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

SFWRITER.COM > About Rob > Review Excerpts

Review Excerpts

About Robert J. Sawyer

[Rob and TPL Trophy] About Books: "Sawyer is Canada's best speculative fiction writer, by far."

Amazing Stories (Wisconsin): "A skillful, even daring storyteller."

Amazing Stories (again, in the Winter 2020 editorial): "When I was young, it was hard to find Canadian science fiction and, often when I did, there was nothing that immediately marked it as Canadian: it didn't take place in Canada, it had no characters identified as Canadian, it contained no Canadian colloquialisms or manners of speech. In retrospect, it wasn't that Canadian science fiction wasn't being produced; it was that it either had to be stripped of identifiable Canadian content to sell to international markets, or it remained available locally and was drowned in a sea of foreign culture.

"Robert J. Sawyer changed all of that.

"Rob was an internationally successful science fiction writer who was very open about his Canadian identity; his writing is often either set in Canada or has identifiable Canadian characters. A lot of my friends who are speculative fiction writers were inspired by his example; many have told me variations on the idea that reading his works was a revelation because he gave them permission to write about the country and people that they knew. At least one generation of writers has benefited from this permission."

Steve Paikin on TVOntario's The Agenda: "The foremost science-fiction writer in this country, Robert J. Sawyer ..."

Barnes and Noble: "Sawyer's stunning thrillers have produced multiple Hugo and Nebula nominations, enough for most to recognize him as the leader of SF's next-generation pack."

Blog T.O.: "One of the finest science fiction writers in the world, on par with Heinlein, Clarke, Asimov and Bradbury, not just for his imagination but also for his interest in the human condition."

Blog T.O. (again): "Robert J. Sawyer has made huge waves in not just the science fiction arena but in the world of Canadian literature as well."

Booklist (American Library Association): "Sawyer is Canada's leading SF author."

Booklist (again): "Canada's dean of SF."

Books in Canada (Toronto): "A sense of wonder that hasn't prevailed in American SF since the days of Heinlein."

Hugo- and Nebula-winner David Brin: "Rob is the real deal: a true science fiction author who produces quality books over and over again!"

The Calgary Herald: "Sawyer, one of the world's most popular sci-fi writers ..."

The Calgary Sun: "Sawyer is one of the world's most prominent science fiction writers — having published over 20 novels and won the biggest science fiction writing awards."

The Canadian Encyclopedia: "Robert J. Sawyer is one of Canada's best known and most successful science fiction writers. A passionate advocate for science fiction, reviewers praise Sawyer for his concise prose, which has been compared to that of the science-fiction master Isaac Asimov."

Canadian Literature (2001): "Possibly the most visible science fiction writer in Canada because of his numerous appearances on television and radio and in print, Robert J. Sawyer is also possibly the most successful."

Hugo- and Nebula-winner Orson Scott Card: "Can Sawyer write? Yes — with near-Asimovian clarity, with energy and drive, with such grace that his writing becomes invisible as the story comes to life in your mind."

CBC Radio: "Robert J. Sawyer is one of Canada's best-selling authors and one of the world's masters of science fiction."

CFRB-AM Radio, Toronto: "One of the best science-fiction writers on Earth today and a brilliant futurist."

CFRB-AM Radio, Toronto (again): "Canada's best science-fiction writer."

Cinescape: "Sawyer is someone who, more than most others, has the capacity to speak on behalf of SF writers everywhere. In short: When he talks about science fiction, he knows where he's coming from."

Geoff Currier on CJOB-AM Winnipeg: "Canada's finest science-fiction writer."

John Robert Colombo: "Robert J. Sawyer is a very talented and able writer of fiction. I could back up my enthusiasm with specific references to surprising insights and stylistic devices in his novels, but suffice it to say that here we are dealing with a creator who knows precisely what he is doing."

Contemporary Canadian Biographies: "Robert J. Sawyer is among the hottest science-fiction writers in the world today."

Dark Worlds Quarterly: "Robert Sawyer. At his level of public recognition (sales and awards) no one else is so clearly Canadian. Not just locales, but his whole ethos and culture is Canuck."

Jay Ingram on Discovery Channel Canada's Daily Planet: "Robert J. Sawyer is a renowned science-fiction writer with a solid science background."

Darrell Schweitzer, editor of Weird Tales: "Robert Sawyer is one of the most successful SF writers of our time."

