Tuesday, March 23, 2010

FlashForward by the numbers

Okay, I won't kid anyone by saying the ratings for the return of FlashForward, the ABC TV series based on my novel of the same name, were what we'd hoped for. But let's bring some clarity to the discussion. Here's a good analysis of how we did from RBR.COM (Radio Business Report / Television Business Report -- "the Voice of the Broadcasting Industry"):
“FlashForward” (8:00-10:01 p.m.)

Returning to ABC’s schedule for the first time in 3-1/2 months, opposite stiff competition from CBS’ NCAA Basketball Tournament and NBC’s original 2-hour comedy block, freshman “FlashForward” drew an average audience of 6.5 million viewers during its broadcast.

The No. 1 non-sports program in its regular 8:00-9:00 p.m. time period with Total Viewers, “FlashForward” (6.5 million) topped its original competition in the hour, besting NBC’s comedies (“Community”/”Parks and Recreation”) by 35% (4.8 million). The ABC rookie also defeated its regular competition in the opening hour of prime in Adults 25-54 (2.4/7) and key Women (W18-49/W25-54).

In its usual 8:00-9:00 p.m. time slot, “FlashForward” attracted ABC’s biggest overall audience (6.5 million) since January and its highest Adult 18-49 non-sports number (1.9/6) since December – since 1/21/10 and 12/3/09, respectively.

Despite facing the College Basketball Tournament, “FlashForward” held steady among Adults 18-49 from its first to second hour, building 5% in its final half-hour at 9:30 p.m. (1.9/6 to 2.0/6). The drama also gained audience from its first to second hour among Adults 25-54 (+4%) and across all key Men: M18-34 (+7%), M18-49 (+7%) and M25-54 (+5%).

TV’s top freshman gainer this season with young adult viewers via DVR playback, “FlashForward” surges from its first-reported overnight numbers by 1.8 million viewers and by 9-tenths of an Adult 18-49 rating point (+31%), from the Live + Same Day ratings to the Live + 7 Day DVR finals.

Robert J. Sawyer online:


Monday, March 15, 2010

Flashforwards, Flashbacks, and Me

After a three-month hiatus, FlashForward, the ABC TV series based on my novel of the same name, returns to television this week. On Tuesday, March 16, 2010, at 10:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific (9:00 p.m. Central), a one-hour clip show entitled "What Did You See?" (a catch-phrase straight out of my novel) airs (immediately following Lost).

And on Thursday, March 18, at 8:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific (7:00 p.m. Central), a new two-hour episode, "Revelation Zero," airs -- and we'll be on without repeats or pre-emptions every week after that for ten more weeks.

What follows are some of my thoughts about the show and being involved with it.
It's a sweltering day in August 2009, and I'm in Los Angeles, at a location shoot for FlashForward, as we're filming the sixth episode of the TV series based on my novel of the same name.

John Cho (pictured with me above), one of our stars, comes up to me to say hello. We haven't seen each other since filming the pilot, back in February 2009, and he's been wanting to ask me a question since then: "What happens to my character?"

He's right to wonder. In our first episode, everyone on Earth blacked out for two minutes and seventeen seconds. Millions died during that time, as people tumbled down staircases, cars smashed into each other, planes crashed as they tried to land, and so on. Those who survived had interlocking visions of what their futures might hold six months down the road.

Except, apparently, for John Cho's character, impetuous FBI agent Demetri Noh. He told the others in the first episode that he'd seen nothing at all -- and, he said, he's terrified that means he'll be dead in just half a year.

The storyline of a guy who has no vision when almost everyone else does is straight out of my novel, so my first thought is to tell John that he should do what fellow series stars Joseph Fiennes (who plays John's partner at the FBI), Sonya Walger, Dominic Monaghan, and Zachary Knighton did: read my book. But instead I decide to immediately put him out of his misery.

I look left and right, to make sure we aren't being overheard, then say, "Well, John, your character is actually lying when he says he didn't see anything. The truth is, six months down the road, Demetri sees himself in a gay bar, and doesn't want to admit that to his macho FBI partner."

John looks skeptical, so I smile and say, "Hey, look, you're the guy playing Sulu now in Star Trek, right? What was the big reveal about the original Sulu, George Takei? Seemed like a good notion to copy."

Of course, that's not the real answer. The truth is hidden in the FlashForward writers' room, which is located on the ABC Studios lot just across a small alley from the writers' room for Lost (from which I hereby deny that we constantly hear anguished screams).

Our room has a giant wall chart divided into twenty-two columns and thirteen rows: one column for each of our first-season episodes, and one row for each character. The actors are forbidden to enter the room, but John's true fate is written there in the appropriate box.

I wish there'd been such a board for my own life. My novel FlashForward was first published in 1999, and I had real doubts back then about whether my writing career was going to flourish. I'd have loved a glimpse in 1999 of what my own future would hold; it would have saved me a lot of sleepless nights to know that the crazy gamble of trying to be a novelist was going to pay off.

Yes, by the time FlashForward was published I'd already won the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America's Nebula Award for Best Novel of the Year, but I'd yet to hit any major bestsellers list (that came the following year, with a book called Calculating God). And the biggest prize in science fiction, the Hugo, had eluded my grasp, despite several nominations by that point (I did finally win it in 2003, for my novel Hominids).

But I'm not sure that I'd have believed this future had I seen it. FlashForward isn't just any TV show; rather, it's the hottest new dramatic program of the year in the US, and it's already sold to a staggering 100 territories worldwide. The juggernaut that FlashForward has become is, frankly, overwhelming.

Working on a big-time TV series (I'm writing episode 19, and serving as consultant on all of them) is new for me. Likewise, it was the challenge of doing something different, I'm sure, that attracted big-name actors to this project. John Cho is known for comedic roles in movies (he's Harold in the Harold & Kumar films), but in FlashForward he's getting to show the world what an incredibly fine dramatic actor he is.

Indeed, all our actors are playing very tough material. I have a tiny cameo in the pilot as "Man on Cell Phone" behind Sonya Walger while she's talking about the worldwide disaster with Joseph Fiennes's character on her own mobile; Sonya was so intense during our little scene together that director David S. Goyer had to keep reminding her to blink.

Joseph Fiennes is known for his Shakespearian work, including playing the bard himself in Shakespeare in Love. During the filming of the pilot, I loved watching Joe bop between doing a tough-guy American voice for his FlashForward character of Mark Benford, and then, as soon as director Goyer called "Cut!," immediately switching to a foppish British voice and reciting lines from Cyrano de Bergerac, as he rehearsed for his role in Trevor Nunn's production of that play this past summer. Joe put Sally Field's back-and-forth transformations in Sybil to shame.

