That's a little hard on the eyes, isn't it? But there is a particular reason I pixellated this person. Can you guess?
Well, this author has won every science fiction award out there -- Hugo, Nebula, Campbell, Aurora, Galaxy and way too many more to mention. He is known as the dean of Canadian Science Fiction. He can be seen on his own show on tv, and right now they are filming a televisionpilot for another one of his books, FLASH FORWARD in Los Angeles, California.
Have you figured out who he is yet? Let's unmask him, shall we?
It's Robert J. Sawyer! Did you know that Robert J. Sawyer is one of only seven people in history -- and the only Canadian -- to win all three of the science-fiction field's top awards for best novel of the year: the Hugo Award, which he won for Hominids, the Nebula Award, which he won for The Terminal Experiment, and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award, which he won for Mindscan?
Darby Christopher: Wow -- I am so happy to meet you, Rob. If anyone understands about the stress of walking through windows to the past (or the future) it's you. My new book is all about how different people came to live in Canada. Where were you born?
Robert J. Sawyer: I was born in Ottawa -- but to an American mother; a graduate student who was only temporarily resident in Canada at the time. So I started out as a dual US-Canadian citizen.
DC: Where do you live now?
RJS: Right in downtown Mississauga, a city of 750,000 adjacent to Toronto.
DC: Hey, I'm from Toronto! Do you remember any special stories about your family that you heard when you were a kid?
RJS: My parents met at the University of Chicago, where they were both studying economics. My mom was from Berkeley, California, and my father from Toronto. They made a deal when they got married: if my father could find a good job in Canada, they'd live there; if my mother could find a good one in the United States, they'd live there -- whoever found the better job would determine where the family lived. Well, it was my dad who got the good job, in Ottawa, and that's why I'm a Canadian today.
DC: Ha! So, growing up in Canada, did you learn to ride a skateboard?
RJS: Nope. I can't rollerskate either.
DC: Well, that's okay. You can probably ride a mean jet-pack, with all the science fiction you write! Besides writing books, do you have a secret skill or talent you'd like to share?
RJS: I am, they say, a good public speaker, and I have a sideline of giving talks at business and government conferences, and am currently hosting and narrating the TV series Supernatural Investigator on Vision TV.
DC: It's so cool that you investigate supernatural stuff! I've had a few supernatural experiences myself. This window-walking thing, for instance. If you had a chance to walk through a window into the past, where would you go?
RJS: Back at least 65 million years to the age of the dinosaurs. I love dinosaurs, and right until my last year of high school though I was going to devote my career to studying them.
DC: Oh, me, too! Stegosaurus is my favourite. I love those back plates! Is there anyone special you'd like to meet today?
RJS: Stephen Hawking -- the brilliant physicist. He's inspiring both as a genius and as a person who has dealt with physical disabilities most of us couldn't even imagine.
DC: So, when my Gramps throws a little spare change my way, I'm personally pretty fond of red licorice. What's your favourite treat?
RJS: Pepperoni pizza. I wouldn't eat it for every meal, if I could, but I would have it every day!
DC: Hmm. Now I'm getting hungry... How about if you tell me a bit about your latest project?
RJS: I'm writing a trilogy of novels about a 15-year-old blind girl who has an operation to restore her sight -- and, in the process, discovers she can see a being that lives in the background of the World Wide Web. The first volume, Wake, comes out in April.
DC: Now THAT is a book I cannot wait to read! If I want to learn more about you or your books on-line, where can I go check you out?
DC: Wow -- there is a LOT of information there about you! Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me today. And I promise I'll practice my jet-pack work if you get some work in on a skateboard!
If you'd like to win a copy of one of Robert J. Sawyer's story anthologies, leave your name in the comment section. Maybe you can let us know whether you'd rather ride a skateboard or a jetpack? (Or maybe just stay safely on the ground...)
Maurice the cat and I will do the draw on Friday, March 20th for Rob's book. Get your name in soon, and stay tuned for another interview tomorrow to celebrate the launch this month of my story, A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW.