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For Release Wednesday, November 24, 2004
Sawyer wins World's Top Cash Prize For Science Fiction
Robert J. Sawyer of Mississauga, Ontario,
today won Spain's top science-fiction award, the
Premio UPC de Ciencia Ficción, for an unprecedented
The Premio UPC is the largest cash prize currently given in the
SF field. The winner receives 6,000 euro (US$8,000 or
Cdn$9,300). Called "the most important science fiction award in
Europe" by British author and critic Brian W. Aldiss, the Premio
UPC has been given annually since 1991 by the Universitat
Politècnica de Catalunya (the Polytechnic University of
Catalonia), in Barcelona.
The winner is selected by a jury, which evaluates submissions
blindly (without author names) in Catalan, Spanish, English, and
French. The prize is exclusively for novella-length works
(70-115 manuscript pages), making it one of the world's
top-money-value short-fiction awards in any field of writing.
Sawyer's winning story, "Identity Theft," will appear in print
for the first time in the spring of 2005 in the original
anthology Down These Dark Spaceways edited by Mike
Resnick, and published exclusively by Doubleday's Science Fiction
Down These Dark Spaceways is a collection of six all-new
hard-boiled-detective science-fiction novellas. "Identity Theft"
tells the story of Alex Lomax, the only private detective on
Mars. He's hired to find a missing person who has uploaded his
consciousness into a nondescript android body and disappeared
somewhere on the Red Planet.
Sawyer, 44, is the first English-language winner of the UPC award
since he himself last won it in 1998 for his novella "Block
Universe," a self-contained excerpt from his novel
FlashForward (which itself went on to
win Canada's Aurora Award for best
English-language SF novel of the year).
Sawyer's other Premio UPC win was in 1997 for "Psychospace," a
self-contained excerpt from his
Hugo Award-nominated novel
Factoring Humanity. Sawyer now has
the most UPC Awards of any writer ever; the only other multiple
winner is Spanish author Carlos Gardini, who took the prize in
1996 and again in 2001.
Other previous English-language winners of the UPC Award include
the Americans Mike Resnick in 1994 for "Seven Views of Olduvai
Gorge" and Jack McDevitt for "Ships in the Night." By
coincidence, Resnick and McDevitt also both have novellas
forthcoming in Down These Dark Spaceways.
Sawyer's previous honors include the
2003 Hugo Award
the world's top prize in science fiction
for Best Novel of the Year (for Hominids) and the
1995 Nebula Award from the
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America for Best Novel of the Year
(for The Terminal Experiment), as well as
Le Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire
for best foreign short story (for "You See But You Do Not Observe"),
and three Japanese Seiun Awards
for best foreign novel of the year
(for End of an Era,
Illegal Alien). His latest novel is
Hybrids, the concluding volume of
his bestselling "Neanderthal Parallax" trilogy.
The Premio UPC jury also awarded a special mention of 1,500 euro
(US$2,000 or Cdn$2,300), split evenly in a tie between Miguel
Luis Hoyuelos of Argentina for his story "Siccus" and Manuel
Santos Varela of Spain for his story "Las lunas invisibles."
The jury also cited the following works, in descending order, as
- "El estruendo del silencio" by Bernardo Fernández Brigada of
- "Otro camino" by Sergio Gaut vel Hartman of Argentina
- "La cinta de Moebius" by Ignacio Sanz Valls of Spain
- "La Chute du Haut Ferlin" by Alain le Bussy of Belgium
In addition, a prize of 1,500 euro was given for the best work by
a member of the UPC community. That prize was awarded to "El
ocio de los sanos" by Santiago Egidi Arteaga, with honorable
mentions to "Los asesinos del cielo" by Ferran Canal Bienzobas,
and "Dante en inopia" by J. Carlis Aguado Chao.
The jurors major Spanish SF writers, critics, editors, and
academics were Lluís Anglada, Miquel Barceló, Jordi
José, Josep Casanovas, and Manuel Moreno.
UPC Science Fiction Award web site
UPDATE MARCH 2006: Following its publication in English,
Robert J. Sawyer's "Identity Theft" went on to be a finalist for
both the Hugo and the Nebula Awards for Best Novella of the Year.
More Good Reading
Rob's 1997 Premio UPC Win
Rob's 1998 Premio UPC Win
Rob won the 2003 Hugo!
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Press Backgrounder: SF Awards
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