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


SFWRITER.COM > Blog (old)

Rob's Blog: May and June 2000


29 June 2000

Today is the fifth anniversary of the founding of my web site 
(now at www.sfwriter.com).

The thing has grown amazingly over the years:  it now has 735,000 
words of text; 450 documents; and 13,000 internal hypertext links 
(all hand coded), and is averaging 2,000 hits per month.  I never 
thought it would get this big, but I'm delighted with the way 
it's turned out.

New on the web site today is a readers' group guide for Golden 
Fleece.

=================================================================

29 June 2000

I'm pleased to announce that the paperback of FlashForward has 
debuted at number five on the Locus bestsellers' list; the list, 
to be published in the July issue, covers the month of April.

Locus is the California-based trade journal for the SF 
industry.  

And although I'm in fifth place, I'm the second highest ranked 
SF, as opposed to fantasy, title in the paperback category this 
month; I'm also Tor's highest ranked title in that category.

Yippee!

(The July Locus also lists Calculating God as a "New & Notable" 
title, calling it "a provocative examination of religion, 
science, and cosmic disaster.")

=================================================================

29 June 2000

SF writer Robert J. Sawyer and computer-vision researcher Dr. 
Michael Greenspan are co-chairs of "S/SF: The First Canadian 
Conference on Science/Science Fiction," to be held Tuesday, 
September 12, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., at the National 
Research Council of Canada, 100 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, Ontario.  

Speakers include SF writers Robert J. Sawyer, Robert Charles 
Wilson, James Alan Gardner, and Julie E. Czerneda; plus 
astronomer Dr. Robert Garrison (University of Toronto); historian 
of science Dr. Paul Fayter (York University); Bob McDonald, host 
of CBC Radio's science-news program Quirks & Quarks; and Mark 
Askwith, a producer from Space: The Imagination Station.  Tickets 
are Cdn$50.  

=================================================================

29 June 2000

Today marks the end of my three-month stint at Writer in 
Residence at the Richmond Hill Public Library.  I had a fabulous 
time; it really was an amazingly positive experience.
I was asked by Cameron Knight, the librarian who had championed 
my residency in-house, to put together a few departing comments 
about my experiences.  Here's what I had to say:

       As a writer becomes more experienced, he or she 
       doesn't often dwell on technique — it becomes 
       ingrained and instinctive.  So it's been a real 
       refresher for me to have to articulate exactly how 
       one creates fiction; I haven't consciously thought 
       of the basics for a long time, and I think my own 
       work will improve because of doing this.

       I've had such a range of people come to see me:  
       children, retired folk, high-school students, 
       homemakers, professionals, teachers, former 
       soldiers.  If there's a lesson to be learned, it's 
       that everyone has stories to tell, and it was a 
       real kick for me to help them achieve their goals.

       I was particularly pleased that we only got a small 
       amount of science fiction; I was afraid that 
       writers of other types of material might be 
       reluctant to participate.  But I received memoirs, 
       art books, poetry, children's stories, scholarly 
       works, humour, scripts, and more.  The range of 
       work was enormous, and the quality, overall, was 
       astonishingly high.

       I enjoyed every session, but some were standouts:  
       the World War II prisoner of war who had written 
       the story of his prison break; the school-teacher 
       who was nervous about having the tables turned; the 
       young girl who had written "The True Story of 
       Little Red Riding Hood" in which the girl was the 
       villain and the wolf was the hero.

       But the highlight of my residency for me was the 
       Young-Adult Story-Building Workshop I did in May.  
       We middle-aged types — I turned 40 during my 
       residency — often decry the state of youth today, 
       but the young people who came out for that seminar 
       were intelligent, well-mannered, thoughtful, 
       insightful, and, to my astonishment in this era of 
       sound bites and music videos, they all stayed right 
       to the end of the four-hour session, and even then 
       wanted more.  As a science-fiction writer, it's my 
       job to despair about the future, but after that 
       day, I don't think I'm going to worry about it 
       quite as much anymore ...