As I look back on it, I'm still stunned that this particular future for me has come to pass. It's been a long road getting to where the show is now. In Hollywood, everything is about who you know -- and my agent there, Vince Gerardis, has long known producer Jessika Borsiczky. As soon as the FlashForward novel was published, Vince gave Jessika a copy, and she got her friend (and later husband) David S. Goyer to read it. They immediately agreed that they wanted to adapt my novel for film.

Later, when David teamed up with Brannon Braga of Star Trek fame to work on a 2005 TV series called Threshold, Brannon -- who was independently a fan of my books -- said that FlashForward would be even better as a TV show, and together David and Brannon wrote the pilot script.

My mother taught statistics at the University of Toronto; all my life, I've been calculating odds, and never figured I'd beat them. Maybe one novel in a hundred has its film or TV rights optioned (most of mine have at one point or another), but then only one in a thousand of those ever actually gets made. I never expected any of mine to be filmed, and I certainly never expected anything on this scale.

When we got the go-ahead to make the pilot -- and at ABC, no less! -- I was gob-smacked; I felt like I'd won the lottery. (And, to my delight, David Goyer told my hometown paper, The Toronto Star, that "I felt like I'd won the lottery of television writers" when he read my novel.)

When the series was picked up by ABC for its initial 13-episode order (now extended to 22), David said, "This will change your life." And it has -- and not just because the darn phone won't stop ringing. Still, it's strange knowing, at 49, that when my obituary does eventually run, the fact that FlashForward was adapted into a TV series will be the thing I'm most noted for.

Looking back on it, it's amazing from how small a seed a global phenomenon can spring. FlashForward grew out of my high-school reunion at which everyone -- and I mean everyone -- said the same thing: if I'd only known back then what I know now, my life would be better. They were sure they'd have avoided marrying that jerk, taking that dead-end job, or making that bad investment.

Well, as a science-fiction writer, I couldn't hear that without wanting to explore it with a thought experiment: what if people really did know their futures? Would attempts to alter that future actually work?

(You don't need a $100-million TV series to test that proposition, though; just ask yourself, whether, with all your good intentions and conscious will, you've managed to keep your New Year's resolutions.)

In my novel, I make the analogy that time is like a movie: the frame that's illuminated is "now," and the stuff before it is what you've already seen. But what's to come later is already established, as well; it just hasn't been revealed yet.

Well, for FlashForward, I have seen the future; I know what tomorrow holds. But I'm not telling. You're going to have to watch -- and, I hope, read! -- to see how it all unfolds.

Robert J. Sawyer online:


Saturday, March 6, 2010

FlashForward pub night in Toronto

Sponsored by Ad Astra, Toronto's SF convention:

FlashForward Pub Night

Celebrating the Success of our Guest of Honour Robert J. Sawyer

Type: Party - Movie/TV Night
Date: Thursday, March 18, 2010
Time: 7:00pm - 11:00pm
Location: Scruffy Murphy’s
Street: 225 The East Mall
Etobicoke (Toronto), Ontario, Canada

So you *think* you know what the future holds?

FlashForward, based on Rob’s book of the same name, returns for the Part 2 of Season 1

On March 18th, at 8pm

Join us for a special pub night around the big screen.

Admission – No charge

Scruffy Murphy’s
225 The East Mall
Etobicoke, On
M9B 6J1


Pre-Reg Convention Memberships will also be available.
Robert J. Sawyer online:


Friday, March 5, 2010

On FlashForward set watching the episode I wrote being filmed

I'm in Los Angeles, on the sound stage for FlashForward, the ABC TV series based on my novel of the same name, and they're filming the episode I wrote. Woohoo!

My episode, entitled "Course Correction," airs Thursday, May 6, 2010. Above, that's me with Christine Woods, who plays FBI agent Janis Hawk.

Pictured: Christine Woods and Robert J. Sawyer
Robert J. Sawyer online:


Sunday, February 28, 2010

Vanity request: FlashForward screen grab

Now that the first 10 episodes of FlashForward are out on DVD, I have a favour to ask. Could somebody please send me high-resolution screen captures of my two credits from the ending credits (from any of the 10 episodes)?

My first credit is the first one in the ending credits, and says "Based on the Novel by Robert J. Sawyer." My second one is about half-way through the end credits and is a shared card with three other people; my part of the card says, "Consultant: Robert J. Sawyer."

For some reason, my own attempt at capturing the credits has failed (watching the DVD on my PC, and hitting Ctrl-PrintScreen, which normally copies the screen contents to the Windows Clipboard, just gets me an all-black rectangle).

I'm frankly delighted to see the DVDs, because ABC squeezed-and-teased the end credits into oblivion during broadcast (grrrr!).

("Squeezed and teased" means they pushed the credits down to the bottom -- or sometimes on other shows to one side -- and ran a promo for something else (in our case, our next episode) on most of the screen; the credits appear full-screen on the DVDs.)

Many thanks to anyone who can help!
Robert J. Sawyer online:


Saturday, February 27, 2010

FlashForward is coming back in style

ABC remains totally committed to FlashForward, the TV series based on my novel of the same name, and we'll be having a massive relaunch in March:

On Tuesday, March 16, 2010, at 10:00 p.m. Eastern, right after Lost, ABC will be airing a one-hour clip show summarizing our first ten episodes.

Two days later, on Thursday, March 18, 2010, at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, two new episodes are airing back-to-back in a two-hour block.

Two days later, on Saturday, March 20, 2010, at 8:00 p.m. Eastern ABC repeats those episodes

That's five prime-time hours devoted to FlashForward in one week. It's a a major relaunch, folks. :)

Why the clip show? Easy.
  • Because it's been three months since we were last on the air and we want to remind our loyal viewers of what's happened to date in the storyline;

  • Because we're hoping to entice some of Lost's audience, who might not have yet given us a try, to see what we're all about;

  • Because we're hoping that those who haven't watched us before because we're an 8:00 p.m. show and they're 10:00 p.m. viewers will discover us;

  • Because we want to herald the arrival of new episodes, starting just two days later, as effectively as possible;

  • Because this, and the fact that ABC is also repeating our first two new episode justs two days after they first air, signals to the industry that ABC is still 100% behind, promoting, and supporting FlashForward, and that we all intend to be back for a second year.
Still can't wait until March? Read FlashForward, the Aurora Award-winning novel that started it all.
Robert J. Sawyer online:


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Hungarian cover for FlashForward

That's the cover for the Hungarian edition of FlashForward, my novel that's the basis for the TV series of the same name, published by Galaktika. I think it's terrific.

