Robert James Sawyer CM OOnt (born April 29, 1960) is a Canadian science fiction writer. He has had 23 novels published, and his short fiction has appeared in Analog Science Fiction and Fact, Amazing Stories, On Spec, Nature, and many anthologies. Sawyer has won the Nebula Award (1995), the Hugo Award (2003), and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award (2006).
Robert J. Sawyer
Sawyer in 2005
|Born||April 29, 1960|
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
|Alma mater||Ryerson University|
Sawyer's work frequently explores the intersection between science and religion, with rationalism frequently winning out over mysticism (see especially Far-Seer, The Terminal Experiment, Calculating God, and the three volumes of the Neanderthal Parallax [Hominids, Humans, and Hybrids], plus the short story "The Abdication of Pope Mary III," originally published in Nature, July 6, 2000).
Sawyer often explores the notion of copied or uploaded human consciousness, mind uploading, most fully in his novel Mindscan, but also in Flashforward, Golden Fleece, The Terminal Experiment, "Identity Theft", "Biding Time", and "Shed Skin".
His interest in consciousness studies is also apparent in Wake, which deals with the spontaneous emergence of consciousness in the infrastructure of the World Wide Web. His interest in quantum physics, and especially quantum computing, inform the short stories "You See But You Do Not Observe" (a Sherlock Holmes pastiche) and "Iterations," and the novels Factoring Humanity and Hominids.
SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, plays a role in the plots of Golden Fleece, Factoring Humanity, Mindscan, Rollback, the novelette "Ineluctable," and the short stories "You See But You Do Not Observe" and "Flashes." Sawyer gives cosmology a thorough workout in his far-future Starplex. Real-life science institutions are often used as settings by Sawyer, including TRIUMF in End of an Era, CERN in Flashforward, the Royal Ontario Museum in Calculating God, the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory in Hominids and its sequels, and the Arecibo Observatory in Rollback.
Sawyer contributed a story called "The Hand You're Dealt" to the Libertarian SF anthology Free Space, and another called "The Right's Tough" to the Libertarian SF anthology Visions of Liberty).
Sawyer has won both Canada's top SF award (the Prix Aurora Award) and its top mystery-fiction award (the Arthur Ellis Award) for his 1993 short story "Just Like Old Times." Illegal Alien is a courtroom drama with an extraterrestrial defendant; Hominids puts one Neanderthal on trial by his peers for the apparent murder of another Neanderthal; Mindscan has the rights of uploaded consciousnesses explored in a Michigan probate court; and Golden Fleece, Fossil Hunter, The Terminal Experiment, Frameshift, and Flashforward are all, in part, murder mysteries. Of Sawyer's shorter SF works, the novella "Identity Theft" and the short stories "Biding Time," "Flashes," "Iterations," "Shed Skin," "The Stanley Cup Caper," "You See But You Do Not Observe," "The Hand You're Dealt," and the aforementioned "Just Like Old Times" are all also crime or mystery fiction.
In addition to his own writing, Sawyer edits the Robert J. Sawyer Books science-fiction imprint for Red Deer Press, part of Canadian publisher Fitzhenry & Whiteside; contributes to The New York Review of Science Fiction; is The Canadian Encyclopedia's authority on science fiction; and is a judge for L. Ron Hubbard's Writers of the Future contest.
In May 2009, ABC ordered 13 episodes of hour-long dramatic TV series FlashForward for the 2009–2010 season, based on Sawyer's similarly titled novel, after successful production in February and March 2009 of a pilot episode scripted by David S. Goyer and Brannon Braga, directed by Goyer, and starring Joseph Fiennes and Sonya Walger. After some adjustments, the first season was set to consist of 22 episodes. Sawyer is story consultant on each episode of the series and wrote the 19th episode, titled "Course Correction".
