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

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Canadian Author Wins World's Top Juried Award For Science Fiction

For Release Friday, July 7, 2006

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Robert J. Sawyer, 46, of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, has just won the world's top juried award for science fiction: the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Novel of the Year.

The award, which Sawyer won for his latest novel, Mindscan, was presented Friday night, July 7, 2006, at a banquet at the J. Wayne and Elsie M. Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas.

With this award win — his 38th for his writing — Robert J. Sawyer now joins the most-select club in all of science fiction: the seven writers who have won all three of the field's top awards for best novel of the year:

The full list of winners of all three awards:

  • David Brin
  • Arthur C. Clarke
  • Joe Haldeman
  • Frederik Pohl
  • Kim Stanley Robinson
  • Robert J. Sawyer
  • Connie Willis

Sawyer is the only Canadian to win all three. [John W. Campbell]

The John W. Campbell Memorial Award was created to honor the late editor of Astounding Science Fiction magazine (renamed Analog Science Fiction and Fact in 1960). Campbell, who edited the magazine from 1937 until his death in 1971, is often called the father of modern science fiction. Writers Harry Harrison and Brian W. Aldiss established the award in 1973 as a way of continuing Campbell's efforts to encourage writers to produce their best possible work.

[As a reflection of Campbell's stature, there's also another award named for him: the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, which is voted on by readers and sponsored by the publisher of Campbell's magazine Analog; that award shouldn't be confused with the juried John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Novel of the Year.]

The 12 finalists for the John W. Campbell Memorial Award this year were:

[Campbell trophy]

  • Transcendent by Stephen Baxter (published by Gollancz)

  • The Meq by Steve Cash (Del Rey)

  • Child Of Earth by David Gerrold (BenBella)

  • Mind's Eye by Paul J. McAuley (Simon & Schuster UK)

  • Seeker by Jack McDevitt (Ace)

  • Learning The World by Ken MacLeod (Tor)

  • The Summer Isles by Ian R. MacLeod (Aio)

  • Counting Heads by David Marusek (Tor)

  • Mindscan by Robert J. Sawyer (Tor)

  • Accelerando by Charles Stross (Ace)

  • The World Before by Karen Traviss (Eos)

  • Spin by Robert Charles Wilson (Tor)

Cash, Gerrold, McDevitt, and Marusek are American; Baxter, McAuley, Traviss, and Ian MacLeod are English; Ken MacLeod and Stross are Scottish; and Wilson and Sawyer are Canadian. This was Sawyer's third Campbell nomination. He'd previously been nominated in 2001 for his Calculating God, and in 2003 for his Hugo-winning Hominids. (Second place this year went to Spin; third pace went to The Summer Isles.)

Previous winners of the John W. Campbell Memorial Award include such SF classics as Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke, Gateway by Frederik Pohl, The Postman by David Brin, and The Time Ships by Stephen Baxter.

The stellar jury consisted of eight major writers, editors, and scholars from the United States and Britain:

  • Nebula-winning physicist Gregory Benford, author of the classic SF novel Timescape

  • Historian Paul A. Carter, author of The Creation of Tomorrow: Fifty Years of Magazine Science Fiction

  • Hugo-winning author and scholar James Gunn, past president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America

  • Elizabeth Anne Hull, past president of the Science Fiction Research Association

  • Christopher McKitterick, associate director of the Center for the Study of Science Fiction

  • Hugo-winning scholar Farah Mendlesohn, editor of Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction

  • Nebula-winning author and editor Pamela Sargent, editor of the Women of Wonder anthologies

  • T.A. Shippey, editor of The Oxford Book of Science Fiction Stories

Mindscan is Sawyer's sixteenth novel. It was published in hardcover by Tor Books, New York, in April 2005, and was a selection of the Science Fiction Book Club; the paperback came out in January 2006.

The novel tells the story of Jacob Sullivan, a young man who copies his consciousness into an artificial body, since he believes his biological body is about to die due to a congenital illness. But shortly after this, a cure is found for his condition, and the biological version must battle the copy for the right to be considered the real Jake Sullivan.

Entertainment Weekly says Mindscan "lucidly explores fascinating philosophical conundrums," and Publishers Weekly declares: "This tightly plotted novel offers plenty of philosophical speculation on the ethics of bio-technology and the nature of consciousness."

SF Site calls Mindscan "a brilliant and innovative novel, with complex and highly entertaining courtroom drama. In Sawyer's capable grasp the story positively sings with humor, insight, and depth." And Starlog says Mindscan is written "with intelligence and far-reaching vision worthy of Isaac Asimov."

Sawyer's next novel, Rollback, will be published by Tor in April 2007, following full-text serialization beginning in the October 2006 issue of Analog Science Fiction and Fact — the magazine John W. Campbell himself edited for so many years.

To book an interview with Robert J. Sawyer, email him at sawyer@sfwriter.com

  Additional Information

This press release as a Word document
This press release as a PDF file for printing

Publication quality copy of Mindscan dustjacket
Publication quality photo of Robert J. Sawyer

The John W. Campbell Memorial Award official page
The 2006 JWC Memorial Award nominees

The Campbell Conference
Robert J. Sawyer's blog entry on the Campbell Conference
Keith Stokes's photos of the Campbell Conference
SFWA News, with photo

The Locus Guide to SF Awards: JWC Memorial Award
Locus's full list of previous winner

More about Mindscan
Robert J. Sawyer's web site
Robert J. Sawyer's blog

[James Gunn, Robert J. Sawyer]

James Gunn presents Campbell Memorial Award to Robert J. Sawyer

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Rob's 2004 Premio UPC Win

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