Friday, November 30, 2007

Aurora Award nominations now open!

Yes, already! Nominations are now being accepted online for the Aurora Awards to be given in May 2008 at Keycon; these nominations are for work first published or done in 2007. You must be a Canadian citizen (not necessarily resident in Canada) or a Canadian resident to nominate; there is no charge to do so.

Nomination Form

The Official Aurora Awards Web Site

My own work eligible for the Aurora to be given next May is my novel Rollback from Tor Books ...

Many thanks to Aurora coordinator Clint Budd for getting this up and running so early!

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Where to submit

So, I got this question via email today (no please, no thank you, just the naked question): "Re: sci-fi short stories. Where would I submit short story?"

My reply:

"To whichever science-fiction magazine is your favorite; if you don't have one -- if you're not actually reading the markets you want to sell to -- your chances of success are almost zero."

Of course, the major magazines in the US are Asimov's Science Fiction, Analog Science Fiction and Fact, and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. But if you want to publish in them, you've got to read them. :)

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Immigrating to Canada

Whenever I visit the United States, people there ask me about immigrating to Canada, and increasingly so over the last couple of years. For those who are interested, here's the official Canadian government site on immigrating to Canada.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Stargazing RJS-style: L.A. Photos

David S. Goyer, Robert J. Sawyer, Brannon Braga. David co-wrote Batman Begins; Brannon co-produced various Star Trek series; we had lunch at the wonderful Chateau Marmont ... no special reason. :)

Keith Calder, Robert J. Sawyer, and Jessica Wu. Keith and Jessica are principals of Snoot FX, the company that has Rob's Hugo-nominated "Identity Theft" under option.

Robert J. Sawyer, Barry R. Levin. Barry runs the world's best rare-SF bookshop, and gave Rob the store's Collectors Award for Most Collectable Author of the Year in 2004.

Robert J. Sawyer and Eric Greene, author of one of Rob's favorite nonfiction books, Planet of the Apes as American Myth

Carolyn Clink, Robert J. Sawyer, Laura Frankos, and Harry Turtledove

Laura and Harry had Carolyn and me over for Thanksgiving dinner -- yum!

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

My Dinner with Andre

Andre Bormanis, that is -- science consultant, script writer, and producer for various Star Trek series. Carolyn and I joined Andre and his lady Micha for a wonderful dinner tonight (at a great L.A. restaurant called "The Nook"). Andre and I became friends at the NASA Ames / SETI conference we both attended back in July.

Before dinner, we all watched Jeopardy! at Andre's place, since a friend of his (and former Trek writer) was a contestant tonight (and she won!).

Before that, Carolyn and I had gone to museums: first, the La Brea tar pits museum, then the Los Angeles Contemporary Museum of Art, to see a wonderful exhibition on Salvidor Dali's work for the movies in the 1940s and beyond -- really fascinating.

But, as they say on Star Trek, all good things must come to an end: tomorrow morning, Carolyn and I fly back to Toronto.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Monday, November 26, 2007

Los Angeles

LosCon 34 in Los Angeles was wonderful -- a really pleasant, really well-run convention. I particularly enjoyed spending time with David North Reynolds, the fan guest of honor -- an archaeologist who has worked with Lucasfilm, and who shares my passion for The Land of the Lost (from which the still above comes).

Another highlight: the wonderful Writers of the Future dinner Saturday night, with Larry Niven, Todd McCaffrey, Serena and Tim Powers, Laura Brodian Freas, Jerry Pournelle's son Alex, and others.

After the con ended last night, Carolyn and I headed off to a wonderful dinner party at the gorgeous Hollywood Hills home of producer Keri Selig and her husband, talent manager Keith Addis. Also on hand: my great buddy filmmaker Michael Lennick, screenwriter Robert Nelson Jacobs (who wrote Chocolat), actor Jeff Goldblum, and JPL scientist (and frequent movie science consultant) Rich Terrile. A truly terrific evening, with amazingly spirited discussions about global warming, SETI, politics, the future of artificial intelligence, the Mandelbrot set, the state of the film industry, and more.

Carolyn and I have one more day in Los Angeles, then it's back to Toronto.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The kind of note writers never get from editors

... but I did, today -- yay!
We love what you've done. It makes a lot of great points, and also manages to be a great read. I don't think we need to make any requests for changes.
The note was from Carol Toller of Report on Business Magazine, the glossy monthly magazine included with The Globe and Mail: Canada's National Newspaper, one of Canada's most prestigous (and highest-paying!) magazine markets.