Encyclopaedia Galactica (unpublished project begun for Prentice Hall, New York): "Robert J. Sawyer is Canada's leading practitioner of hard SF. [His novels] bear comparison to the work of Isaac Asimov."

The Edmonton Journal: "Robert Sawyer can hold [his] own in SF anywhere in the world."

Ethical Society of Saint Louis: "Robert J. Sawyer is the 21st century's Asimov, Clarke and Heinlein, all in one. Very, very smart guy who really knows how to write so that those of us who are not nearly as smart can understand (as well as can be expected) some incredibly complicated things. The very best science fiction writers have always been challenging their readers in this way. Sawyer not only continues the tradition, he has developed it in ways that were not possible in the previous century. Long live Robert J. Sawyer!"

SF author Minister Faust on CJSR Radio, Edmonton: "Robert J. Sawyer is a Canadian Michael Crichton, fascinated with how developments in science will affect present-day and day-after-tomorrow individuals and society. His breadth of comprehension of scientific ideas is astounding, and his deployment of that understanding in his fiction is always exciting, memorable, and debate provoking."

Fortean Times: "Robert J Sawyer is a multi-award-winning Canadian author who I first discovered with his astonishing intelligent dinosaur trilogy back in the early Nineties. He's been writing about unusual varieties of consciousness and intelligence ever since, and always well-grounded in real science — another author well worth looking out for."

The Gainesville Sun (Florida): "Sawyer is a brilliant stylist who depicts daily-life events with a shattered world view."

The Globe and Mail: Canada's National Newspaper: "Robert J. Sawyer is the rarest sort of figure in contemporary Canadian writing: a Canadian genre author deeply loyal to both his genre and his Canadian identity."

The Globe and Mail: Canada's National Newspaper (again): "Okay, new rule. Effective today, Canadian reviews of Robert J. Sawyer and his fiction should no longer begin with `Robert J. Sawyer is a Canadian science-fiction writer' or any variation on same. The fact is, Sawyer is one of Canada's bestselling writers, winner of numerous prizes, with a high profile internationally and an exhaustive online presence. If you don't know him by now, you should, and no single sentence summary in a review is going to help."

The Globe and Mail: Canada's National Newspaper (again): "Robert J. Sawyer is by any measure one of the world's leading (and most interesting) science-fiction writers, capable of great empathy and insight."

The Globe and Mail: Canada's National Newspaper (again): "Robert J. Sawyer, Canada's pre-eminent writer in the genre who has won both a Hugo Award and a Nebula Award (the highest accolades in science fiction) ..."

Terence M. Green, author of Sailing Time's Ocean: "Perceptive, intelligent, talented and disciplined, Sawyer has spent the last decade firmly establishing himself as a distinct, important presence in the Canadian literary community. He is internationally recognized as both a talented writer of fiction and as one of Canada's foremost authorities in his field."

The Halifax Chronicle-Herald: "Robert J. Sawyer's novels — intelligent, literate, and immensely readable explorations of the biggest ideas there are — prove that science fiction is now literature."

The Halifax Chronicle-Herald (again): "Robert J. Sawyer is widely considered one of the most inventive and popular writers in the science fiction genre, and here's why: he imagines things that are wildly fanciful, and he makes them seem not only plausible, but downright inevitable. Sawyer has a knack for taking realistic characters and plunking them down in stories that might seem far-fetched, if they weren't so vividly imagined and elegantly told. He's an excellent storyteller."

Jonathan Llyr on Hardcore Nerdity: "Canada's greatest sci-fi writer Rob Sawyer ..."

The Hamilton Spectator Sawyer "is arguably the world's top science fiction writer."

Sunday Herald (Nevada, Missouri): "Sawyer is a crisp, incisive writer with a playful and keen imagination."

Tanya Huff, bestselling author of Blood Price: "An enviable story-telling ability."

Internet Movie Database (IMDb): Sawyer is "recognized as the most important Canadian writer in the field of science fiction. His title `The Dean of Canadian Science Fiction' still pursues him in both the fan and the scholarly fields of literary criticism, and he has become the subject of critical attention by many literary scholars."

Interzone: "Robert J. Sawyer has good things to say about the world, about people; he deals in a currency of goodwill, where the trust that we hand him at the start of the book is repaid, with interest, in the thoughtful and frequently emotional denouements."

