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

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Press Release
For Release Friday, April 10, 1998

Canada's Robert J. Sawyer a Double Nominee for Science Fiction's Hugo Award

The ballot for the 1998 Hugo Awards — the international "readers' choice" awards of the science-fiction field — was unveiled today in Baltimore, Maryland.

Robert J. Sawyer of Thornhill, Ontario, is a finalist in two different categories: Best Novel of the Year and Best Short Story of the Year. Sawyer is this year's only double nominee.

[Frameshift] Sawyer's nominated novel, Frameshift, published by Tor Books, New York, in July 1997. Tor titles are distributed in Canada by H. B. Fenn and Company Ltd., of Bolton, Ontario.

The other Best Novel Hugo nominees (all by Americans) are Forever Peace by Joe Haldeman (published by Ace); The Rise of Endymion by Dan Simmons (Bantam); Jack Faust by Michael Swanwick (Avon); and City on Fire by Walter Jon Williams (HarperPrism).

[Free Space] Sawyer's nominated short story is called "The Hand You're Dealt." It was first published in the anthology Free Space, edited by Brad Linaweaver and Edward E. Kramer, and published by Tor Books. Other contributors to Free Space include PBS commentator William F. Buckley, Jr., and SF legend Ray Bradbury.

The other short story nominees (all by Americans) are: "Beluthahatchie" by Andy Duncan, "Standing Room Only" by Karen Joy Fowler, "Itsy Bitsy Spider" by James Patrick Kelly, "The 43 Antarean Dynasties" by Mike Resnick, and "No Planets Strike" by Gene Wolfe.

One other Canadian is nominated this year: James Alan Gardner of Kitchener, Ontario, is one of five finalists in the Best Novelette category for his story "Three Hearings on the Existence of Snakes in the Human Bloodstream," first published in the February 1997 issue of Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine. (A novelette is a story between 7,500 and 17,500 words long.)

The Hugo Awards honor science fiction first published anywhere in the world in English in the preceding year. Nominations are made by the members of the current year's and previous year's World Science Fiction Convention (or "Worldcon"). The final ballot will be voted on by the 5,000 members of this year's Worldcon, which will be held August 5-8, 1998, in Baltimore.

The Hugo Awards are named after Hugo Gernsback, an immigrant to the United States from Luxembourg, who founded the first science-fiction magazine, Amazing Stories, in 1926.

Previous Hugo Award-winning novels include such SF classics as Frank Herbert's Dune, Isaac Asimov's The Gods Themselves, and Arthur C. Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama. The only Canadian winner to date of a Best Novel Hugo is Vancouver's William Gibson, who won the 1985 award for his Neuromancer.

This is Sawyer's third consecutive year on the Hugo ballot. He was nominated last year for his novel Starplex (Ace Science Fiction, New York, October 1996, distributed in Canada by BeJo Sales of Mississauga), and he was nominated the year before for his novel The Terminal Experiment (HarperPrism USA, May 1995, distributed in Canada by HarperCollins Canada Ltd.). Although The Terminal Experiment didn't win the Hugo, it did take home the Nebula Award — the "Academy Award" of science fiction, voted on by the 1,100 members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Starplex, meanwhile, won the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Award ("the Aurora") for Best English-Language Novel of 1996.

Sawyer's current novel nominee, Frameshift, tells the story of Pierre Tardivel, a French-Canadian geneticist who carries the gene for Huntington's Disease. The book deals with cloning and the impact breakthroughs in genetics research will have on the health-insurance industry.

Library Journal calls Frameshift "a gripping medical SF thriller. Highly recommended." The Calgary Herald says Frameshift is "a finely crafted novel with a riveting plot and complex characters that one can care about deeply. It deftly explores issues of bio-ethics and moral philosophy." And The New York Times says, "Robert J. Sawyer is a writer of boundless confidence. Frameshift is filled to bursting with ideas, characters, and page after page of bold scientific extrapolation."

Genetics is also the theme of Sawyer's nominated short story, "The Hand You're Dealt," which follows Detective Toby Korsakov as he investigates the murder of a genetic counselor on a space station.

Sawyer is Canada's only native-born full-time science-fiction writer. In addition to his Nebula win, he has also won an Arthur Ellis Award from the Crime Writers of Canada, Le Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire (France's top honor in SF), the Seiun Award (Japan's top SF award), and the Premio UPC de Ciencia Ficción (Spain's top SF award, and the world's largest cash prize for science-fiction writing).

Robert J. Sawyer's tenth novel, Factoring Humanity, will be released in hardcover by Tor in July; Sawyer will tour Canada and the U.S. to promote the book.

More Good Reading

  • Press Release about Rob's 2004 Hugo Nomination for Humans
  • Press Release about Rob's 2003 Hugo Nomination for Hominids
  • Press Release about Rob's 2001 Hugo Nomination for Calculating God
  • Press Release about Rob's 1999 Hugo Nomination for Factoring Humanity
  • Press Release about Rob's 1997 Hugo Nomination for Starplex

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