And what, pray tell, is my little piece about? Sorry, you'll have to wait until the January 2008 issue to find out ... :)

Below: the current issue (not the one I'm in).

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

SciFi Wire on Rob's Science editorial

A nice little article by the terrific John Joseph Adams is here.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Holder Tonight

I'll be on the radio program Holder Tonight tonight (well, early Wednesday morning) at 1:00 a.m. Eastern time, talking about, among other things Robert J. Sawyer Books, the line I edit for Red Deer Press.

Holder Tonight is hosted by Peter Anthony Holder (above), and is heard in Montreal on CJAD 800 AM and Toronto on CFRB 1010 AM. It'll be a half-hour interview, and I'm sure both stations have Internet streaming feeds ...

(I, meanwhile, am in Los Angeles ...)

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Monday, November 19, 2007

Amazon introduces Kindle ebook reader

I got to play with one of the beta-test units a while ago, and immediately fell in love. Sadly, they're only available in the US right now -- can't wait for them to come to Canada!

The e-ink display is gorgeous, the ergonomics (especially the big page-changing buttons) are much better than the Sony eBook reader, the promise that new releases will be priced at $9.99 or less (as will all New York Times bestsellers), the inclusion of a decent dictionary for free, plus unlimited Wikipedia access all rock.

Yeah, at $399 it ain't cheap, but man, is it ever cool. Not only is this the best dedicated ebook reader I've ever seen, but the distribution method (for free via wireless connection to the Sprint network, at no cost to the end user), and the pricing model is the best I've seen to date.

For the curious, novels of mine available for the Kindle are Hominids, Humans, Hybrids, and a first as an ebook, End of an Era -- plus a couple of dozen of my short stories.

As many of you know, I've long been an ebook fan -- I own dedicated devices including the Franklin eBookMan, the RCA REB-1100, and the Fictionwise eBookwise-1150, plus several Palm OS devices. My trusty Sony Clie TH55 is going to stay my principal reader (because of its portability, magnificent screen, support of multiple formats, backlight, and more), but when the Kindle comes to Canada, I'm going to snap one up.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site



My former writing student Ed Willett -- he twice took my course at Banff -- does a weekly science column for the Regina Leader-Post and the CBC in Saskatchewan, and this week's column is inspired by my editorial on robot ethics in the current issue of the journal Science.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Kansas City Star Top Five SF/F Books of 2007

The Kansas City Star's Top Five SF&F Books of 2007 (alphabetically by author's last name):
  • The Guild of Xenolinguists, by Sheila Finch. Watch your language; ETs may be listening.

  • The Accidental Time Machine, by Joe Haldeman. A mans time machine moves in one direction forward.

  • Rollback, by Robert J. Sawyer. A procedure that should takes years off an elderly couples lives works for one.

  • Halting State, by Charles Stross. Virtual gaming can bring down economies.

  • Hapenny, by Jo Walton. A tale set in 1949 Britain warns theres a price for giving up freedoms.

The full list of the Year's Best in all categories is here.

In their full review back on April 22, 2007, The Kansas City Star said:
Oh, to be young again. It's an opportunity that 87-year-old Sarah Halifax and her husband, Don, get in award-winning author Robert J. Sawyer's Rollback. In the first two pages, Sawyer depicts the warmth of a couple married for 60 years, looking back on the past from the year 2048 including 2010, when Sarah received a plaque inscribed, "For Sarah Halifax Who Figured It Out." Sawyer's near-future speculative fiction reveals many advances in medicine and robotics. But it's the humanness of the closeness (and the distance) between Sarah and Don that makes Rollback an early candidate for sci-fi book of the year.
More about Rollback is here.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Saturday, November 17, 2007

"The Menagerie" on the big screen

Well, after thinking about it for five days, I've decided that the particular showing I saw at the Empire theatre in Mississauga of the classic two-part Star Trek episode "The Menagerie" was a disappointment. There's no way the theatre was using a true 1080p HD projector; my guess is that it was just VGA quality -- scan lines were clearly visible. More: the image wasn't bright enough; black objects (such as the uniform pants) were just solid black blotches, instead of showing details.

Now, yes, they technically didn't advertise this as an HD projection, but it was geared around the release of the first season of Star Trek on HD DVD. Apparently, some theaters -- Calgary was one it, seems -- did use true HD projectors, and those who saw the episodes projected thus were blown away. But the theater I saw it in didn't do that ... and, frankly, I feel ripped off, although Carolyn and I enjoyed the company of friends Chris Knight, Lee Amodeo, Lou Sytsma, and others at the showing ...