Kirkus Reviews: "Robert J. Sawyer excels at writing solid and accessible science fiction stories."

Lantana Forum (Lantana, Florida): "Sawyer is Canada's answer to author Michael Crichton."

Jacqueline Lichtenberg: "Robert J. Sawyer is a superb writer, a brilliant craftsman who turns a story on a pivotal idea and leaves you breathless. But what I like most about his writing is the characters and their dynamic, plot-driving relationships. If you need a good read, pick up one of his titles."

Maclean's: Canada's Weekly Newsmagazine: "Sawyer, an articulate fountain of ideas, is the genre's northern star — in fact, one of the hottest SF writers anywhere. By any reckoning Sawyer is among the most successful Canadian authors ever."

The Maine Edge (Bangor, Maine): "I'm officially a Robert J. Sawyer convert. Few current science fiction writers — if any — bring an equivalent combination of solid storytelling, engaging characters and big ideas to the table."

Scholar Daryl F. Mallett: "Robert J. Sawyer is the dean of Canadian science fiction writers."

Bob McDonald, host of CBC Radio's Quirks & Quarks: "Robert J. Sawyer a science fiction writer, but he really knows his science. He does wonderful things in his books. I like Rob's work."

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "No one digs into a sci-fi thought experiment with quite the zest that Robert J. Sawyer does."

Artificial-intelligence pioneer Marvin Minsky (interviewed in Electronic Design, 1 December 2008): "Lately, I've been inspired by ideas from Greg Egan and Robert J. Sawyer."

The Moncton Times & Transcript: "Sawyer is noted for being able to take deeply philosophical subject matter, often dealing with themes of science, religion, and human consciousness, and presenting them in simple, readable prose which can be absorbed by a broad audience."

Glenn Grant in The Montreal Gazette: "A prolific and swiftly rising star on the SF scene. Is Sawyer Canada's answer to Michael Crichton? Very possibly yes, if he continues to churn out good, populist SF books."

Tee Morris, author of Morevi: "I'm not ashamed to tell you that every once in a while, as I'm dancing skyclad under the light of the full moon, I look up to that great ball of green cheese and thank Sirius the Dog God that I came across Robert J. Sawyer's books. I haven't been let down yet."

Mystery News: "Sawyer is a science-fiction writer — one of the most talented, by the way, on a par with giants like Asimov and Heinlein — and, perhaps more than any other science-fiction writer working today, he understands that it's a genre about ideas, not flashing lights and rayguns and take-me-to-your-leader."

The Mystery Review: "Sawyer, Canada's best known science fiction writer, planned his career as a writer very carefully, which is perhaps fitting for the son of a professor of economics. He knew early on that the odds are against any writer making money, unless the writer is both very good and has an excellent business sense. Sawyer majors in both. His success was no doubt a pleasurable surprise, but it was not by any means a mere chance."

National Post: "Sawyer is one of the most successful Canadian writers ever. He has won himself an international readership by reinvigorating the traditions of hard science fiction, following the path of such writers as Isaac Asimov and Robert A. Heinlein in his bold speculations from pure science. Almost alone among Canadian writers, he tackles the most fundamental questions of who we are and where we might be going — while illuminating where we are now."

New York Times bestselling author Anne McCaffrey in an interview in Locus: "There are some absolutely marvelous new writers coming up — Mercedes Lackey, Lois McMaster Bujold, Robert Sawyer. They're so imaginative, and they really are coming to terms with a lot of philosophical statements."

The New York Review of Science Fiction: "Sawyer's books have become both popular successes and fixtures on the yearly awards lists."

The New York Review of Science Fiction (again): "One of the big names in hard sf in the 1990s."

The New York Review of Science Fiction (yet again): "A gentle giant of a writer."

The New York Review of Science Fiction (one more time): "Robert J. Sawyer is a highly successful and accomplished novelist."

NorthWords: The Journal of Canadian Content in Speculative Literature (Ottawa): "If there was a picture in an encyclopedia beside the entry for `Professional Canadian SF Writer,' Sawyer's picture would be the one chosen. His success was hard-won and well deserved."

Now: Toronto's Weekly News and Entertainment Voice (1999): "Sawyer is this decade's most honoured, if not yet most famous, science-fiction writer. The Ontario author is a Nebula winner (sci-fi's Oscar), a five-time Hugo finalist and has won Japan's Seiun prize, le Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire in France and the Spanish UPC de Ciencia Ficción. He is, in other words, one of the most festooned writers in his field."

Now: Toronto's Weekly News and Entertainment Voice (2013): "Canada's premier sci-fi writer, Robert J. Sawyer ..."

Darrell Schweitzer writing on Orson Scott Card's InterGalactic Medicine Show: "All you have to do to introduce Rob Sawyer and show why he's an important science fiction writer is to cite his awards. His credits give new meaning to the phrase `a list as long as your arm.' ... It is clear that the Canadians regard Robert J. Sawyer as a national treasure, as well they should."

The Ottawa Citizen: "Sawyer is the dean of Canadian science fiction."

The Ottawa Citizen (again): "Sawyer combines the sheer fun and big ideas of the Golden Age of Science Fiction with modern, literate, flesh-and-blood characterization."

The Ottawa Citizen (again): "Winner of both the Hugo and the Nebula awards, Sawyer is this country's most acclaimed sci-fi writer."

Philosophy Now: "Robert J. Sawyer is one of the most popular and successful science fiction authors in the world today. Sawyer is best know for his big ideas and interesting science fiction themes. He is also known for his love of philosophy. His novels are taught in university philosophy courses worldwide."

Planet S: Saskatoon's City Magazine: "Clearly, Sawyer is a dyed-in-the-wool science geek — but that's exactly what's made him one of Canada's most noted science fictions writers. Much of that success can be attributed to the fact that, no matter what the subject, Sawyer takes great pride in ensuring that the scientific ideas and theories in his works are grounded solidly in fact."

Planet S: Saskatoon's City Magazine (again): "Robert J. Sawyer: He's probably the best sci-fi writer Canada has ever produced."

Prairie Dog: Regina's News and Entertainment Voice: "Sawyer is a devout unbeliever, a professional skeptic, a Socrates for the high-tech age."

Prince George Citizen: "Canada's foremost science-fiction writer, one of the most awarded and applauded sci-fi creators in the business."

David G. Hartwell, Rob's Hugo Award-winning editor, in Publishers Weekly: "Sawyer aspires to a transparent prose style for a large mass audience. He's the kind of writer Asimov was, and very generous to young writers."

Publishers Weekly: "Sawyer is one of contemporary SF's most consistent performers."

Quill & Quire (on naming Sawyer to "The CanLit 30: The most influential, innovative, and just plain powerful people in Canadian publishing"): "When Penguin Canada snatched up domestic rights to science fiction giant Robert J. Sawyer last year, it felt like the Canuck industry was finally waking up to an entire genre. Not that Sawyer really needed the nod: he already sells more than respectably and has a shelf full of major sci-fi prizes. As a generous mentor to other writers, the proprietor of his own eponymous imprint at Red Deer Press, and a frequent media pundit, Sawyer is the public face of Canadian sci-fi."

Quill & Quire: "A polished, exciting writer. Sawyer writes with the scientific panache and grandeur of Arthur C. Clarke [and] the human touch of Isaac Asimov."

Quill & Quire (again): "Canada's premier science fiction writer."

Quill & Quire (again): "Canada's best known and most celebrated sci-fi writer."

Quill & Quire (again): "Robert J. Sawyer has arguably the greatest claim to being Canada's godfather of science fiction."

Editor Ted Mumford in Quill & Quire (January 1995): "The discovery of Canadian SF writers like William Gibson and Robert Sawyer has been a thrill. Sawyer, I'm convinced, is a writer who would be much better known but for the double whammy of the SF label and the mass-market stigma."

Quillblog: "Robert J. Sawyer — a.k.a. the Canadian author most likely to have his brain kept alive in a jar for centuries to come."

Quillblog (again): "By any reasonable measure, Robert J. Sawyer must be considered one of this country's most successful fiction writers."

University of Calgary professor Ruby S. Ramraj writing in the 2012 teaching anthology Sense of Wonder: "Perhaps the most well-known, prolific, and highly respected science fiction writer in Canada today is Robert J. Sawyer, the `dean of Canadian science fiction,' as the Ottawa Citizen (1999) has dubbed him."

Spider Robinson: "If Robert J. Sawyer were a corporation, I would buy stock in him. He's on my (extremely short) Buy-On-Sight list, and belongs on yours."

The Rocky Mountain News: "Robert J. Sawyer is fast becoming one of the most important names in science fiction."

The Rocky Mountain News (again): "Robert J. Sawyer is just about the best science fiction writer out there these days: compelling stories, believable scenarios, science and fiction that really interact."

Romantic Times BOOKreviews: "Sawyer makes complex sci-fi understandable and thoroughly entertaining."

Science Fiction Quarterly: "Robert J. Sawyer is quite literally the dean of Canadian science fiction and a publishing machine."

John Scalzi: "Robert J. Sawyer is one of the most prolific and celebrated modern authors of science fiction (with Hugo, Nebula and Campbell awards among others to his name)."

Charles de Lint in Science Fiction Review (Oregon): "A writer willing to take chances."

SFFWorld: "Sawyer is a brand name in the genre and rightfully so."

SFRA Review: "Sawyer writes sharp, clear, seemingly effortless prose."

SF Site: "Sawyer has undoubtedly cemented his reputation as one of the foremost science fiction writers of our generation."

The Sudbury Star: "Robert J. Sawyer is the standard bearer for the SF genre in Canada."

Toronto Life: "Sawyer is a master of his craft. He's deft with the science, has a light touch with the big questions and is even occasionally laugh-out-loud funny. His books do what good science fiction should: force you to think laterally, abstractly — big."

The Toronto Star (1990): "Science-fiction fans, take note of this name: Robert J. Sawyer. He's one of the brightest newcomers to the field, with a fresh and engaging storytelling style."

The Toronto Star (1996): "It's hard to think of a modern science-fiction author with dreams as vast as those of the internationally acclaimed Robert J. Sawyer."

The Toronto Star (2020): "You can always count on Sawyer, a storyteller of the first order, for a good read."

Minister Faust in The Toronto Star (2009): "Sawyer is Canada's answer to near-future science-ponderer Michael Crichton. He's also a pacifist, whose oeuvre is at odds with much of science fiction, supposedly the literature of big ideas but which so often descends to war-porn and genocidal wish-fulfilment. Sawyer's success proves that science fiction doesn't have to be that way. Frequently against an unabashedly Canadian backdrop, Sawyer's tales engage issues as diverse as the existence of God, Neanderthal ethics and techno-immortality. His career of delivering provocative novels, without murder as the key dramatic device, proves that the genre formerly known as the `scientific romance' is as relevant as ever, if not more."

The Toronto Star (2012): "Robert J. Sawyer has become one of the world's most popular SF writers not just for his fast-moving and suspenseful plots, but for his optimistic vision of the future and upbeat attitude toward technology — a point of view that contrasts sharply with more typical dystopic SF fare."

The Toronto Star (2013): "Canadian SF king Robert J. Sawyer ..."

The Washington Post: "No reader seeking well-written stories that respect, emphasize and depend on modern science should be disappointed by the works of Rob Sawyer."

Andrew Weiner, author of Getting Near the End: "Sawyer's strong grounding in science allows him to write convincing `hard' science fiction in the classic tradition of Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein. At the same time, he writes fluent, literate prose about believable and interesting characters. There are many SF writers who draw on science, many more who write and characterize well. But the combination of the two qualities is extremely unusual in modern SF; in the Canadian SF field, it is unique."

Winnipeg Free Press: "Sawyer's novels aren't hard science fiction by most standards; the focus is on how people use science, rather than how major scientific advances act on people. He's skilled at presenting enough real science to raise questions in the minds of readers, without overwhelming those who hope never again to open a book containing an equation."

Winnipeg Free Press (again): "Sawyer is a terrific writer. He can write about the most sophisticated science while giving readers the room to understand what's happening and follow the plot."

Winnipeg Free Press (again): "Robert J. Sawyer is Canada's most successful science-fiction author. In the last decade, as his own career has exploded, Sawyer has become one of Canada's go-to guys for science explanations and prognostications. As the author of novels that synthesize and dramatize the latest scientific thinking, he is often called Canada's answer to Michael Crichton."

Winnipeg Free Press (again): "Canada's world-class science-fiction writer Robert J. Sawyer."

More Good Reading

Robert J. Sawyer's awards and honors
Rob's chatty About the Author
Rob's author photo
Photos of Rob accepting Aurora Awards
What's a Rob Sawyer novel like?
Review index

Want to receive Rob’s very occasional email newsletter?

About Rob
Book Clubs
Press Kit
How to Write
Email Rob
Canadian SF



Copyright © 1995-2020 by Robert J. Sawyer.