Robert J. Sawyer — “the dean of Canadian science fiction,” according to both the CBC and The Ottawa Citizen — is the only Canadian to have won all three of the world’s top awards for best science-fiction novel the year: the Hugo, the Nebula, and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award. Rob has also won more Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Awards (“Auroras”) than anyone else in history, and he was a guest of honour at the 2023 World Science Fiction Convention (the Worldcon). A member of both the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario, Rob’s 25 bestselling novels include Quantum Night (long-listed for Canada Reads), FlashForward (basis for the ABC TV series), and his latest, The Downloaded.
Why Everyone Should Read Science Fiction: Science fiction is not what you think. Since the dawn of the genre, SF has been at the forefront of social-justice debates. If you suppose you know what science fiction is all about because you’ve seen Star Wars, join Robert J. Sawyer—“the dean of Canadian science fiction” according to the Ottawa Citizen—who will show that Star Wars isn’t science fiction, and introduce you to real SF, a profound mode of storytelling . . . invented over 200 years ago by a woman.
The Intimately Human and the Grandly Cosmic: Making your science fiction appeal not just to the mind but to the heart as well. The number-one reason mainstream readers don’t even try science fiction is they think it has nothing to offer them emotionally: they wrongly believe that it’s either too dry and intellectual or that any character development is sketchy and any character drama is simplistic and juvenile. But the best science fiction is as emotionally complex, as heart-wrenching, as moving, and as uplifting as the best mainstream fiction. Learn how to balance both halves of the term “science fiction” without giving short-shrift to either.
A Thematic Approach to Writing: Many of the biggest bestsellers—including Dan Brown, John Grisham, and the late Michael Crichton—are thematically driven. Starting by picking your theme—the topic you want to explore and what you want your message to be—provides a powerful catalyst for developing both compelling plots and unforgettable characters.