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site


I can't say I really enjoyed doing the Star Trek vs. Star Wars piece earlier this week, but I really loved the interview on Definitely Not the Opera I did on privacy. I just (Saturday afternoon) caught the Winnipeg CBC feed of it, but you can still get the Calgary or Vancouver feeds at a little after 2:00 p.m. local time, via the Internet here.

"Mountain" is Calgary, "Pacific" is Vancouver.

That's host Sook-Yin Lee, above.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Friday, November 16, 2007

Boston Globe interview

... is here, at least for the time being.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sawyer editorial in Science

So, earlier this week, in this blog post about the anthology of science-fiction stories that first appeared in the journal Nature, including one of my own, I wrote: "Now, if I could only find some way to also make an appearance in Science, the other big scientific journal, my life would be complete ... :)"

And indeed I now am in Science -- to my considerable delight! I was approached by the editors to write the Editorial for the current (16 November 2007) issue, which is a special issue on robotics.

(Yes, this is Science, the world's top scientific journal, published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.)

My editorial, on "Robot Ethics," deals with science fiction's attempts, and the present real-world follow ups, to come up with codes of rights and responsibilities for robots.

Interest has been huge: I just did six interviews for CBC Radio stations about this, and am about to do one live for the BBC, with another BBC one coming on Sunday morning.

Of course, one of the tie-ins for having me do this is the presence of a robot character -- Gunter -- in my latest novel, Rollback.

The editorial is available online (after an elaborate, but free, sign-up process) here (while the issue is still current), and permanently as a PDF from the journal, and and as a web page.

There's also a podcast version -- not the actual text of the Editorial, but a redaction for reading aloud.

In a year of lots of cool honors for me -- honorary doctorate, award from the Toronto Public Library, China's top SF award, Canada's top SF award -- this is one of the very coolest, and I am totally, totally thrilled.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Radio interview marathon

I'm doing separate radio interviews for the following CBC stations across Canada on the topic of robot ethics. Go to to listen in. All times are Eastern (Toronto/New York), and some might be recorded at these times but airing later this afternoon.

The topic? Robot Ethics.

Catherine Pigott - Producer
Norbert Poitras - Host

Dan Lessard - Producer & Host

Eva O'Hanley - Producer
Matt Rainnie - Host

Gerald Graham - Producer & Host
Heather McLeod - Producer & Host

Dave White - Producer
Russell Knutson - Host

Dan Kennedy - Producer
Barbara Peacock - Host

Sounds Like Canada

Well, the segment went much longer than I'd been told; I'd been told it would go ten minutes, and we recorded half an hour worth of material.

In the heat of it, I said that Star Wars never won a Hugo, which, of course, is wrong, and I apologize for that. :)

Anyway, the semgent is scheduled for tomorrow, although I'm not sure where in "Sounds Like Canada" it'll appear.

They only used one of the two clips I suggested -- the "Lord Garth" one, not the one about Uhura not taking offense at Lincoln's comment. That disappointed me, because I think it's the lesser clip -- but the Star Wars clip they used was just vapid, sadly (C-3PO introducing himself to Luke for the first time) -- nothing really to comment on, for either me, or my opponent in the debate.

The one area I agreed with my opponent on was the unfortuante militarism in Star Trek (although how one could portray Star WARS as a pacifist alternative eluded me); I hate the military aspect of Star Trek, and my Hugo and Nebula Award-nominated novel Starplex was my attempt to portray a Star Trek-like world without that angle.

Ironically, though, the quote that they played was one of the moments were Kirk decried that, too. My friend suggested Kirk had no character growth in Star Trek; I submit that his turning around from saying, in Season One, "I'm a soldier not a diplomat" (which my friend quoted) to saying admiringly in Season Three, of the organizers of a peace conference, "They were humanitarians and statesmen, and they had a dream that spread among the stars" does in fact show character growth -- Kirk having learned from (a) his dressing-down by the Organians (who accused him of being a war-monger) and (b) from his love for Edith Keeler (who was a pacifist).

(My opponent's point being that Luke Skywalker had enormous character growth, whereas the Trek characters remained static ... I'm not convinced of the former, and make at least a tentative case that the latter is untrue. Also, watching Spock mature as a commanding officer, and watching him become more comfortable with his human half, is character growth; I disagree with my friend that it makes no difference what order you watch Star Trek episodes in.)