For more about the Hungarian edition, see the publisher's website.
Robert J. Sawyer online:


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

FlashForward DVD on sale today

The first ten episodes of FlashForward, the ABC TV series based on my novel of the same name, are now available on DVD.

Robert J. Sawyer online:


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

FlashForward DVDs land one week from today

Over on my Facebook page, I noted the above fact, and someone popped up to say, "Anybody else remember when they sold whole seasons on DVD?"

My response:
Sure, but we're competing now with Hulu and online viewing and the whole darknet, where episodes are available pirated the day they're broadcast. There's a market out there that doesn't want to wait until the end of the season to get to watch shows -- and if you do want to wait, you can; that market is served, too.

The half-season FlashForward set is $19.99 at Amazon.com -- two bucks an episode, with the later ones on the disk available just two months after they were broadcast; I don't see a gouge there.

And, if you want to wax all nostalgic, remember when shows were released one or two episodes at a time on pricey VHS cassettes? Or maybe, you'd like to wait until demand somehow magically rebuilds for a show that's gone? The Gods are smiling on you, then: The Mary Tyler Moore Show, the complete sixth season, came out on DVD last week as a single set -- thirty-four years after the episodes were first broadcast. So much better, right? ;)

Robert J. Sawyer online:


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

New showrunners at FlashForward

The new showrunning team at FlashForward, the ABC TV series based on my novel of the same name, is: Jessika Borsiczky, Lisa Zwerling, and Timothy J. Lea.

Jessika -- who is from Montreal -- was the person who first read my novel a decade ago, and pursued getting it made as a TV series; that's her pictured above with Courtney B. Vance, who plays Stanford Wedeck. (Jess's last name is pronounced Bor-shees-key.)

Let me underscore this: Jessika Borsiczky has been behind this series from the very beginning, and she's been executive producer since day one; there is absolute continuity of vision here.

Lisa has been with the show since the beginning, too (and before that worked on ER). Tim joined the show in November (in fact, his first day was one of the days I was working in the writers' room), and immediately brought wonderful insights to the room; he's previously worked on CSI: NY and Law and Order: Criminal Intent.

They're all terrific people, and the show is indeed in very good hands.

You can read more at Variety and Zap 2 It.

FlashForward returns with all-new episodes on Thursday, March 18, 2010.
Robert J. Sawyer online:


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Just to prove I'm not clueless: see this weekend's TV Jumble

TV Jumble by David L. Hoyt is a syndicated puzzle from Tribune Media Services, Inc., that appears in countless newspapers, including The Toronto Star, Canada's largest circulation paper.

This weekend's jumble has, as the answer to its puzzle the name of a TV show I'm involved with. The cartoon illustration that's part of the puzzle shows a woman watching a TV set and thinking, "I can picture myself watching this show in the future." And beneath that it says:
Clue: This show is based on a Robert J. Sawyer novel published in 2000.
How cool is that!

Note that this is the TV Jumble dated 7 February 2010, which is tomorrow: that's when it'll be in most American newspapers; Canadian newspapers have their big weekend editions on Saturday, not Sunday. In The Toronto Star, it's on the inside back cover of Star Week, the TV-listings section.

Thanks to my old pal Hugo-winning fanzine publisher Mike Glicksohn for alerting me to this.
Robert J. Sawyer online:


Friday, February 5, 2010

FlashForward staff writers

The Hollywood Reporter has now posted a comment from David S. Goyer about him stepping down as showrunner of FlashForward, the ABC TV series based on my novel of the same name: "As my feature projects have started ramping up again, I felt I was being pulled in too many directions. I'm proud of the show and excited about the relaunch. It's in great hands."

And indeed it is. FlashForward has a fabulous team of staff writers, all of whom are still hard at work on the show:

Byron Balasco
Scott Gimple
Ian Goldberg
Seth Hoffman
Tim Lea
Barbara Nance
Quinton Peeples
Dawn Prestwich
Nicole Yorkin
Lisa Zwerling

Robert J. Sawyer online:


David S. Goyer steps down as FlashForward showrunner

David S. Goyer has stepped down as showrunner (head of the writing staff) on FlashForward, the ABC TV series based on my novel of the same name.

The Hollywood Reporter has a brief notice here. David is extremely talented, and he ran the writing room with verve, panache, courtesy, and intelligence.

Above, left to right: David S. Goyer, Robert J. Sawyer, and Brannon Braga in Los Angeles
Robert J. Sawyer online:


Sunday, January 24, 2010

United Nations Secretary-General Stephen Lewis

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 Secretary-General from the real 2009 incumbent, Ban ki-moon ("a hero in Korea"), to Stephen Lewis, a name she took to be fictitious; she expressed fear that this would offend Korean readers.

My response:
Many thanks for your kind words. Please note that I wrote the novel FlashForward in 1998 (and it was published in 1999); at that time Kofi Annan was Secretary-General of the United Nations, having assumed office in 1997.

Since no Secretary-General has ever served more than two five-year terms, it was clear Annan would no longer be holding that role in 2009, when the novel was set, and, lacking a flashforward of my own, I had no way of knowing that Ban Ki-moon would become Secretary General in January 2007 -- and so I proposed a likely candidate.

Stephen Lewis, the person I named as Secretary-General in FlashForward, is a real person, and just as Ban is a hero to many South Koreans, Lewis is a hero to many of my fellow Canadians.

Lewis was a distinguished Canadian politician (leader of the Ontario New Democratic Party from 1970-1978), was Canada's ambassador to the United Nations (1984-1988), and was deputy director of UNICEF (1995-1999). From 2001 to 2006 he was United Nations Special Envoy for AIDS/HIV in Africa. His name has been suggested repeatedly for the Nobel Peace Prize.

I invite you to read more about him and his work.

Visit The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site
and WakeWatchWonder.com


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Student video interview

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 penthouse windows as the interview goes on ... and the image gets darker and darker.)
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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Peter Anthony Holder on FlashForward

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 read FlashForward. Needless to say, it was fantastic!

I was halfway through the book yesterday (Saturday) when it just grabbed my by the throat and I couldn't put it down. I paused briefly for a late dinner, did a little bit of work and later stopped to watch Saturday Night Live. It was my intent at 1am to read a couple more chapters for about an hour or so and head off to bed.

The end result was I just stayed up all night and sometime around 6am I finally got to the last page. WOW. WHAT A RIDE!