=================================================================

28 June 2000

The July issue of Toronto Life, a glossy, classy, high- 
circulation monthly magazine about, well, Toronto life, has 
two-thirds of a page devoted to a very nice write-up about me and 
Calculating God.  It includes a nice cover shot of the book, and 
the first appearance of my new official author photo, with me 
standing inside a model of a DNA molecule.

The article says:

       "Sawyer is a master of his craft.  He's deft with 
       the science, has a light touch with the big 
       questions and is even occasionally laugh-out-loud 
       funny.  His books do what good science fiction 
       should: force you to think laterally, abstractly — 
       big."

=================================================================

26 June 2000

I was on Rivera Live with Geraldo Rivera at 9:00 p.m. Eastern 
time this evening, talking about the Human Genome Project.


I had a blast.  Geraldo was actually in Boston; I drove down to 
Buffalo, New York (a two hour drive — it's the location of the 
nearest NBC affiliate to Toronto, WGRZ), and was hooked up by 
satellite; Geraldo had three other guests, two of whom were also 
at remote locations.  Meanwhile, the control room for the show 
was in New Jersey.  Quite a production to orchestrate!

Fortunately, the crew at WGRZ was just hanging around killing 
time between the local 6:00 newscast and the local 11:00 'cast; 
we did the interview on the same set they used for their 
newscast.  The Buffalo crew was very friendly and accommodating.

At the beginning of the RIVERA LIVE, they showed a beautiful shot 
of the Calculating God book cover (and held on it for several 
seconds).  Geraldo mentioned the book's title twice, and while I 
was talking about future applications of genetic research, they 
changed the super identifying me from "Robert Sawyer, Science 
Fiction Writer" to "Robert Sawyer, Author, "Calculating God" — 
so I certainly can't complain about the plug factor <grin>.

Before I left Toronto for Buffalo, I called Jennifer Marcus, the 
publicity director at Tor, to thank her for arranging this, since 
I'd assumed it was her work.  She said actually a producer from 
Geraldo's office had called Tor, specifically looking to get hold 
of me.  Cool!

=================================================================

26 June 2000

Robert J. Sawyer and Charles de Lint will be interviewed tomorrow 
on SPACE NEWS, the newscast used as a filler between programs on 
Space: The Imagination Station (the Canadian equivalent of The 
Sci-Fi Channel).  The interviews deal with our signings at the
Canadian Booksellers Association's conference this year.


The first broadcast will be at 3:55 p.m., and it will be repeated 
in the five minutes before the end of the hour for most of the 
remaining hours of the day.

=================================================================

25 June 2000

I previously posted word here that I will be Guest of Honor at 
Contact JAPAN 4, in suburban Tokyo, November 3-5, 2000.

The enterprising people at the Kyoto University Science Fiction 
Association took note of the fact that I will be in Japan then, 
and extended an invitation to me to be Guest of Honor at their 
convention, Kyoto SF Festival, the following weekend.  They've 
agreed to pay my hotel expenses for seven days — the intervening 
time between the two conventions, and the time at the Kyoto 
convention.

The Contact JAPAN people were delighted to accommodate the 
request of the Kyoto group (Contact JAPAN is really focussed on 
first-contact issues, not on SF per se, so they don't see 
the Kyoto event as competition), so I am now Guest of Honor at 
two separate cons in Japan this November.  

Needless to say, I'm thrilled about this.

=================================================================

25 June 2000

And speaking of Japan ...

I received my author's copies of the Japanese edition of 
FRAMESHIFT today.

For some reason, it's substantially thicker than my previous 
Japanese books; in English, it's about the same length as others 
that they've translated.

By the way, the Kyoto SF Festival is planning to add my 
translator, Masayuki Uchida, as a special guest — which will be 
fabulous; we've become great friends through E-mail, but have 
never met ...

