[Robert J. Sawyer] Science Fiction Writer
ROBERT J. SAWYER
Hugo and Nebula Winner


SFWRITER.COM > Novels > Golden Fleece > Intro to Mexican Edition

Introduction to the Mexican edition
of Golden Fleece

Copyright © 1992 by Robert J. Sawyer
All Rights Reserved.


In 1992, the University of Guadalajara Press in Mexico contracted to produce a Spanish-language Mexican edition of my novel Golden Fleece. I wrote the following new introduction for that edition. Unfortunately, the University's ambitious plans for an SF publishing line fell through, and the Mexican edition never appeared. Still, this introduction gives some background on the creation of the book that hasn't appeared elsewhere, so I'm providing it here.

Damon Knight, the founder of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, once observed that the most unrealistic thing about SF is the preponderance of Americans. "Almost no one," said Knight, "is an American."

Nonetheless, science fiction continues to be thought of as a largely American genre, mostly published in New York, with stories full of American heroes fighting to save the American way of life.

Because I object to this, I'm particularly excited that there's now a Mexican edition of Golden Fleece. I am a Canadian writer, and, as you'll find as you read this book, my main character, Aaron, is also a Canadian. In this era of global thinking, and particularly as Mexico, Canada, and the United States are involved in North American free-trade negotiations, I think it's wonderful that a science-fiction novel written by someone at the northern end of North America is being published by a press situated at the southern end, bypassing the United States for this edition altogether. Americans often try to lay claim to having invented modern SF (H. G. Wells, Jules Verne, and Mary Shelley notwithstanding), so it's important to note that we Canadians and Mexicans can apparently produce the stuff, too, and without their help.

Canada's seventh prime minister, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, observed in 1904 that "the Twentieth Century belongs to Canada." I've long been fond of saying that he was a hundred years premature. Few would argue against the notion that both Canada and Mexico — which I had the pleasure of visiting in 1989 — are coming into their own on the world stage. To me, the book you are now holding in your hands is, in a very small way, a symbol of this.

Even so, I suppose I haven't missed the American influence altogether. Golden Fleece is, in large measure, a parable about the American Strategic Defense Initiative — Ronald Reagan's proposal for computer-controlled orbital weapons systems. One of the key American scientists involved with the Strategic Defense Initiative Research Organization, Dr. David Parnas, resigned his post because he came to believe that SDI was fundamentally impossible. He felt no computer system could ever be made sufficiently free of programming bugs so as to perform properly the first time it was used — and yet defending against a nuclear attack is a task that you don't get any second chances at. I heard Parnas speak about this when he was visiting the University of Toronto, and his warnings, all but unheeded in the United States, gave rise to the very buggy character of JASON, the computer from whose point of view the tale of Golden Fleece is told. I hope you enjoy his story.


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The Italian introduction to FlashForward


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