SFWRITER.COM > About Rob > Backgrounder: SF Awards
SCIENCE FICTION AWARDS
Robert J. Sawyer
Copyright © 1997, 2009 by Robert J. Sawyer
All Rights Reserved.
[Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire]
[SFC Reader Award]
The Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Awards
("the Auroras") have been given
annually since 1980.
Each year, nominating and voting ballots are distributed through
Canadian bookstores, with copies of Canadian SF magazines, to
members of writers' groups, and at SF conventions.
Any Canadian resident may nominate and vote for the best
Canadian-authored works of the year in both English and French.
The Auroras are presented at the Canadian National Science
Robert J. Sawyer has won ten Aurora Awards more than any
other English-Canadian author. He won the 1992 Aurora for Best
English Novel (for
Golden Fleece), the 1995 Aurora for
Best English Short Story (for
"You See But You Do Not Observe,"),
the 1996 Aurora for Best English Novel (for
The Terminal Experiment), both the
1997 Aurora for Best English Novel (for Starplex)
and Best English Short Story (for "Peking Man"),
both the 2000 Aurora for Best English Novel
(for FlashForward) and Best English Short Story
(for "Stream of Consciousness"),
the 2002 Aurora for Best English Short Story (for "Ineluctable"),
the 2007 Aurora for Best English Short Story (for "Biding Time"),
and a 2005 Aurora for his essay collection Relativity.
In addition, he's received 28 other Aurora Award nominations.
John W. Campbell Memorial Award
The John W. Campbell Memorial Award
is the most-significant juried award in the science-fiction field, and the
only major award for which only science fiction (and not fantasy)
is eligible. It is given annually to the author of the best novel of the
year in honor of the late John W. Campbell, often considered
the father of modern science fiction; Campbell edited Astounding Stories
(later renamed Analog) from 1937 until his death in 1971.
Robert J. Sawyer's
Mindscan won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award
for Best Novel of 2006. Rob's novels
Calculating God, and
Hominids were also Campbell Memorial finalists.
Arthur Ellis Award
The Arthur Ellis Awards are juried awards
given each year since 1983 by the Crime Writers of Canada, a
professional association of mystery-fiction and true-crime
writers. The Arthur is considered one of Canada's most
prestigious literary awards.
"Arthur Ellis" was the pseudonym used by Canada's last official
hangman, before Canada abolished capital punishment in 1976. The
award trophy is extremely unusual: it features an articulated
wooden figure of a man, hanging from a brass noose. When a cord
is pulled, the poor fellow does death spasms . . .
Robert J. Sawyer's "Just Like Old Times," about a
time-traveling serial killer, won the Arthur Ellis Award for Best
Short Story of 1993. Rob's novel
Illegal Alien and his short story
"The Hand You're Dealt" were both
nominated for Arthur Ellis Awards, as well.
Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire
Le Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire ("The Grand Prize of
Imaginative Fiction") is the most prestigious SF award in France.
It has been given annually since 1974 for French-language
fiction, and for foreign fiction that has been translated into
Before 1992, the award was known as Le Grand Prix de la
Science-Fiction Française; in that year, it merged with
another French SF award, Le Prix Apollo, and the combined
award was renamed. Le Grand Prix is a juried award; the
jury members are major French critics, authors, and booksellers.
The winners are announced each November in Paris.
Robert J. Sawyer won the
1996 Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire
in the category Nouvelle
étrangère (Best Foreign Short Story) for
"You See But You Do Not Observe." It
was the first win ever for an English-Canadian author.
The Homer Awards were founded in 1991 by the Science Fiction and
Fantasy Literature Forum on the CompuServe Information Service,
the world's oldest commercial computer network. In CompuServe's
early days, the SF&F Forum was also known as "Home and Hobby
Forum Number 9," and the command to select it was "HOM-9." Ever
since, members of the Forum have referred to themselves as
"Homers." The award's name recalls this while also honoring the
ancient Greek epic poet.
All Forum members are invited to nominate for and vote on the
Homer Awards. Since the inception of the awards, the Forum's
membership has fluctuated between 18,000 and 40,000 people. Even
the lower figure gives the Homers the largest potential voting
pool of any SF award in the world.
The winners are announced online in May and are reported in the
two trade journals of the SF field, Locus and
Science Fiction Chronicle.
Each Homer winner receives a distinctive certificate, with the
name of the author and the title of the winning work done in
Robert J. Sawyer has won the Best Novel Homer Award six times: in 1993 for
in 1994 for Fossil Hunter,
in 1995 for End of an Era,
in 1996 for The Terminal Experiment,
in 1997 for Starplex, and
in 2001 for Calculating God.
In addition, Sawyer's
"You See But You Do Not Observe" won
the Homer Award for Best Short Story of 1995 and his
"Above It All" won the Homer Award for Best
Short Story of 1996.
The Hugo Award is SF's international "People's choice" award.
Every member of the current year's or previous year's World
Science Fiction Convention ("Worldcon") is eligible to nominate
up to five works in each of several categories, including Best
Novel, Best Novella, Best Novelette, and and Best Short Story.
