Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Why I'm not going to the World Fantasy Convention this year

Answer: because they don't sell memberships at the door, and they cap sales for pre-registration.

This weekend, I have to be in Vancouver, British Columbia, as a presenter at the Surrey International Writers Conference. Sometime shortly after that -- but the date is yet to be precisely nailed down, but it might be Friday, October 30, and it might be Monday, November 2 -- I have to go to Los Angeles, to do some work on FlashForward, the TV series based on my novel of the same name.

So, what's in between Vancouver and Los Angeles, and is taking place between the dates I have to be in those two places? Why, San Jose, and this year's World Fantasy Convention, which is being held there.

But I can't buy a ticket now, unless I hunt around to find someone who isn't going and is willing to sell theirs, and I can't buy one at the door at any price. I understand that World Fantasy wants to keep out last-minute local goths and vampire-junkies who might get wind of the convention through the media as it's happening, but the effect of their membership-cap and no-at-the-door-sales policies is to keep me away.

Surely the same effect of keeping outsiders out could be accomplished by limiting at-the-door sales to publishing professionals (employees of publishing companies, active members of SFWA, etc.)? And surely a handful of at-the-door sales to people who obviously belong couldn't really overrun the convention's capacity?

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Charity auctions and SF conventions

More and more science-fiction conventions have taken to asking authors to donate things to charity auctions, which, on its surface, seems like a great idea: let's see if we can raise some money for this cause or that.

The problem: conventions that don't have the turnout, or don't do the hustle at the con, to actually get the fair value of the things being auctioned. (Many charity auctions turn out to be "silent auctions," with bidding sheets hidden away somewhere and not promoted much or all during the convention; others have real auctioneering, but with tiny turnouts.)

At one recent con, a copy of The Bakka Anthology -- one of only 400 in existence, signed by me (and containing the first appearance of my Hugo-nominated story "Shed Skin"), Tanya Huff, Michelle Sagara West, Fiona Patton, Cory Doctorow, Nalo Hopkinson, Ed Greenwood, and others, went for just $10, a fraction of its original cover price, let alone what it's worth now.

Another con recently got me to donate a Tuckerization [naming a character after a real person] in one of my upcoming novels -- something I might agree to do once per book, maybe -- and then managed to raise just 25% of what the last Tuckerization I let be auctioned off went for, because the con was so small.

Memo to con-runners: there aren't an endless number of such goodies out there, folks. Think twice before you decide to mount a charity auction; it's real work to do one properly, and they don't do well at small cons. If you're not coming close to realizing the actual value of the things you've gotten authors and others to donate, please note that you are likely taking those things away from other conventions that might have managed to actually raise some real money for charity with them. Just sayin'.
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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

VCON in Vancouver this weekend

I'll be at Vancouver's science-fiction convention VCON this weekend. If you're in the area, come on out -- it'll be a blast!

More info
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Monday, July 13, 2009

Thirteen hours, forty-five minutes

Door-to-door from Readercon in Boston to the house I'm renting in Saskatoon.


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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Readercon reflections

Random thoughts on Readercon 20:

I'm at Pearson -- Toronto's airport -- changing planes on my way back to Saskatoon from Readercon 20 in Boston.

It was a great, great convention -- and I made a point of telling both Eric Van (this year's programming chair) and Bob Colby (who founded Readercon 20 years ago) that.

It was startling to see myself referred to as a "Readercon stalwart" in the program book -- but, according to the chart in the book, I'd been to 10 of the 20 Readercons, and most of them in the past decade, so I guess I am.

I seemed to be the only person from Toronto present; highly unusual for Readercon.

Great catching up with old friends Michael and Nomi Burstein, Ian Randal Strock, Warren Lapine, Nick DiChario, Rick Wilber, Paolo Bacigalupi, Jacob Weisman, and Bernie Goodman.

The Senior Editor of the journal Neuron came to my kaffeeklatsch -- how cool is that?