=================================================================

25 June 2000

Today was the official book launch for Calculating God.

It was held at the Central Branch of the Richmond Hill Public 
Library, north of Toronto, and also commemorated the conclusion 
of my three-month stint as writer-in-residence at the library (I 
actually have eight more appointments later this week with 
aspirant writers, but this was the official conclusion of my 
residency).

It was a fabulous launch.  The event started with live music:  a 
terrific flute-and-harp duo.  

Cameron Knight, my supervisor at the library, talked about the 
residency program, then Shelagh Harris, the chair of the library 
board, gave a really fine talk about Calculating God; she gave a 
very insightful analysis of the book.

I then read most of the opening chapter of the book, and did a 
Q&A session with the audience of 75 people (the maximum the venue 
could hold, according to fire regulations).

After, we sold books — lots of books <grin>.  The library had 
gotten 25 hardcovers to sell, but ran out.  Fortunately, I always 
have stock in the trunk of my car <hee hee>.

The library laid on a terrific selection of munchies, and 
everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.

After, a bunch of people came back to Carolyn and my place for an 
impromptu party.

All in all, it was a really terrific launch.

=================================================================

23 June 2000

I'm pleased to announce that I've been named Toastmaster for Ad 
Astra 2001, Toronto's big regional SF convention, to be held 
February 23-25, 2001.

=================================================================

23 June 2000

I'm pleased to announce that I've sold two books to Quarry Press, 
a leading Canadian literary publisher, via my agent, Ralph 
Vicinanza.

The first is a nonfiction book, 50% reprint and 50% new material, 
a combination literary memoir and history of Canadian SF.  The 
working title is A FANTASTIC LIFE: WRITING SCIENCE FICTION IN 
CANADA.  It will be published in 2002.

And the second, to appear in hardcover, is a collection of 22 of 
my short stories.  The working title for the collection is 
ITERATIONS, and it will be published next year.  The collection 
sports an introduction by JAMES ALAN GARDNER, plus individual 
intros to each story by me, and these short stories:

       "The Hand You're Dealt," first published in FREE 
       SPACE, edited by Brad Linaweaver and Edward E. 
       Kramer, Tor Books, New York, July 1997.

       "Peking Man," first published as the lead story in 
       DARK DESTINY III: CHILDREN OF DRACULA, edited by 
       Edward E. Kramer, White Wolf, Atlanta, October 
       1996.

       "Iterations," first published in TRANSVERSIONS 12, 
       July 2000.

       "Gator," first published as the lead story in URBAN 
       NIGHTMARES, edited by Josepha Sherman and 
       Keith R. A. DeCandido, Baen Books, New York, 
       November 1997.

       "The Blue Planet," first published as "Mars 
       Reacts!" in THE GLOBE AND MAIL: CANADA'S NATIONAL 
       NEWSPAPER, Saturday, December 11, 1999.

       "Wiping Out," first published in GUARDSMEN, edited 
       by Martin H. Greenberg and Larry Segriff, DAW 
       Books, New York, December 2000.

       "Uphill Climb," first published in AMAZING STORIES, 
       March 1987.

       "Last But Not Least," first published in BE 
       AFRAID!, edited by Edo van Belkom, Tundra Books, 
       Toronto, September 2000.

       "If I'm Here, Imagine Where They Sent My Luggage," 
       first published in THE VILLAGE VOICE: THE WEEKLY 
       NEWSPAPER OF NEW YORK, 14-20 January 1981.

       "Where the Heart Is," first published in ARK OF 
       ICE: CANADIAN FUTUREFICTION, edited by Lesley 
       Choyce, Pottersfield Press, Nova Scotia, 1992.

       "Lost in the Mail," first published in 
       TRANSVERSIONS 3, October 1995.

