of my properties. Then I'm off to the annual meeting of the Health Science Communications Association, which is being held this year at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto; I'm giving a keynote there.

Then its a mad dash up to TVOntario's studios to record a program for them (on why the world seems to have given up on optimism), then it's off to dinner with my writing buddy Robert Charles Wilson, and finally, to cap off the day, it's off to the beginning of my brother-in-law David Livingstone Clink's ninth annual DAVE (Dave's Annual Vacuuming Excuse) -- a party that lasts all weekend long.


The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Just three days to Aurora nominating deadline

... and the Canadian SF Works Database wiki that Marcel Gagné and I started has a wonderfully long list of eligible works.

Check the list out here, and please read over my own eligible story, "Biding Time" (which the Globe and Mail called "excellent" in a recent review).

Grab a ballot here, and get it in the mail (postmarked by) by this Friday, June 15, 2007.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Quintaglio fan art!

A very talented artist named Stephen J. Greene has sent me these terrific illustrations he did of characters from my "Quintaglio Ascension" trilogy (Far-Seer, Fossil Hunter, and Foreigner). Click on the small versions below to see them full size.

Afsan and Gork


Miscellaneous Quintaglios

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Monday, June 11, 2007

Signing at BookExpo Canada

The wonderful people at H.B. Fenn and Company (Tor's Canadian distributor) had me do a signing at their booth at BookExpo Canada today. Fenn gave away 200 hardcovers of Rollback to booksellers, librarians, reviewers, and so forth -- $6,000 worth of books!

I signed them all -- and my hand was getting tired by the end. I had a giant line-up, that started forming almost an hour before my event; I spent some of the time before my signing just walking along the line chatting with people.

Everyone in this picture is in line to get me to sign a copy of Rollback for them; the line goes right around the bend and off into the distance:

And here I am, wearing out my hand:

All in all, a great event -- and a great day!

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

"Heidi's Pick Six" interviews Rob

Be warned: lots and lots of purple and pink! Read the interview here.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sawyer, Kay, Gibson, Colombo

The sign over my head shows the Penguin logo and the slogan "The Great Books Are Here." Who are we to argue? Today, at BookExpo Canada, Penguin Canada threw a wonderful champagne reception, and on hand were (if I may be so bold) four major figures of Canadian science-fiction and fantasy: Robert J. Sawyer, Guy Gavriel Kay, William Gibson, and John Robert Colombo (who edited the very first anthology of Canadian SF&SF, 1979's Other Canadas). Click on the small picture above for a full-size version.

(My next three books will be published by Penguin Canada; Penguin Canada already publishes Guy and Bill, and John has done many nonfiction books for Penguin.)

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Globe and Mail loves Rollback

The Saturday, June 9, 2007, edition of The Globe and Mail: Canada's National Newspaper reviews Rollback by Robert J. Sawyer. The whole review is here; the reviewer is named Cori Dusmann.

Among other very nice things, the review says:
While Rollback is, on the surface, a book about reaching out to those across the universe, it is at its heart an investigation of our very humanity, and how relationships are a fundamental key to defining who we are. Sawyer's crisp and accessible writing style allows for this interweaving of the personal and the scientific. The characters feel real, and their emotions and responses genuine. Beyond the SF trappings, Rollback is a story about love and commitment, about humanity at its most basic -- a novel to be savoured by science-fiction and mainstream readers alike.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Friday, June 8, 2007

eBay store closing for the summer

Carolyn and I will be closing down our eBay store -- through which we sell signed copies of my books -- at the end of next week, since we're going away for the summer. The store will re-open in October, but if you want to get signed copies before then, please place your order soon. The store is here:

The Robert J. Sawyer Store Online

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Sawyer jokes

My friend and writing student Nicholas Collins sent me these wonderful jokes he came up with, based on my books. You'll have to know my novels well to get them all -- but I think they're terrific!

How many mindscans (uploads) does it take to change a light bulb?

Only one, but it will cost a lot of money because he'll want to ship the old bulb all the way to High Eden on the moon.

How many rollbacks does it take to change a light bulb?

Only one, and the best part is you know he'll be around to change the bulb for you again next time, and the time after that, and the time after that ... etc.

How many female Waldahudin does it take to change a light bulb?

I don't know, she keeps waiting for a male to do it for her.

How many male Waldahudin does it take to change a light bulb?

I don't know, they keep fighting over who should get to change it.

How many Quintaglios does it take to change a light bulb?

Well, we started with a group of eight, but now there's only one left, so he'd better be able to change the bulb.

How many Neanderthals does it take to change a light bulb?

I'm not sure, I forgot to count them - but I can check the alibi archive, right?

How many characters from Flashforward does it take to change a light bulb?

