I was taking a ride on the Toronto subway and couldn’t help it but notice the posters for his novel WWW: Wake. The idea of a blind girl seeing the internet and connecting with an emerging virtual intelligence peaked my curiosity so I had to read the book. I thought it was so captivating and brilliant that I went ahead and got book 2 (WWW: Watch) and 3 (WWW: Wonder) as soon as I finished book 1. After finishing the complete trilogy I can honestly say that the story only gets better and better as one moves through the different parts. I recommend it highly.
Having read the WWW series I just had to interview Robert. During our conversation with him we discuss issues such as: how and why he got interested in science fiction and technology; the motivation behind and goals of his work; his current book and film projects; his take on artificial intelligence and the technological singularity; philosophy and religion; and the future of humanity.
(As always you can listen to or download the audio file above or scroll down and watch the video interview in full.)
Who is Robert J. Sawyer?
Robert J. Sawyer — called “the dean of Canadian science fiction” by The Ottawa Citizen and “just about the best science-fiction writer out there these days” by The Denver Rocky Mountain News — is one of only eight writers in history (and the only Canadian) to win all three of the science-fiction field’s top honors for best novel of the year:
- the World Science Fiction Society’s Hugo Award, which he won in 2003 for his novel Hominids
- the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America’s Nebula Award, which he won in 1996 for his novel The Terminal Experiment
- and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award, which he won in 2006 for his novel Mindscan
Rob is also the only writer in history to win the top SF awards in the United States, China, Japan, France, and Spain. In addition, he’s won an Arthur Ellis Award from the Crime Writers of Canada as well as eleven Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Awards (“Auroras”). The ABC TV series Flashforward
is based on his novel of the same name.
Maclean’s: Canada’s Weekly Newsmagazine says, “By any reckoning, Sawyer is among the most successful Canadian authors ever,” and Barnes and Noble calls him “the leader of SF’s next-generation pack.”
Rob’s novels are top-ten national mainstream bestsellers in Canada, appearing on the Globe and Mail and Maclean’s bestsellers’ lists, and they’ve hit #1 on the bestsellers’ list published by Locus, the U.S. trade journal of the SF field. His twenty novels include Frameshift, Factoring Humanity, Calculating God, WWW: Wake, and the popular “Neanderthal Parallax” trilogy consisting of Hominids, Humans, Hybrids.
He’s often seen on TV, including such program as Rivera Live with Geraldo Rivera, Canada A.M., and Saturday Night at the Movies, and he’s a frequent science commentator for Discovery Channel Canada, CBC Newsworld, and CBC Radio.
Rob — who holds an honorary doctorate from Laurentian University — has taught writing at the University of Toronto, Ryerson University, Humber College, the National University of Ireland, and the Banff Centre. He has been Writer-in-Residence at the Richmond Hill (Ontario) Public Library, the Kitchener (Ontario) Public Library, the Toronto Public Library’s Merril Collection of Science Fiction, Speculation and Fantasy, the Canadian Light Source synchrotron, and at the Odyssey Workshop. And he edits Robert J. Sawyer Books, the science-fiction imprint of Red Deer Press.
Rob has given talks at hundreds of venues including the Library of Congress and the National Library of Canada, and been keynote speaker at dozens of events in places as diverse as Los Angeles, Boston, Tokyo, and Barcelona. He was born in Ottawa in 1960, and now lives just west of Toronto with his wife, poet Carolyn Clink.