I am so glad I decided to read the book before the return of the television show in the spring and I am going to urge any and everyone who is a fan of the show to grab the book NOW and enjoy it!

It's not often when reading a novel, that I pause briefly to think about my own existence, but FlashForward is a book that actually makes you do that. WHAT A READ! WHAT A READ!

I was thinking of saying "congratulations" on the success of FlashForward but that seems like a hollow word here. The book has been successful for a decade and is now a hit television series, so some sort of validation from me is pointless.

So what I will say is "thank you." Thank you for allowing me to see the future through your eyes, enjoy a good read and even think about my future, past and present in the process.

Everybody should read FlashForward and I will now go out and tell them so!

Visit The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site
and WakeWatchWonder.com


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Going offline to work on my FlashForward script

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

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Fan letter of the day: "theological whiplash"

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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Friday, January 8, 2010

FlashForward return delayed until March 18th

Instead of coming back on March 4, 2010, FlashForward, the ABC TV series based on my novel of the same name, will return two weeks later, on March 18.

We're being pushed back two weeks to keep our return from having to go head-to-head with Fox's American Idol juggernaut; this will also let the DVD release of the first ten episodes of FlashForward have a little more time to draw in viewers for the new ones.

We'll still have 13 new hours of the show, but it'll be packaged as a two-hour spring premiere on March 18, 2010, and a two-hour season finale on May 27, 2010, with single hours -- without repeats or pre-emptions -- in between.

They're keeping us at our Thursday at 8:00 p.m. / 7:00 p.m. Central timeslot, which means they do expect us to perform well; TV advertising sells for the highest cost on Thursday nights.

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Monday, January 4, 2010

FlashForward DVD box art

The DVD of the first 10 episodes of FlashForward, the ABC TV series based on my novel of the same name, comes out on February 23, 2010. Here's what the box art looks like (click the image for a larger view).
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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sci-Fi Talk interviews Robert J. Sawyer

Sci-Fi Talk interviews Robert J. Sawyer, about FlashForward, the ABC TV series based on my novel of the same name, my new novel Wake, my love for classic Star Trek and Search, and more. You can listen to the 40-minute podcast, recorded in October 20, 2009, here.
Visit The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site
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Friday, December 18, 2009

FlashForward coming to DVD 23 February 2010

ABC and Disney are releasing the first 10 episodes of FlashForward, the TV series based on my novel of the same name, on Tuesday, February 23, 2010 (Region 1 DVDs, wide-screen). Included:
  1. No More Good Days
  2. White To Play
  3. 137 Sekunden
  4. Black Swan
  5. Gimme Some Truth
  6. Scary Monsters and Super Creeps
  7. The Gift
  8. Playing Cards with Coyote
  9. Believe
  10. A561984
Just in time for your own catch-up marathon before the series returns to broadcast TV on Thursday, March 4, 2010.
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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Book Reviews with Simon Mayo on BBC 5

Tomorrow -- Thursday, December 17, 2009 -- at 10:00 a.m. Eastern / 3:00 p.m. GMT, authors Robert J. Sawyer (FlashForward) and Michael Morpurgo (The Kites are Flying) will be the guests on Book Reviews with Simon Mayo on BBC Radio 5 Live (and a podcast will eventually be available here).

I just finished reading Michael's book today, by the way; it's a very touching children's story about the Palestine situation; brought tears to my eyes as I tried to describe it to Carolyn.

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Best SF&F of -- 1999!

Here's an interesting historical artifact: Barnes and Noble's list of the top science fiction and fantasy books of the year -- from 10 years ago:

BN.com Best SF&F of 1999
  1. Neal Stephenson, Cryptonomicon
  2. Neil Gaiman, Stardust
  3. Robert J. Sawyer, Flashforward
  4. Michael Crichton, Timeline
  5. Orson Scott Card, Ender's Shadow
  6. Elizabeth Haydon, Rhapsody
  7. Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson, Dune: House Atreides
  8. Brian Jacques, Marlfox: A Tale from Redwall
  9. L.E. Modesitt Jr., Gravity Dreams
  10. Guy Gavriel Kay, Sailing to Sarantium
  11. George R.R. Martin, A Clash of Kings
  12. Vernor Vinge, A Deepness in the Sky
  13. Richard Bowes, Minions of the Moon
  14. Elizabeth Hand, Black Light
  15. Frank M. Robinson, Waiting
  16. Terry Goodkind, Soul of the Fire
  17. Ken MacLeod, The Cassini Division
  18. Brendan DuBois, Resurrection Day
  19. Ben Bova, Return to Mars
  20. Sean McMullen, Souls in the Great Machine
  21. Thomas Harlan, The Shadow of Ararat
More about FlashForward and the ABC TV series based on it is here.
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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Chronic Rift interviews Robert J. Sawyer

The Chronic Rift: Spotlight on Robert J. Sawyer. Check it out. (35 minutes MP3.)
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Sunday, December 6, 2009

FlashForward hiatus a good thing

Doubtless, you've all heard that FlashForward, the ABC TV series based on my novel of the same name, is off the air until March 4, 2010.

A lot of people are spinning this online as a bad thing, or a sign of lack of faith in the show on the part of ABC. I suspect the announcing of the scheduling change could have been handled better, but, in fact, it's a very good thing overall.

See, below is what the air-date schedule was to have looked like for FlashForward, followed by what it will be now (at least as I map it out looking at a calendar).

As you can see, the new schedule, with the final 14 hours running without preemptions, really lets us get our momentum going in a way that the old schedule just wouldn't have:


December 3, 2009: Episode 10 airs
December 10, 2009: Preempted
December 17, 2009: Preempted
December 24, 2009: Preempted
December 31, 2009: Preempted
January 7, 2010: Preempted
January 14, 2010: Episode 11 airs
January 21, 2010: Episode 12 airs
January 28, 2010: Preempted
February 4, 2010: Episode 13 airs
February 11, 2010: Episode 14 airs
February 18, 2010: Episode 15 airs
February 25, 2010: Episode 16 airs
March 4, 2010: Preempted
March 11, 2010: Preempted
March 18, 2011: Episode 17 airs (RJS written)
March 25, 2011: Episode 18 airs
April 1, 2001: Episode 19 airs
April 8, 2010: Preempted
April 15, 2010: Preempted
April 22, 2010; Episode 20 airs
April 29, 2010: Episode 21 airs
May 6, 2010: Episode 22 airs
May 13, 2010: Episode 23 airs (two-hour season finale)