       "Just Like Old Times," first published in ON SPEC: 
       THE CANADIAN MAGAZINE OF SPECULATIVE WRITING, 
       Summer 1993; commissioned for and also published as 
       the lead story in DINOSAUR FANTASTIC, edited by 
       Mike Resnick and Martin H. Greenberg, DAW Books, 
       New York, July 1993.

       "The Contest," first published in WHITE WALL REVIEW 
       1980, Ryerson Polytechnical Institute, Toronto; 
       reprinted in 100 GREAT FANTASY SHORT SHORT STORIES, 
       edited by Isaac Asimov, Terry Carr, and Martin 
       Harry Greenberg, Doubleday, New York, 1984.

       "Stream of Consciousness," first published in NO 
       LIMITS: DEVELOPING SCIENTIFIC LITERACY USING 
       SCIENCE FICTION and PACKING FRACTION AND OTHER 
       TALES OF SCIENCE AND IMAGINATION, both edited by 
       Julie E. Czerneda, Trifolium Books, Toronto, 1999.

       "Forever," first published in RETURN OF THE 
       DINOSAURS, edited by Mike Resnick and Martin H. 
       Greenberg, DAW Books, New York, May 1997.

       "The Abdication of Pope Mary III," first published 
       in NATURE: INTERNATIONAL WEEKLY JOURNAL OF SCIENCE, 
       July 6, 2000.

       "Star Light, Star Bright," first published in FAR 
       FRONTIERS, edited by Martin H. Greenberg and Larry 
       Segriff, DAW Books, New York, September 2000.

       "Above It All," first published in DANTE'S 
       DISCIPLES, edited by Peter Crowther and Edward E. 
       Kramer, White Wolf, Atlanta, February 1996.

       "Ours to Discover," first published in LEISUREWAYS, 
       November 1982. 

       "You See But You Do Not Observe," first published 
       in SHERLOCK HOLMES IN ORBIT, edited by Mike Resnick 
       and Martin H. Greenberg, DAW Books, New York, 
       February 1995.  Authorized by Dame Jean Conan 
       Doyle.

       "Fallen Angel," first published in STRANGE 
       ATTRACTION, edited by Edward E. Kramer, Bereshith 
       Publishing, Virginia, August 2000.

       "The Shoulders of Giants," first published as the 
       lead story in STAR COLONIES edited by Martin H.
       Greenberg and John Helfers, DAW Books, New York, 
       June 2000.

Between them, the stories in this collection have:

  * Won the Crime Writers of Canada Arthur Ellis Award
  * Won the Aurora Award twice three times! [I won again on 16 July 2000]
  * Won the CompuServe SF&F Forums' HOMer Award — twice!
  * Won France's top SF award, Le Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire
  * Won a writing contest sponsored by The Village Voice
  * Been nominated for the Hugo Award
  * Been nominated for Japan's Seiun Award
  * Appeared in SFWA's Nebula Awards anthology
  * Appeared in Year's Best SF
  * Been the lead stories in four major U.S. anthologies

================================================================= 

22 June 2000

Well, by this point, I'm sure everyone knows that the news story 
I said I would be talking about on TV today is the discovery of 
what looks to be subsurface liquid water on Mars.

I spent the whole day doing TV related to this:  two different 
programs for CBC Newsworld, and "Studio 2," the nightly 
current-affairs program for TVOntario.  Whew!

================================================================= 

21 June 2000

Got a call from CBC Newsworld, asking me to make myself available 
down at the Broadcasting Centre in Toronto tomorrow at noon to 
comment on a breaking story.  So, those in Canada, look for me on 
Newsworld between noon and 1:00 p.m. tomorrow Eastern time 
(earlier in Vancouver, later in Halifax, obviously).

The news is embargoed until 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time tomorrow 
morning, but watch your local media for a big announcement about 
Mars then ...

================================================================= 


18 June 2000

This evening was fabulous!

Carolyn and I had a two-and-a-half-hour
dinner with Apollo 11 astronaut 
Buzz Aldrin (just the three of us), 
at a terrific four-star restaurant, 
with our mutual book distributor 
picking up the tab.  Life is sweet.

