Robert J. Sawyer

Hugo and Nebula Award-Winning Science Fiction Writer

Archive for November, 2008

Me? Reading poetry?

Sunday, November 30th, 2008

As a certain footnote in history would say, “You betcha!” The 6th anniversary of the Dead Poets Society Night will be held Tuesday, December 16, 2008, at the Art Bar [Clinton’s], in Toronto, at 8:00 p.m. There will be 3 sets of 5 readers each. Readers are: Steven Michael BerzenskyAllan BriesmasterDavid ChiltonCarolyn ClinkRobert ColmanJames DewarDayle […]

Stephenie Meyer and her alma mater’s newspaper

Saturday, November 29th, 2008

The November 24, 2008, edition of the Brigham Young student newspaper contains an article entitled Stephenie Meyer: Too Cool for This School?, which says in part: Meyer graduated from BYU in 1995 with a bachelor’s in English. Because of this inside angle, The Daily Universe requested an interview with the 34-year-old author last week. However, […]

Miracle Worker author passes

Friday, November 28th, 2008

Before writing it, when I was pitching my current novel Wake to publishers, I said it was “William Gibson meets William Gibson.” Back then, you see, there were two William Gibsons, and the one who’d been read the most probably isn’t the one you’re thinking of. Yes, indeed, there’s Bill Gibson of Vancouver, British Columbia, […]

Stephen Hawking now with Canada’s Perimeter Institute

Thursday, November 27th, 2008

Woohoo! Stephen Hawking will be spending several months each year at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario. Here’s one of many news stories on the topic, and here’s PI’s press release. As those who have been reading my novel Wake in Analog know, Caitlin’s father, Dr. Malcom Decter, works at the Perimeter […]

Re-reading Flashforward after a decade

Thursday, November 27th, 2008

My first novel, Golden Fleece, came out 18 years ago this month. I never go back and read my own novels after they’re published. Part of that is fatigue — the author has to read through the entire manuscript so many times when polishing a book, and then again when it’s copyedited, and once more […]

Ench cover art for Matthew Hughes wins Chesley Award

Monday, November 24th, 2008

When I bought Matthew Hughes’s novel The Commons for my Robert J. Sawyer Books imprint, the search for cover art was simple. The Commons is a novel that was published in installments in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and one of those installments, in the March 2007 issue, had one of the best-executed […]

Introducing Sir Arthur C. Clarke

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008

Steve Feldberg and the wonderful folks at have been absolutely terrific to me, so when Steve emailed to ask a favour, I pretty much would have said yes, no matter what it was. But this favour was also an honour and a privilege: Steve wanted me to write and record brand-new introductions for Audible’s […]

They don’t always ask me writing questions

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008

This just popped up in my email, from a blind woman I know who is writing an SF book: “How are stars named?” My response: There are 88 constellations; taken in total, they cover the entire sky. The constellation names are mostly from Roman or Greek mythology. The 24 brightest stars in each constellation are […]

Will the real Kuroda please stand up?

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

Those of you who have been enjoying my new novel Wake as it is being serialized in Analog will have met the character of Dr. Masayuki Kuroda, the information theorist who specializes in how the human retina encodes data; he is, as you will have seen, a major character in the book. And he’s named […]

I Remember the Future

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

Well, okay, no, I don’t. :) But Michael A. Burstein does, in his wonderful new collection I Remember the Future: The Award-Nominated Stories of Michael A. Burstein, just out from Apex Book Company. On Amazon, I gave it five stars, saying: ***** Grand, classic-style SF with big ideas and a big heart Michael A. Burstein […]

Toronto: knee-deep in major SF/F authors!

Friday, November 21st, 2008

I was asked to put together a list of major authors who had each written multiple books of science fiction and/or fantasy (especially if published as such) living in or near Toronto (which I rather arbitrarily chose to mean London, Ontario, to the west; Orillia, Ontario, to the north; and Kingston, Ontario to the east). […]

California’s Proposition 8

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

I’m a dual US/Canadian citizen. There was a day, a couple of weeks ago, upon which I said, “I have never been more proud to be an American — and I’ve never been more ashamed.” I was proud that my fellow Americans had elected Barack Obama as president; I was ashamed that California had ratified […]

Relativity earns out!

