Robert J. Sawyer

Hugo and Nebula Award-Winning Science Fiction Writer

Archive for February, 2009

CTV in trouble

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

CTV is the parent corporation of Space (Canada’s science-fiction specialty channel) and Discovery Channel Canada. The are predicting a $100 million loss from their broadcast TV operations this year. The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site statement re Kindle and text-to-speech

Saturday, February 28th, 2009 released this statement on Friday: Kindle 2’s experimental text-to-speech feature is legal: no copy is made, no derivative work is created, and no performance is being given. Furthermore, we ourselves are a major participant in the professionally narrated audiobooks business through our subsidiaries Audible and Brilliance. We believe text-to-speech will introduce new customers to […]


Saturday, February 28th, 2009

Y’all know I submitted Watch, the second volume of my WWW trilogy to my editors (in Toronto, New York, and London) on Monday of this week. And just before midnight tonight (Friday), I finished up the only other outstanding project I had. I can’t tell you much about it, except to say it’s a TV […]

The Rocky Mountain News folds

Friday, February 27th, 2009

The Rocky Mountain News, a major daily newspaper in Denver, Colorado, one of the few US dailies to routinely and intelligently review science-fiction novels over the years, is gone. Mark Graham, the usual SF reviewer there, had been very kind to me. For instance, on Calculating God, he wrote: “I always look forward to Robert […]

Patrick Rothfuss’s blog

Friday, February 27th, 2009

I said very nice things about Patrick Rothfuss’s first novel on the book’s dustjacket: “Hail Patrick Rothfuss! A new giant is striding the land. The Name of the Wind is an astonishing novel that just happens to be the writer’s first. The bestsellers’ lists and the award ballots are beckoning toward Rothfuss, and readers will […]

To serialize a sequel?

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Over in my Yahoo! Groups newsgroup, Martin Bennedik wrote: I read Wake on my phone by downloading the ebook version of Analog from Fictionwise. Not only was the novel excellent, but I found this was a good way to get the book early and in a format which allowed me to take it with me […]

Publishers Weekly starred review of Wake online

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Over at Publishers Weekly, you can read all of this week’s reviews, including the full text (no spoilers) of their review of my upcoming Wake. (There are a lot of reviews on that page; do a search on “Sawyer” to find the Wake review.) I notice — cough, cough — that Wake is the only […]

Tim Hortons: the modern Canadian inukshuk

Friday, February 27th, 2009

So this Sunday, I’m appearing at the library in Paris, Ontario, as the concluding event of this year’s One Book, One Brant community-wide reading program; the book they’re doing this year is my Rollback. If you’re in the area, come on out this Sunday, March 1, 2009, for a lively reading, Q&A, and more, at […]

Consumer protection laws and cell phones

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Yeah, yeah, we all know Rob’s into big government :) so feel free to tune this out, but here’s a guy who just got a $6,000 phone bill for using his iPhone in Mexico. And, yeah, sure, we can all smugly argue that this particular guy should have known better — but stories like this […]

Brockport revokes NAFTA

Friday, February 27th, 2009

In response to my posting about being unable to publish any further non-Canadian authors under my Robert J. Sawyer Books imprint, Marcos P. Donnelly sent the following: BROCKPORT, NY, REVOKES NAFTA BROCKPORT, February 26 — In a surprise response to complaints by the Canada Council for the Arts concerning the publication of U.S. works by Robert […]

Q10: cool little clean-screen text processor

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

Over on my Facebook page, Kelly John Rose recommended Q10, a nifty little full-screen text processor that’s totally free. Install, press F1 for help. Gives you a clean, empty monitor to write with (suppresses all the usual Windows gewgaws). Download the second version — the one with the spell checker (I missed seeing it the […]

How much do novelists make?

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

I’m lucky, and I know it; most of my colleagues aren’t. Gary Karbon discussed this last year in the blog Culture Feast: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

RJS Books: Canadian authors only from now on

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

Sharon Fitzhenry, the publisher of Fitzhenry & Whiteside, parent company of Red Deer Press, which publishes my Robert J. Sawyer Books imprint, just called. The Canada Council for the Arts has objected — probably quite rightly, from their point of view — to me publishing Americans under my imprint while the Canada Council helps to […]

I love Barenaked Ladies

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

They broke up today. Steve Page, the lead singer, has left the band “to pursue a solo career.” The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

New York Times op-ed: "The Kindle Swindle?"

