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

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An Introduction

Robert J. Sawyer

Copyright © 1997, 2009 by Robert J. Sawyer
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JUMP TO: [Aurora] [Arthur Ellis] [Campbell Memorial] [Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire] [Homer] [Hugo] [Nebula] [SFC Reader Award] [Premio UPC] [Seiun]

Aurora Award

The Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Awards ("the Auroras") have been given annually since 1980.

Each year, nominating and voting ballots are distributed through Canadian bookstores, with copies of Canadian SF magazines, to members of writers' groups, and at SF conventions.

Any Canadian resident may nominate and vote for the best Canadian-authored works of the year in both English and French. The Auroras are presented at the Canadian National Science Fiction Convention.

Robert J. Sawyer has won ten Aurora Awards — more than any other English-Canadian author. He won the 1992 Aurora for Best English Novel (for Golden Fleece), the 1995 Aurora for Best English Short Story (for "You See But You Do Not Observe,"), the 1996 Aurora for Best English Novel (for The Terminal Experiment), both the 1997 Aurora for Best English Novel (for Starplex) and Best English Short Story (for "Peking Man"), both the 2000 Aurora for Best English Novel (for FlashForward) and Best English Short Story (for "Stream of Consciousness"), the 2002 Aurora for Best English Short Story (for "Ineluctable"), the 2007 Aurora for Best English Short Story (for "Biding Time"), and a 2005 Aurora for his essay collection Relativity. In addition, he's received 28 other Aurora Award nominations.

John W. Campbell Memorial Award

The John W. Campbell Memorial Award is the most-significant juried award in the science-fiction field, and the only major award for which only science fiction (and not fantasy) is eligible. It is given annually to the author of the best novel of the year in honor of the late John W. Campbell, often considered the father of modern science fiction; Campbell edited Astounding Stories (later renamed Analog) from 1937 until his death in 1971.

Robert J. Sawyer's Mindscan won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Novel of 2006. Rob's novels Rollback, Calculating God, and Hominids were also Campbell Memorial finalists.

Arthur Ellis Award

The Arthur Ellis Awards are juried awards given each year since 1983 by the Crime Writers of Canada, a professional association of mystery-fiction and true-crime writers. The Arthur is considered one of Canada's most prestigious literary awards.

"Arthur Ellis" was the pseudonym used by Canada's last official hangman, before Canada abolished capital punishment in 1976. The award trophy is extremely unusual: it features an articulated wooden figure of a man, hanging from a brass noose. When a cord is pulled, the poor fellow does death spasms . . .

Robert J. Sawyer's "Just Like Old Times," about a time-traveling serial killer, won the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Short Story of 1993. Rob's novel Illegal Alien and his short story "The Hand You're Dealt" were both nominated for Arthur Ellis Awards, as well.

Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire

Le Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire ("The Grand Prize of Imaginative Fiction") is the most prestigious SF award in France. It has been given annually since 1974 for French-language fiction, and for foreign fiction that has been translated into French.

Before 1992, the award was known as Le Grand Prix de la Science-Fiction Française; in that year, it merged with another French SF award, Le Prix Apollo, and the combined award was renamed. Le Grand Prix is a juried award; the jury members are major French critics, authors, and booksellers. The winners are announced each November in Paris.

Robert J. Sawyer won the 1996 Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire in the category Nouvelle étrangère (Best Foreign Short Story) for "You See But You Do Not Observe." It was the first win ever for an English-Canadian author.

Homer Award

The Homer Awards were founded in 1991 by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature Forum on the CompuServe Information Service, the world's oldest commercial computer network. In CompuServe's early days, the SF&F Forum was also known as "Home and Hobby Forum Number 9," and the command to select it was "HOM-9." Ever since, members of the Forum have referred to themselves as "Homers." The award's name recalls this while also honoring the ancient Greek epic poet.

All Forum members are invited to nominate for and vote on the Homer Awards. Since the inception of the awards, the Forum's membership has fluctuated between 18,000 and 40,000 people. Even the lower figure gives the Homers the largest potential voting pool of any SF award in the world.

The winners are announced online in May and are reported in the two trade journals of the SF field, Locus and Science Fiction Chronicle.

Each Homer winner receives a distinctive certificate, with the name of the author and the title of the winning work done in calligraphy.

Robert J. Sawyer has won the Best Novel Homer Award six times: in 1993 for Far-Seer, in 1994 for Fossil Hunter, in 1995 for End of an Era, in 1996 for The Terminal Experiment, in 1997 for Starplex, and in 2001 for Calculating God. In addition, Sawyer's "You See But You Do Not Observe" won the Homer Award for Best Short Story of 1995 and his "Above It All" won the Homer Award for Best Short Story of 1996.

Hugo Award

The Hugo Award is SF's international "People's choice" award. Every member of the current year's or previous year's World Science Fiction Convention ("Worldcon") is eligible to nominate up to five works in each of several categories, including Best Novel, Best Novella, Best Novelette, and and Best Short Story. The five most-nominated works in each category compose the Final Ballot, which is voted on by the 5,000 or so members of the current Worldcon to determine the winners. The Hugos are named after Hugo Gernsback, who founded the world's first SF magazine, Amazing Stories, in 1926.

