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For Release Saturday, April 8, 1995
Book Sold at New York Auction
Major New Novel from Multiple-Award-Winning Canadian Author
Near-Future Murder Mystery Set in Toronto Explores Life After Death
Robert J. Sawyer of Thornhill, Ontario, takes a quantum
leap to a new level with his sixth and most-important novel yet:
The Terminal Experiment (HarperPrism, May 1995 in
stores across North America on Saturday, April 8, 1995).
A novel in the tradition of Michael Crichton and Robin Cook,
The Terminal Experiment is set in Toronto ten years in the
future and tells the story of Peter Hobson, a biomedical engineer
who develops a super-sensitive electroencephalograph (EEG) in
order to determine the exact clinical moment of death. He gets
more than he bargains for when his instrument detects a weak but
cohesive energy field departing the body as it dies. Peter
Hobson has found the first verifiable scientific proof of the
existence of a soul.
It's a discovery that will change the world. In order to find
out what life after death might be like, Hobson arranges for a
computer simulation to be created of his own mind, then modifies
it to eliminate all parts of the human psyche that are dependent
on our biological existence in essence, he's made a
computerized version of what his soul might be like after his own
But when his simulation escapes into the Internet worldwide
computer network, people Hobson knows begin to be murdered. In
exploring life after death, Hobson has also inadvertently keyed
into whatever it is that causes human morality. As Hobson races
towards the answer, he is pursued relentlessly by Detective
Sandra Philo of the Metropolitan Toronto Police.
The novel, which was written in part under an Ontario Arts
Council grant, is a combination post-Cyberpunk high-tech thriller
and psychological murder mystery. Advance praise for the book
has been lavish:
Says Hugo-Award-winning New York author Nancy Kress,
author of the bestselling genetic-engineering novel Beggars in
Spain: "Sawyer has succeeded in blending the high-tech
mystery novel with the cutting-edge-future story, and has
enriched both with fascinating philosophical speculation about
life after death. This book matters. I highly recommend
Mike Resnick, Hugo-Award-winning Ohio-based author of
Purgatory, says: "The Terminal Experiment shows
why Robert J. Sawyer has catapulted to the top rank of today's
fiction writers. It's his best novel yet, and should be a
definite contender for all the major awards."
Sawyer has a history of successfully blending speculative and
mystery fiction. His 1993 short story "Just Like Old Times" won
both the Crime Writers of Canada's
Arthur Ellis Award for Best
Short Story of 1993 and the Canadian Science Fiction and
Fantasy Award ("the Aurora") for best English-language short
story of the year.
Sawyer's earlier high-tech mystery novel,
(Warner, December 1990), also won Canada's Aurora Award for Best
Speculative Fiction Novel of the Year. Writing in the
Connecticut-based Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction,
Hugo-winning author Orson Scott Card said of Sawyer's
detective: "The character of Aaron Rossman is, in my opinion,
one of the most well-drawn, fallible, human detectives
I've encountered in mystery fiction in a league with, say,
[Ruth] Rendell's Inspector Wexford. You might as well buy two
copies in the first place one to read and keep, and one to
shove at your friends, saying, `Read this! Now!'"
Meanwhile, of Aaron's nemesis, Jason, Mystery Scene
magazine said, "With Jason, Sawyer's created one of the most
interesting characters in years. Golden Fleece is
suspenseful, entertaining, inventive, thought-provoking, and
funny. Highly recommended."
Sawyer is also the author of the popular Quintaglio books
which are, respectively, parables about Galileo, Darwin, and
Freud), as well as End of an Era (Berkley/Ace, November
1994), a time-travel novel also set in Canada.
Vancouver writer Spider Robinson says, "If Robert J.
Sawyer were a corporation, I would buy stock in him. He's on my
(extremely short) Buy-On-Sight list, and belongs on yours."
John Robert Colombo,
editor of The Dictionary of
Canadian Quotations (in which Sawyer is quoted), says
"Robert J. Sawyer is a very talented and able writer of fiction.
I could back up my enthusiasm with specific references to
surprising insights and stylistic devices in his novels, but
suffice it to say that here we are dealing with a creator who
knows precisely what he is doing."
The Terminal Experiment sold in a New York publishing
auction to editor John Silbersack of HarperCollins's New York
office. It is being published under the HarperPrism imprint, and
is distributed in Canada by HarperCollins Canada Ltd., of
Serial rights to the novel went to Analog magazine, New
York, the world's number-one best-selling science-fiction
magazine. Analog is publishing the book's full text in
four installments, beginning with the Mid-December 1994 issue
under the title Hobson's Choice. British rights to
The Terminal Experiment have sold to Hodder & Stoughton, Sawyer's
usual U.K. publisher.
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