December 3, 2009: Episode 10 airs
December 10, 2009: Preempted
December 17, 2009: Preempted
December 24, 2009: Preempted
December 31, 2009: Preempted
January 7, 2010: Preempted
January 14, 2010: Preempted
January 21, 2010: Preempted
January 28, 2010: Preempted
February 4, 2010: Preempted
February 11, 2010: Preempted
February 18, 2010: Preempted
February 25, 2010: Preempted
March 4, 2010: Episode 11 airs
March 11, 2010: Episode 12 airs
March 18, 2011: Episode 13 airs
March 25, 2011: Episode 14 airs
April 1, 2001: Episode 15 airs
April 8, 2010: Episode 16 airs
April 15, 2010: Episode 17 airs
April 22, 2010: Episode 18 airs
April 29, 2010: Episode 19 airs (RJS written)
May 6, 2010: Episode 20 airs
May 13, 2010: Episode 21 airs
May 20, 2010: Episode 22 airs
May 27, 2010: Episode 23 airs (two-hour season finale)

Note that, because of some calendar dates we want to reference in-story, and the availability of one of the actors we want to use, the episode I'm writing has been moved from #17 to #19.

There probably was no ideal solution to the scheduling issues, and getting fuller information out earlier might have been helpful, but I like the idea very much of us letting our last half of the season unroll like the juggernaut it is without interruptions.

And, besides, if you really need a FlashForward fix over the next three months, you can always read the the novel it's based on. :)
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Monday, November 30, 2009

FlashForward Revealed

After the documentary FlashForward Revealed aired in the UK tonight, interviewing me, the FlashForward novel is back in the top 100 storewide of Amazon.co.uk (for a total of 49 days so far in the top 100 there). W00t!

[Update: I've now seen the show; the interview with me was recorded at the Canadian Light Source, Canada's National Synchrotron, in July 2009.]

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Discover blog on Robert J. Sawyer and FlashForward

Phil Plait's blog entry today at Discover magazine (the "Bad Astronomy" blog, but, of course, he's not accusing me of that) is about me and FlashForward. Way, way cool!

Thanks to my friend H. Don Wilkat for the heads-up about this!
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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

AfterElton.com says you should watch FlashForward

AfterElton.com ("News, Reviews & Commentary on Gay and Bisexual Men in Entertainment and the Media") gives five reasons you should be watching FlashForward, the ABC TV series based on my novel of the same name. Number three is: " It's based on the book by the very gay-friendly Robert Sawyer." Woot!

The whole list is here.

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FlashForward #2 bestseller in Spain

The Spanish edition of FlashForward, my novel that is the basis for the ABC TV series, is the #2 bestseller store-wide at Casa del Libro, Spain's leading online bookseller:

1. El Simbolo Perdido
by Dan Brown

2. FlashForward
by Robert J. Sawyer

3. El Viaje Intimo de la Locura
by Roberto Iniesta

4. Como Detectar Mentiras: Una Guia Para Utilizar en el Trabajo
by Paul Ekman

5. La Noche de los Tiempos
by Antonio Muñoz Molina

This is the store-wide list, including all titles (fiction, nonfiction) in all formats. Woot! The bestsellers list is here (scroll down to "Los más vendidos").

My Spanish publisher is the wonderful La Factoria de Ideas.

More about the Spanish edition (including the opening chapters in Spanish) is here.
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Friday, November 20, 2009


My two weeks in the Writers' Room for FlashForward, the ABC TV series based on my novel of the same name, came to an end this afternoon -- and the writers and their staff very, very kindly made a cake in honor of my visit. The cake says, "He who sees story breaking suffers it twice over," a play on the opening epigram from my novel (quoted by D. Gibbons in our second episode), "He who foresees calamities suffers them twice over."

("Story breaking" is what happens in the writers' room: all the writers sit around and suggest, moment by moment, how the current script might progress.)

I've had an absolutely amazing time here. The staff writers are all incredibly talented, and the writing-office staff are all super, too.
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Come see my pilot script reading next Friday

Next Friday, November 27, 2009, my prize-winning hour-long science-fiction TV pilot script Earthfall will be read at the WILDsound TV and Short Screenplay Festival at the National Film Board of Canada Theatre in Toronto (150 John Street). Tickets are $6 in advance; $8 at the door.

Pauline Wong, pictured above, will be reading the main character, Toronto cop Hannah Wong (yes, they have the same last name!).

More info is here and here.
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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Singapore's The Straits Times on the novel and the TV show

I love Singapore -- I was a guest at a writers' festival there in 2005. And now Singapore's The Straits Times has reviewed my novel FlashForward, comparing and contrasting it with the TV series based on it:
In Sawyer's book, there are great swathes of physics, paragraphs on mathematics and philosophy and also musings about guilt and personal choice -- all of which give the reader something more meaty to think on.

Sawyer's version of FlashForward is more philosophical, it's more complex and detailed. If you enjoy juicy technical science fiction rather than TV-land pap, go for Sawyer's version. You won't be disappointed and you'll learn things about physics that you would never have imagined.
The Straits Times's review is based on the British edition of the book, published by Gollancz (pictured above). You can read the whole review right here.
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Saturday, November 14, 2009

In Los Angeles with the FlashForward staff writers

Having a blast in Los Angeles (have been here since Sunday November 8).

Spent five days last week with the staff writers for FlashForward, the ABC TV series based on my novel of the same name. The show's current staff writers are (alphabetically): Scott Gimple, David S. Goyer, Ian Goldberg, Seth Hoffman, Barbara Nance, Quinton Peeples, Dawn Prestwich, Nicole Yorkin, and Lisa Zwerling, and they're all terrific. It's been enormous fun watching them bounce ideas off each other, and getting to kick in some of my own.

Also watched some of the filming of episodes 11 and 12 this past week (watching on location with regulars Peyton List and Zachary Knighton and guest star Lindsay Crouse, and on our soundstage with regulars Jack Davenport and Dominic Monaghan, and guest star Ricky Jay), plus got to chat with John Cho when he dropped by the writers' offices, and also ran into Brannon Braga, who co-authored the pilot episode with David Goyer.

I'll be here until Saturday, November 21, 2009. Next week, we begin breaking (outlining) episode 17, the one I'm writing; that episode is scheduled to air Thursday, March 18, 2010.

I'll never get around to retro-blogging everything that happened this past week, but you can get a sense of it from these updates from my Facebook wall (where I'm "Robert J. Sawyer" -- and, yes, I do accept readers and fans as friends).

