Thursday, December 21, 2017

Six books that shaped sci-fi author Robert J. Sawyer

Robert J. Sawyer is one of only eight writers in history — and the only Canadian — to win all three of the world's top Science Fiction awards for best novel of the year: the Hugo, the Nebula, and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award.

One of six books that have influenced him over the course of his career, as shared with the CBC:
Gateway by Frederik Pohl

I've been lucky enough to win the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award, the two top prizes in the science-fiction field, but I did it with two different novels (Hominids and The Terminal Experiment, respectively). Eighteen authors, though, have won both awards for the same title, and of that select list, Frederik Pohl's Gateway is my favourite; indeed, I think it's the finest science-fiction novel ever written. When I first read it, at age 18, it taught me two things. First, the best science fiction is not just about the grandly cosmic but also about the intimately human. And, second, despite all the writing advice out there to the contrary, it's not necessary that your protagonist by likable or even sympathetic, but rather that he or she simply be truthfully drawn, warts and all, with believable underlying psychology. Pohl, one of the giants of SF, was a high-school dropout, but late in his life I wrote to several U.S. universities in hopes of getting an honorary doctorate bestowed upon him; one of my great regrets is that I failed.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Gateway is on Charles Choi's list of the ten coolest fictional asteroids of all time.

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.

The Page 69 Test: Triggers.

The Page 69 Test: Red Planet Blues.

The Page 69 Test: Quantum Night.

--Marshal Zeringue