Robert J. Sawyer

Hugo and Nebula Award-Winning Science Fiction Writer

Archive for September, 2006

Writer in Residence

Saturday, September 30th, 2006

I’ve just finished my first appointment with a patron at the Kitchener Public Library, in Ontario, where I’m the 10th annual Edna Staebler Writer in Residence until the end of November. The appointment went well, and the patron seemed very pleased. But since we both arrived early, I’ve got some free time before my next […]

Chicago Manual of Style online and CD-ROM

Thursday, September 28th, 2006

For decades, The Chicago Manual of Style has been the arbiter of how text is presented on the published page. Finally, there’s an online version (by subscription — US$25 a year if you sign up before the end of the month, US$30 a year after that) and a CD-ROM version, which, I’ll note, is much […]

On serials

Thursday, September 28th, 2006

My new novel Rollback is currently being serialized in Analog. By coincidence, today I ran across this transcript of an online chat I participated in back in 2003 about serialized novels, conducted by Gardner Dozois; also participating are my buddies Allen Steele and Rajnar Vajra. It still makes good reading.

Science fiction and astronomy

Thursday, September 28th, 2006

Exploring strange new worlds happens as often at a writer’s keyboard as it does at an astronomer’s eyepiece. Join us for a discussion of astronomy in science fiction. Author Robert J. Sawyer discusses how astronomy and science fiction influence each other Wednesday, October 4, 2006, at 7:30 p.m. (Free). Ontario Science Centre, 770 Don Mills […]

Back from Banff

Wednesday, September 27th, 2006

From Sunday, September 17, until Saturday, September 23, 2006, I was teaching science fiction and fantasy writing at the Banff Centre, in Banff, Alberta, as one of four streams in the “Writing with Style” program there. As always, I had a truly fabulous time — Banff is gorgeous (a ski-resort town inside a national park […]

Monday Spotlight: My Star Trek novel

Tuesday, September 26th, 2006

Star Trek is 40 years old this month! In honor of that, this week’s Monday Spotlight — highlighting one of the 500+ documents on my website at — is my aborted Star Trek novel Armada, begun in 1984 (when Star Trek was just 18 years old … and I was just 24!). The sample […]

Frankenstein vs. The Flying Squirrels

Thursday, September 21st, 2006

That’s the title of a poem by my brother-in-law, David Livingstone Clink, in the October-November 2006 issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction, on sale now.

I’m a busy man, folks …

Tuesday, September 19th, 2006

So far this month, I’ve been asked to: * judge a contest — results needed the following week * write a newspaper piece about the 40th anniversary of STAR TREK — deadline two days later * write up answers to questions posed by a foreign publisher for an interview to coincide with the release of […]

Monday Spotlight: Cover Letters and SASEs

Sunday, September 17th, 2006

Well, the SF-publishing-related portion of the blogosphere is abuzz with the sad story of an author who decided to try a grass-roots campaign to get readers to email the Tor editor to which she’d made her novel submission, encouraging that editor (a very nice person) to buy her book. This, of course, was a very, […]

I’m done with Rollback

Friday, September 15th, 2006

Yes, I know, you thought I was done ages ago, when I finished final revisions on the manuscript. But there are many stages in bringing a book to market, and, for the author, the last one is going over the page proofs (advance printouts of the typesetting). Today, I finished going over those pages, looking […]

Calgary barbecue cancelled

Friday, September 15th, 2006

The barbecue I discussed here has been cancelled, because the Saturday Calgary weather looks crappy. Says 2008 World Fantasy Convention chair Randy McCharles: Winter has come early.Well, at least fall has. Mother Nature has chosen our BBQ weekend to have unseasonably cold weather. I’ve been watching the forecast all week and it has been getting […]

Quill and Quire on promoting books

Friday, September 15th, 2006

Derek Weiler’s editorial in the October issue of Quill & Quire, the Canadian publishing trade journal, is about the importance of authors taking a hand in the promotion of their own books, and it makes kind mention of yours truly: If you’re an author, doing what you can may involve courting the media or networking […]

Traveling man …

Thursday, September 14th, 2006

Over the next six weeks — between now and the end of October 2006 — I have to take these flight: Toronto to CalgaryCalgary to TorontoToronto to VancouverCalgary to ReginaRegina to MontrealMontreal to TorontoToronto to VancouverVancouver to CalgaryCalgary to DenverDenver to Toronto Gak! It’s a good thing I’m very good at getting writing done on […]

Neanderthals and Gliksins met

Wednesday, September 13th, 2006

See this posting over at If you don’t know what Gliksins are, you haven’t read enough Rob Sawyer … ;)

All the boys love Mandy Lane …

Wednesday, September 13th, 2006

… and so do I. All The Boys Love Mandy Lane had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival this week. Executive Producer is Keith Calder, who, as Variety reported, has optioned film rights to my Hugo-, Nebula-, and Aurora-Award-nominated novella “Identity Theft.” Carolyn and I didn’t go to the first screening at […]

