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

SFWRITER.COM > Novels > Golden Fleece > Review Excerpts

Review Excerpts

Robert J. Sawyer's Golden Fleece

Amazing Stories (Wisconsin): "A compelling thriller. There's more than enough suspense to pull readers briskly through the pages."

Tom Easton in Analog (New York): "The writing is smooth and the reading effortless. The characters — even JASON — evoke your sympathy. I'm looking forward to what Sawyer does next."

Bakka Books in-store review (Toronto): "Sawyer returns us to the Science Fiction of ideas and does so with a clarity of prose seldom seen these days. Well done and highly recommended."

Books in Canada (Toronto): "Surprisingly poignant. Sawyer carries it off with wit and imagination."

Books in Canada (again): "A very accomplished first novel, skillfully blending hard scientific speculation about interstellar travel and artificial intelligence with interesting and effective characterization."

The Bookwatch (The Midwest Book Review): "A thrilling science fiction adventure told from the viewpoint of a murderous computer."

Physicist Robert W. Bussard, inventor of the Bussard ramjet: "It reads grandly. Good, interesting, and entertaining, too."

Orson Scott Card, Hugo and Nebula winning author of Ender's Game, in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction (Connecticut): "Sawyer gives us something rare in this age of the quotidian hero: a genuine tragedy. It is no accident that he invokes Greek myth in the title of the book. Sawyer is willing to play on the same field as Aeschylus and Euripides, and he proves himself equal to the task.

"JASON is, in my opinion, the deepest computer character in all of science fiction. And Aaron 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!'

"How good is Golden Fleece? A friend of mine — an English professor — used to ask, whenever he saw me, `Why are you still writing that spaceship stuff?' Now I can answer. Because this is possible."

Challenging Destiny: "So what happens when a writer's debut novel attempts the apparently impossible task of mining 2001's territory? Disaster, generally speaking. Golden Fleece is Robert J. Sawyer's first novel and it uses many of the same themes and anxieties as does 2001. Incredibly, Sawyer emerges from the shadow of the famous movie by the dint of his own unique creative voice. This book is a trumpet call from a young writer, confident of his own burgeoning writing powers, announcing loud and clear, `Forget 2001! Listen to me and what I can do.'

"The narration is Sawyer's first way of differentiating his book from 2001. HAL was likely the most interesting character in 2001, and Sawyer makes the cunning choice of using JASON as a first person narrator. Sawyer uses a wonderful opening sentence for the book: `I love that they trusted me blindly.' JASON is not miserly with any of the details of his nefarious schemes, and we are drawn along with him as he rationalizes murder and deceit with the utmost logic.

"It is interesting to see the possibilities in this novel in the light of Sawyer's subsequent career; it's hard to believe Sawyer has been publishing novels for a scant ten years. Sawyer has made good on the promise of exciting new ideas in well-written narrative that Golden Fleece first demonstrated. Golden Fleece itself stands up quite well to such later triumphs as the Nebula-winner The Terminal Experiment, and it's a worthy successor of 2001."

Circular of Janus, Circle of Janus SF Club of Central Indiana: "One of the best new SF novels of 1990. The humor is refreshingly offbeat, the sequence of events anything but trite. Recommended."

John Robert Colombo in The Globe and Mail, Canada's national newspaper: "A wonderful science fiction novel, better than the movie 2001."

Comics Buyer's Guide (Wisconsin): "JASON is excellent, and his fast-paced and sometimes witty, sometimes naive narration keeps you turning the pages all the way to the end."

Charles de Lint in Science Fiction Review (Oregon): "The prose, characterization, pacing, speculation and storyline are so assured, it's hard to believe that this is a first effort."

Encyclopaedia Galactica (Prentice Hall, New York): "Echoes both Arthur C. Clarke and Frederik Pohl, but in a voice that is distinctly Sawyer's own. Sawyer's murderous AI, JASON, is one of the most memorable creations in contemporary SF."

Prof. David Ketterer in Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy (Indiana University Press): "Sawyer, via his well-drawn detective, Aaron Rossman (ex-husband of the victim), resolves this SF mystery (coupled with Greek myth) in a thoroughly satisfying manner that is all his own."

Lan's Lantern (Michigan): "A very interesting first novel, worthy of close attention by SF readers."

Library Journal (New York): "Expertly combines mystery and sf in a fast-moving thriller. Recommended."

Locus: The Newspaper of the Science Fiction Field (California): "Surprising and ingenious."

Mystery Scene (Indiana): "With JASON, Sawyer's created one of the most interesting characters in years. Suspenseful, entertaining, inventive, thought-provoking, and funny. I enjoyed this one a lot. Highly recommended."

The Niagara Gazette (Niagara Falls, New York): "Like reading Jaws from the shark's point of view. Golden Fleece is a refreshingly different science-fiction mystery" with "a double-wham conclusion in the style of Twilight Zone."

Quill & Quire: Canada's Magazine of Book News and Reviews (Toronto): "A well-paced page-turner replete with hard science."

Reading for Pleasure (Maryland): "This is one of the best written books I've read this last year, both in style and inventiveness. Go now and search for the Golden Fleece; it may be your most fulfilling quest of 1991."

Science Fiction Chronicle (New York): "Fascinating" with a "double surprise ending."

SideTrekked, Science Fiction London (London, Ontario): "Reminiscent of Heinlein at his best."

John North in The Toronto Star: "An elegant spacecraft mystery. A compelling tale of deception that relies more on sociology than technology."

Keith Soltys in Torus (Toronto): "SF mysteries are particularly difficult to write but Sawyer pulls this one off with élan. The novel works well on a number of levels, as a murder mystery, a hard sf novel and a novel of character. JASON, in particular, is believable and well thought out. There are obvious parallels to Arthur C. Clarke's HAL, but Sawyer goes well beyond Clarke in his portrayal of the tragically flawed computer. It's a solid, intelligent and entertaining novel — one that many more-experienced authors would be proud to have written."

More Good Reading

More About Golden Fleece
Robert J. Sawyer's awards and honors
What's a Rob Sawyer novel like?
Review index

My Very Occasional Newsletter

About Rob
Book Clubs
Press Kit
How to Write
Email Rob
Canadian SF



Copyright © 1995-2024 by Robert J. Sawyer.