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

Of course, my books from big publishers like Tor earn royalties beyond their advances, but when dealing with small presses, royalties are rarely seen; the advance, such as it is, is usually all that ever materializes. So it was to my astonishment and delight that I just received a nice cheque from ISFiC Press, publishers […]

More pix from the Supernatural Investigator shoot

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

If you’re on Facebook, Jeff Rustia of Front has posted an album of 40 photographs from last weekend’s shoot for Supernatural Investigator, the show I’m hosting for Vision TV. The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Asimov’s loves Matt Hughes’s The Commons

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

And why shouldn’t they? It’s a terrific book — and I should know; it was published under my Robert J. Sawyer Books imprint. :) In the December 2008 issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction, Peter Heck writes: Hughes has taken what in other hands might have been just a cute idea and turned it into something […]

Tony Pi and Doug Smith are rockin’ the house

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

My writing students rock! Tony Pi was my student for an intensive SF writing workshop at the University of Toronto in the summer of 2001. He’s a terrific guy, and a terrific writer — and, man, is he ever on a roll, as you can see here, with stories in Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine […]

T. rex is standing guard!

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

I have the Best. Fans. Ever. Matthew Lachmuth, of Calgary, Alberta, made the T. rex skeleton pictured above as a present for me. He did it as a project in his welding class at SAIT Polytechnic. The skeleton is 39 inches long, 21 inches high, and 4.5 inches wide at the widest point, and it […]

Hosting Supernatural Investigator

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

I’m hosting a 17-part half-hour documentary series for Canada’s Vision TV entitled Supernatural Investigator. It premieres Tuesday, January 27, 2009, at 10:30 p.m. Eastern Time, and runs every week until Tuesday, May 19, 2009. Each week, a different investigator take an open-minded but skeptical look at an intriguing case — such as the supposed abduction […]

George Clayton Johnson called

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

Woot! I’m way behind on my blogging, but I wanted to mention that on September 21, 2008, George Clayton Johnson left a message on my answering machine. Yes, that George Clayton Johnson: co-author of Logan’s Run, author of “The Man Trap” for the original Star Trek, contributor to the original Twilight Zone. We’d met at […]

Keynotes R Us

Friday, November 14th, 2008

I give a lot of keynote addresses. Today’s was special, though: it was for the annual meeting of the Science Teachers Association of Ontario. My talk was on “Using Science Fiction in the Science Classroom,” and it was very well received. Also, I just received a nice bit of feedback on the previous keynote I […]

Ambushed on YouTube!

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

Steph the Video Guy from Prince George, British Columbia, grabbed me for five minutes at the World Fantasy Convention in Calgary earlier this month, and produced this “Steph’s Author Ambush” video — with cameos by Peter Hartwell (my editor’s son) and Guy Gavriel Kay. Check it out! (Direct YouTube link.) Among the people I mention […]

How many characters should be in a novel?

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

I got asked the above question today in email, and here’s my reply: The smallest number of characters with which you can effectively tell the story. If you have multiple minor characters who can be consolidated into one, do so. Classic example: the original Star Trek pilot. The character of Number One lacked emotions; the […]

Using Traditional Media to Promote Your Book

Monday, November 10th, 2008

The following first appeared as the lead article in Spring 2008 edition of the The Writers’ Union of Canada Newsletter (Volume 36, Number 1). Although the references to Canadian media outlets may be unfamiliar to people from outside Canada, the general principles are still applicable. (The screen capture above is from an appearance Robert J. […]

World Fantasy Convention rocked

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

The World Fantasy Convention in Calgary last week was amazingly well-run and an enormous amount of fun. Randy McCharles (above) was the convention’s chair, and he did a fabulous job. I’ll be nominating him for the Aurora Award for Best Fan Organizational next year, and I urge other Canadians to do the same. Way to […]