Robert J. Sawyer

Hugo and Nebula Award-Winning Science Fiction Writer

Archive for January, 2010

"Identity Theft" novella available as audibook

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

“Identity Theft” — my Hugo and Nebula Award-nominated / UPC Award-winning hard-boiled detective novella set on Mars — is now available as downloadable audiobook from the good folks at — with physical media coming soon, too. Publisher is Blackstone Audio, and narrator is Anthony Heald (pictured). “Identity Theft” is about 25,000 words long, or […]

M&M’s and attention to detail

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

The rock band Van Halen used to insist that there be no brown M&M’s in the bowls of M&M’s backstage. They weren’t just making outrageous demands to wield power, but they wanted to insure a level of attention to detail by the people behind the scenes, so that nothing actually important would get overlooked. Just […]

Yay for the American Heritage English Dictionary

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

One of the reasons I love The American Heritage English Dictionary, Unabridged, is the extensive notes on word origins. This is from the entry on “Wednesday.” We say the names of the days of the week constantly, but for most of us they are nonsense syllables. The seven-day system we use is based on the […] no longer carrying Tor Books

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

Holy crap! See this coverage from The New York Times. Tor is the publisher of the current North American editions of my novels Golden Fleece, Far-Seer, Fossil Hunter, Foreigner, End of an Era, Frameshift, Factoring Humanity, FlashForward, Calculating God, Hominids, Humans, Hybrids, Mindscan, and Rollback, all of which are still in print. This really, really […]

Once again, folks: do not self-publish your science-fiction novel

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

An email I received today: I wondered if I could pick your brain. Firstly, I am about to self-publish a book I have written and wondered what format I should choose, size, paper weight, etc. for a Science Fiction book. I have read about them being about 100,000 words and 288 pages in a 8-1/2″ […]

Kindle vs. iPad

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

So different: e-ink vs. backlit LED; dedicated ebook reader vs. multipurpose device. Not sure which one I want — may have to get both! :D Robert J. Sawyer online:Website • Facebook • Twitter • Newsgroup • Email

A great article about ebooks

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

I’ve been trying to find time to write a tirade about the quality failure of most ebook editions (recent travesties in books I’ve bought from commercial publishers: the entire book being centered in one, no indenting or blank space between paragraphs in another) But it doesn’t have to be that blatant to still result in […]

United Nations Secretary-General Stephen Lewis

Sunday, January 24th, 2010

I received an email today from a person in South Korea who had just read FlashForward, my novel which is the basis for the ABC TV series of the same name, pointing out that I use the names of many real people in the novel, but for some reason changed the name of the UN […]

Conquest of the Planet of the Apes remake

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

My friend David Widdicombe sent me this link. Pant-hoot! Visit The Robert J. Sawyer Web Siteand

R.I.P, Paul Quarrington

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

Great writer, great person. A real loss. Visit The Robert J. Sawyer Web Siteand

SF novels that should be taught in schools

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

SF Signal asked a bunch of experts for recommendations for science fiction books to be taught in schools. To my delight, Jack McDevitt recommended Wake and Prof. Paul Levinson recommended Rollback. Visit The Robert J. Sawyer Web Siteand

Student video interview

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Last month, some high-school students (and the mother of one of them) dropped by my home to interview me for a class assignment (they were studying my novels FlashForward and Humans), and they’ve put two videos of that interview up on YouTube: Part One (8 minutes)Part Two (7 minutes) (The sun is setting outside my […]

Suppose Earth had Saturn’s rings

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

A really nice video. Thanks to Arwen Rosenbaum for the link! Visit The Robert J. Sawyer Web Siteand

Amazon’s 70% royalty

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

Sounds pretty good — but note that Tor (well, its parent corporation, but Tor has to toe the line) recently cut ebook royalties paid to author to 20% of net proceeds. Which frankly sucks. So, for a $9.99 eBook sold on the Kindle under this new scheme: Tor’s share: $5.60Amazon’s share: $3.00Author’s share: $1.40 Other […]

Toro interviews RJS

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

“Unlike James Cameron, Sawyer seems to believe in the positive possibility of artificial intelligence, but that was just one of the subjects we touched on in this very involved conversation.” Check out the full interview. Visit The Robert J. Sawyer Web Siteand

30th anniversary of my first sale

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

Thirty years ago today — Friday, January 18, 1980 — I made my first writing sale, launching my career as a professional science-fiction writer. All the details about that first sale are here. Visit The Robert J. Sawyer Web Siteand

