Robert J. Sawyer

Hugo and Nebula Award-Winning Science Fiction Writer

Triggers reviews including Wall Street Journal and Publishers Weekly

by Rob - April 21st, 2012.
Filed under: Reviews, Triggers.

Reviews for Triggers by Robert J. Sawyer:

“Hugo- and Nebula-award-winning science fiction author Robert J. Sawyer returns with a new hard science fiction novel which pulls together elements of a gripping political thriller with cutting edge psychological insights to create a story that works on many levels. Triggers has the pacing of an episode of 24 and the philosophical sensibilities of an Isaac Asimov novel, so any readers who were introduced to Sawyer through his television series FlashForward will find it particularly interesting.” —Andrew Zimmerman Jones in Black Gate

“Sawyer should be applauded for a wonderfully diverse cast, as readers are immediately introduced to a powerful female secret service agent, an impressive African-American female doctor who is the president’s primary physician, and the interesting Dr. Singh, who is actually Canadian, which is Sawyer’s own nationality. The book juggles an impressive cast of characters, which Sawyer does excellent job of keeping both straight and complex. A powerful novel.” —BookBanter

“A thriller’s pacing and a chilling near-future world. Sawyer’s strength is in the overarching ideas of his stories, and he certainly delivers here.” —Booklist

“Sawyer’s novel not only posits new ideas on the workings on the mind, but also offers a unique viewpoint on the roots of terrorism; not to mention a possible solution.” —FFWD, aka Fast Forward Weekly (Calgary, Alberta)

“Robert Sawyer’s body of work, though it covers a myriad of subjects, is uniformly optimistic in tone. His latest novel, Triggers, slides comfortably into that body of work, optimistic while attempting to address an inordinate number of social and racial issues.” —The Globe and Mail

“The Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author of Calculating God and The WWW Trilogy delivers a tense, race-against-the-clock adventure with a surprise ending. It should appeal to mainstream thriller readers as well as its target market.” —Library Journal

“First and foremost, Robert J. Sawyer is a rip-roaring good storyteller. Triggers operates on both a global and a personal scale — sometimes simultaneously. By juxtaposing the problems of the entire world with the problems of individuals, Sawyer allows each equal importance. Each of these people deals with their new knowledge in different ways — and each deals with different consequences. It makes for a rich and compelling narrative.

“There are few authors writing today that bring such a strong combination of literate storytelling and complex ideas to the page. Robert J. Sawyer is one of the best in the business right now, and Triggers is him at his finest.” —The Maine Edge (Bangor, Maine)

“No one digs into a sci-fi thought experiment with quite the zest that Robert J. Sawyer does. Sawyer doesn’t stint the thriller framework, but the story’s real joy is the care he takes in exploring the details of the memory-sharing.” —Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Triggers is congruent with the best science-fiction in that it’s not about blasters, but about issues and social commentary. Sawyer’s novel falls right into line with the kinds of things he’s always written about: it’s an exploration of a part of consciousness — in this case, memory — packaged in an entertaining story. His prose is as clear and sharp as ever. But he also uses the book to explore issues such as empathy among humankind (a primary concern of the novel) and the brutal trauma of war. Sawyer is a pacifist at heart, and it’s refreshing to hear a voice advocating peace in a genre that often glorifies war.

Triggers is an action movie with a big science-fiction finish and an optimistic message.” —Mississauga Life

“A turbo-charged techno-thriller. Sawyer offers an escape from the recent run of near-future dystopias in a combination of classic and contemporary science fiction.” —Publishers Weekly

Triggers fully justifies the title of a techno-thriller. There are chases and stand-offs, terrorist threats, bombs and hostage situations. But they are never allowed to dominate the novel, because Triggers is also a medical drama, with many of the legal ramifications of medical accidents discussed. And it’s a love story, as people learn that barriers are sometimes things that we simply create for ourselves. It’s also a treatise on memory, identity, and perception. You come away with a lot of new viewpoints and ideas to think about.

“Verdict: Not to be missed.” —Sci-Fi Bulletin

Triggers is an imaginative and technical tour de force — a fascinating book that makes its bizarre situation seem real and possible and the people linked so strangely and sometimes unhappily to one another quite true. It’s hard to put down.” —Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Triggers has the hard-core military/political insights of Robert A. Heinlein, and the compassion of Theodore Sturgeon.” —Jonathan Vos Post

“Mr. Sawyer works through the permutations with one surprise after another, including the president’s deep, dark secret — now in somebody else’s possession — that would make him a one-termer for sure. The positive side is that the president can appreciate firsthand the cost of the orders he’s given. He now shares the memories of a returned Iraq veteran, called for him up by the trigger phrase “crying babies … and the smell of smashed concrete.”

“Techno-future, telepathy: The third ingredient is a consideration of terrorism itself. Mr. Sawyer, a Canadian, remembers what Pierre Trudeau did back in 1970, when he took such drastic action following the murder of one of his ministers that terrorist cells have never surfaced in Canada again. What might an American president do? Get away with doing? Be justified in doing? And is there another way out? Triggers is constantly gripping on the surface and seriously provocative deep down.” —Tom Shippey in The Wall Street Journal

Robert J. Sawyer online:

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