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

Today’s New York Times has an op-ed piece by Roy Blount, Jr., president of the Authors Guild, entitled The Kindle Swindle? The Authors Guild has also put up a web page with demos of the Kindle’s text-to-speech (TTS) feature here. Oh, and by the way, not on this topic, but I occassionally do op-eds myself […]

The Saucer Fleet

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

OMG, if you like 1950s and 1960s SF movies and TV shows as much as I do, you have to run and buy The Saucer Fleet by Jack Hagerty and Jon Rogers. It’s a painstaking, loving, profusely illustrated tribute to the great screen flying saucers of SF: the C57-D from Forbidden Planet, the Jupiter 2 […]

Not just hosting but narrating Supernatural Investigator tonight

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

I don’t just host this week’s episode of Supernatural Investigator on Vision TV — I also do the voice-over narration throughout the episode. Tonight’s topic: Mayan crystal skulls. It airs at 10:30 p.m. Eastern time / 7:30 p.m. Pacific. Pictured: Robert J. Sawyer and the extinct species known as the newspaper book-review section editor The […]

WWW#2: Watch delivered

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

I delivered the manuscript today for Watch, Volume 2 of my WWW trilogy, to Ginjer Buchanan at Ace in New York and Laura Shin at Viking (Penugin Canada) in Toronto. The book will be published in April 2010. This is my 19th novel — a number that frankly astonishes me. :) I’m going to reward […]

PW starred review for Wake

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

Woot! Woohoo! We just received our first review for my new novel Wake, and it’s a rave! Publishers Weekly has given Wake a “starred review,” their highest distinction: starred reviews denote books of exceptional merit. The review, which appears in the February 23, 2009, edition, says in part: The wildly thought-provoking first installment of Sawyer’s […]

eReader in beta for the BlackBerry Storm

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

Woot! eReader, my favourite ebook application — recently released for the iPhone — is now in beta for the BlackBerry Storm. Now, if they’d just get a version for an e-ink reader to market … eReader has a fair and livable DRM scheme tied to the user, rather than the user’s hardware (unlike Mobipocket), and is […]

Sequels "R" Us

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

There’s a mini writing retreat going on at Chez Sawyer right now, and it’s all about sequels. Hayden Trenholm is here, visiting from Ottawa, and he’s working on his laptop at my kitchen table, sprinting towards the end of his revisions on Steel Whispers, the terrific sequel to his hard-boiled SF novel Defining Diana from […]

Is it Flash Forward or Flashforward?

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

Is the title of my book — and the TV series based on it — one word or two? I was asked that question in the comments section of this post, but since people keep wondering, I’m putting the answer in its own blog post, too: It’s complicated (sigh). I always intended the title to […]

Locus Index to Science Fiction Awards

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

Over at Locus Online, Mark Kelly has updated the indispensable Locus Index to Science Fiction Awards with results through the end of 2008 (and he’s also given it a very attractive facelift). Here’s the entry on me. And nice to see here that I’m in 8th place overall for total award wins in the history […]

Flash Forward filming starts today

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

Yup, today, Saturday, February 21, 2009, in Los Angeles, the ABC series pilot based on my novel Flash Forward begins shooting with David S. Goyer directing. Woot! Carolyn and I aren’t down there yet — I’ve got a novel to finish that’s due on Monday — but we are going down in 12 days to […]

Doctoral thesis on the works of RJS

Friday, February 20th, 2009

How cool is this? Just received word that a Ph.D. student in the School of English at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki — the largest university in Greece — is doing her Ph.D. dissertation on the works of Robert J. Sawyer. I have a great fondness for Greece: I love its history, and visited the country […]

How many dictionaries does it take to tell you how to spell "light bulb"?

Friday, February 20th, 2009

The American Heritage English Dictionary says it’s two words: “light bulb.” Random House Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary says it’s two words: “light bulb.” But Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary says it’s one word: “lightbulb.” When a book is being copyedited, the copyeditor must specify which dictionary he or she is conforming to, unless (a) the publisher specifies one, […]

There goes the Canadian small-press magazine industry

Friday, February 20th, 2009

Quill & Quire Online just reported: The Harper Tories have promised to maintain existing funding levels for the country’s magazine industry ($75.5-million annually), but guidelines announced this week for the new Canada Periodical Fund could put Canada’s small-run literary magazines in jeopardy. The new Canadian Heritage-run program merges two other federal funding bodies – the […]

One Book, One Brant and Rollback

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

As I mentioned before, my Hugo Award-nominated Rollback is currently the “One Book, One Brant” reading choice for all of Brant county in Ontario. The Paris Star has a nice article about that in the current edition, which you can read here. Pictured: Kelly Dinsmore, Mayor Rod Eddy, and Sharon Briggs reading the hardcover of […]

Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my! Trilogies everywhere you look!

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

My friend Melody Friedenthal asked me an intriguing question this morning: At what point in your creative process did you decide that Wake et al., would be a trilogy? And was it the same point for your first trilogy (or 2nd) or was the first one more of the publisher’s choice (as in “this is […]

Identity Theft producers have new SF film

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

Snoot Entertainment in L.A. — the company that has my hard-boiled SF novella “Identity Theft” under option — has a 3D CGI SF film called Battle for Terra coming up, and the trailer just hit Moviefone today. Check it out! (Identity Theft will be live action; proudcer Jessica Wu reports that they’re working on concept […]