Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Guest at SETIcon

W00t! I'm honoured and thrilled to be a Guest at SETIcon, sponsored by the SETI Institute, in Santa Clara, California, August 13-15, 2010. Other guests include Seth Shostak, Frank Drake, Jill Tarter, Phil Plait, and Andre Bormanis.

My bio from the SETIcon website:
Robert J. Sawyer is one of only seven writers in history to win all three of the science fiction field’s top awards for best novel of the year: the Hugo, the Nebula, and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award.

He frequently writes about SETI, including in the Hugo Award finalists Rollback and Factoring Humanity. The ABC TV series FlashForward is based on his novel of the same name.

He has published in Science (guest editorial), Nature (fiction), and Sky & Telescope, was a participant in the workshop “The Future of Intelligence in the Cosmos” sponsored jointly by the NASA Ames Research Center and the SETI Institute, and was Guest of Honor at the first-contact conference CONTACT 4 Japan.

His website is sfwriter.com.

Robert J. Sawyer online:


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Toronto book-launch party for Watch

Join me for the Toronto book-launch party for Watch, the second book in the WWW trilogy, this Tuesday, Apirl 6, 2010, at 7:00 p.m. at The Dominion on Queen pub, 500 Queen Street East (East, not West), Toronto, with book sales by Bakka-Phoenix Books, and the unveiling of the new Watch book trailer!

Admission is free and everyone is welcome!
Robert J. Sawyer online:

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Canadian academic conference on science fiction

Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, has issued a call for papers for an academic conference entitled "Social Science on the Final Frontier." Guest authors at the event: Robert J. Sawyer, Karl Schroeder, and Julie E. Czerneda. Dates: Monday, August 23, to Wednesday, August 25, 2010.

Sudbury, of course, is where my novels Hominids, Humans, and Hybrids are set, and in 2007, Laurentian University gave me an honorary doctorate. I can't wait to go back!
Robert J. Sawyer online:


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Toward a Science of Consciousness

I'm giving a keynote at this upcoming conference, my great friends James Kerwin and Chase Masterson will be on hand to talk about their quantum-physics noir movie Yesterday was a Lie, and Chase will be singing songs from Star Trek on Wednesday night. Join us!

Toward a Science of Consciousness 2010

April 12-17, 2010

Tucson Convention Center and Hotel Arizona, Tucson, Arizona

Sponsored by the Center for Consciousness Studies, The University of Arizona


The program for the ninth biennial interdisciplinary conference ‘Toward a Science of Consciousness 2010’ is complete. Held in even-numbered years since 1994, the Tucson conferences are the major world gatherings on a broad spectrum of approaches to the fundamental question of how the brain produces conscious experience, a question which addresses who we are, the nature of reality and our place in the universe. An estimated 700 scientists, philosophers, psychologists, experientialists, artists and others from 43 countries on 6 continents will participate in 400 presentations included in 17 Pre-Conference Workshops, 12 Plenary or Keynote sessions, 21 Concurrent Talk sessions, 2 Poster Sessions, 3 Art-Tech interactive sessions and special evening performances. Abstracts for all presentations will be posted at www.consciousness.arizona.edu

Plenary Program Overview

Highlights of the 2010 Plenary Program will include Keynote speaker Antonio Damasio, the esteemed neurologist and best-selling author on how the Self arises from layers of processes from brainstem to cortex. Other Keynotes include psychiatrist/neuroscientist Karl Deisseroth on new technologies revealing brain circuits of the conscious mind, and Robert J. Sawyer, award-winning science fiction writer whose works (FlashForward, Mindscan, Hominids, etc.) feature various science-based aspects of consciousness.

Twin Keynotes by two prominent neuroscientists will present opposing views of an essential question arising from functional brain imaging: how does brain activity measured in the absence of sensory inputs relate to consciousness? Marcus Raichle describes this brain Dark Energy (see his cover piece in the March 2010 Scientific American) as default networks mediating thinking and daydreaming, toggling back-and-forth with stimulus-related processing and tasks. Robert G. Shulman contends that the underlying activity is a foundational substrate for all conscious processes which require critical levels of brain energy. A related Plenary Session is Mindwandering, conscious activity independent of sensory stimuli (Jonathan Schooler, Malia Mason, Jonathan Smallwood).

In Bodily Consciousness, Henrik Ehrsson will discuss and extend his well-known work on inducing out-of-body experiences in normal subjects, while Frederique de Vignemont

will distinguish different forms of conscious body awareness. Multi-Modal Experience will include synesthate and author Patricia Lynne Duffy describing her personal experience with fused and cross-wired senses, as well as how synesthesia affects and enables artists, writers, performers and scientists. Other speakers (Barry Stein, Casey O’Callaghan, Michael Proulx) will address the neuroscience and philosophical analysis of synesthesia, and how clinically-induced cross-modal perception can help blindness and other sensory defects.

Consciousness and Transformation will review long-term changes induced by meditation (Cassie Vieten), and analyze claims of enlightenment, mystical and transcendental experience (Jeffrey Martin). The session concludes with Za Rinpoche, a Tibetan Lama recognized in 1984 by the Dalai Lama as the sixth reincarnation of Zachoeje Lama. Author of Backdoor to Enlightenment, Za Rinpoche will discuss Buddhist perspectives on consciousness, enlightenment and reincarnation.

Machine Consciousness will feature IBM researcher Dharmendra Modha on efforts to simulate the brain through neuron-by-neuron reconstruction, and philosopher David Chalmers discussing prospects for a technological Singularity, the idea that human-level artificial intelligence (AI) will rapidly spiral to superintelligence. AI researcher Ben Goertzel will describe mobile bubbles of executive function moving through computer architectures.