  • Wonderful five-hour dinner with consciousness researcher Stuart Hameroff (whose work is often mentioned in my novels), Deep Space Nine actress Chase Masterson, and director James Kerwin.
  • Cool having Dominic Monaghan tell me what his favorite part of the FLASHFORWARD novel was, and talking particle physics with Jack Davenport.
  • John Cho just dropped by the writers' offices at FLASHFORWARD; now, heading off to the set to watch Dominic Monaghan and Jack Davenport shoot a scene.
  • Watched episode 10 of FLASHFORWARD (the one that will air in two weeks' time) today with the staff writers -- it's one of our very best. Also, great meeting with my agent. And attended Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society (LASFS) meeting. :)

  • Fascinating time in the FLASHFORWARD writers' room today, plus got to meet Peyton List (Nicole) for the first time, and watched her and Zachary Knighton shoot a terrific scene. Also, met with one of the producers interested in one of my other books, and it went wonderfully. Plus: dinner with high-school buddy Asbed Bedrossian and his family. Whew!

  • People's Choice Awards nominees for Best New TV drama: "Eastwick," "FlashForward," "Melrose Place," "Mercy," "The Forgotten," "The Good Wife," "The Vampire Diaries," "Three Rivers," "NCIS: Los Angeles," "V"
  • After the FLASHFORWARD writers' room adjourned for the day, went for coffee with Tommy Yune, who directed ROBOTECH: THE SHADOW CHRONICLES, then dinner with Eric Greene, author of PLANET OF THE APES AS AMERICAN MYTH.

  • Nothing is cooler than being in the offices of the TV series based on one of your novels and taking calls about potential film and TV adaptations of two of your other books. :D

  • In L.A., at the FLASHFORWARD offices, hanging out in the writers' room. Having a blast!
  • Britain's THE TIMES reviews the FLASHFORWARD novel: "[T]he novel is an intellectual puzzle, drawing on theoretical physics to raise questions about time and space and the existence of free will, and proves once again that good science fiction does not need visual special effects to thrill."
  • Safe and sound in L.A. Watched TERMINATOR SALVATION on the seat-back TV during the five-hour flight from Toronto.

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Monday, November 9, 2009

The Times reviews the FlashForward novel

The Times -- a major British newspaper -- reviewed my novel FlashForward (basis for the TV series of the same name) yesterday; the review is by acclaimed SF writer Lisa Tuttle, and concludes:
[T]he novel is an intellectual puzzle, drawing on theoretical physics to raise questions about time and space and the existence of free will, and proves once again that good science fiction does not need visual special effects to thrill.
You can read the whole review right here.
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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Props to Gough

For fans of FlashForward, the ABC TV series based on my novel of the same name, a historical note on Agent Al Gough (played wonderfully by Lee Thompson Young), who had the big story line this past week (in "The Gift").

In the actual TV series, he should be credited as the character who, in the story, coined the term "flashforward" for the event. There was a scene filmed for the pilot ("No More Good Days") in which Agent Janis Hawk (the amazing Christine Woods) appeared to coin the term (and that part of the scene was used in some of the promos), but her line was cut from the pilot as aired, so the credit for coining the term in-universe goes to Gough, who first uses it when discussing Fiona Banks with Demetri and Mark.

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

On Rochester, NY, NPR station on Friday

I'll be interviewed about my novels Wake and FlashForward on 1370 Connection with Bob Smith, the noon (Eastern time) show on AM 1370, the NPR station in Rochester, New York, this Friday, November 6, 2009. You'll be able to listen live here, and I'll be on for most of the hour between noon and 1:00 p.m. (then it's off to Astronomicon, Rochester's SF convention, where I'm one of the guests).
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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Come see prize-winning Sawyer script performed

On Friday, November 27, 2009, Robert J. Sawyer's television pilot script for Earthfall will have a staged reading by professional actors at the National Film Board of Canada's Theatre at 150 John Street, in the Entertainment District in downtown Toronto.

I wrote Earthfall as a pilot for an hour-long episodic science-fiction TV series; it's not currently sold to anyone, but I'm proud of it. The pilot episode is called "Vanguard," and here's a little synopsis:
Toronto cop Hannah Wong arrives on the scene of a hit-and-run, unaware that the victim’s body houses an alien being that has been on Earth for 3,000 years. As the victim dies, the alien transfers into Hannah’s body, beginning a battle for whether Hannah or the alien will control her destiny.
(Actually, there's a lot more to it than that!)

The script will be read using some of the top actors working in Toronto, and after the performance a moderated discussion about the script will be held, with audience participation welcomed.

The Earthfall pilot script beat over 150 TV pilot-script submissions in the WILDsound Screenplay Festival.

I'm delighted to have won this competion, but I'd also like to tip my hat to the other finalists. The six pilot-script finalists were:

by Rich Hynes
Ronkonkoma, NY

by Robert J. Sawyer
Mississauga, ON

by Shawand McKenzie and Steven Van Patten
Hackensack, NJ

by Will Phillips
San Francisco, CA

by John Betz, Jr. and Randy Reese
Rochester, NY

by Clark McMillian
Bowie, MD

Tickets for the evening -- which will also include readings of two other short scripts -- are just $6 in advance, or $8 at the door. More info is here.

This is a good month for me for scriptwriting (thirty years after I started my degree in Radio and Television Arts at Ryerson!). On Sunday, I head down to L.A. to spend a week at the FlashForward offices, gearing up to write my own episode of the TV series based on my novel of the same name
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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Rollback gets a FlashForward boost

It's always nice when a novel goes into a new printing. My most-recent mass-market paperback is the Hugo Award-nominated Rollback (which had a very successful run in hardcover prior to that). Tor Books has gone back to press for another printing -- which gave them the chance to mention that I'm also the author of FlashForward, the novel behind the ABC TV series of the same name.

More about Rollback.
"Above all, the author's characters bear their human strengths and weaknesses with dignity and poise. An elegantly told story for all libraries; highly recommended." --Library Journal (starred review, denoting a work of exceptional merit)

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Saturday, October 31, 2009

And where do the main characters on FlashForward live? Why, on Sawyer Court, of course!

This week's episode of FlashForward, the ABC TV series based on my novel of the same name, not only added a whole lot of physics to the show but also revealed where Mark Benford and Dr. Olivia Benford live: at 25696 Sawyer Court. We see the above address label in the flashforward vision of Dylan Simcoe, son of Lloyd Simcoe, in episode 6, "Scary Monsters and Super Creeps," and the street name is spoken repeatedly in dialog.

Cool! Almost as cool, in fact, as my cameo in the first episode, "No More Good Days" (below).