We talked about book publishing, about 
film deals, about getting humanity back 
into space, about the animated series 
I'm developing, and more.  It was really 
wonderful.

After dinner, I went off to the Idler 
Pub — a Toronto landmark, famous for 
its literary readings — were I read 
with three others in honor of father's 
day, in an evening organized by the Crime 
Writers of Canada.

Tomorrow, Buzz and I appear live on stage together at Indigo 
Books in the Toronto Eaton Centre at 7:00 p.m. 

=================================================================

18 June 2000

Back in December, I bought the 12-part Home Box Office series 
"From the Earth to the Moon" on videocassette.  This is a 
dramatic hour-long series about the Apollo missions.

Tonight, Carolyn, her brother, and I finished watching it.  It 
was a fabulous piece of work; I really was blown away by it.  On 
every level, it was tremendous.

The acting was first-rate; I suspect executive producer Tom Hanks 
had a large hand in suggesting the use of sitcom actors in 
serious roles, since, of course, he himself had gotten his start 
in sitcoms.  They used Dan Lauria (the father on THE WONDER 
YEARS), Grant Schaud (Miles on MURPHY BROWN), Stephen Root (the 
station owner on TALK RADIO), Dave Foley (the station manager on 
TALK RADIO), Debra Jo Rupp (Mrs. Foreman on THAT '70s SHOW), Dan 
Butler (Bulldog from FRASIER), Lane Smith (Perry White on LOIS 
AND CLARK), and Kevin Pollock (the standup comic who did the 
first good William Shatner impersonation — everyone who does 
Shatner today is really doing Pollock doing Shatner).  All of 
them turned in first-rate dramatic performances.

The effects were outstanding; everything looked absolutely real.  
A great mix of CGI and motion-control.

The choice of music was inspired — everything from BLUE MOON to 
the ending theme from FIREBALL XL5 ("I wish I were a spaceman / 
the fastest guy alive / I'd fly around the universe / in 
Fireball XL5 ...").

But, most of all, the writing was amazing.  Two episodes in 
particular blew me away, in part because they made really good 
dramatic television out of topics that one might have thought 
were impossible to make dramatic.  One called "Spider" dealt with 
the engineering challenges in designing the Lunar Module; it was 
just stunningly good.  

Equally excellent was "Galileo Was Right," an incredible piece of 
work devoting the entire hour to the process of training 
astronauts to be good geologists.  David Clennon turned in the 
best performance as a brilliant university professor since John 
Houseman essayed Charles W. Kingsfield.  I've rarely seen 
anything in science fiction that was as good as this episode at 
conveying the excitement of science.

Each of the twelve episodes had different directors and different 
writers, and they took very different approaches to telling the 
tales of the various Apollo missions:  for Apollo XI, they really 
did a character study of Buzz Aldrin, and the psychological 
impact of being the second, not the first, man on the moon; for 
Apollo XIII, they did a story about competing journalists — old 
guard and new wave — covering the reactions of the families to 
the space accident; for Apollo XIV, they focussed on Alan 
Shepard's long struggle to get back into space; for Apollo 16, 
they concentrated on the astronauts' wives (played by such big 
names as Elizabeth Perkins, Sally Field, and JoBeth Williams); 
for Apollo 17, they intercut between the making of Georges Melies 
1902 film (lovingly recreated) "Le Voyage dans la lune" and the 
last Apollo mission.

Really, I haven't enjoyed a miniseries this much since 
I, CLAUDIUS.  Four stars on the RJS scale ...

=================================================================

13 June 2000

Chapters, Canada's largest bookstore chain, was a little slow off 
the mark getting Calculating God (and a lot of other summer 
titles) onto the shelves, but I'm pleased to report that the book 
is in stock, and in good quantities, across the entire chain now.  