Ultimately, though, a lot of it came down to debating the strenths of a 1960s episodic TV show versus a 1977 movie, in budget, ability to have character growth, and so on -- issues that have nothing to do with Star Trek or Star Wars in particular.

Anyway, give it a listen tomorrow.

Rob (at the CBC Broadcasting Centre in Toronto)

Upcoming Appearances

  • Guest of Honor
    Loscon 34
    Los Angeles, California
    November 23-25, 2007

  • Keynote Speaker at Dedication Ceremony
    The David J. Williams III Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Collection
    Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas
    Tuesday, December 4, 2007, at 2:30 p.m.
    Press Release

  • Panelist
    Ad Astra 2008
    Toronto, Ontario
    March 28-30, 2008

  • Panelist
    EerieCon 2008
    Niagara Falls, New York
    April 18-20, 2008

  • Panelist
    Keycon 25
    The 2008 Canadian National Science Fiction Convention
    Winnipeg, Manitoba
    May 16-19, 2008 (Friday through Monday, four days over the Canadian Victoria Day weekend)

  • Special Guest
    Comic-Con International: San Diego
    San Diego, California
    July 24-27, 2008

  • Panelist
    Denvention 3: The World Science Fiction Convention
    Denver, Colorado
    August 6-10, 2008

  • Panelist
    World Fantasy Convention 2008
    Calgary, Alberta
    October 30-November 3, 2008

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Star Trek vs. Star Wars on the CBC

Tomorrow morning, Friday, November 16, 2007, I'll be on CBC Radio One's flagship show Sounds Like Canada talking about Star Trek vs. Star Wars. I, of course, am a big advocate that Star Trek is the more significant work.

The producers have grabbed two sound clips from The Original Series of Trek at my request:
Clip 1: From "The Savage Curtain": (about 1/3 of the way into the episode):

UHURA: Excuse me, Captain Kirk.

KIRK: Yes, Lieutenant.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN: What a charming Negress -- oh, forgive me, my dear! I know in my time some used that term as a description of property.

UHURA: But why should I object to that term, sir? In our century, we've learned not to fear words.

KIRK: May I present our communications officer, Lieutenant Uhura?

ABRAHAM LINCOLN: The foolishness of my century had me apologizing where no offense was given.

UHURA: We've each learned to be delighted with what we are.


Clip 2: From "Whom Gods Destroy" (almost 1/2 way into the episode):

"LORD" GARTH (insane megalomaniac): Galaxies surround us, limitless vistas! And yet the Federation would have us grub away like some ants on some somewhat larger than usual anthill. But I am not an insect! I am Master of the Universe, and I must claim my domain.

KIRK: I agree there was a time when war was necessary, and you were our greatest warrior. I studied your victory at Axanar when I was a cadet. It's still required reading.

"LORD" GARTH: As well it should be.

KIRK: Very well. But my first visit to Axanar was as a new-fledged cadet on a peace mission.

"LORD" GARTH (contemptuous): Peace mission? Politicians and weaklings!

KIRK (stirringly): They were humanitarians and statesmen, and they had a dream -- a dream that became a reality and spread throughout the stars, a dream that made Mr. Spock and me brothers.

"LORD" GARTH (incensed, sneering): Mr. Spock, do you consider Captain Kirk and yourself brothers?

SPOCK (measured): Captain Kirk speaks somewhat figuratively, and with undue emotion. However, what he says is logical, and I do, in fact, agree with it.
Of course, Don Halifax, the main character in my latest novel, Rollback, is a huge Star Trek fan ...

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Sook-Yin drops by

The recording went fine this afternoon for my interview about the future of privacy for CBC Radio One's Definitely Not the Opera; the show will air on this Saturday, November 17, 2007.

Some of my thoughts on this issue first appeared in this deliberately provocative piece in Maclean's, Canada's weekly newsmagazine.

Pictured: Host Sook-Yin Lee and SF writer Robert J. Sawyer (and Afsan in the background ...)

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

SFScope: My Favorite News Site

Over the years, a lot of science-fiction news sites have appeared. I check all of them from time to time, but for many months now my favorite has been one that's fairly new on the scene: SFScope, edited by Ian Randal Strock, formerly of Analog, and also associated with Science Fiction Chronicle and Artemis.

Why do I like this one so much?

1) It is updated very frequently -- much more so than its competitors these days

2) It liberally includes links to the original sources, something some of its competitors don't do enough of

3) It updates stories -- and consolidates those updates regularly, so you can easily find them, again, something most of the competition never bothers to do.

