Advisory Board

Robert J. Sawyer

The article Privacy: Who Needs It? by Robert J. Sawyer said

There’s a long-standing problem in astronomy called the Fermi Paradox, named for physicist Enrico Fermi who first proposed it in 1950. If the universe should be teeming with life, asked Fermi, then where are all the aliens? The question is even more vexing today: SETI, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence with radio telescopes, has utterly failed to turn up any sign of alien life forms. Why?
 
One chillingly likely possibility is that, as the ability to wreak damage on a grand scale becomes more readily available to individuals, soon enough just one malcontent, or one lunatic, will be able to destroy an entire world. Perhaps countless alien civilizations have already been wiped out by single terrorists who’d been left alone to work unmonitored in their private laboratories.

Robert J. Sawyer is a Canadian science fiction writer, dubbed “the dean of Canadian science fiction” by the Ottawa Citizen in 1999. He is a hard science-fiction writer, but he is more concerned with characterization and human psychology than many other practitioners of this subgenre.
 
In 2003, Rob consulted with the Canadian Federal Government’s Department of Justice to discuss what Canadian law should be in relation to biotechnology, stem-cell research, cloning, and the privacy of personal genetic information. In 2001, he and Ray Kurzweil were the keynote speakers at the Twelfth Annual Canadian Conference on Intelligent Systems — Canada’s principal conference on robotics and artificial intelligence. In 1999, he was the solo guest speaker at the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. on the topic of “The Future is Already Here: Is There a Place for Science Fiction in the Twenty-First Century”.
 
Rob has won thirty-five national and international awards for his fiction, most prominently the 1995 Nebula Award for his novel The Terminal Experiment, the 2003 Hugo Award for his novel Hominids, first volume of his Neanderthal Parallax trilogy, and the 2006 John W. Campbell Memorial Award for his novel Mindscan. He has received Canada’s highest award for science fiction, the Aurora, four times for Best English Novel of the Year for Golden Fleece, The Terminal Experiment, Starplex, and Flashforward. He received Japan’s Seiun Award three times for Best Foreign Language Novel of the Year for End of an Era, Frameshift, and Illegal Alien. He is a three time winner of the world’s largest cash prize for science fiction writing, Spain’s Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya’s Premio UPC de Ciencia Ficción, for Factoring Humanity, Flashforward, and the forthcoming Identity Theft.
 
His books have appeared on the top-ten national mainstream bestsellers’ lists in Canada, as published by The Globe and Mail and Maclean’s magazine, and they’ve hit number one on the bestsellers’ list published by Locus, the trade-journal of the SF field. Translated editions have appeared in Bulgarian, Chinese, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, and Spanish, and he has won SF awards in Canada, France, Japan, Spain, and the United States.
 
Listen to him on The Future And You. Read Rob’s blog!