=================================================================

13 June 2000

A little news:

Carbon Based Productions of Toronto has renewed its option on 
Robert J. Sawyer's Illegal Alien for a second year.  The 
screenplay by Michael Lennick is undergoing final edits, with 
Sawyer serving as consultant.

Actually, Carolyn and I met today face to face with the producer
and screenwriter to pick up the check (and a nice, heavy check it
was, too <grin>).  And the venue could not have been more 
appropriate.  The screenwriter, Lennick, is a special-effects
designer, who has worked frequently with David Cronenberg, and
who did the special effects for the War of the World's TV series.
The meeting was in his office, and hanging from the ceiling was
a four-foot wide model of a flying Martian war machine (the 
manta-ray design from the George Pal movie).  This wasn't an
original from the Pal film, but one of the duplicates made by
master model maker Greg Jein for the TV series.  It was gorgeous.

Things seem to be going well with the movie; some of the financing
is in place, the screenplay is in very good shape, and the producer,
David Coatsworth, who just finished line producing Arnold 
Schwarzenegger's latest, is very pleased with how everything is
coming together.

It was an exciting day on other fronts:  had lunch with John
Pellatt, and award-winning animation scriptwriter, best known for
his work on the NED'S NEWT series, and picked his brain for the
series pilot I've been commissioned to write (which is coming 
along nicely, thanks).  

And in the evening, Carolyn and I went to a meeting of a reading
group here in Toronto.  They were doing FlashForward (which 
they'd voted their favorite book of the year, to my delight), 
and had asked me to come and sit in.  Lots of fun.

=================================================================

12 June 2000

I have it in my hot little hands!

Picked up a copy of David G. Hartwell's YEAR'S BEST SF 5 this 
evening at the Chapters bookstore near my home — my first 
appearance in a YEAR'S BEST (although both Gardner Dozois and 
Datlow/Windling have given me multiple honorable mentions).  It's 
quite a kick to be in this book.

And speaking of my short fiction, yesterday was the official 
on-sale date for STAR COLONIES, a DAW paperback anthology edited 
by Martin Harry Greenberg and John Helfers.

The lead story in that anthology is "The Shoulders of Giants" by 
yours truly; in terms of CompuServe content, there's also a Paul 
Levinson story; and in terms of Canadian content, there are also 
stories by Edo van Belkom and Robert Charles Wilson.

I haven't seen the finished book yet myself (DAW is notoriously 
late getting their books into Canada), but it should be widely 
available in the U.S. now.  The cover is great, though:  a 
mostly-green Vincent DiFate outer-space shot.

Fortunately, as one comes out, another is commissioned:  I just 
received another story order from Tekno-Books (Marty Greenberg's 
company), with the kind of deadline I like to see:  eleven months 
away, on May 1, 2001.

=================================================================

06 June 2000

Man, it's been a busy week!

On Monday of last week, Carolyn and I headed off to Hockley 
Valley, a ski/golf resort outside of Toronto for a meeting of the 
Group Insurance Broker mangers for National Life, a big insurance 
company.  

That was a relaxing day.  I sat around the pool, reading Buzz 
Aldrin and John Barnes's The Return while Carolyn hit a bucket 
of golf balls.

Tuesday morning, I gave a 75-minute futurism speech as the 
keynote address at the National Life meeting.  As the 
vice-president said, "It could not have been better."  I really 
had a blast doing it.

Thursday, I gave three different readings at a Toronto area high 
school, to three different groups.  Then, late in the afternoon, 
I gave another reading and did a Q&A session for a meeting of 
English teachers from across the Toronto District School Board.

Thursday night was "First Thursday," Toronto's pub night for the 
SF community.  Carolyn and I went and had a great time; they 
recently changed venues, and the first time, I thought the food 
was mediocre, but it was fabulous this time. 

Over the weekend, Calculating God soared in sales on Amazon.com, 
hitting a top sales rank of 260 out of all the titles available 
on Saturday at 5:00 p.m.  Nice!

