[Robert J. Sawyer] Science Fiction Writer
Hugo and Nebula Winner

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Copyright © 2009 by Robert J. Sawyer
All Rights Reserved.

Pat Forde
Great Writer
Great Friend

Huge thanks to my lovely wife Carolyn Clink; to Ginjer Buchanan at Penguin Group USA's Ace imprint in New York; to Laura Shin, Nicole Winstanley, and David Davidar at Penguin Group Canada in Toronto; and to Stanley Schmidt at Analog Science Fiction and Fact. Many thanks to my agent Ralph Vicinanza and his associates Christopher Lotts and Eben Weiss, and to contract managers Lisa Rundle (Penguin Canada) and John Schline (Penguin USA), who all worked enormously hard structuring a complex publishing deal.

Some great brainstorming for this book happened at Sci Foo Camp, sponsored by O'Reilly Media and held at the Googleplex in Mountain View, California, in August 2006. Attending my session there were Greg Bear, Stuart Brand, Barry Bunin, Bill Cheswick, Esther Dyson, Sun Microsystems chief researcher John Gage, Sandeep Garg, Luc Moreau, Google cofounder Larry Page, Gavin Schmidt, and Alexander Tolley; I also got great feedback after the conference from Zack Booth Simpson of Mine-Control.

Thanks to David Goforth, Ph.D., Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, Laurentian University, and David Robinson, Ph.D., Department of Economics, Laurentian University, for numerous insightful suggestions. And thanks to anthropologist H. Lyn Miles, Ph.D., of the Chantek Foundation and ApeNet, who enculturated the orangutan Chantek. Thanks, too, to cognitive scientist David W. Nicholas, for many comments and stimulating discussions.

Thanks to Betty Jean Reid and Carolyn Monaco of the Intervenor for Deaf-Blind Persons Program at George Brown College, Toronto, the first and largest program of its type in the world; to Patricia Grant, Executive Director and Outreach Intervenor Services Manager of the Canadian Helen Keller Centre, Toronto; to John A. Gardner, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus of Physics, Oregon State University, and founder of ViewPlus Technologies, Inc.; and to Justin Leiber, Ph.D., Philosophy Department, University of Houston, author of the paper "Helen Keller as Cognitive Scientist" (Philosophical Psychology, Vol. 9, No. 4, 1996).

Very special thanks to my late deaf-blind friend Howard Miller (1966-2006), whom I first met online in 1992 and in person in 1994, and who touched my life and those of so many others in countless ways.

Thanks to my most excellent ophthalmologist, Gerald I. Goldlist, M.D.; to Edmund R. Meskys; to Guido Dante Corona of IBM Research's Human Ability and Accessibility Center, Austin, Texas; and to the following members of the Blindmath mailing list who read this novel in manuscript and offered feedback: Sina Bahram, Mr. Fatty Matty, Ken Perry, Lawrence Scadden, and Cindy Sheets. Thanks also to Bev Geddes of the Manitoba School for the Deaf.

Thanks, too, to all the people who answered questions, let me bounce ideas off them, or otherwise provided input, including:

  • R. Scott Bakker
  • Paul Bartel
  • Asbed Bedrossian
  • Barbara Berson
  • Ellen Bleaney
  • Ted Bleaney
  • Nomi S. Burstein
  • Linda C. Carson
  • David Livingstone Clink
  • Daniel Dern
  • Ron Friedman
  • Marcel Gagné
  • Shoshana Glick
  • Richard Gotlib
  • Peter Halasz
  • Elisabeth Hegerat
  • Birger Johansson
  • Al Katerinsky
  • Herb Kauderer
  • Shannon Kauderer
  • Fiona Kelleghan
  • Valerie King
  • Randy McCharles
  • Kirstin Morrell
  • Ryan Oakley
  • Heather Osborne
  • Ariel Reich
  • Alan B. Sawyer
  • Sally Tomasevic
  • Elizabeth Trenholm
  • Hayden Trenholm
  • Robert Charles Wilson, and
  • Ozan S. Yigit.

Many thanks to the members of my writers' group, the Senior Pajamas: Pat Forde, James Alan Gardner, and Suzanne Church. Thanks also to Danita Maslankowski, who organizes the twice-annual "Write-Off" retreat weekends for Calgary's Imaginative Fiction Writers Association, at which much work was done on this book.

The term introduced in the last chapter of this book was coined by Ben Goertzel, Ph.D., the author of Creating Internet Intelligence and currently the CEO and Chief Scientist of artificial-intelligence firm Novamente LLC (novamente.net); I'm using it here with his kind permission.

A list of links to the specific Wikipedia entries I've briefly quoted can be found here.

For those interested in learning more about Julian Jaynes, author of The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, in addition to reading his book please also visit the Julian Jaynes Society (of which I'm a member) at julianjaynes.org.

A lot of this book was written during the three fabulous months my wife and I spent at the Berton House Writers' Retreat. The childhood home of famed Canadian writer Pierre Berton, Berton House is located in Dawson City — the heart of the Klondike gold rush in Canada's Yukon — right across the street from Robert Service's cabin, and just a short distance from Jack London's cabin. The retreat's administrator is Elsa Franklin, and Dan Davidson and Suzanne Saito looked after us in Dawson.

Finally, thanks to the 1,300-plus members of my online discussion group, who followed along with me as I created this novel. Feel free to join us.

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