Only one, but they can all warn you when the bulb will need changing twenty-one years in advance.

How many Wreeds does it take to change a light bulb?

Maybe a few, or more, or a lot, or some ... I'm not really sure (and neither are the Wreeds).

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Audio interviews and readings with RJS Books authors

I'm delighted to present a series of audio files and podcasts: Editor Rob Sawyer interviewing authors who have published under his Robert J. Sawyer Books imprint at Fitzherny & Whiteside -- plus readings by the authors from their books!

Marcos Donnelly, author of Letters from the Flesh:

Danita Maslan, author of Rogue Harvest:

Nick DiChario, author of A Small And Remarkable Life:

For more on these and all the other titles, see the Robert J. Sawyer Books website -- or our full-color ad inside the front cover of the June 2007 issue of Locus.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Romantic Times Book Reviews has reviewed Rollback by Robert J. Sawyer, calling it "Riveting -- highly emotional and original; a complex story with sympathetic and believable characters."

The full review is here.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Canadian SF&F Database

Marcel Gagné and I were chatting about a big problem with the Aurora Awards, namely that there was no convenient centralized place for people to post information about Canadian-authored works that they themselves have written, or are aware of by other people, that are eligible (either for the Auroras or other annual awards).

Well, this is the era of the wiki, and so Marcel and I have now set up a new one just for this purpose: The Canadian SF Works Database.

Marcel (who did all the technical work) felt it was important that people need to have an account to post, so please set up an account and go ahead and add to the lists! Marcel and I have simply started this ... but, like all wikis, it's wide open, and belongs to its users ... including you!

The URL is easy remember: Check it out -- and add to the lists! And, please, help spread the word!

The Future and You

The podcast "The Future and You" interviewed Robert J. Sawyer, Mike Resnick, David Coe, and a bunch of others at Ravencon in April 2007, and the interviews are now available in this week's podcast, available here.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Visiting Northern Ontario Schools

After the weekend in Sudbury, during which I got my honorary doctorate, Carolyn and I drove on to Sault Ste. Marie Ontario, where I spent the next two days -- Monday, June 4, and Tuesday, June 5, 2007 -- visiting with students from five area high schools. You can read an account of one of the visits here and here.

Special thanks to David Frech of Central Algoma Secondary School for coordinating all the school visits. The students -- ranging from grade 9 to 12, were all wonderfully inquisitive, polite, and pleasant, and they asked lots of great questions.

On Monday night, between the two days of school visits, I did a signing at the Coles bookstore in Cambrian Mall. It's a small mall, and it was a miserable, rainy night -- so I was very pleasantly surprised by the number of people who came out to the signing; I really quite enjoyed it.

After the last school visit, Carolyn and I did the seven-hour drive back to Mississauga -- whew! It's good to be home. And I am actually home for -- gasp! -- an entire week (until Wednesday, June 13, when I head off to Alberta to give the keynote address at the annual meeting of the Canadian Public Relations Society). Still busy, though: in the interim, it's BookExpo Canada, the big tradeshow.

Poster announcing Rob's visit to Korah School

Students listening to Rob at Central Algoma Secondary School in Desberats, Ontario

Rob joins in for a class photo at White Pines, a school in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario (I'm wearing the official shirt of the Calgary Westercon from a couple of years ago)

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Sunday in Sudbury

Sunday, June 3, 2007 -- the day after I got my honorary doctorate from Laurentian University -- I did a victory lap in Sudbury, appearing at the Chapters bookstore there. :) We had an excellent overflow crowd, including several Laurentian faculty members and some of the students who had graduated the day before, and heard my convocation address.

(The sign over my head at the reading was wonderfully appropriate -- it's exactly how I felt!)

After the reading and signing was over, the staff of the Sudbury Chapters presented me with a couple of wonderful gifts: a big box of various dark chocolate bars (my favorite -- and pretty low in carbs!), and a wonderful framed and signed photo of Science North, the science museum in Sudbury, with a plaque beneath it that says:
The Other World of
Ponter Boddit
Chapters Sudbury
June 2, 2007
(Ponter is the Neanderthal quantum physicist who slides through to this version of reality in Sudbury, in my Hugo Award-winning novel Hominids and its sequels.) Way, way cool!

After that, Carolyn and I were taken out to lunch by David Goforth, Ph.D., of Laurentian University's Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, and David Robinson, Ph.D., of Laurentian's Department of Economics. Although I received my honorary doctorate this year in response to me being nominated by Michael Emond, Ph.D., of Laurentian's Department of Psychology in 2005, it turns out the two Davids had previously also nominated me, as well, in 2003 -- which was very flattering to hear.

