Robert James Sawyer...

...is a full-time Science Fiction author who lives in Toronto, Ontario. He is credited on most of his books as "Robert J. Sawyer".

Background

Robert J. Sawyer was born in Ottawa, Ontario, in 1960. He spent most of his childhood in Toronto, which is also where he attended Ryerson University. He now lives in a suburb of Toronto, Mississauga.

Sawyer is married to Science Fiction Poet Carolyn Clink, who edits some of his work. His novels are generally written from a Liberal point of view.

Although he isn't all too well-known, his books have received quite a lot of praise from the science fiction community. He won the 2003 Hugo Award for his novel Hominids, and was a Hugo Finalist for its sequel, Humans. The Terminal Experiment was the winner of the 1995 Nebula Award. He frequently wins Canadian awards for his science fiction, being one of the only full-time Canadian writers still living in Canada.

His works tend to involve the readers with the characters, with the science acting as a situation in which the characters are placed. They deal with morality and ethics, and the habits of our society. His novel "Hominids" is an excellent example of this. It was written about the consequences of a rift created between our universe, and one where neanderthal man was the dominant species. The society of the Neanderthals is seen as almost perfect, which, of course, makes our own look like a polluted, messy, war-driven hell-hole. His novels almost all take place in Canada, a signature trait of his.

I've met Robert J. Sawyer once, at the Toronto Word on the Street festival. My sister, who was carrying a tray of sushi, accidentally spilled soy sauce on the novels he was selling. The ruined (but probably readable) novel was bought, possibly out of pity.

I had a book (which was Terminal Experiment) signed by him, this signature "enhanced" by a terrible, terrible pun involving the books plot. I've since lost the book, which is a pain in the ass. I bought another copy just for the hell of it.

His novels, in chronological order. Series are broken off from the list. It's still in chronological order.

What to read

My personal favourites are...
  1. The Terminal Experiment
  2. The Neanderthal Parallax. Hominids and Humans were very good. Hybrids was...less so.
  3. Calculating God

His most acclaimed books are actually essentially what's on the list, so there's no worries. Most of his books are well worth reading, but if you're looking for his best, those are my thoughts. I've read all of his books (starting with Terminal Experiment) except for Golden Fleece, The Quintaglio Ascension, Starplex, Iterations, and Relativity. I still can't figure out what my least favourite is. They're all very much worth reading.

In terms of similar authors, I don't have a lot to offer. Sawyer tends to write like... well, Sawyer. One of the other novels I've encountered that involves prehistoric life in Science Fiction is Stephen Baxter's Evolution.

More recently, Robert J. Sawyer has written the WWW: series, which deals with artificial intelligence and whether a non-human, emergent consciousness formed from the internet core router backbone has the right to exist.

The books in the series are:

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