4) It's got a clean, simple, easy-to-read layout. 'Nuff said. :)

SFScope is the only SF&F news site I check every day now.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Amazon's definition of "Best"

Well, has weighed in with its list of "Best Books of 2007." Here's the list for Science Fiction and Fantasy. See the starburst that says "Best of 2007" and the banner that says "Best Books of 2007"?

Ah, but what does the descriptive text say? "Here are the topselling science fiction and fantasy books on during 2007. (Ranked according to customer orders through October. Only books published for the first time in 2007 are eligible.)"

Yup, that's right: has at last dispensed with any distinction between qualitative and quantitative "best." The #1 best SF&F book of the year is, perforce, the #1 bestselling SF&F book of the year (Tolkien's The Children of Hurin, Amazon claims, which, incidentally, is a lie; the latest Harry Potter way outsold that, even at Amazon).

Ah, well. Nice to know that we have a simple, mathematical definition of "best" now. Makes life so much easier ...

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Definitely Not the Opera

I'll be interviewed about the future of privacy this Saturday, November 17, at 1:00 p.m. on CBC Radio One's Definitely Not the Opera, hosted by Sook-Yin Lee (who's dropping by my home tomorrow to record the interview, and -- I kid you not -- look through my trash).

Above: Sook-Yin, as she recently appeared in Toronto Life magazine

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Monday, November 12, 2007

ZtreeWin: Best Windows File Manager Ever

Check out ZTreeWin -- a modern implementation of the legendary XTree DOS file manager, but for Windows. So much more powerful, and so much less awkward, than Windows Explorer. One of my all time favorite apps.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Futures from NATURE

Tomorrow -- Tuesday, November 13, 2007 -- Tor Books releases Futures from NATURE, edited by Henry Gee, an anthology of 100 short-short science-fiction stories first published in Nature: International Weekly Journal of Science.

The anthology contains my story "The Abdication of Pope Mary III" (which first appeared in Nature's 6-12 July 2000 issue).

In its starred review of the anthology, denoting a work of exceptional merit, Publishers Weekly singles out only four of the 100 stories (in alphabetical order by author's last name, the sequence in which they appear in the book):
A sampling of the treasures illustrates their remarkable range: Gregory Benford's poignant "A Life with a Semisent" explores the human need for love; Paul McCauley's "Meat" tackles the nasty human trick of twisting technology to immoral purposes; Robert Sawyer faces religion with the gobsmacking "Abdication of Pope Mary III"; and Ian Watson lets fly with his hilarious "Nadia's Nectar," one of the best bathroom tales around.
Now, if I could only find some way to also make an appearance in Science, the other big scientific journal, my life would be complete ... :)

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Friday, November 9, 2007

Brandon, Manitoba

I've been in Brandon, Manitoba (not to be confused with Benson, Arizon) the last couple of days.

Yesterday, I gave the keynote address to the Manitoba Public Libraries annual meeting -- a spirited hour and fifteen minutes, with Q&A, about the future of libraries. I was quite provactive, and the librarians really seemed to enjoy it.

Both Fitzhenry & Whiteside and H.B. Fenn donated books: every table got a Robert J. Sawyer Books title, and Fenn donated a prize package of every book of mine they had in print. Plus the wholesale division of McNally Robinson was on hand, offering a show special 30% discount on copies of books by me, and books edited by me -- sweet!

And in the evening, I gave the kick-off reading at WordsAlive, the first-even Brandon book festival. The reading space was great, with wonderful accoustics, and the local TV station was on hand, recording my reading (from Rollback, natch). All in all, a terrific trip!

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Separated at birth?

You decide!

Scott Edelman's photo of artist Alan M. Clark and author Robert J. Sawyer from the 2007 World Fantasy Convention.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Another Odyssey podcast

There's a new podcast of me teaching at Odyssey, the wonderful SF&F workshop run by Jeanne Cavelos. Podcast #9 there is the new one, on whether your SF element in your story is extraneous; the previous one, Podcast #4, is still there: me talking about point-of-view. Check 'em out!

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Canadian bestsellers at Bakka-Phoenix

Canadians dominate the current bestsellers list at Bakka-Phoenix, Toronto's SF speciality store, including my essay collection back on the hardcover list at #4! See here.

The Canadian Encyclopedia on RJS

Stumbled on the fact today that The Canadian Encyclopedia now has an article on Robert J. Sawyer.

