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

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Press Release
For Release Friday, April 23, 1999

Canada's Robert J. Sawyer and Robert Charles Wilson vie for Science Fiction's Top International Award

The final ballot for the 1999 Hugo Awards — the international readers' choice awards of the science-fiction field — was unveiled today in Melbourne, Australia.

For an astonishing fourth year in a row, acclaimed Toronto-area writer ROBERT J. SAWYER, 39, is a finalist for the Hugo Award for Best Novel of the Year.

[Factoring Humanity cover] Only two other writers in the 46-year history of the Hugos have ever had four consecutive best-novel nominations: Americans Robert Silverberg (1970-1973) and Orson Scott Card (1986-1989).

Sawyer is nominated this year for his novel Factoring Humanity, published by Tor Books, New York, and distributed in Canada by H.B. Fenn and Company Ltd.

Also on the ballot, for the first time, is Toronto's ROBERT CHARLES WILSON, 45, for his novel Darwinia, also published by Tor. And Wilson has a second Hugo nomination this year, in the Best Novelette category, for "Divided by Infinity," published in the Tor Books anthology Starlight 2, edited by Patrick Nielsen Hayden (a novelette is a story between 7,500 and 17,500 words long).

The complete list of best novel Hugo finalists this year is as follows; all of the other authors are American:

  • Children of God, Mary Doria Russell (Villard)
  • Factoring Humanity, Robert J. Sawyer (Tor)
  • Distraction, Bruce Sterling (Bantam Spectra)
  • To Say Nothing of the Dog, Connie Willis (Bantam Spectra)
  • Darwinia, Robert Charles Wilson (Tor)

Sawyer's previous Hugo nominees were the novels The Terminal Experiment (1996), Starplex (1997), and Frameshift (1998), and the short story "The Hand You're Dealt" (1998).

The Terminal Experiment won the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America's Nebula Award (the "Academy Award" of the SF field) for best novel of the year; Sawyer has also won the top SF awards in Canada (the Aurora), Japan (the Seiun), France (Le Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire), and Spain (Premio UPC de Ciencia Ficción), as well as an Arthur Ellis Award from the Crime Writers of Canada, and the Science Fiction Chronicle Reader Award, voted on by subscribers to the New York-based trade journal of the SF field.

Factoring Humanity tells the story of Heather Davis, a psychology professor at the University of Toronto, who discovers a technology that allows people to journey into the collective unconscious of the human race.

Booklist says, "Sawyer gets high marks for working out extraordinary concepts in ordinary human terms. Heather's machine is a thing of great beauty, and her trip through our collective racial consciousness is an amazing cruise." Kirkus calls Factoring Humanity, "an intelligent and absorbing double-stranded narrative that accelerates to hyperspeed in the last few pages."

Meanwhile, Analog, the world's number-one bestselling SF magazine, says simply, "I loved it. May you also." And Britain's leading science-fact magazine, New Scientist, raved: "Factoring Humanity is Sawyer's finest novel to date — scientifically plausible, fictionally intriguing, and ethically important."

The Ottawa Citizen included Factoring Humanity on its list of 1998's top nine fiction books of any type; the book is also a current finalist for the Homer Award, voted on by the 30,000 members worldwide of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Forums on CompuServe, the world's oldest commercial online service.

Factoring Humanity was published in hardcover in June 1998. The paperback of Factoring Humanity will be released next month (May 1999).

In 1995, Darwinia author ROBERT CHARLES WILSON won the Philip K. Dick Award, given for best SF novel of the year originally published in paperback, for his Mysterium (Bantam). And in 1996, his novelette "The Perseids" won the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Award ("the Aurora") for Best Short Work of the Year; "The Perseids" was also a Nebula Award finalist. Tor will publish a hardcover collection of Wilson's remarkable short fiction in the year 2000.

Darwinia tells the story of a very different 20th century. In 1912, history is changed by "the Miracle," when the old world of Europe is replaced by Darwinia, a strange land of nightmarish jungle and antediluvian monsters.

Science Fiction Chronicle has already named Darwinia the best SF novel of 1998. Locus: The Newspaper of the Science Fiction Field calls Darwinia, "a remarkable book, worthy of the highest honors in our field. Don't miss it." And The Globe and Mail: Canada's National Newspaper, says, "In a genre that now seems to hold more trash than treasures, Wilson has created a gem."

Darwinia was published in hardcover in June 1998. The paperback edition will be out in July 1999.

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 the 1999 Worldcon, which will be held September 2-6, in Melbourne, Australia. Sawyer will be in attendance.

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. The awards have been presented annually since 1953.

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.

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