Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Robert Sawyer

Robert J. Sawyer has been called “the dean of Canadian science fiction” by The Ottawa Citizen.

He is one of only seven writers in history—and the only Canadian—to win all three of the world’s top awards for best science-fiction novel of the year: the Hugo (which he won in 2003 for Hominids), the Nebula (which he won in 1995 for The Terminal Experiment), and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award (which he won in 2005 for Mindscan). In 2008, Sawyer received his tenth Hugo Award nomination for his novel Rollback.

His new novel is WWW: Wonder.

Sawyer's response to my recent inquiry about what he's been reading:
Right now, on the nonfiction front, I'm reading and thoroughly enjoying Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan by Del Quentin Wilber.

I'm reading this for two reasons. First, the novel I'm currently writing, called Triggers, deals with an attempt to assassinate the current US president on the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination -- and a neat science-fictional idea that spins out from that. In my novel, the injured president is taken to George Washington University Hospital, just as Reagan was; I recently had a great behind-the-scenes tour there.

Second, although I don't know Del Quentin Wilber, I do know his uncle, Rick Wilber, a very fine science-fiction writer in his own right; in fact, it was Rick who first alerted me to his nephew's book. I bought Rawhide Down for my Kindle the day it came out in March, and the book has since soared onto the New York Times bestsellers' list, and rightfully so; it's absolutely gripping.

On the fiction front, I'm reading No Time for Goodbye by Linwood Barclay. Now, as it happens, I do know Linwood -- he and I both live in Toronto, and we run into each other periodically at local literary events; we both also have a fondness for the 1960s science-fiction TV shows of Irwin Allen and Gerry Anderson, and both collect models of the futuristic vehicles from them.

My novels are published by Ace Science Fiction in the US and by Penguin Canada in Canada; the latter publisher kindly, asked Linwood for a blurb they could put on the front cover of their edition of the just-released paperback of my novel Watch, second in my WWW trilogy. Linwood obliged with, "Some thriller writers get you worried about the future. Sawyer makes the present perilous." I love Linwood's writing, but hadn't yet read this particular book of his and so I thought I should.

But most of all, I'm reading it because Triggers, the book I'm currently writing, is a thriller, and Linwood is the top thriller writer in Canada, one of the top-selling thriller writers in the UK, and one whom American readers are embracing more and more; I'm reading -- and studying -- No Time for Goodbye so I may learn how to write a thriller from a master.
Visit Robert J. Sawyer's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: WWW: Wake.

The Page 69 Test: WWW: Watch.

The Page 69 Test:: WWW: Wonder.

--Marshal Zeringue