That's kinda cool, 'cause years ago, I wrote the entry on science fiction for The Canadian Encyclopedia; it's nice now to be worthy of my own entry. :)

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

RJS Books Table at WFC

Here's a photograph from the Robert J. Sawyer Books table at the 2007 World Fantasy Convention in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Left to right: Stephanie Stewart, the US Marketing Manager for Fitzhenry & Whiteside, the company that publishes my imprint; Robert J. Sawyer, editor; and Matthew Hughes, author of our latest release, The Commons.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Monday, November 5, 2007

The Spiritual Brain

Hot on the heels of finding myself quoted in the bestselling The 4-Hour Workweek, I find that I'm also quoted and referred to four times in the new nonfiction book The Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist's Case for the Existence of the Soul, by Mario Beauregard, Ph.D., and Denyse O'Leary, a new hardcover from HarperOne. Cool!

More on the book is here.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Exploring "Uncommon Ground" on religious TV

I'll be interviewed for a full hour on Canadian television this coming Saturday, November 10. I'll be on CTS (yes, that's Crossroads Television System, a Christian broadcaster) on the program "Uncommon Ground." The theme is the role of women in my novels, and the host is:
Dr. Rachael Turkienicz, a leading Jewish voice in bringing Torah concepts to modern issues, is the producer/host of a new 13-part series on women and spirituality, Uncommon Ground. As a daughter of the Torah, Rachael brings her academic credentials, a doctorate in Talmud and Midrash from Brandeis University, to the varied themes of the one-hour programs.
The program was recorded 12 days ago (sadly, when I had a sore throat), and Rachael's questions are very provocative.

The program airs on at 10:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 10, 2007, across Canada. On Rogers Cable (Greater Toronto), it's on Channel 9.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Sunday, November 4, 2007

World Fantasy Convention

I'm on my way home from the World Fantasy Convention in Saratoga Springs, New York, chaired by my great friend Joe Berlant. Carolyn and I had a fabulous time. Everybody was thrilled with the poetry slam Carolyn ran Thursday night, and I think I acquitted myself adequately on my two panels (which is actually a lot for a World Fantasy Convention; usually, panelists only get one programming event).

For the first time ever, Robert J. Sawyer Books -- the science-fiction imprint I edit for Canadian publisher Fitzhenry & Whiteside -- had a table in an convention dealers' room. Our table was staffed throughout the conference by the vivacious Stephanie Stewart, the US marketing director for Fitz and Whits. The convention was packed -- 1,150 people -- and I had a great time chatting with all sorts of great people, including Doctor Who scriptwriter Paul Cornell, Pyr Books editor Lou Anders, my new Ace editor Ginjer Buchanan and her husband John Douglas, and many writer buddies including Nick DiChario, Rick Wilber, Karina Sumner-Smith, Mark Rich, Nancy Kress; and oodles more.

The highlight for me, though, was the book-launch party we held Saturday night for Matthew Hughes's novel The Commons, the latest book under my RJS Books imprint. As it happened, Carolyn and I were given a giant suite (at no extra charge!), so we had the party in our room, instead of Stephanie's. We were competing with the Tor party, which was packed wall-to-wall -- but ours was always pleasantly busy without ever being uncomfortably crowded. Among the notables who spent considerable time at our party were Asimov's editor Sheila Williams; Asimov's book reviewer (and my former Ace editor) Peter Heck; SFWA Executive Director Jane Jewell; Japanese artist Hikaru Tanaka; and a posse of Writers of the Future winners past and present.

Friday dinner was with Ian Randal Strock of SF Scope, a terrific news site; Saturday lunch was with Aurora finalist John Mierau and my writing student Mark Ladouceur.

Nick DiChario and Bev Geddes stumbled on a fabulous restaurant named Sperry's near the convention center that for some reason wasn't listed in the otherwise-comprehensive convention restaurant guide -- and so wasn't packed. We had a group of 10 for dinner Friday night, and 13 on Saturday night -- and had great service, and it was quiet enough that everyone could hear each other.

I'll get home tonight (there's a two-hour back-up at the Canadian border station, so we're taking a break for dinner and to visit a Barnes and Noble). But I won't be home for long. Wednesday, I leave for Brandon, Manitoba; I'm giving a keynote at the Manitoba Public Libraries conference there, and appearing at the new Brandon writers' festival. Other trips coming up in the next month: Calgary, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Victoria, and Kansas. Whew!

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site