Sawyer wrote the original series bible for Charlie Jade, an hour-long science-fiction TV series that first aired in 2005–2006, and he did conceptual work in 2003 for reviving Robotech. He has also written and narrated documentaries about science fiction for CBC Radio's Ideas series, and he hosted the 17-part weekly half-hour documentary series Supernatural Investigator for Canada's Vision TV, which premiered January 27, 2009. He provided analysis of the British science fiction series Doctor Who for the CBC's online documentary The Planet of the Doctor, frequently comments on science fiction movies for TVOntario's Saturday Night at the Movies, and co-edited an essay collection in honor of the fortieth anniversary of Star Trek with David Gerrold, titled Boarding the Enterprise.
Sawyer has taught science-fiction writing at the University of Toronto, Ryerson University, Humber College, and the Banff Centre. In 2000, he served as Writer-in-Residence at the Richmond Hill, Ontario, Public Library. In 2003, he was Writer-in-Residence at the Toronto Public Library's Merril Collection of Science Fiction, Speculation and Fantasy (the first person to hold this post since Judith Merril herself in 1987). In 2006, he was Writer-in-Residence at the Odyssey Writing Workshop. Also in 2006, he was the Edna Staebler Writer-in-Residence at the Kitchener Public Library in the Region of Waterloo, Ontario, following on the Region of Waterloo's choice of Sawyer's Hominids as the "One Book, One Community" title that all 490,000 residents were encouraged to read in 2005. In 2007 he was the Berton House Writer-in-Residence at Berton House in Dawson City. In 2009, he was the first-ever Writer-in-Residence at the Canadian Light Source, Canada's national synchrotron facility in Saskatoon.
Sawyer has long been an advocate of Canadian science fiction. He lobbied hard for the creation of the Canadian Region of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America . The Canadian Region was established in 1992, and Sawyer served for three years on SFWA's Board of Directors as the first Canadian Regional Director (1992–1995). He also edited the newsletter of the Canadian Region, called Alouette in honor of Canada's first satellite; the newsletter was nominated for a Prix Aurora Award for best fanzine.
In addition to his popularity at home, Sawyer's work is well received internationally. All of his novels have been issued by New York publishing houses and translated editions have appeared in Bulgarian, Chinese, Czech, Dutch, French, Hungarian, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, and Spanish.
In 1998, Sawyer was elected president of SFWA on a platform that promised a referendum on various contentious issues, including periodic membership requalification and the creation of a Nebula Award for best script; he won, defeating the next-closest candidate, past-SFWA-president Norman Spinrad, by a 3:2 margin. However, Sawyer's actual time in office was marked by considerable opposition to membership requalification and negative reaction to his dismissing, with the majority support of the Board of Directors, one paid SFWA worker and one volunteer. He resigned after completing half of his one-year term, and was automatically succeeded by then-incumbent vice-president Paul Levinson. Prior to resigning, Sawyer's promised referendum was held, resulting in significant changes to SFWA's bylaws and procedures, most notably allowing appropriate non-North American sales to count as membership credentials, allowing appropriate electronic sales to count as membership credentials, and creating a Nebula Award for best script.
Sawyer has been active in other writers' organizations, including the Crime Writers of Canada, the Horror Writers Association, and the Writers' Union of Canada (for which he has served on the membership committee), and he is a member of scriptwriting unions Writers Guild of America and Writers Guild of Canada.
Torcon 3 was the 61st World Science Fiction Convention, held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on August 28-September 1, 2003. The convention was held in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, as well as the Fairmont Royal York and Crowne Plaza (now the InterContinental Toronto Centre) hotels. Torcon 3 was also the site of the 2003 Canvention.Calculating God
Calculating God is a 2000 science fiction novel by Robert J. Sawyer. It takes place in the present day and describes the arrival on Earth of sentient aliens. The bulk of the novel covers the many discussions and arguments on this topic, as well as about the nature of belief, religion, and science. Calculating God received nominations for both the Hugo and John W. Campbell Memorial Awards in 2001.Edward E. Smith Memorial Award
The Edward E. Smith Memorial Award for Imaginative Fiction, or "Skylark", annually recognizes someone for lifetime contributions to science fiction, "both through work in the field and by exemplifying the personal qualities which made the late "Doc" Smith well-loved by those who knew him." It is presented by the New England Science Fiction Association at its annual convention, Boskone, to someone chosen by a vote of NESFA members. The trophy is a large lens mounted on a simple plinth.The award was inaugurated in 1966, the year after Smith's death. Fifty-one people have been honored in 49 years to 2015 (Hal Clement received the award twice, in 1969 and 1997).