Catherine Asaro is looking amazingly hot. Just sayin'.

At the request of Cary Meriwether, who came all the way to Boston from San Diego, I read from Watch, the second WWW book, instead of Wake, the first one; it went over well.

Fitzhenry & Whiteside shipped down 10 copies of Distant Early Warnings: Canada's Best Science Fiction, edited by me; it was the first I'd seen of the book. I gave a copy to Tor editor David G. Hartwell and to Pulitzer-Prize winning critic Michael Dirda, and sold the rest like that -- boom! The book looks fabulous.

Also sold out our stock of The Savage Humanists, despite the absence of editor Fiona Kelleghan, and of our two Nick DiChario titles (thanks, I'm sure, to Nick's smiling presence).

Bernie Goodman and Jacob Weisman from Tachyon Books made the con for me: I had more than half my meals with them. Despite them being much more experienced small-press publishers than I am, they treat me like a colleague, and we had a blast.

Friday's dinner party included Nick DiChario, Allen Steele, and Rick Wilber -- what a great time! We went, at Rick's suggestion, to the Capital Grill (and a Nick's suggestion, we walked there).

Saturday's dinner party included Michael Bishop and Geri Bishop (two of the nicest people in the world) and SFScope editor Ian Randall Strock.

Tor editor Stacy Hague-Hill -- who has been working very hard on my behalf at Tor -- and her husband took my out for lunch on Saturday -- w00t! Her husband is South African, and so I talked with him a bit about my work on Charlie Jade, a Canada-South Africa co-produced TV series.

I'm one of four judges for the Cordwainer Smith Rediscover Award, which is presented at Readercon. I introduced fellow judge Barry Malzberg to the crowd on Friday night, and he gave the award to A. Merritt (1884-1943). The other judges are Mike Resnick and Martin H. Greenberg.

I bought a paperback copy of Thomas J. Ryan's The Adolescence of P-1 from Judith Klein-Dial in the dealers' room, one of the seminal novels about computers gaining intelligence, and certainly an influence on me and my Wake. I own it in hardcover, and had read it back in the summer of 1980, but re-read a bunch of it on the long trip back to Saskatoon. Fun.

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Come to my Readercon Kaffeeklatsch

Tomorrow (Friday, July 10, 2009), at 5:00 p.m. in Room 458 (but you have to sign up in advance at the con, and space is quite limited): an opportunity to spend an intimate hour over coffee (or whatever) with me. Always one of my favourite parts of any convention that has them.
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Sunday, July 5, 2009

My Readercon programming

I'll be attending Readercon 20, July 9-12, 2009, near Boston. Here's the programming I'll be on:

Friday 11:00 AM, Vineyard: Reading (60 min.) from his recently published novel WWW: Wake.

Friday 5:00 PM, Room 458: Kaffeeklatsch.

Saturday 10:00 AM, Salon F: Autographing.

Saturday 12:00 Noon, VT: Federations Group Reading (60 min.) John Joseph Adams (host) with K. Tempest Bradford, Robert J. Sawyer, Allen Steele, Catherynne M. Valente, Genevieve Valentine: Readings from the original and reprint anthology (cover blurb: "Vast. Epic. Interstellar.") edited by Adams and published by Prime Books in January.

Saturday 1:00 PM, Salon E: Panel: Novels of Advocacy vs. Novels of Recognition. Paolo Bacigalupi, John Clute, Ken Houghton, Barry N. Malzberg, Robert J. Sawyer (Leader), Graham Sleight: At the keynote Thursday night panel at Readercon 18, our panelists stumbled upon a useful taxonomic distinction: novels that advocate for a particular future (a la Heinlein) versus novels that merely attempt to recognize and describe a possible one (a la Gibson). There was some debate as to just how strongly the field was moving from the former to the latter, and if there was such a trend, its relationship to others (optimism vs. pessimism, far futures vs. near futures, etc.) One of the panelists, Graham Sleight, has recently renewed the discussion online. We'll explore the numerous possible directions raised by Sleight and others.

