Robert J. Sawyer

Hugo and Nebula Award-Winning Science Fiction Writer

Archive for December, 2008

Free Office Suite for Windows

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

Yes, I know Open Office is free, but here’s another excellent choice, also free: SoftMaker Office 2006 for Windows. Included are a Microsoft Word-compatible wordprocessor called TextMaker and a Microsoft Excel-compatible spreadsheet called PlanMaker. And for WordStar users like me, TextMaker optionally supports the WordStar keyboard interface. Just select Extras, Customize, Keyboard Mappings and switch […]

The New York Times on used books

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

It’s a no-win scenario for authors to talk about the impact the used-book trade has on their livelihood, so I won’t. But The New York Times had an interesting article entitled “Bargain Hunting for Books, and Feeling Sheepish About It” recently. All right, I’ll make one comment. One of the standard arguments you hear is […]

Flashing back to Coupling

Sunday, December 28th, 2008

Jack Davenport, who starred in the BBC sitcom Coupling, has been cast to play Lloyd Simcoe in ABC’s pilot based on my novel Flashforward, and, in honour of that, Carolyn and I, and our friends Nick DiChario and Bev Geddes, watched the first two episodes of Coupling this evening. Carolyn and I had seen the […]

Ho, ho, ho!

Saturday, December 27th, 2008

Christmas has come and gone, and Carolyn and I had pleasant times visiting both her family (on the 25th) and mine (on the 26th). For those who are curious, among the goodies we got were: DVDs: Casino Royale Cloverfield The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (special edition) Ironman Sex and the City, the movie […]

eReader 1.3 on the iPhone

Friday, December 26th, 2008

I had a chance to play extensively today with eReader 1.3 on an iPhone, and I must say I am very, very impressed. The iPhone version is a terrific implementation of the eReader software (much, much nicer, say, than the version of Mobipocket on the iRex iLiad). eReader is my favorite e-reading software, in part […]

2008: A good year for Neanderthals

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

My friend Berry Kercheval drew this article entitled “2008: A good year for Neanderthals” from New Scientist to my attention. Cool! The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Why orangutans will end up on top

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

In the Planet of the Apes movies, the reigns of power in the far future are held by orangutans. And now we know why. Dr. Zaius: Tell me, why are all apes created equal? Taylor: Some apes, it seems, are more equal than others. The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Flash Forward update

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

Tony Award-winning actor Brian F. O’Byrne has joined the cast of ABC’s Flash Forward, based on my novel. And we have a new date to start filming: Saturday, February 21, 2009 (two days later than originally announced — it’s easier to get one of our locations on a weekend). The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Christmas Eve and Apollo 8: 40 years ago today

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

Bill Anders: We are now approaching lunar sunrise and, for all the people back on Earth, the crew of Apollo 8 has a message that we would like to send to you. “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the […]

Rob & Carolyn’s 2008 Christmas Letter

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

Rob and Carolyn’s 2008 Christmas LetterRobert J. Sawyer & Carolyn Clink Rob’s second short-story collection, Identity Theft and Other Stories, was published earlier this year. Said the American Library Association’s Booklist, “At every opportunity, Sawyer forces his readers to think while holding their attention with ingenious premises and superlative craftsmanship.” In its March cover story, […]

Frost/Nixon is terrific

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

Ron Howard’s new film adaptation of Peter Morgan’s stage play Frost/Nixon is absolutely terrific. Frank Langella and Michael Sheen reprise their Broadway roles as Richard M. Nixon and David Frost. It’s an amazing piece of filmmaking, and the performances by the two leads are Oscar calibre. The film is only in limited release right now […]

RJS Decade in Review

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

I had a need to pull together a document covering my professional achievements over the last 10 years. If anyone’s interested, that document is here as a PDF. A few highlights: In March 2008, Canada’s publishing trade journal Quill & Quire names Robert J. Sawyer one of the 30 “most influential, innovative, and just plain powerful […]

Peace Declaration

Sunday, December 21st, 2008

Every year since 1947, with the exception of 1950, the mayor of Hiroshima, Japan, has issued a Peace Declaration on the anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on that city. This is the text of the 2008 Peace Declaration: [Hibakusha: victims of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, including those who survived […]

Hey, Weather Network! Buy yourself some lowercase letters!

