Robert J. Sawyer

Hugo and Nebula Award-Winning Science Fiction Writer

Archive for December, 2006

Writing about the future

Sunday, December 31st, 2006

Hey, all you newsmagazines and other media outlets that did their “2006-in-review” news coverage earlier this month: Don’t you think that the execution of Saddam Hussein was one of the top news stories of 2006? Yeah, well, people looking back at your coverage would never know it. A polite request: leave writing about the future […]

CBC’s The Hour features Robert J. Sawyer and Karl Schroeder

Saturday, December 30th, 2006

CBC Television’s The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulous, which airs at 11:00 p.m. local time coast-to-coast in Canada, is doing a three-part series on the future to kick off the new year. The three segments will air Tuesday, January 2; Wednesday, January 3; and Thursday, January 4. Each segment features a different theme, and a different […]

Robby the Robot guest stars on Stacked

Saturday, December 30th, 2006

How can you not love this show? The episode I watched today, “Gavin’s Pipe Dream,” includes an appearance near the end by Robby the Robot (an absolutely spot-on perfect recreation of the robot from Forbidden Planet). It also has a funny bit in which Christopher Lloyd’s ex-NASA-scientist, who never throws out anything that’s still good […]

Copyright and the Web

Saturday, December 30th, 2006

My friend Kirstin Morrell drew this fascinating article entitled “How the anti-copyright lobby makes big business richer,” from The Register, to my attention. In general, it’s about how the web has been demolishing the ability of creative people to make a living; in particular, it’s a photojournalist’s perspective on that. In light of all the […]

The God Delusion: my pick for Book of the Year

Saturday, December 30th, 2006

In today’s edition of The Globe and Mail: Canada’s National Newspaper, the books section is devoted to “Books of the Year.” Among the 38 people The Globe asked to discuss their picks are yours truly, plus Jane Urquhart, Freeman Dyson, Jack Whyte, Emily Pohl-Weary (Judith Merril and Fred Pohl’s daughter), and Ronald Wright — plus […]

Some things I got for Christmas

Thursday, December 28th, 2006

It was a nice Christmas this year. It was Carolyn and my turn to host the Sawyer family get-together. Among the goodies I found under the tree: * The first new series of Doctor Who on DVD * The second season of The Simpsons on DVD * The book The Trouble with Physics by my […]

Cash Flow, Part 2

Thursday, December 28th, 2006

Following up on this earlier blog entry of mine about cash flow, I note for the record that I received today my “on publication” portion of the advance for Boarding the Enterprise, the Star Trek essay collection I edited with David Gerrold for BenBella Books. Publication date was August 1, 2006; today was December 27, […]


Wednesday, December 27th, 2006

I’ve watched three episodes now of Stacked, the short-lived Fox sitcom starring Pamela Anderson as an unlikely bookstore clerk, and, you know what? It’s charming, funny, cute, clever, and intelligent. The show’s characters include a failed novelist, and a physics professor (played by Taxi‘s Christopher Lloyd), and the setting is a lovely little independent bookshop. […]

Seminars in Canada on writing as a profession

Sunday, December 24th, 2006

I’ve been a member of the The Writers’ Union of Canada for 16 years now. I’ve got nothing to do with the one-day seminars they’re putting on across Canada entitled “Writing as a Profession: How to Get Published and Survive as an Author: Professional Development Workshops for Writers in All Phases of Their Careers,” but, […]

What the gfuck?

Sunday, December 24th, 2006

Here’s the word-verification screen that Blogger offered me this morning. Gee, thanks!  

Bringing my RCA REB1100 back to life

Saturday, December 23rd, 2006

My RCA REB1100 (REB-1100, REB 1100) eBook reading device succumbed yesterday to the dreaded grid of death: a condition in which the internal flash ROM is corrupted, and the device won’t do anything. After googling around, and an hour or two of trial-and-error on my own, I managed to get the device working again, including […]

A letter I got today about literary agents

Friday, December 22nd, 2006

Just received the following email, with the subject line “My Friend is an excellent Science Fiction, Military, And “What If” Writer.” Dear Mr. Sawyer, I have a Writer Friend who has a great imagination and is an excellent Writer! We met at our Writer’s group and are “Writer Friends.” Do you know of an agent […]

The bottom of Taylor’s starship revealed (Planet of the Apes)

Friday, December 22nd, 2006

There’s a lot of discussion in Planet of the Apes fandom about what the back end of Colonel Taylor’s ANSA spaceship looked like. The ship is only ever seen partially submerged in water in the film (at Lake Powell), so the details of the rear end have been left mostly to the imagination. William Creber, […]

Eight Things New Writers Need to Know

Thursday, December 21st, 2006

Not sure how long it’ll be available on-line but the latest electronic newsletter from Writers of the Future contains my essay “Eight Things New Writers Need to Know,” reprinted from the latest volume in the long-running series. I’m a judge for the contest, and I do recommend beginning writers enter it.

A very nice blog entry …

Thursday, December 21st, 2006

… about a Japanese reader’s visit with me. It’s a meeting I fondly remember, and I’m delighted it meant so much to him, too. You can read what he had to say here. (And thanks to the friend who drew this to my attention!) 