Yesterday, I did a 50-minute phone interview promoting 
Calculating God for the public-radio station in Indiana.

All that, plus a bunch of appointments at the Richmond Hill 
Public Library, as my residency enters its last month.

Whew!

================================================================= 

02 June 2000

The webzine SCI-FI DIMENSIONS (www.scifidimensions.com) features 
a 41-minute streaming-audio interview with yours truly, talking 
about Calculating God.  You'll need the (free) Real Audio player 
(available from www.realaudio.com, if you don't already have it) 
to hear the interview — or you can read the transcript — all 
7,100 words of it — on the site.

================================================================= 

29 May 2000

It's been a busy but terrific week ...

Tuesday was "Hangman's Night" at Sleuth of Baker Street, 
Toronto's mystery-fiction bookstore, the annual wine-and-cheese 
reception the day before the Arthur Ellis Awards banquet.  The 
Arthurs are Canada's national mystery-fiction awards presented by 
the Crime Writers of Canada.  This was a special Hangman's Night, 
since the anthology ARTHUR ELLIS AWARDS, edited by Peter Sellers, 
was launched.  My story "Just Like Old Times" is reprinted in 
that book; I signed more than fifty copies to fulfill the store's 
mail-order and store-stock needs.

Wednesday, Carolyn and I had lunch with Mark Askwith, producer at 
Space: The Imagination Station, Canada's counterpart of the 
Sci-Fi Channel.  Mark gave me a tape of the "Shelf Space" segment 
they'd just started running to promote my new novel CALCULATING 
GOD.  "Shelf Space" is two minutes long and runs as a filler 
between programs; the Calculating God one will run forty times 
over the next couple of weeks.  It's way cool:  like getting a 
free commercial on national TV that runs over and over again ...

Wednesday evening was the actual Arthur Ellis Award banquet, held 
at a place called The Coloured Stone in downtown Toronto.  I was 
honored and thrilled to be asked to be the presenter for the Best 
Novel award; the award went to Rosemary Aubert, which pleased me 
— her first novel, several years ago, had a blurb on it from me.

Thursday, Carolyn and I flew to Vancouver, British Columbia (a 
four-hour flight), where we were writer guests of honour, along 
with Spider and Jeanne Robinson, at V-Con 25, the Vancouver 
regional SF convention.  Thursday night we had dinner with the 
Con-Com.  Friday, the con began.  It was a great convention, with 
very well attended panels and lots of lively discussion.  I gave 
a reading of my new short story "The Shoulders of Giants" and the 
opening of Calculating God.  Both were very well received.  

All in all, a fun time, and it was terrific to get to spend time 
with old friends Spider and Jeanne Robinson.

Meanwhile, I'm very excited to announce a special event at the 
Indigo book superstore in the Eaton Centre in downtown Toronto:  
on Monday, June 19, at 7:00 p.m., I will be doing a live 
interview with Apollo 11 astronaut Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin.  I'm 
very much looking forward to this!  (Actually, this will be the 
second astronaut I've met; in 1994 I received an Aurora Award 
from Marc Garneau, the first Canadian in space.)  I really feel 
privileged to get to do this.

=================================================================

19 May 2000

I now have a copy of Calculating God in my hot little hands.

My local Indigo had copies in stock this evening, and I bought 
two, just so that I'd have a couple (including one to wave in 
front of the cameras on Canada AM on tuesday).

The book looks FABULOUS — absolutely stunningly gorgeous.  The 
advance dust jackets looked really good, but this is even better:  
they've selectively varnished parts of the dust jacket so that 
the title and my name leap out now.  It really is beautiful, the 
nicest cover I've had, I think.

