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

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Prisoners of Gravity

[Rick Green]

Prisoners of Gravity was the most thoughtful and creative television program ever produced anywhere in the world about the literature of science fiction, and it was a substantial Canadian success story. In first-run, it was one of the most popular series on its originating network, TVOntario, lasting for five seasons and 139 installments; it also ran on several PBS stations.

Among the program's many honors were:

  • the Broadcast Media Award from the International Reading Association (for the Ray Bradbury installment, which featured Robert J. Sawyer);

  • a Silver Medal from the New York Festivals of Television (for the installment on Zero Population Growth);

  • an Honorable Mention from the Columbus International Film and Video Festival (for the installment on Sexism and Feminism);

  • two Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Awards ("Auroras") (with Robert J. Sawyer accepting on PoG's behalf during the ceremony at the 1994 World Science Fiction Convention); and

  • two nominations for the Gemini Award (the Canadian counterpart of the Emmy) in the Best Lifestyle-Information Series Category (for the program's third and fourth seasons).

All of the author videos included on Grolier's CD-ROM version of John Clute and Peter Nicholls's Encyclopedia of Science Fiction are actually clips from Prisoners of Gravity.

"In 139 episodes of Prisoners of Gravity, the one guest we would tape for 30 minutes and have all 30 minutes end up on the air was Rob Sawyer. When we needed a quote on a subject, we'd phone him up, he'd come boogying down to our studio, give us twelve pithy quotes, and go home again."

Rick Green
Host, Prisoners of Gravity

"Robert J. Sawyer made more appearances on Prisoners of Gravity than any other guest — more often than Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison, or William Gibson. I have interviewed over 600 writers, and Rob is one of the most thoughtful, provocative, and articulate. He has a degree in Radio and Television Arts from Ryerson University, and he knows how to deliver what producers want. This knowledge of media, coupled with his wide-ranging and thorough grasp of science and science fiction, makes him an ideal guest. Rob's real gift is the ability to find the most compelling and correct metaphor, guiding viewers effortlessly through a landscape they might otherwise find forbidding or inaccessible. I have repeatedly recommended Mr. Sawyer to producers with the CBC, Discovery, and CTV, and many have called me back to thank me for his name."

Mark Askwith
Co-Creator and Producer, Prisoners of Gravity

[Rob on Prisoners of Gravity]

Robert J. Sawyer was the most frequent guest on Prisoners of Gravity, making a total of sixteen appearances — more than anyone else in the program's history (and, indeed, he was the final guest interviewed on the final installment of the series, an episode on "Evolution"). Rob was the only interview subject to be invited to the series' wrap party at TVOntario. He appeared in the following installments:

#TOPICSeasonAir Date
1Time Travel1st11 December 1989
2Holidays1st18 December 1989
3High Technology2nd6 December 1990
4Family2nd20 December 1990
5AI and Robotics2nd24 January 1991 (2 clips)
6Myth2nd4 April 1991
7Ecology2nd18 April 1991
8Dinosaurs3rd5 March 1992
9Mars3rd19 March 1992
10First Contact4th1 October 1992
11Ray Bradbury4th22 October 1992
12Space Travel4th5 November 1992
13Information4th21 January 1993
14Alien Design5th30 March 1994
15Brain and AI5th20 April 1994
16Evolution5th27 April 1994
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