To Serve All My Days

Thursday, December 21st, 2006

So, on Saturday night, Kirstin, Carolyn, and I watched To Serve All My Days, the new fan-produced Star Trek classic episode from New Voyages. The previous episode done by this group — In Harm’s Way, with guest star William Windom — was brilliant, with an amazingly clever and interesting script. And this new episode had […]

Kirstin and Rob’s Excellent Adventure

Thursday, December 21st, 2006

Last Saturday, Kirstin Morrell was in town from Calgary. She’s the managing editor of Red Deer Press, the company that publishes my Robert J. Sawyer Books imprint. I took her on a whirlwind tour of Toronto’s sites, with an emphasis on those of interest to an SF fan (which Kirstin most assuredly is: she’s also […]

Sideshow Collectibles’ Planet of the Apes figures

Wednesday, December 20th, 2006

I love the Planet of the Apes apes figures in this 12-inch series from Sideshow Collectibles (I’m not keen on the human figures, though — to me, they look nothing like Charlton Heston and the rest, suggesting that Sideshow didn’t have rights to their likenesses). But the apes are excellent, particularly the Zira and Cornelius […]

Marcel dedicates book to Rob and Carolyn

Wednesday, December 20th, 2006

The biggest honour a writer can pay to another human being is to dedicate a book to him or her. I have been touched and deeply moved to have books dedicated to me before by Edo van Belkom, James Alan Gardner, and Mike Resnick. And I can tell you now from experience that the thrill […]

Hugo Winners party

Monday, December 18th, 2006

I’ve had an insanely busy — but very pleasant — last couple of weeks. The highlight was this past Friday night, December 15. Carolyn and I hosted a party in honor of two of this year’s Hugo Award winners: my editor David G. Hartwell, who won for Best Editor, and my great friend Robert Charles […]

Rob on CBC Radio this afternoon

Monday, December 18th, 2006

I’m doing another marathon of interviews for CBC Radio stations coast to coast today. This time, it’s about the future of the Web — perfect for my upcoming WWW trilogy. The news hook is Time magazine having named “You” (all us bloggers, YouTubers, MySpacers, and so on) as its “Persons of the Year.” I’ll be […]

Calculating God one of Canada’s all-time best books

Thursday, December 14th, 2006

The Canadian bookselling chain Chapters / Indigo / Coles asked 150,000 members of its iRewards loyalty program to pick the top 100 Canadian-authored books of all time. Only one book published as science fiction made the list: my Calculating God, coming in at number 79. You can see the whole list here (I’m on page […]

Unveiling the ROLLBACK Cover

Thursday, December 14th, 2006

I’m very pleased with this cover for the hardcover of Rollback, which will be published by Tor in April 2007. There’s actually a lot of detail in the dark background; if you can’t see it, turn the brightness and contrast up on your monitor. Click on the small version above for a bigger version; note […]

Calgary trip a success

Monday, December 11th, 2006

The fund-raising book fair for the World Fantasy Convention in Calgary in 2008 sponsored by Calgary’s writers’ workshop IFWA was a great success. Lots of money raised, lots of good books swapped or acquired. Plans are in the works for an even bigger such event next year. Tomorrow is a big party day for me: […]

Suzuki bio

Wednesday, December 6th, 2006

David Suzuki is a leading Canadian science broadcaster, geneticist, and environmentalist, but if you didn’t know that and read the bio note on his article on page 18 of the 23 September 2006 New Scientist, you might think he was a raving ego-maniac, since it’s completely self-referential. :) It says, in its entirety: David Suzuki […]

They like me in the Twin Cities

Wednesday, December 6th, 2006

A nice write-up about the Neanderthal Parallax trilogy is here at bTALK. Thanks, guys! 

I’m off to Berton House in the Yukon next summer

Tuesday, December 5th, 2006

Carolyn and I will be spending three months next summer in Canada’s far north. We’ll be living at Berton House, the childhood home of famed Canadian nonfiction writer Pierre Berton, in Dawson City, Yukon Territory; Dawson City was the heart of the Klondike Gold Rush, and is at latitude 64 degrees north, about 100 km […]

SparkNotes study guides free online

Monday, December 4th, 2006

We Canadians grew up with Coles Notes; Americans are used to Cliffs Notes, Barron’s Notes, and SparkNotes or Spark Notes (the brand that Barnes and Noble sells) — study guides for various scientific and historical subjects, or for great works of literature and plays. Well, the full text of all the SparkNotes are now online […]

Rob at Book Festival in Calgary this Saturday, December 9

Monday, December 4th, 2006

IFWA Christmas Book Festival! (in conjunction with the Calgary 2008 World Fantasy Convention) Come one, come all to the first ever IFWA-sponsored Christmas Book Festival. Food! Fun! … and Books! (IFWA is the Imaginative Fiction Writers Association, Calgary’s venerable SF&F writing workshop.) View the poster (with map) here. From high noon through 4:00 p.m. we’ll […]

The effect Star Trek had on my life

Sunday, December 3rd, 2006

No big deal, but I was playing around a bit with Yahoo! Answers, to see if it might be a substitute for the defunct Google Answers (it’s not; it’s a quite different beast, although interesting in its own right). And in the process of testing it, I answered the question: “What effect, if any, has […]