Saturday 3:00 PM, Salon E: Panel: Is Darwinism Too Good For SF? Jeff Hecht (Leader), Caitlin R. Kiernan, Anil Menon, James Morrow, Steven Popkes, Robert J. Sawyer: This year marks the sesquicentennial of the publication of The Origin of Species and the bicentennial of Charles Darwin's birth. Considering the importance of the scientific idea, there has been surprisingly little great sf inspired by it. We wonder whether, in fact, if the theory has been too good, too unassailable and too full of explanatory power, to leave the wiggle room where speculative minds can play in. After all, physics not only has FTL and time travel, but mechanisms like wormholes that might conceivably make them possible. What are their equivalents in evolutionary theory, if any?
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Cool YouTube promo for Calgary's Con-Version

Con-Version is Calgary's annual SF&F convention. Author Guests of Honour this year are Terry Brooks, Tanya Huff, and Robert J. Sawyer -- and now there's a nifty promo for the con on YouTube. Check it out.

See you in August!

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Anticipation's Aurora Awards banquet -- a significant break from tradition

A few interesting facts about this year's Aurora Awards and the ceremony at which they will be presented, courtesy of the website for Anticipation, the World Science Fiction Convention in Montreal, which is hosting the Auroras this year:

"Since the Awards will be held in Montreal, we are placing emphasis on access to French works, through translations and other efforts to make the output of French Canada available to international attendees."

One wonders if the Aurora Awards subcommittee of the 2003 Worldcon -- the previous Canadian one -- had issued a statement like the above about the Auroras, but with "Toronto" and "English" substituted for "Montreal" and "French," what the response would have been. Surely all of Canada's Aurora-Award-nominated works deserve to be highlighted for those coming to the Worldcon from outside Canada.


"The Awards will take place Friday, August 7th. Doors open at 17:30, Dinner and Awards start at 18:00. A cash bar will be available during the Awards."

Well, that's nice that they're having a banquet; those Aurora Award ceremonies that have included a banquet (starting, I believe, in 1997) have been the best.

"Due to time constraints, the Awards ceremony will take place during dinner."

Time constraints? But Anticipation bid to become the Canadian National Science Fiction Convention: it fought for the right to be the venue at which the Auroras are presented, and fought for the right to be designated not just the World Science Fiction Convention but also the CanVention, this year's Canadian National SF Convention. Surely they are setting an appropriate block of time aside for the Aurora Award ceremony, no?

"Therefore, open seating after the banquet is not available this year. If you want to attend the ceremonies, you must purchase a ticket. You must be a member of Anticipation to attend the banquet."

Who in the what now? This is a huge break in tradition. No one has ever had to pay to see the Auroras presented before. When there has been a banquet, it has always been followed by open seating, allowing people to see the awards be presented without having to pay. Indeed, the open seating normally hasn't even required people to have a convention membership to come in and watch. (I always go to the banquet when there is one, but that's not the point.)

Also, having often been master of ceremonies for, given keynote speeches at, and participated in many dozens of awards ceremonies and banquets over the years, both in and out of the SF field, I'll point out that you never give the awards while people are trying to eat. The noise level is too high and there are too many people distracted from paying attention to the presentation of the awards; it ruins both the meal and the awards ceremony.

"Tickets are $40 in advance, $50 on site. This is on top of the registration fees required for voting ... If you want to attend the ceremonies, you must purchase a ticket."

So, if you're nominated for an Aurora, and you actually want to attend the ceremony at which the winners will be announced, the fee is Cdn$240 for your membership in Anticipation plus Cdn$40 for your banquet ticket, if you buy in advance, for at total of Cdn$290 -- or more at the door.