The five most-nominated works in each category compose the Final Ballot,
which is voted on by the 5,000 or so members of the current Worldcon
to determine the winners. The Hugos are named after Hugo Gernsback,
who founded the world's first SF magazine, Amazing Stories, in 1926.
Different cities bid to hold each year's World SF Convention.
Recent and upcoming Worldcons include Winnipeg (1994), Glasgow
(1995), Baltimore (1998), and Melbourne (1999).
In addition to the winners and finalists, each year the Hugo
Award administrators also release a list of "Honorable Mentions,"
acknowledging those works that didn't make it to the final ballot
but were listed on at least five percent of all nominating
Robert J. Sawyer
won the Hugo Award for Best Novel of the Year in 2003,
and has been nominated seven other times in the Best Novel category:
in 1996 for The Terminal Experiment,
in 1997 for Starplex,
in 1998 for Frameshift,
in 1999 for Factoring Humanity,
in 2001 for Calculating God,
in 2004 for Humans, and
in 2008 for Rollback.
In addition, his short story "The Hand You're Dealt"
was a 1998 finalist, his short story "Shed Skin" was a 2005 finalist, and
his novella "Identity Theft" was a 2006 finalist.
Sawyer has also received Hugo Award Honorable Mentions for his novels
End of an Era (1995),
and FlashForward (2000),
and for his short story "You See But You Do Not Observe"
(1996). End of an Era was the eighth most-nominated novel
in its year; "You See But You Do Not Observe" was the seventh
most-nominated short story in its year; and
FlashForward was the
sixth most-nominated novel in its year.
The Nebula is the "Academy Award" of
Science Fiction, voted on by the Science Fiction and Fantasy
Writers of America.
There are 900 active SFWA members in 23 countries. All of them
may participate in the three-part process of choosing the Nebula
winner. First, members submit signed recommendations for other
writers' works. These are published six times each year in
SFWA's Nebula Awards Report. All works receiving ten or
more recommendations go on to the Preliminary Nebula Award
Each SFWA member may vote for up to five works on the Preliminary
Ballot. The five with the most votes go on to the Final Ballot.
All 900 members vote again on this ballot and the work
receiving the most votes becomes the winner.
The Nebula Awards were established in 1965. The award trophy is
a Lucite block with polished stone planets and a galaxy of
glitter embedded in it.
include Isaac Asimov's The Gods Themselves, Arthur C.
Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama, Frank Herbert's
Dune, and Ursula K. Le Guin's The Left Hand of
Robert J. Sawyer's
The Terminal Experiment won the
Nebula Award for Best Novel of 1995. Prior to it, the most
Nebula recommendations any work had ever received was 27; The
Terminal Experiment broke SFWA's database when it exceeded 40
recommendations. Sawyer's novel Starplex
and his novella "Identity Theft" were also Nebula finalists, and his novels
End of an Era,
Rollback, and the short story "Shed Skin"
all made it to the Preliminary Nebula Award Ballot.
Premio UPC de Ciencia Ficción
This is the world's largest cash prize for science-fiction writing,
valued at six thousand euro (US$8,000 or CDN$10,000).
It has been presented annually since 1990
by the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain,
for the best previously unpublished novella (25,000 to 40,000 words) in
English, French, Spanish, or Catalan.
The winner is picked by a five-person jury. Manuscripts are judged blindly;
neither the authors' names nor their places of residence are known to the
jury while it is deliberating. Critic Brian Aldiss calls the Premio UPC
"the most prestigious science-fiction award in all of Europe."
Robert J. Sawyer won the 2004
Premio UPC de Ciencia Ficción for his novella
"Identity Theft." He won the 1998 for
a shortened versio of his novel
And in 1997, he and
James Stevens-Arce tied for fist place; Sawyer's
winning entry was a shortened version of his forthcoming novel
Factoring Humanity. The previous year, in
1996, Sawyer won second place and a 250,000-peseta prize for a shortened
version of his novel Frameshift.
Science Fiction Chronicle Reader Award
Given annually since 1981 by a vote of the readers of Science Fiction
Chronicle: The Science Fiction & Fantasy Newsmagazine, published in
Robert J. Sawyer won the 1998
Science Fiction Chronicle
Reader Award for
Best Short Story of the Year for
"The Hand You're Dealt."
The Seiun Award is Japan's highest honor in SF. It has been given each
year since 1980. Attendees of the annual Japanese national SF convention
held in late August nominate and vote to determine the winners.
Awards are given for Japanese and foreign novels and short stories.
"Seiun" is the Japanese word for "nebula."
Robert J. Sawyer won the 1996
Seiun Award for Best Foreign Novel
of the Year for End of an Era, which was
published in Japan as Sayonara Dainosaurusu.
He won the 2001 Seiun Award for Best Foreign Novel of the Year
for Frameshift. And he won the 2003
Seiun Award for Best Foreign Novel of the Year for
More Good Reading
Backgrounder: Robert J. Sawyer
Rob's Awards and Honors
Award-Winning Canadian SF
Rob's essay on winning the Nebula Award
Rob's essay on winning the UPC Award
Entry on Rob in Canadian Who's Who