Review of Steel Whispers

Monday, January 18th, 2010

… a novel by my gifted writing student Hayden Trenholm. See the review here. Steel Whispers is published by Bundoran Press, and is eligible for the Aurora Award. Visit The Robert J. Sawyer Web Siteand

Peter Anthony Holder on FlashForward

Monday, January 18th, 2010

Peter Anthony Holder, a famed Montreal broadcaster and blogger, just sent me this wonderful email about my novel FlashForward, which is the basis for the ABC TV series of the same name, and, with his kind permission, I’m posting it here: As I mentioned to you I decided that it was high time that I […]

Going offline to work on my FlashForward script

Friday, January 15th, 2010

You won’t be hearing much from me here for the next little while. I’m going into heads-down mode to work on my script for FlashForward. I’m writing the 19th episode, scheduled to air Thursday, May 6, 2010. Ciao! Photo: Robert J. Sawyer and FlashForward showrunner David S. Goyer Visit The Robert J. Sawyer Web Siteand […]

Keith Olbermann on Rush Limbaugh and Pat Robinson

Friday, January 15th, 2010

Testify, Keith! Keith Olbermann clip. Amen, brother. Visit The Robert J. Sawyer Web Siteand

Hominids got legs!

Friday, January 15th, 2010

Tor was going to put my 2002 Hugo Award-winning novel Hominids into trade (large-format) paperback this year, which is the format to which they retire older books that had been in mass-market but aren’t selling as briskly as they once were. But I just got this email from my editor, David G. Hartwell (“mm” is […]

Ingram now distributing Robert J. Sawyer Books

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

January 14, 2010 — Ingram Publisher Services Inc. (IPS), the full-service book distribution company of Ingram Content Group Inc., today announced a new distribution agreement with well known and award winning Canadian publisher Fitzhenry & Whiteside. Under the terms of the agreement, IPS will provide Fitzhenry & Whiteside and its wholly-owned associate publishers, Fifth House […]

More Foxit eSlick / eReader woes

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

Trying to read the book The Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doidge, purchased from Fictionwise, locks up the Foxit eSlick (a dedicated ebook reader using e-ink technology, sold by Fictionwise and Foxit). You can turn pages until you reach the page with the dedication (page 8 at the default font size in portrait mode), […]

Cheeky devil

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

An email exchange I had over the last day (an NDA is a “nondisclosure agreement”): Him: “I have a screenplay that is written. My project would be very close to what seems to be at the heart of everything you are seeking to accomplish in your writings and if you are interested in reading it […]

Five questions

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

A grade-ten student named Ryan wrote to me today to see if I’d be willing to answer some questions for a paper he was writing for school. I said sure: 1. About how long have you been writing? I’ve written stories ever since I was a little boy; my mother has one I wrote when […]

Total Recall RJS nod

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

Woohoo! Just started reading the book Total Recall: How the E-Memory Revolution Will Change Everything by Gordon Bell and Jim Gemmell (with a forward by Bill Gates), and what should I find on page 16 but this: But themes of Total Recall have been explored in science fiction for decades. In Hominids, Robert J. Sawyer […]

And while we’re talking politics

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

A great op-ed from John D. Dingell, the longest-serving congressman in U.S. history, on the current health-care debate in the United States. Well worth reading the whole thing, but here’s how it ends: Let me close with a personal note. I make an effort to treat each class of Congressional interns to a lunch in […]

The Age of Empathy

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

Speaking of putting political views into one’s writing, I found the following from the book I’m currently reading very well said. It’s from The Age of Empathy: Nature’s. Lessons for a Kinder Society by primatologist Frans de Waal. He writes: What confuses some is that fairness has two faces. Income equality is one, but the […]

Fan letter of the day: "theological whiplash"

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

Now here’s a particularly nice and thoughtful fan letter; great way to start the day! I picked up Far-Seer back when it first came out back in ’92. I was intrigued by the cover and the concept. <shame>It sat unread on my shelf until a couple of months ago.</shame> I don’t know why I never […]

Politics in fiction

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

An email I received today concerning my Hugo Award-winning novel Hominids: Mr. Sawyer. I picked this book up at the library because I was intrigued by the premise of the storyline. I’m still intrigued by the concept, however, I found myself rolling my eyes at the insertion of your personal political views in and around […]