Different cities bid to hold each year's World SF Convention. Recent and upcoming Worldcons include Winnipeg (1994), Glasgow (1995), Baltimore (1998), and Melbourne (1999).

In addition to the winners and finalists, each year the Hugo Award administrators also release a list of "Honorable Mentions," acknowledging those works that didn't make it to the final ballot but were listed on at least five percent of all nominating ballots cast.

Robert J. Sawyer won the Hugo Award for Best Novel of the Year in 2003, and has been nominated seven other times in the Best Novel category: in 1996 for The Terminal Experiment, in 1997 for Starplex, in 1998 for Frameshift, in 1999 for Factoring Humanity, in 2001 for Calculating God, in 2004 for Humans, and in 2008 for Rollback. In addition, his short story "The Hand You're Dealt" was a 1998 finalist, his short story "Shed Skin" was a 2005 finalist, and his novella "Identity Theft" was a 2006 finalist.

Sawyer has also received Hugo Award Honorable Mentions for his novels Far-Seer (1993), Foreigner (1995), End of an Era (1995), and FlashForward (2000), and for his short story "You See But You Do Not Observe" (1996). End of an Era was the eighth most-nominated novel in its year; "You See But You Do Not Observe" was the seventh most-nominated short story in its year; and FlashForward was the sixth most-nominated novel in its year.

Nebula Award

The Nebula is the "Academy Award" of Science Fiction, voted on by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

There are 900 active SFWA members in 23 countries. All of them may participate in the three-part process of choosing the Nebula winner. First, members submit signed recommendations for other writers' works. These are published six times each year in SFWA's Nebula Awards Report. All works receiving ten or more recommendations go on to the Preliminary Nebula Award Ballot.

Each SFWA member may vote for up to five works on the Preliminary Ballot. The five with the most votes go on to the Final Ballot.

All 900 members vote again on this ballot — and the work receiving the most votes becomes the winner.

The Nebula Awards were established in 1965. The award trophy is a Lucite block with polished stone planets and a galaxy of glitter embedded in it. Past winners include Isaac Asimov's The Gods Themselves, Arthur C. Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama, Frank Herbert's Dune, and Ursula K. Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness.

Robert J. Sawyer's The Terminal Experiment won the Nebula Award for Best Novel of 1995. Prior to it, the most Nebula recommendations any work had ever received was 27; The Terminal Experiment broke SFWA's database when it exceeded 40 recommendations. Sawyer's novel Starplex and his novella "Identity Theft" were also Nebula finalists, and his novels Golden Fleece, Far-Seer, Fossil Hunter, Foreigner, End of an Era, Frameshift, Factoring Humanity, FlashForward, Calculating God, Hominids, Humans, and Rollback, and the short story "Shed Skin" all made it to the Preliminary Nebula Award Ballot.

Premio UPC de Ciencia Ficción

This is the world's largest cash prize for science-fiction writing, valued at six thousand euro (US$8,000 or CDN$10,000). It has been presented annually since 1990 by the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain, for the best previously unpublished novella (25,000 to 40,000 words) in English, French, Spanish, or Catalan.

The winner is picked by a five-person jury. Manuscripts are judged blindly; neither the authors' names nor their places of residence are known to the jury while it is deliberating. Critic Brian Aldiss calls the Premio UPC "the most prestigious science-fiction award in all of Europe."

Robert J. Sawyer won the 2004 Premio UPC de Ciencia Ficción for his novella "Identity Theft." He won the 1998 for a shortened versio of his novel FlashForward. And in 1997, he and James Stevens-Arce tied for fist place; Sawyer's winning entry was a shortened version of his forthcoming novel Factoring Humanity. The previous year, in 1996, Sawyer won second place — and a 250,000-peseta prize — for a shortened version of his novel Frameshift.

Science Fiction Chronicle Reader Award

Given annually since 1981 by a vote of the readers of Science Fiction Chronicle: The Science Fiction & Fantasy Newsmagazine, published in New York.

Robert J. Sawyer won the 1998 Science Fiction Chronicle Reader Award for Best Short Story of the Year for "The Hand You're Dealt."

Seiun Award

The Seiun Award is Japan's highest honor in SF. It has been given each year since 1980. Attendees of the annual Japanese national SF convention — held in late August — nominate and vote to determine the winners. Awards are given for Japanese and foreign novels and short stories. "Seiun" is the Japanese word for "nebula."

Robert J. Sawyer won the 1996 Seiun Award for Best Foreign Novel of the Year for End of an Era, which was published in Japan as Sayonara Dainosaurusu. He won the 2001 Seiun Award for Best Foreign Novel of the Year for Frameshift. And he won the 2003 Seiun Award for Best Foreign Novel of the Year for Illegal Alien.

More Good Reading

Backgrounder: Robert J. Sawyer
Rob's Awards and Honors
Award-Winning Canadian SF
Rob's essay on winning the Nebula Award
Rob's essay on winning the UPC Award
Entry on Rob in Canadian Who's Who

My Very Occasional Newsletter

About Rob
Book Clubs
Press Kit
How to Write
Email Rob
Canadian SF



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