Far-Seer is a novel written by Canadian science fiction author, Robert J. Sawyer. It is the first book of the Quintaglio Ascension Trilogy, and is followed by two sequels: Fossil Hunter and Foreigner. The book depicts an Earth-like world on a moon which orbits a gas giant, inhabited by a species of highly evolved, sentient Tyrannosaurs called Quintaglios, among various other creatures from the late cretaceous period, imported to this moon by aliens 65 million years prior to the story. Originally published in 1992 by Ace Science Fiction, it won the Homer award for "Best Novel" during its initial release date. It was reissued in 2004 by Tor Books.Flashforward (novel)
Flashforward is a science fiction novel by Canadian author Robert J. Sawyer first published in 1999. The novel is set in 2009. At CERN, the Large Hadron Collider accelerator is performing a run to search for the Higgs boson. The experiment has a unique side effect; the entire human race loses their consciousness for about two minutes. During that time, nearly everyone sees themselves roughly twenty-one years and six months in the future. Each individual experiences the future through the senses of his or her future self. This "flashforward" results in countless deaths and accidents involving vehicles, aircraft, and any other device needing human control at the time of the experiment. The novel inspired the 2009 television series FlashForward.Foreigner (Sawyer novel)
Foreigner is a science fiction novel by the Canadian author Robert J. Sawyer, originally published in 1994 by Ace Books. It is the final book of the Quintaglio Ascension Trilogy, following Far-Seer and Fossil Hunter. The book depicts an Earth-like world on a moon which orbits a gas giant, inhabited by a species of highly evolved, sentient Tyrannosaurs called Quintaglios, among various other creatures from the late Cretaceous period, imported to this moon by aliens 65 million years earlier.Hugo Award for Best Novel
The Hugo Award for Best Novel is one of the Hugo Awards given each year for science fiction or fantasy stories published or translated into English during the previous calendar year. The novel award is available for works of fiction of 40,000 words or more; awards are also given out in the short story, novelette, and novella categories. The Hugo Awards have been described as "a fine showcase for speculative fiction" and "the best known literary award for science fiction writing".The Hugo Award for Best Novel has been awarded annually by the World Science Fiction Society since 1953, except in 1954 and 1957. In addition to the regular Hugo awards, beginning in 1996 Retrospective Hugo Awards, or "Retro Hugos", have been available to be awarded for 50, 75, or 100 years prior. Retro Hugos may only be awarded for years in which a World Science Fiction Convention, or Worldcon, was hosted, but no awards were originally given. To date, Retro Hugo awards have been given for novels for 1939, 1941, 1943, 1946, 1951, and 1954.Hugo Award nominees and winners are chosen by supporting or attending members of the annual Worldcon, and the presentation evening constitutes its central event. The selection process is defined in the World Science Fiction Society Constitution as instant-runoff voting with six nominees, except in the case of a tie. The novels on the ballot are the six most-nominated by members that year, with no limit on the number of stories that can be nominated. The 1953, 1955, and 1958 awards did not include any recognition of runner-up novels, but since 1959 all final candidates have been recorded. Initial nominations are made by members in January through March, while voting on the ballot of six nominations is performed roughly in April through July, subject to change depending on when that year's Worldcon is held. Prior to 2017, the final ballot was five works; it was changed that year to six, with each initial nominator limited to five nominations. Worldcons are generally held in August or early September, and are held in a different city around the world each year.During the 70 nomination years, 145 authors have had works nominated; 48 of these have won, including co-authors, ties, and Retro Hugos. One translator has been noted along with the author whose works he translated. Robert A. Heinlein has received the most Hugos for Best Novel as well as the most nominations, with six wins (including two Retro Hugos) and