In the past, nominees and others who are interested (even the general public) have been able to attend the actual ceremony for free, since the ceremony has always been held either as a standalone affair or after the banquet was over.

We've often had cases in the past where there have been surprise Aurora victories (meaning no one can confidently predict who is going to win in any given category), and many nominees -- both pro and fan -- will find $40 (for their own ticket) or $80 (the combined cost of their own and one for their significant other) too steep to bear.

It seems to me, therefore, that Anticipation is manufacturing a situation in which there will likely be winners who are attending the Worldcon but will not be able to come into the room to receive their trophies (or their applause) during the ceremony, because they've chosen not to (or been unable to) spend $40 on a banquet ticket on the off-chance that they might win.

Given that Anticipation seems unwilling to clear an appropriate block of time in its schedule for the Aurora Awards (and therefore is currently planning on trying to cram all of a cash bar, a sit-down meal, and the actual presentation of the awards into a small window of time), I personally think they'd do better to dispense with the banquet, and have a proper ceremony -- one that all of the nominees can attend -- instead.

But the real solution is for this year's Canadian National Science Fiction Convention -- that selfsame Anticipation -- to find the appropriate amount of time in the schedule for both the banquet and the awards ceremony. The current plan -- a rushed affair with a mandatory entrance fee -- is unfair to the nominees, to those on a budget, and to the dignity of the awards.
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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Guest of Honour at Ad Astra in 2010

Toronto's Ad Astra science-fiction convention has always been very good to me, and next year, they'll be having me back as one of their Guests of Honour. (The other author GoHs are Eric Flint and Todd McCaffrey, both of whom are friends -- I'm looking forward to spening some time with them.)

This will be the fourth time Ad Astra has had me attend in a special capacity:
  • Guest of Honour
    Ad Astra
    Toronto, Ontario
    April 9-11, 2010

  • Toastmaster
    Ad Astra 2001
    Toronto, ON
    February 23-25, 2001

  • Guest of Honour
    Ad Astra 18
    Toronto, Ontario
    June 5-7, 1998

  • Special Guest
    Ad Astra 16
    Toronto, Ontario
    June 7-9, 1996

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Monday, May 25, 2009

Upcoming SF conventions with RJS

  • Program Participant
    Readercon 20
    Burlington, Massachusetts
    July 9-12, 2009

  • Program Participant
    Anticipation: the 67th World Science Fiction Convention
    Montréal, Québec
    August 6-10, 2009

  • Guest of Honour
    Con-Version 25
    Calgary, Alberta
    August 21-23, 2009

  • Program Participant
    VCON 34
    Vancouver, British Columbia
    October 2-4, 2009

  • Program Participant
    Rochester, New York
    November 6-8, 2009

  • Guest of Honor
    Capricon 30
    Wheeling (Chicago), Illinois
    February 11-14 (four days), 2010

  • Program Participant
    Ad Astra
    Toronto, Ontario
    March 27-29, 2010

  • Guest of Honor
    OSFest 3
    Omaha, Nebraska
    July 23-25, 2010
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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Robert J. Sawyer tribute zine

Alan White produced the wonderful tribute fanzine Flashing Forward with Robert J. Sawyer as part of promoting the terrific SF convention Xanadu Las Vegas at which I was author Guest of Honor last month. You can download the amazing zine as a PDF file right here. Needless to say, I'm incredibly flattered.
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Saturday, May 9, 2009

They like me! They really like me!

(To quote Sally Field, for the humor-impaired ...)

So, Capricon --- a major Chicago-area science-fiction convention -- polled its attendees to see which Guests of Honor from their previousw 29 years they'd most like to have come back for the 30th year. I'm honored and thrilled to be one of those chosen. Capricon 30, a four-day con in February 2010, will have these author guests of honor:
  • Frederik Pohl
  • Spider & Jeanne Robinson
  • Robert J. Sawyer
Yay! (I was Author Guest of Honor at Capricon 17 in 1997.)