We, not Neanderthals, are the oddballs

Tuesday, September 12th, 2006

A press release from Washington University in St. Louis: Modern humans, not Neandertals, may be evolution’s ‘odd man out’ Looking incorrectly at Neandertals Could it be that in the great evolutionary “family tree,” it is we Modern Humans, not the brow-ridged, large-nosed Neandertals, who are the odd uncle out? New research published in the August, […]

Monday Spotlight: Press Kit

Monday, September 11th, 2006

This week’s Monday Spotlight, highlighting one of the 500+ documents on my website at, is my Press Kit. Every published author should have a page like this one that gathers together the various bits of background that reporters and other media-types need when doing an interview with you. It’s a lot easier than trying […]

Sorry, I can’t critique your manuscript

Monday, September 11th, 2006

I get asked all the time if I’ll look at people’s manuscripts and offer an opinion. Another such request just showed up in my email box. Here’s what I had to say: I’m afraid the answer is no, for a couple of reasons. First, because my lawyer has advised me not to read unpublished manuscripts, […]

Favorite Star Trek episode

Monday, September 11th, 2006

During this week of the 40th anniversary of Star Trek, I’ve thinking about which one of the classic 79 episodes is my favorite. My choice has shifted over the years; the pacifist in me has long loved “Errand of Mercy” (with the Organians, and John Collicos as the first Klingon, Kor). But I actually think […]

Site devoted to Star Trek communicators

Sunday, September 10th, 2006

As anyone who has been to my home and seen my small collection of replicas knows, I love the props from the classic Star Trek series — and now there’s a fabulous new site devoted to the communicators from that series, discussing in minute detail the differences between each of the ten communicator props originally […]

AdSense ads removed

Friday, September 8th, 2006

I couldn’t take seeing ads for PublishAmerica and other outfits I’d never in my life recommend showing up on my blog, so, as of this evening, the Google AdSense ads are gone from here. I’m very interested in the issue of monetizing a writing career in the decades to come. If it ceases to be […]

Tesseracts 11 now open

Friday, September 8th, 2006

Carolyn Clink and I edited Tesseracts 6 … and now Tesseracts 11 is open: TESSERACTS ELEVENFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: Tesseracts Eleven, the 2007 volume in the award-winning anthology of Canadian Speculative Fiction, is now open for submissions. Editors for Tesseracts Eleven are: Cory Doctorow and Holly Phillips. The Tesseracts anthology series is open […]

National Geographic online and SETI

Friday, September 8th, 2006

I’m quoted extensively (but not till page two) in this article about SETI, over at National Geographic‘s website. Analog editor Stanley Schmidt is also quoted; the article is by Richard A. Lovett.

Rules for email

Friday, September 8th, 2006

Folks, I’m just saying, don’t start your email subject lines with “TOP SECRET!!!!” It looks like spam. I just missed out on the surprise 50th birthday party for my great friend Mark Askwith from Space: The Imagination Station because I didn’t get the email invitation. The invitation went out while I was at Worldcon, and […]

Lloyd Penney’s LiveJournal

Friday, September 8th, 2006

Well, it’s nice to know people actually read my blog! I screwed up in the original version of this earlier blog post, and gave the wrong link for Lloyd Penney’s LiveJournal, where you can read all his many wonderful letters of comment to SF fanzines. The correct link is Sorry, Lloyd!

LiveJournals you should know about

Friday, September 8th, 2006

First up, there’s my great friend Lloyd Penney (above), one of the most prolific letterhacks in science-fiction fandom. He’s come thisclose to making the Hugo ballot for best fan writer several times and has won an Aurora Award. I suggested he start a LiveJournal so that all his LoCs (letters of comment) that normally appear […] on Mindscan

Friday, September 8th, 2006

This was drawn to my attention this evening: a nice review of my Mindscan at Blogcritics. org.

Cash flow …

Thursday, September 7th, 2006

A life lesson for wannabe writers: it pays to have money in the bank. Because you know that check you’re expecting? Money you’re owed for work you’ve done? It can take an awfully long time to show up. My editor at Tor accepted the final revisions on Rollback on Thursday, April 27. That act — […]

I guess people read Variety …

Thursday, September 7th, 2006

Just got a congratulatory email from my friends Garfield and Judith Reeves-Stevens, who saw the Variety piece about my deal with Snoot Entertainment for “Identity Theft,” and I see it’s also written up here and here.

Why I edit books …

Wednesday, September 6th, 2006

So, I sometimes get asked why I bother editing my own little line of books. After all, it’s often frustrating, it’s time-consuming, the pay is miniscule, and on and on. But the answer is obvious to me when one of the new books arrives hot off the press. Today, I got my first copies of […]