Saturday, December 20th, 2008


The Economist notes the Worldcon

Saturday, December 20th, 2008

My father, John A. Sawyer, is an economist — so, not surprisingly, he reads The Economist every week. And my dad just dropped me an email to say: The Economist, which has a worldwide circulation, publishes a year-end edition in which there is a calendar of 4 or 5 events in each month of 2009. […]

Timeline of the Planet of the Apes

Saturday, December 20th, 2008

After my misadventure with Lulu’s shipping costs to Canada, I managed to get ahold of a copy of Timeline of the Planet of the Apes via an auction by author Rich Handley on eBay — and I’m glad I did! Rich Handley’s Timeline of the Planet of the Apes is a magnificent labor of love. […]

Spanish Rollback

Friday, December 19th, 2008

Received today copies of the Spanish edition of my novel Rollback, pubished by Ediciones B. The Spanish title is Vuelta AtrĂ¡s. What a terrific cover! The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

The Paper Chase on DVD

Friday, December 19th, 2008

The study of law is something new and unfamiliar to most of you — unlike any other schooling you have ever known before. You teach yourselves the law, but I train your minds. You come in here with a skull full of mush, and, if you survive, you leave thinking like a lawyer. —Professor Charles […]

First Flash Forward TV series fan site!

Friday, December 19th, 2008

From the people who brought you, there’s now a site devoted to the Flash Forward TV series — that was fast! Among other things, it’s aggregating news coverage from other places, including my own blog, and I’m sure it’ll grow over time. Check it out at The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

R.I.P., Majel Barrett

Friday, December 19th, 2008

Nurse Christine Chapel in the original Star Trek; Dr. Chapel in the Star Trek movies; Number One in the first pilot “The Cage;” Lwaxana Troi in The Next Generation; the voice of the Enterprise‘s computer, including in the upcoming J.J. Abrams Star Trek movie; and the voice of Chapel, Lt. M’Ress, and countless guest roles […]

Montreal Worldcon membership rates go up January 1, 2009

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

So join now! Also, Hugo nominating will begin next month, and you need to be a member to nominate. (Your membership must be processed online or postmarked before December 31, 2008, to get the current rates.) The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Busted by Bundoran!

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

Hee hee! Bundoran Press, the wonderful SF&F publisher in Prince George, British Columbia, has just put the above photo of me on the main page of their website. It was taken November 10, 2007, at Sentry Box, Calgary’s great science-fiction store. The book I’m looking at is the terrific anthology The Best of Neo-Opsis, culling […]

First review of Wake

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

Niteblade News has weighed in with the first review I’ve seen of Wake, volume one of my upcoming WWW trilogy. The very kind review, by Aaron Clifford, calls the book “plausible and touching” (and contains no spoilers). You can read the full review here. Wake will be published in April 2009. (By the way, I […]

RJS at Fictionwise

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

Got my quarterly royalties today from, which reminds me to remind y’all that a whole mess of my short stories are available in every standard ebook format (eReader, Kindle, Mobi, Abode, Sony, PDF, you name it — all formats for one price, with no DRM) over there. Have a look. (Also available are ebook […]

David Hartwell is in the house

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

Or, at least, he was until yesterday morning. Dave, who is a senior editor at Tor Books, comes to Toronto every December to speak at the sales conference for H.B. Fenn and Company, Tor’s Canadian distributor. He stayed over Monday night at our place and we threw a reception in his honour — and also […]

The Genesis of Calculating God

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

My most popular novel seems to be Calculating God, and ten years ago today is when I came up with the idea for it. On Thursday, December 17, 1998, I was down on the shore of Canandaigua Lake in Upstate New York, borrowing my father’s vacation home there. I had a contract to write a […]

CIO: Larry, Robbie, Nancy, Charlie

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

CIO, a publication for Chief Information Officers, interviews Larry Niven, Robert J. Sawyer, Nancy Kress, and Charles Stross in this terrific article by Daniel Dern (which you can read here as a single page). The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

So, Rob, what’s up with Flash Forward?

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

I’m getting asked a lot of questions about the ABC TV pilot based on my novel Flashforward that’s about to be filmed in Los Angeles. Here’s the response I made today in my Yahoo! Groups newsgroup: I’m not at liberty to discuss things much. In fact, it’s funny reading the online coverage seeing that no […]

NYRSF on the Neanderthal Parallax

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

I had cause to look at a back issue of the Hugo Award-nominated The New York Review of Science Fiction today. Richard Parent wrote a fascinating 5,000-word essay about my novels Hominids, Humans, and Hybrids for the June 2004 issue entitled “Double Vision: Robert Sawyer’s Utopian Dystopia.” Students studying those books will find much meat […]

25 years of using WordStar; Canadian SF 25 years ago

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

Twenty-five years ago today, on Friday, December 16, 1983, I started learning the word-processing program WordStar. I’d bought my first computer, an Osborne 1 CP/M luggable (24 pounds, the most portable computer in the world back then — see picture below), for the princely sum of Canadian$1,495, in large measure because it came bundled with […]