twelve nominations. Lois McMaster Bujold has received four Hugos on ten nominations; the only other authors to win more than twice are Isaac Asimov (including one Retro Hugo), N. K. Jemisin, Connie Willis, and Vernor Vinge, who have each won three times. Nine other authors have won the award twice. The next-most nominations by a winning author are held by Robert J. Sawyer and Larry Niven, who have been nominated nine and eight times, respectively, and each have only won once, while Robert Silverberg has the greatest number of nominations without winning at nine. Three authors have won the award in consecutive years: Orson Scott Card (1986, 1987), Lois McMaster Bujold (1991, 1992), and N. K. Jemisin (2016, 2017, and 2018).Illegal Alien
Illegal Alien or Illegal Aliens may refer to:
Alien (law), legal concept of aliens
Illegal Aliens (film), a 2007 film starring Anna Nicole Smith and Chyna
Illegal Aliens (novel), a 1989 science fiction novel by Nick Pollotta and Phil Foglio
Illegal Alien (Sawyer novel), a 1997 science fiction novel by Robert J. Sawyer
Illegal Alien (Tucker and Perry novel), a 1997 Doctor Who novel by Mike Tucker & Robert Perry
Illegal Alien, a graphic novel published by Kitchen Sink and Dark Horse, by James Robinson
"Illegal Alien" (song), the 5th track on the album Genesis by Genesis (1983)John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel
The John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel, or Campbell Memorial Award, is an annual award presented by the Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas to the author of the best science fiction novel published in English in the preceding calendar year. It is the novel counterpart of the Theodore Sturgeon Award for best short story, awarded by the same organization. The award is named in honor of John W. Campbell (1910–71), whose science fiction writing and role as editor of Analog Science Fiction and Fact made him one of the most influential editors in the early history of science fiction. The award was established in 1973 by writers and critics Harry Harrison and Brian Aldiss "as a way of continuing his efforts to encourage writers to produce their best possible work." Locus magazine has listed it as one of the "major awards" of written science fiction.The winning novel is selected by a panel of science fiction experts, intended to be "small enough to discuss among its members all of the nominated novels". Among members of the panel have been Gregory Benford, Paul A. Carter, James Gunn, Elizabeth Anne Hull, Christopher McKitterick, Farah Mendlesohn, Pamela Sargent, and Tom Shippey. In 2008 Mendlesohn was replaced with Paul Kincaid, in 2009 Carter left the panel while Paul Di Filippo and Sheila Finch joined, and Lisa Yaszek replaced Di Filippo in 2016. Nominations are submitted by publishers and jurors, and are collated by the panel into a list of finalists to be voted on. The minimum eligible length that a work may be is not formally defined by the center. The winner is selected by May of each year, and is presented at the Campbell Conference awards banquet in June at the University of Kansas in Lawrence as part of the centerpiece of the conference along with the Sturgeon Award. The award has been given at the conference since 1979; prior to then it was awarded at various locations around the world, starting at the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1973. Winners are always invited to attend the ceremony. The Center for the Study of Science Fiction maintains a trophy which records all of the winners on engraved plaques affixed to the sides, and since 2004 winners have received a smaller personalized trophy as well.During the 46 years the award has been active, 176 authors have had works nominated; 46 of these authors have won. In two years, 1976 and 1994, the panel selected none of the nominees as a winner, while in 1974, 2002, 2009, and 2012 the panel selected two winners rather than one. Frederik Pohl and Joan Slonczewski have each won twice, the only authors to do so, out of four and two nominations, respectively. Kim Stanley Robinson and Paul J. McAuley have won once out of seven nominations, and Jack McDevitt, Adam Roberts, and Robert J. Sawyer have won once out of five nominations, while Nancy Kress, Bruce Sterling, and Robert Charles Wilson have won once out of four nominations. Greg Bear has the most nominations without winning at nine, followed by Sheri S. Tepper at six, James K. Morrow at five, and William Gibson, Ken MacLeod, and Charles Stross at four.Quintaglio Ascension Trilogy