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Friday, October 30, 2009

David S. Goyer discusses Robert J. Sawyer's upcoming FlashForward script

David S. Goyer, executive producer and showrunner of FlashForward, the ABC TV series based on my novel of the same name, discusses (among other things) my involvement with the series and the episode that I'll be writing (episode 17) in this 1 minute 46 second YouTube interview.

For a larger picture or HD version, go here.
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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Jessika Borsiczky on adapting my novel

A nice video interview with Jessika Borsiczky, executive producer of FlashForward, the TV series based on my novel. (Jessika's last name is pronounced Bor-shees-key.)

Tune in tonight for episode 5, "Gimme Some Truth." I was on the set for much of the filming of this one, and enjoyed having lunch with guest star Glynn Turman. (I'll be watching it in a hotel room in Winnipeg.)
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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Flashing back to FlashForward

In honor of the release of the new tie-in editions of my 1999 novel FlashForward, which is the basis for the hit ABC TV series, I wrote a little essay about the book for Tor.com. Here it is.
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Monday, October 19, 2009

#2 Bestseller storewide at Play.com!

Holy crap! My novel FlashForward -- basis for the hit TV series -- is currently the #2 bestselling book store-wide at Play.com, the UK's second-largest online retailer. Here's the list:

Congratulations to Simon Spanton and the team at Gollancz, my British publisher, for getting the book out there with such success.
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Monday, October 12, 2009

#22 storewide at Amazon.co.uk

The UK edition of the FlashForward novel by Robert J. Sawyer hit #22 storewide at Amazon.co.uk today; has moved up to #5 in genre; and is holding strong at #1 in science fiction.

(And the book has now spent nine days in the top 100 at Amazon.co.uk -- yay!)

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FlashForward picked up for full season

ABC today announced that it has renewed FlashForward, the TV series based on the novel of the same name by Robert J. Sawyer, for a full season. On top of the initial order of 13 episodes, another 11 will be produced this season, for a first-season total of 24. The ABC press release is here.

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Friday, October 9, 2009

From book to screen

Lots of people have commented on the ways in which the TV series FlashForward has deviated from my novel of the same name upon which it is based. And, indeed, in some ways it has, but, to me, it's still very much my story, and I'm pleased with the adaptation.

For instance, last night (in North America), the third episode, "137 Sekunden," aired, and it has a scene in which John Cho's character receives a call from a woman with unsettling news; that scene clearly traces its roots to this scene from Chapter 5 of the FlashForward novel:
Theo returned to his office, the darkness of night visible through his window. All this talk of visions was disturbing — especially since he himself hadn't had one. Could Lloyd be right? Could Theo be dead a mere twenty-one years from now? He was only twenty-seven, for God's sake; in two decades, he'd still be well shy of fifty. He didn't smoke — not much of a statement for any of the North Americans to make, but still an achievement among Greeks. He worked out regularly. Why on earth should he be dead so soon? There had to be another explanation for him having no vision.

His phone bleeped. Theo picked up the handset. "Hello?"

"Hello," said a female voice, in English. "Is this, ah, Theodosios Procopides?" She stumbled over the name.


"My name is Kathleen DeVries," said the woman. "I've been mulling over whether to phone you. I'm calling from Johannesburg."

"Johannesburg? You mean in South Africa?"

"For the time being, anyway," she said. "If the visions are to be believed, it's going to be officially renamed Azania sometime in the next twenty-one years."

Theo waited silently for her to go on. After a moment, she did. "And it's the visions that I'm calling about. You see, mine involved you."

Theo felt his heart racing. What wonderful news! Maybe he hadn't had a vision of his own for whatever reason, but this woman had seen him twenty-one years hence. Of course he had to be alive then; of course, Lloyd was wrong when he said Theo would be dead.

"Yes?" Theo said breathlessly.

"Umm, I'm sorry to have bothered you," said DeVries. "Can I — may I ask what your own vision showed?"

Theo let out air. "I didn't have one," he said.

"Oh. Oh, I am sorry to hear that. But — well, then, I guess it wasn't a mistake."

"What wasn't a mistake?"

"My own vision. I was here, in my home, in Johannesburg, reading the newspaper over dinner — except it wasn't on newsprint. It was on this thing that looked like a flat plastic sheet; some sort of computerized reader screen, I think. Anyway, the article I was reading happened to be — well, I'm sorry there's no other way to say it. It was about your death."

Theo had once read a Lord Dunsany story about a man who fervently wished to see tomorrow's newspaper today, and when he finally got his wish, was stunned to discover it contained his own obituary. The shock of seeing that was enough to kill him, news which would of course be reported in the next day's edition. That was it; that was all — a zinger, a punch line. But this ... this wasn't tomorrow's paper; it was a paper two decades hence.

"My death," repeated Theo, as though those two words had somehow been missed in his English classes.

"Yes, that's right."

Theo rallied a bit. "Look, how do I know this isn't some scam or prank?"

"I'm sorry; I knew I shouldn't have called. I'll be —"

"No, no, no. Don't hang up. In fact, please let me get your name and number. The damned call display is just showing `Out of Area.' You should let me phone you back; this call must be costing you a fortune."

"My name, as I said, is Kathleen DeVries. I'm a nurse at a senior citizens' home here." She told him her phone number. "But, really, I'm glad to pay for the call. Honestly, I don't want anything from you, and I'm not trying to trick you. But, well — look, I see people die all the time. We lose about one a week here at the home, but they're mostly in their eighties or nineties or even their hundreds. But you — you're going to be just forty-eight when you die, and that's way too young. I thought by calling you up, by letting you know, maybe you could somehow prevent your own death."

Theo was quiet for several seconds, then, "So, does the — the obituary say what I died of?" For one bizarre moment, Theo was kind of pleased that his passing had been worthy of note in international newspapers. He almost asked if the first two words in the article happened to be "Nobel laureate." "I know I should cut down on my cholesterol; was it a heart attack?"

There was silence for several seconds. "Umm, Dr. Procopides, I'm sorry, I guess I should have been more clear. It's not an obituary I was reading; it's a news story." He could hear her swallow. "A news story about your murder."

Theo fell silent. He could have repeated the word back to her incredulously. But there was no point.

He was twenty-seven; he was in good health. As he'd been thinking a few moments ago, of course he wouldn't be dead of natural causes in a mere twenty-one years. But — murder?

"Dr. Procopides? Are you still there?"

"Yes." For the time being.

"I'm — I'm sorry, Dr. Procopides. I know this must come as quite a shock."

Theo was quiet for a few moments longer, then: "The article you were reading — does it say who kills me?"