Theories of Consciousness features Sid Kouider summarizing and critiquing prevalent neurocognitive theories, and Marc Ebner with simulations of consciousness as a mobile zone of synchrony moving through the brain. Philosopher Galen Strawson will address philosophical theories of consciousness, focusing especially on panpsychism.

New Directions in Neural Correlates of Consciousness (NCC) Research is a panel of fresh ideas from young researchers. In the context of default networks, Michal Gruberger will discuss the use of deep trans-cranial magnetic stimulation inhibiting prefrontal cortex in human subjects, with alterations in measures related to the sense of self. Philosophers Adrienne Prettyman and Stephen Biggs will analyze the claim that default networks represent the baseline state of the brain. Moran Cerf will report on recordings from single neurons in conscious human subjects, showing how activity in medial temporal lobe can regulate sensory entry into conscious awareness. Finally, Anirban Bhandyophadyay will discuss molecular ‘nanobrains’, and new experimental results suggesting microtubules are the missing fourth circuit element.

The William James Centennial session will open the Plenary Program as a tribute to the father of American psychology and philosophy who died in 1910. Eugene Taylor will discuss James in the context of modern approaches, Bernard Baars will describe how James’ disillusionment led to behaviorism which banished consciousness from science for seven decades. Bruce Mangan concludes with what James termed the fringe, cognitive information just outside consciousness which, Mangan argues, illuminates insight and mystical experience.

For further information, see www.consciousness.arizona.edu
Robert J. Sawyer online:

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Star attraction

Today's Winnipeg Free Press -- the major daily newspaper in Winnipeg, Manitoba -- has a great article about the upcoming Thin Air: Winnipeg International Writers Festival, which begins next week. The article, by Books section editor Morley Walker, observes, "The star attraction this year is arguably science-fiction novelist Robert J. Sawyer."

That's why I love being a science-fiction writer in Canada. In the US, a science-fiction writer is lucky to be allowed to buy a ticket to attend a literary festival; in Canada, we're celebrated as the stars of such festivals.

Morley Walker did a major profile of me in the Free Press earlier this year; you can read it here.

Thin Air website
Visit The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site
and WakeWatchWonder.com


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Winnipeg Sun on Thin Air

Lots of info about Thin Air: Winnipeg International Writers Festival, featuring Robert J. Sawyer, Robert Charles Wilson, and Nick DiChario, in today's Winnipeg Sun newspaper.
Visit The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site
and WakeWatchWonder.com


Sunday, June 7, 2009

EDGE Publishing Bash in Calgary on Saturday

Come see me and a bunch of other fine authors at this event in Calgary on Saturday, June 13:
You may already have received this invitation, but I want to be sure you know about our upcoming Fine Fiction, Fine Art and Fine Wine multi-author book launch event ...

Hades Publications is celebrating nine years of publishing Science Fiction and Fantasy genre books.

We have planned an evening including special guests and local authors reading from their recent books. Meet old friends, make new ones, get some autographs and talk about books and the publishing experience.

There will be author readings by Randy McCharles, Susan Forest, Marie Bilodeau, Robert J. Sawyer and special guest poet Christian Bök.

Also in attendance, celebrating the release of their new books will be:

J. R. Campbell
Eileen Bell
Tina Hunter
Billie Milholland
Barbara Galler-Smith
Justyn Perry
Charles Prepolec

We will also introduce our new imprint, Absolute XPress, and our squad of Hades' Angels -- the fine folks who make our publishing house so special!

Come for wine & cheese, cold cuts, chips, pop and hot coffee / tea (hot chocolate for those of you in the know).

Bring as many friends as you want -- the more the better!

Brian Hades

Event Details

When: Saturday June 13th Doors open at 6:15pm, events at 7:00pm

What: Hades Publications Multi-Book Launch and soiree

Where: Venturion Art Gallery - Suite 104A, 214-11 Ave. SE Calgary (Doors at back of building)

Dress: Semi-Formal

Please R.S.V.P. if possible to Justyn Perry

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


Sunday, May 31, 2009

June 2009 events: Saskatoon, Calgary, Regina

Robert J. Sawyer June 2009 events -- all are free and open to the public:
  • Bookstore Reading & Signing from Wake
    McNally Robinson
    3130 8th Street East
    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
    Thursday, June 4, 2009, 7:30 p.m.

  • EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Launch Party
    Featuring a reading by Robert J. Sawyer
    Venturion Art Gallery
    Suite 104A
    214 - 11 Avenue SE
    Calgary, Alberta
    Saturday, June 13, 2009, doors open at 6:15 p.m.; events begin at 7:00 p.m.

  • Bookstore Reading & Signing
    Book & Brier Patch
    4065 Albert Street
    Regina, Saskatchewan
    Saturday, June 20, 2009, 2:00 p.m.

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


Monday, January 22, 2007

Off to Tennessee this weekend

Kevin J. Anderson -- who is one of my best friends in this industry -- and I are the Author Guests of Honor at Chattacon in Chattanooga, Tennessee, this weekend. My programing schedule:

Fri 7p - GOH speeches followed by reception

Sat 10a - panel with Snider, Douglas, Buettner - Post 9/11 - has SF missed the mark?

Sat 11a - reading

Sat 4p - autographs

Saturday night: masquerade judge

Sun 12p - panel with Anderson - Benevolent Dictators and Galactic Overlords (future politics)

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

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