More: Drs. Goforth and Robinson are collaborating on a book on game theory, a discipline that's going to figure prominently in my upcoming WWW trilogy, and we had a wonderful brainstorming session -- thanks, guys!

Carolyn and I then headed out of Sudbury, stopping to take a picture of the Big Nickel -- a Sudbury landmark. We then drove the three hours to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario (putting us a total of seven hours from Toronto), where we checked into a hotel. Why? See my next blog entry ...

The staff of Chapters in Sudbury gave me some neat gifts!

Sudbury's Big Nickel (science fiction writer to scale); that's King George VI, Canada's former monarch, on the obverse

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Monday, June 4, 2007

Quill & Quire profiles Rob

Quill and Quire, the Canadian publishing trade journal, has just posted its cover-story profile of Robert J. Sawyer online; the cover story appeared in the May 2007 issue. The profile is titled "Nothing but blue skies: For Canadian sci-fi giant Robert J. Sawyer, the future is bright." Read the full text here.

Update March 2008: Quill & Quire names Robert J. Sawyer one of "the 30 most influential, innovative, and just plain powerful people in Canadian publishing."

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Honorary Doctorate for Robert J. Sawyer

On Saturday, June 2, 2007, Robert J. Sawyer received an honorary doctorate (Doctor of Letters, honoris causa) from Laurentian University, in Sudbury, Ontario; Sawyer also gave the convocation address to graduating arts students that day. The doctorate was given in recognition of Sawyer's international success as a science-fiction writer.

Laurentian, a bilingual English-and-French institution, is the leading university in northern Ontario. During the same series of convocations, other honorary doctorates were awarded, including to civil-rights leader Minnijean Brown Trickey, one of the Little Rock Nine. Laurentian bestowed its first honorary doctorate of letters in 1970, to Canadian literary legend Farley Mowat.

Sawyer's Hugo Award-winning novel Hominids and its sequels Humans and Hybrids are set largely in the Sudbury area, including at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory and at Laurentian University itself (which is known worldwide for Michael Persinger's research there using transcranial magnetic stimulation inducing religious experiences, research that figures prominently in Hybrids).

Sawyer was nominated for the doctorate by Michael Emond, a tenured professor in Laurentian's Psychology Department. Said Emond when making the nomination: "I could think of no better candidate that exemplifies the reasons why I am proud to be Canadian."

Receiving the honorary doctorate was the final stop on Sawyer's six-week book tour promoting the release of his seventeenth novel, Rollback (Tor, April 2007).

Laurentian University press release


Robert J. Sawyer receives his honorary doctorate from Laurentian president Judith Woodsworth, while Dr. Michael Emond, who nominated Rob for the doctorate, looks on.

Rob gives the convocation address; read the full text here.

Carolyn Clink, President Woodsworth, and Robert J. Sawyer at the reception after the convocation

A close-up of the diploma.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Photos from last night

Photos from the dinner at the Laurentian University president's house. Minnijean Brown Trickey was one of the Little Rock Nine, and is a prominent Civil Rights activist; Dr. Michael Emond, of Laurentian's Department of Psychology nominated science-fiction writer Robert J. Sawyer for his honorary doctorate, which he will receive later today.

Minnijean Brown Trickey, Robert J. Sawyer:

Robert J. Sawyer, Michael Emond:

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Friday, June 1, 2007

At Laurentian

Carolyn and I had a very nice drive up through beautiful countryside to Sudbury, Ontario, today -- about five hours on the road. Tonight, we had dinner at the home of the president of Laurentian; the dinner was in honour of myself and the other recipients of honorary doctorates this year, including Minnijean Brown Trickey. Minnijean was one of the Little Rock Nine -- the African-American students who integrated Central High in Little Rock, Arkansas, 50 years ago. I told her how much she meant to me, and we both got teary eyed, and she hugged me. It was an absolute thrill.

At my table at dinner was Prof. Michael Emond, the Laurentian psych professor who nominated me for the honorary doctorate. We'd never met before, but immediately hit it off; he'll be introducing me tomorrow. And, in fact, I was pleased to see the program book for tomorrow's convocation, which says:

Dr. Michael Emond will present Mr. Robert Sawyer for the Doctorate of Letters (honoris causa). Dr. Sawyer will address Convocation.

What a cool moment of transition! I'm still stunned that this is happening to me ... I'm very flattered, and very pleased.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Watch Rob get his doctorate!

Laurentian University is giving me an honorary doctorate TOMORROW (Saturday, June 2, 2007), and they will be webcasting the ceremony. You can watch it live as it happens, starting at 2:30 p.m. Eastern time (Toronto/New York) on Saturday, June 2, 2007, right here.

(If that link doesn't work, go to the main convocation page here, and select the webcast at the very bottom of the page.)

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site