"I'm afraid not. It's an unsolved crime, apparently."

"Well, what does the article say?"

"I've written down as much of it as I remember; I can E-mail you it, but, well, here, let me read it to you. Remember, this is a reconstruction; I think it's pretty accurate, but I can't guarantee every word." She paused, cleared her throat, then went on. "The headline was, `Physicist Shot Dead.'"

Shot, thought Theo. God.

DeVries went on. "The dateline was Geneva. It said, `Theodosios Procopides, a Greek physicist working at CERN, the European center for particle physics, was found shot to death today. Procopides, who received his Ph.D. from Oxford, was director of the Tachyon-Tardyon Collider at —"

"Say that again," said Theo.

"The Tachyon-Tardyon Collider," said DeVries. She was mispronouncing "tachyon," saying it with a CH blend instead of a K sound. "I'd never heard those words before."

"There's no such collider," said Theo. "At least, not yet. Please, go on."

"... director of the Tachyon-Tardyon Collider at CERN. Dr. Procopides had been with CERN for twenty-three years. No motive has been suggested for the killing, but robbery has been ruled out, as Dr. Procopides's wallet was found on him. The physicist was apparently shot sometime between noon and 1:00 p.m. local time yesterday. The investigation is continuing. Dr. Procopides is survived by his ..."

"Yes? Yes?"

"I'm sorry, that's all it said."

"You mean your vision ended before you finished reading the article?"

There was a small silence. "Well, not exactly. The rest of the article was off-screen, and instead of touching the page-down button — I could clearly see such a button on the side of the reading device — I went on to select another article." She paused. "I'm sorry, Dr. Procopides. I — the 2009 me — was interested in what the rest of the story said, but the 2030 version didn't seem to care. I did try to will her — to will me — to touch the page-down control, but it didn't work."

"So you don't know who killed me, or why?"

"I am sorry."

"And the paper you were reading — you're sure that it was the then-current one? You know, the October 23, 2030, one."

"Actually, no. There was a — what would you call it? A status line? There was a status line at the top of the reader that said the date and the name of the paper quite prominently: The Johannesburg Star, Tuesday, October 22, 2030. So I guess it was yesterday's paper, so to speak." She paused. "I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news."

Theo was quiet for a time, trying to digest all this. It was hard enough dealing with the fact that he might be dead in a mere twenty years, but the idea that someone might kill him was almost too much to bear.

"Ms. DeVries, thank you," he said. "If you recall any other details — anything at all — please, please let me know. And please do fax me the transcript you mentioned." He gave her his fax number.

"I will," she said. "I — I'm sorry; you sound like a nice young man. I hope you can figure out who did it — who's going to do it — and find a way to prevent it."

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RJS Winnipeg bestsellers

Fall-out, no doubt, from the wonderful launch party for the FlashForward TV series at McNally Robinson Polo Park in Winnipeg, and from my appearance promoting Wake at Thin Air: Winnipeg International Writers Festival:

This week, Wake is the #5 bestselling hardcover fiction title at McNally Robinson's Winnipeg stores, and FlashForward is the #3 bestselling mass-market title.

And last week -- the week the TV series based on my novel debuted -- FlashForward was the #2 bestselling mass-market title there.

Here are the full lists (PDFs):

Week of September 27, 2009

Week of October 4, 2009
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CERN terrorist?

My novel FlashForward is set at CERN -- the European Organization for Nuclear Research -- and deals specifically with the Large Hadron Collider, so the breaking news -- just this past hour -- that a particle physicist working on the LHC at CERN has just been arrested as a possible terrorist with links to al-Qaeda has caught my interest, to say the least. See the Associated Press and the BBC.

Nobel prizes also figure prominently in my novel, so the news today that Barack Obama just won the Nobel Peace Prize also is of interest.
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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Amazon.co.uk bestseller: #66 overall, #6 in genre, #1 in SF

The British edition of FlashForward (pictured above), the novel by Robert J. Sawyer upon which the new TV series is based, is a bestseller at Amazon.co.uk, the British version of Amazon.com.

It's reached at least as high as sales rank #66 of all titles in the store (and, at this moment is #81).

More: it is currently the #6 best-selling genre-fiction title in the entire store:
  1. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
  2. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
  3. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
  4. The Burning Land by Bernard Cornwell
  5. The Shack by William P. Young
  6. FlashForward by Robert J. Sawyer
  7. Hard Girls by Martina Cole
  8. Scarlet Women by Jessie Keane
  9. A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel
  10. Dissolution by C.J. Sansom
And it's currently #1 on the science-fiction bestsellers list:
  1. FlashForward by Robert J. Sawyer
  2. Tom's Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce
  3. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  4. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
  5. The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli,
  6. High-Rise by J.G. Ballard
  7. Batman: The Killing Joke (Deluxe Edition) by Moore & Bolland
  8. Batman: Dark Knight Returns by Miller & Janson
  9. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
  10. Batman: Year One by Miller and Mazzuchelli

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Monday, October 5, 2009

FlashForward TV series now sold to 100 territories; translation rights to the novel

The TV series FlashForward, made by ABC Studios in Los Angeles, and based on Robert J. Sawyer's novel of the same name, has now sold to a staggering 100 territories worldwide.

Recent additions: AXN (Central and Eastern Europe), AXN (Japan), Channel 1 (Russia), Fox International Channels (Russia), M-Net (Africa), Orbit Showtime (Middle East), ProSieben (Germany),TF1 (France) and TV4 (Sweden) have all acquired the series.

More information in this article.

Translation rights to the novel FlashForward have sold in numerous languages. but we're always looking to add more. Author Sawyer controls all non-English-language rights; publishers can contact him at sawyer@sfwriter.com and he'll put you in touch with his agents who handle his foreign rights, translation rights, and overseas sales.

The novel won Canada's top SF award and Europe's top SF award, and received a starred review, denoting a work of exceptional merit from Publishers Weekly.

Other reviews of the novel FlashForward:
  • "Great storytelling" --Boston Globe
  • "Fresh and startling" --Library Journal
  • "Intellectually and dramatically satisfying" --Orlando Sentinel
  • "Sawyer manipulates an intricate plot brilliantly" --Denver Rocky Mountain News
  • "Unbelievably cool" --SciFi Weekly
  • "A gripping novel" --SciFi Wire
  • "An excellent novel" --Starlog
  • "An utterly fascinating premise and hard questions about free will and determinism" --Winnipeg Free Press
More reviews of the novel are here, and more about the book is here.

Visit The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site
and WakeWatchWonder.com

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