ROBERT J. SAWYER — AUTHOR GUEST OF HONOUR (Photo by Bernard Clark)
Born in Ottawa in 1960, in his youth Robert dreamed of becoming a paleontologist specializing in dinosaurs, but upon discovering only about a dozen people worldwide made a living doing that, he decided to become one of the several hundred people making the big bucks—which is to say surviving—on a science fiction writer’s income.
First he studied for a degree in Bachelor of Applied Arts in Radio and Television—giving him insight into dealing with the media—plus elective courses on psychology—giving him insight into human nature … and probably further insight into dealing with the media.
From 1983 on he was a full-time writer, albeit almost entirely non-fiction, mainly freelance articles in various magazines, but also scripts and narration for five CBC radio documentaries on science fiction topics.
In 1989 he chose to become a full-time science fiction writer, starting with his novel Golden Fleece. To date he has published 23 novels, in the process acquiring a 1996 Nebula Award for The Terminal Experiment, a 2003 Hugo for Hominoids, the 2006 John W. Campbell Award for Mindscan, and multiple Aurora awards including a Lifetime Achievement Award. In fact, according to the genre industry trade magazine Locus, Robert has won more awards than any other science fiction writer on Earth. His works are popular everywhere, garnering awards in myriad countries.
What makes Robert so popular? First, his commitment to the genre. He regards science fiction “as the literature of ideas” and he refuses to put any sort of limit on those ideas. To his mind science fiction has plenty of room for “science, philosophy, history, and ethics.”
And second, he maintains a policy of “deliberate accessibility” where his writing is as clear and precise as possible, empty of jargon and verbosity, all excess verbiage pruned away. In other words, he gets on with telling the story in as entertaining a fashion as possible.
Fact is he writes “ripping good yarns” that just happen to include believable characters, skillful plotting, and intriguing questions that’ll keep you thinking even after you put the book down.
Now for a confession some of you will find hard to believe. I—VCON Chair R. Graeme Cameron—read the entire WWW trilogy (Wake, Watch, and Wonder) in a single day. That’s over 1,000 pages of text. I had bought all three thinking I had several weeks of enjoyable reading ahead of me, but once I picked up Wake I couldn’t put it down. When I finished it, I thought I’d read just “a bit” of Watch … and couldn’t put it down. Ditto Wonder. Robert’s writings are addictive.
Robert J. Sawyer is on record as saying he plans to retire in 2030 when he will finally have the leisure to reread all of his novels—for the first time—beginning with Golden Fleece.
All I can say is … he’s in for a treat.
Standalone Novels: Quantum Night | Red Planet Blues | Triggers | Rollback | Mindscan | Calculating God | FlashForward | Factoring Humanity | Illegal Alien | Frameshift | Starplex | Terminal Experiment | End of an Era | Golden Fleece