Meanwhile, they want me back in Nebraska! I'll be Author Guest of Honor at OSFest 3, to be held in Omaha, Nebraska, July 23-25, 2010 (next year); Pierre and Sandy Pettinger, and other key members of Nebraska fandom, fondly remembered me being Guest of Honor at Andromeda 2 in Lincoln in 1995, and want me back. Cool!

(And, just for the record, both of these invitations came before the Flash Forward TV series was picked up.)

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Xanadu Las Vegas is rockin'

Xanadu Las Vegas, the convention I'm Author Guest of Honor at right now, has been great fun so far. Today I gave a talk on writing, attended talks by Chase Masterson (above) and Lawrence Montaigne (below, with me and Carolyn), watched Chase's excellent new movie Yesterday was a Lie, and had a wonderful three-hour Chinese dinner with Chase, James Kerwin (who wrote and directed the movie), Bob Patula (a programmer who wrote the math engine for the Excel spreadsheet), and Bob's wife Melanie -- a wonderful time.

And yesterday, we hung out a lot with Dani Kollin and Eytan Kollin, the wonderful team of writing brothers, authors of The Unincorporated Man, just out from Tor.

(Chase played Leeta the Bajoran on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Lawrence was Stonn the Vulcan in the classic Star Trek episode "Amok Time.")

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

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Monday, April 6, 2009

Ad Astra and FilKONtario the same weekend in 2010

As if this wasn't crazy enough, it's just been confirmed that Toronto will have two of its SF cons on the same weekend next year! Both Ad Astra, the general con, and FilKONtario, the filking con, are April 9 through 11, 2010. Unbelievable!

For the record, it's Ad Astra that changed its date, resulting in the conflict. At FilKONtario, someone opined that the conflict would lead to a reduction in Ad Astra's attendance, rather than FilKONtario's -- and I suspect that's probably right. Still, although I had a blast as special guest at FilKONtario this year, I'll be at Ad Astra next year -- but, really, no one should have to make this choice; it's just nuts.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site


Sunday, April 5, 2009

What is wrong with Canadian fandom?

So, we have six major general-interest regional science-fiction conventions left in Canada: VCON in Vancouver, Con-Version in Calgary, Pure Speculation in Edmonton, KeyCon in Winnipeg, Ad Astra in Toronto, and Con*Cept in Montreal.

And, incredibly, three of them are on the same weekend in 2009! VCON, Pure Speculation, and Con*Cept are all the first weekend in October. Don't you guys talk? I know there's a Canadian con-runners mailing list, for Pete's sake.

VCON and Pure Speculation are definitely close enough physically that there are significant numbers of people who would have attended both -- and there are crazy folk like me who will go to any major Canadian con if scheduling permits regardless of its location.

This just makes zero sense, guys. No wonder con attendance is shrinking coast-to-coast.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site


Friday, April 3, 2009

No Norwescon for Rob

Sadly, I've had to bow out of Norwescon in Seattle this month. It's a great con, and I'm very sorry to miss it. I'll still be at the other cons and festivals I'm scheduled for this year: FilKONtario, Xanadu Las Vegas, The Frye Festival, Keycon, Readercon, the Montreal Worldcon, Con-Version, VCON, the Surrey International Writers Conference, and Astronomicon.

My schedule -- including book-tour events for Wake -- is here.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site


Wednesday, April 1, 2009


I'm Special Guest at FilKONtario this weekend in Toronto, Canada's largest filking convetion. Come on out and join the fun!

I'm particularly thrilled because my friends Randy McCharles and Val King are coming all the way from Calgary for the con. W00t!

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site


Monday, March 30, 2009

Nick Matthews's Ad Astra photos ...

... are here.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site


SciFi Watch on Ad Astra

See David Halpert's blog here.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Ad Astra

Ad Astra, Toronto's annual general-interest SF convention, wrapped up today.