=================================================================

19 May 2000

Well, my three-month stint as Writer in Residence at the Richmond 
Hill Public Library is more than half over now, and I must say 
I've been enjoying it.  I've had meetings with dozens of aspirant 
writers — SF writers, mystery writers, poets, nonfiction 
writers, etc. etc. — and it's all been very stimulating.  Some 
of the work submitted, of course, has been just plain awful, but 
a surprising amount of it has been excellent.

I'm amazed, thought, at how many people don't know the difference 
between "it's" and "its."

=================================================================

19 May 2000

One of the things I've been trying to do of late is establish 
myself further as a futurist / science commentator.  I've been 
making good progress, I think.  For instance, on Wednesday, the 
CBC sent a cab over to whisk me down to the Broadcasting Centre 
to go live on Newsworld (their 24-hour-a-day all-news cable 
service) to talk about a comet that had gotten within 1.5 AU of 
the sun without being detected by any comet hunters (it was 
unearthed in old data being sifted through from the SOHO 
solar-wind satellite).

=================================================================

15 May 2000

I was pleased to see on the weekend that Illegal Alien is now in 
a second paperback printing.  To paraphrase Jonny Hart, "Book Got 
Legs!"

=================================================================

14 May 2000

LIBRARY JOURNAL has weighed in very favorably on Calculating God, 
which should be in bookstores in a couple of weeks:

       Sawyer once again demonstrates his wild talent for 
       innovative, iconoclastic storytelling as he relates 
       a thought-provoking, sobering, yet wryly 
       compassionate tale of one man's discovery of 
       timelessness even as his own time is running out. A 
       good choice for most sf collections.

=================================================================

10 May 2000

Courtesy of my translator, Masayuki Uchida, here is the list of
foreign works nominated for this year's Seiun Awards, Japan's top 
honor in SF.  The awards are for works first published in 
Japanese translation in 1999; this is the Japanese award 
frequently presented at the Worldcon as part of the Hugo 
ceremony.

FOREIGN NOVELS:

 Permutation City (Greg Egan)
 Quarantine (Greg Egan)
 Forever Peace (Joe Haldeman)
 The Immortality Option (James P. Hogan)
 Kirinyaga (Mike Resnick)
 Starplex (Robert J. Sawyer)
 Endymion & The Rise of Endymion (Dan Simmons)
 One of Us (Michael Marshall Smith)

FOREIGN SHORT STORIES:

 Aurora in Four Voices (Catherine Asaro)
 War Birds (Stephen Baxter)
 The Cutie (Greg Egan)
 Three Hearings on the Existence of Snakes in the Human Bloodstream
  (James Alan Gardner)
 Doing the Circuit (Alexander Jablokov)
 Cosmic Expense Account (C. M. Kornbluth)
 "...Where Angels Fear to Tread" (Allen Steele)
 Taklamakan (Bruce Sterling)
 Out of the Everywhere (James Tiptree, Jr.)

=================================================================

10 May 2000

A nice surprise today:

Chapters.ca — Canada's largest online bookseller — is offering
Calculating God today at 50% off list price as a "Pre-Release
50%" and "Be First ... Buy Today!" special.

The book is the second of only seven titles featured right on the
main BOOKS page of the site (go to http://www.chapters.ca, then
click on the "BOOKS" tab at the top of the screen, or go staight
to this screen with http://www.chapters.ca/books/).

=================================================================

04 May 2000

A crew from Space: The Imagination Station (the Canadian 
counterpart of the Sci-Fi Channel) came by today, and interviewed 
Edo van Belkom (who had rendezvoused with us here at my place) 
about his new book WRITING HORROR, and his nominations for the 
Aurora Award.  If you see Edo sitting on a bench in front of some 
trees, that's the backyard to the condo apartment building I live 
in.  

They then interviewed me, at other places around the building's 
grounds (we have great landscaping in our building) about my 
Aurora nominations, about my web site, and about my upcoming 
novel Calculating God.

So, if you get Space, look for Edo and me to be edited together 
into a piece about the Auroras, and other separate news pieces 
with each of us over the next couple of weeks ...


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