The Quintaglio Ascension Trilogy is a series of novels written by Canadian science fiction author Robert J. Sawyer. The books depict an Earth-like world on a moon which orbits a gas giant, inhabited by a species of highly evolved, sentient Tyrannosaurs, among various other creatures from the late Cretaceous period, imported to this moon by aliens 65 million years prior to the story. The series consists of three books: Far-Seer, Fossil Hunter, and Foreigner.Recursive science fiction
Recursive science fiction is a subgenre of science fiction, which itself takes the form of an exploration of science fiction within the narrative of the story.Rollback (novel)
Rollback is a 2007 science fiction novel by Canadian author Robert J. Sawyer that was serialized in four parts in
Analog Science Fiction and Fact from October 2006 to January 2007. It deals primarily with the social effects of drastic age rejuvenation technology and first contact theory. In 2008 the novel was nominated for a Hugo Award and a Campbell Award.The Neanderthal Parallax
The Neanderthal Parallax is a trilogy of novels written by Robert J. Sawyer and published by Tor. It depicts the effects of the opening of a connection between two versions of Earth in different parallel universes: the world familiar to the reader, and another where Neanderthals became the dominant intelligent hominid. The societal, spiritual and technological differences between the two worlds form the focus of the story.
The trilogy's volumes are Hominids (published 2002), Humans (2003), and Hybrids (2003). Hominids first appeared as a serial in Analog Science Fiction, won the 2003 Hugo Award for Best Novel, and was nominated for the John W. Campbell Award the same year; Humans was a 2004 Hugo Award finalist. In 2017, the full trilogy was presented the Aurora Award for Best of the Decade.The initial contact between the two worlds takes place at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory in Sudbury, Ontario, which is also the location of a scientific research facility in the Neanderthal world.The Terminal Experiment
The Terminal Experiment is a science fiction novel by Canadian writer Robert J. Sawyer. The book won the 1995 Nebula Award for Best Novel, and was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1996. Sawyer received a writer's reserve grant from the Ontario Arts Council in 1993 in support of his writing the novel.The story was first serialised in Analog magazine in the mid-December 1994 to March 1995 issues, under the name Hobson's Choice, before its first novel publication in May, 1995. A Hobson's choice is an apparently free choice that is really no choice at all. In this book it is a play on the main character's name and describes the choice between immortality and provable life after death.Triggers (novel)
Triggers is a science fiction novel by Canadian writer Robert J. Sawyer.
It was originally serialized in Analog.WWW Trilogy
The WWW Trilogy is a trilogy of science-fiction novels by Canadian science fiction author Robert J. Sawyer. The first book, Wake, was published through Ace on April 7, 2009 and was followed by the second book, Watch, on April 6, 2010.Wake (Sawyer novel)
Wake, also called WWW: Wake, is a 2009 novel written by Canadian novelist Robert J. Sawyer and the first book in his WWW Trilogy. It was first published on April 8, 2009 and was followed by Watch in 2010 and by Wonder in 2011. The novel details the spontaneous emergence of an intelligence on the World Wide Web, called Webmind, and its friendship with a blind teenager named Caitlin.
Sawyer developed the initial idea for Wake in January 2003 when he wrote in his diary about the emergence of consciousness on the World Wide Web. The novel was named a 2010 Hugo Award nominee in the category for Best Novel and won a 2009 Aurora Award.Watch (novel)
Watch, also called WWW: Watch, is a 2010 novel written by Canadian novelist Robert J. Sawyer. It is the second installment in the WWW Trilogy and was preceded by Wake (2009) and followed by Wonder (2011).Wonder (Sawyer novel)
Wonder, also called WWW: Wonder, is a 2011 novel written by Canadian novelist Robert J. Sawyer. It is the third and last installment in the WWW Trilogy and was preceded by two sequels, Wake (2009) and Watch (2010).