Robert J. Sawyer

Hugo and Nebula Award-Winning Science Fiction Writer

Fan letter of the day: "theological whiplash"

by Rob - January 13th, 2010.
Filed under: Calculating God, Far-Seer, FlashForward, Hominids.

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 got around to it. No idea whatsoever. I just never did.

Flash forward (pun intended) to 2009, and the launch of the television series FlashForward. Was hooked on the series from the word go. <shame>But I was still clueless…</shame>

Walked into a bookstore near the end of October and saw a novel on the shelf titled FlashForward. “Gee, that was fast, they already have a novelization out…. oh, wait the series is based on the novel!”

Blew through the novel in a little over a week (given the limited time I have for reading for pleasure, less than a month is now considered “blowing through” a book), enjoyed it thoroughly, and have been wondering how the series (which seems to have a bit more of an action/adventure spin on the premise) is going to modify itself to fit on television – and leave an opening for a second season…

You could have knocked me over with a feather when I realized that the reason the name “Robert J. Sawyer” sounded so familiar was because I already owned a book by the same author… that I had been (passively) putting off reading for over a decade…

Knocked that one out in a couple of weeks too. And have been metaphorically kicking myself for not having read it sooner ever since. Then to find out it is the first in a trilogy…

I felt even more stupid when I discovered that I had read and greatly enjoyed “You See But You Do Not Observe” in a time travel anthology (I’m a sucker for time travel stories) several years ago and hadn’t made the connection to Far-Seer.

When I got a gift certificate to a bookstore for Christmas/Hanukkah, I knew exactly what I was going to spend it on – whatever other Robert J Sawyer books they had on the shelf. Picked up Calculating God and Hominids.

A few minutes ago, I finished Hominids (having polished off Calculating God week before last). You’ve become the latest annual “addict my dad to yet another writer”.

I really am intrigued by the dichotomy of the anti-theist stance of Far-Seer and the pro-theist stance of Calculating God and the anti-theist stance of Hominids. (I’m now suffering from theological whiplash. My existential insurance company will be sending you a bill…) As someone who feels strongly about the debate, I appreciate the way in which you handled both sides of the argument in each of the books. But even more, what I really like about your books (so far) is that the plot resolutions aren’t so much about accomplishing something, or defeating something, as they are about healing the suffering of the characters.

As an American with a Canadian wife, I also appreciate the lack of US-centric thinking.

Great stuff! Thanks for writing it!

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1 Response to Fan letter of the day: "theological whiplash"

  1. I'm not sure Calculating God is exactly a "pro-theist" stance. I think the ambiguities and questions it raises on both sides of the argument is more the point. I don't find there to be a dichotomy at all between various works that simply raise questions in the endless debate.

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