It was one of the best Ad Astras in years, and I had a great time. Highlights included drinks Friday night with David G. Hartwell, Kathryn Cramer, Terence M. Green, Merle Casci, and their children; giving a standing-room-only reading from Wake, a great panel today on ebooks, and a Robert J. Sawyer newsgroup luncheon.

Herb Kauderer took some photos of the luncheon:

Hayden Trenholm, Elizabeth Trenholm

Margaret Chown, Al Katerinsky

Robert J. Sawyer

Sally Tomasevic, Marcel Gagné

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Ad Astra begins tomorrow

I try to make it to as many major regional SF conventions in Canada as I can each year. This year, I'll be at VCON in Vancouver, Con-Version in Calgary, Keycon in Winnpeg, the World Science Fiction Convention in Montreal, and, of course, at Toronto's Ad Astra, which begins tomorrow (not to mention Toronto's FilKONtario the following weekend, at which I am Author Guest of Honour).

And -- you heard it here first, folks: special last-minute guests at Ad Astra this year: Dr. David G. Hartwell, Hugo Award-winning senior editor at Tor Books, and Kathryn Cramer, multiple Hugo Award-nominated co-editor of Year's Best SF, The Hard SF Renaissance, and The New York Review of Science Fiction.

I'll be doing a reading from Wake Saturday at 1:00 p.m. in the Crowne Room; the rest of my programming schedule is here.

Ad Astra website.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Nice photo of me

David G. Hartwell, my long-time editor at Tor, took this shot of me at the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts in Orlando last week. (And, yes, it was cool enough there that I was wearing a fleece much of the time.)

His other shots from the conference are here.

Photo: Robert J. Sawyer

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site


Monday, March 16, 2009

How's this for a line-up?

World Fantasy Award winner James Morrow

Nebula Award winner Ted Chiang

Hugo Award winner Robert J. Sawyer

All reading together on the same stage: this Saturday morning, March 21, 2009, at the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts in Orlando, Florida.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Ad Astra programming schedule

One of the highlights of my year each year is Toronto's SF convention, Ad Astra (which in 2009 takes place March 27-29).

Here's my panel and reading schedule for this year:

Sat 10:00 AM
Ballr. East
What's In a Name
Ed Greenwood, Gabrielle Harbowy (moderator), Robert J. Sawyer

Sat 1:00 PM
Crowne Room
Robert J. Sawyer

Sat 2:00 PM
Salon 241
Those Pesky Laws of Physics
James Alan Gardner, Robert J. Sawyer, Calvin Climie, Derek Knsken (moderator)

Sat 5:00 PM
Salon 243
First Contact
James Alan Gardner, Robert J. Sawyer (moderator), Timothy Zahn, Steven Kerzner

Sat 9:00 PM
Salon 241
Move Over Meatbrains
Madeline Ashby, James Alan Gardner (moderator), Robert J. Sawyer

Sun 11:00 AM
Ballr. Centre
Working with a Smaller Press
Nick DiChario (moderator), Robert J. Sawyer, Rick Wilber, Erik Buchanan

Sun 12:00 PM
Ballr. East
Adding Humour to Serious Works
Steven Kerzner (moderator), D.K. Savage, Adrienne Kress, Ed Greenwood, Robert J. Sawyer

Sun 2:00 PM
Salon 243
Reading on Screens
Stephanie Bedwell-Grime, Robert J. Sawyer, Karl Schroeder (moderator), Michael R. Colangelo, Sephera Giron

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site


Monday, March 9, 2009

Video: Rob invites you to Xanadu Las Vegas

I'm Author Guest of Honor at the convention Xanadu Las Vegas next month (April 17-19, 2009). There's now a nifty video of me talking about why you should come to the con on YouTube.

(It's also a nice tour of my living room and some of my toys.)

