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For Release Monday, November 10, 1997
A Courtroom Drama with an Extraterrestrial Defendant
New Novel From Award-Winning Author Explores Racism in the Courts
ILLEGAL ALIEN, the ninth novel by
acclaimed Toronto writer Robert J. Sawyer, will be a
"December" 1997 hardcover release from Ace Books, a division of
Penguin Putnam, New York. The book will be in stores across
North America on November 10.
Illegal Alien is a courtroom drama with an
extraterrestrial defendant. As the only author in history to win
both the top American award in science fiction (the Science
Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America's Nebula Award)
and top Canadian award in mystery fiction (the Crime Writers of Canada's
Arthur Ellis Award), Sawyer is uniquely qualified to
write this book, which should appeal equally to fans of the science-fiction
and mystery genres. It's being touted as
"Independence Day meets John Grisham."
Sawyer, 37, is Canada's only native-born full-time science-fiction
writer. He's won fourteen other awards for his fiction,
Seiun, Japan's highest honor in SF;
Le Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire,
France's highest honor in SF; and three
Auroras, Canada's top SF award.
Sawyer has frequently combined mystery and SF before. His first
Golden Fleece (Warner, 1990), dealt with a murdering
computer. His Nebula Award-winning novel
The Terminal Experiment
was a murder mystery set in a near-future Toronto. His
most-recent previous novel,
Frameshift, was also a mystery/SF
crossover, dealing in part with the search for Treblinka
gas-chamber operator Ivan the Terrible. Meanwhile, Sawyer's
"You See But You Do Not Observe" dealt with a
time-traveling Sherlock Holmes (and was authorized by Sir Arthur
Conan Doyle's estate).
Illegal Alien is set in 1999. A starship from Alpha Centauri
the nearest star to our sun arrives at Earth. Aboard are
seven aliens who travel the world accompanied by an international
entourage of scientists, including Cletus Calhoun, whose
down-home charm has made his PBS astronomy series Great Balls of
Fire! a big hit. But when Calhoun is brutally murdered,
suspicion falls on one of the aliens.
As Sawyer always does, this novel deals metaphorically with large
issues, including racism in the courts. The alien is defended by
prominent African-American civil-rights attorney Dale B. Rice.
The "trial of the Centauri" is even bigger than O. J. Simpson's
"trial of the century," and the courtroom pyrotechnics are every
bit as riveting.
A signed, numbered, leather-bound limited edition of Illegal
Alien has been produced by Connecticut's Easton Press; the
bookstore hardcover edition is published by Ace, which also
published Sawyer's earlier novels
End of an Era, and his Nebula and Hugo Award-nominated
Starplex. His next novel,
Factoring Humanity, will be
a June 1998 hardcover release.
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