[Robert J. Sawyer] Science Fiction Writer
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Press Release
For Release Saturday, August 23, 1997

Canada's Robert J. Sawyer Wins Japan's Top Science Fiction Award

[Cover Art] HIROSHIMA, JAPAN — Robert J. Sawyer of Thornhill, Ontario, today won the Seiun Award, Japan's highest honour in science fiction.

The winner was announced at a gala banquet at "Akicon," Japan's National Science Fiction Convention being held today (Saturday, August 23) and tomorrow (Sunday, August 24) in Hiroshima. As is traditional, the award will be re-presented at the World Science Fiction Convention, which this year is being held August 28 through September 2 in San Antonio, Texas. Sawyer and his wife, poet Carolyn Clink, will be on-hand to receive his Seiun Award trophy at that ceremony.

Sawyer, 37, is Canada's only native-born, full-time science-fiction writer. He has now won the top SF awards in the United States (the Nebula Award), France (Le Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire), Canada (the Aurora), and Japan. No other writer in history has ever won all four.

Sawyer's Seiun win is for End of an Era; it won in the category of Best Foreign Novel of 1996. End of an Era was published in Japan by Tokyo's Hayakawa Publishing Company in 1996; the North American and British editions appeared in 1994, from Ace Science Fiction and New English Library, respectively. The Japanese edition was published under the title Sayonara Dainosaurusu; the translator was Masayuki Uchida of Yokohama.

The Seiun Award has been given annually since 1980. It is voted on by the attendees of the Japanese National Science Fiction Convention. "Seiun" is the Japanese word for "nebula."

End of an Era tells the story of two Canadian paleontologists — one from the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Drumheller, Alberta; the other from the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto — who travel back through time to the closing days of the Mesozoic Era to determine once and for all what caused the extinction of the dinosaurs.

In its starred review of the novel (denoting a book of exceptional merit), Canada's publishing trade journal Quill & Quire called End of an Era: "Audacious, informed, and compelling — displays the author's breadth of imagination and humanity. It's not too much to say that this is one of the most accomplished SF novels of the last 10 years."

The Edmonton Journal concurred: "Sawyer has reached far beyond the grasp of the standard SF time-travel story. End of an Era would have to rank as one of the finest Canadian or American science fiction novels I have read in the last 10 years."

The other Seiun nominees this year (all Americans) were:

  • John Barnes, Mother of Storms
  • Lois McMaster Bujold, The Vor Game
  • John Cramer, Twistor
  • Samuel R. Delany, The Einstein Intersection
  • Kim Stanley Robinson, The Memory of Whiteness
  • Rudy Rucker, The Hacker and the Ants
  • Amy Thomson, The Color of Distance

Sawyer is also a current finalist for the Hugo Award, Science Fiction's international reader's choice award, for Best Novel of the Year, for his novel Starplex (Ace, October 1996). The Hugo winner will be announced next week at the World Science Fiction Convention in San Antonio.

Sawyer's latest novel, just out in hardcover from Tor, is called Frameshift. It deals with a French-Canadian geneticist who has the gene for Huntington's disease; the book explores the impact genetic information will have on the health-insurance industry.

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