More about Xanadu Las Vegas is here, and their latest progress report is here.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site


Saturday, February 7, 2009

Seattle Worldcon bid withdrawn

Seattle has withdrawn its bid for the 2011 World Science Fiction Convention, leaving Reno the winner by default. Details are here.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site


Sunday, January 18, 2009

More on pros and cons: choosing panels

A few days ago, I was asked about how a pro might get the most out of attending a science-fiction convention. I gave my advice here, but another point just occurred to me.

I was just directed to the lengthy list of panel topics from which to choose those I wanted to be part of at Norwescon, a con I'll be attending in April 2009 in Seattle. In making my choices, I realized I was picking ones that made it possible for me to cite work of my own in relation to the discussion (not that that's all I'm going to do, but I do want audience members who feel I've had something witty and intelligent to contribute to be able to find a specifically related novel by me to enjoy). Here are some of my picks, and the novel of mine that is obviously connected to the topic to be discussed:

SCI15 Robots' Rights
The real reason we want AI is that we want perfect slaves. Whether they be butlers, bodyguards, intelligent sex toys or whatever, we want Jeeves-like competence with hard-wired loyalty and obedience and without the moral issues involved in enslaving people. But is there a paradox in that? Is it possible for machines (i.e., any combination of hardware and software) to be smart enough to do what we really want them to do without also being self-aware enough to have "human" rights?

(My novel Wake, which is being released just days before Norwescon begins.)

SCI04 The Science of Immortality
Some scientists think that the human lifespan is set at a point around 120 years. Others are coming up with creative ways to extend that point out to centuries, or even millennia. Which theories on extending life are the most popular, and which are the most provocative? What individuals and companies are pursuing the dream of eternal life? And when will you be able to get your own "longevity pill" or stroll on down to the clinic for an "immortality treatment"?

(My Hugo Award-nominated Rollback)

SCI18 Order in the (Alien?) Court!
What happens when you're accused of a crime on another planet? How have writers handled this in the past--from Heinlein's Have Spacesuit, will Travel to the Klingon court in The Undiscovered Country? Is it possible to write about methods of dispensing justice without depending on Terran history? Is the idea of justice itself an Earth concept?

(My Seiun Award-winning Illegal Alien)

SCI43 Backups: Eternal Life or Eternal Death?
Let's say we could record a person's mind and play it back into a new body, so that the new person couldn't be told from the old. Would that lead to immortality? Or would it lead to an endless series of deaths followed by the creation of a new person who just thinks he's the old one? Essentially, what does it mean to be oneself?

(My John W. Campbell Memorial Award-winning Mindscan)

WRI70 Alternate Prehistory
Do new discoveries in paleontology offer ideas for alternate history? Is this prehistory an untapped resource for alternate history?

(My Hugo Award-winning Hominids)

So, yes, as a pro, by all means pick topics that excite you, but if you are hoping that panel participation might actually sell a book or two, do choose panels that are relevant to your work.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

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Saturday, September 1, 2007

Why having a Worldcon in Canada in 2009 is cool

The 2009 World Science Fiction Convention will be in Montreal. That's cool for many reasons, including:

It's the 30th anniversary of John Robert Colombo's Other Canadas, the massive retrospective anthology that first established that there was, in fact, such a thing as Canadian science fiction.

It's the 25th anniversary of the first Tesseracts anthology, edited by Judith Merril.

It's the 25th anniversary of the founding (by Judith Merril, with Robert J. Sawyer as its coordinator) of Hydra North, Canada's first association of science-fiction professionals.

It's the 20th anniversary of the founding of On Spec, Canada's leading SF magazine.

It's the 20th anniversary of the founding of SF Canada, the Canadian association of SF writers.

It's the 20th anniversary of the debut of Prisoners of Gravity, Canada's great TV series about SF

It's the 20th anniversary of ConText, the legendary Edmonton convention that brought together most Canadian SF writers for the first time.

For Rob's June 2009 response to Amy J. Ransom, see here.
The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site