A little while back Roberta Laurie interviewed me for On Spec magazine, which is the really rocking Canadian small press that published my short story “Operation Hercules.” It’s a great publiciation. I suggest you read it. She asked me who some of my favorite authors are, and I started with Robert J. Sawyer. I think that took her back a bit. Perhaps she thought I was pandering to the Canadian crowd (Rob is, of course, unabashedly Canadian). But I wasn’t. As I said in the interview, I can’t think of a time when I’ve read anything by Sawyer that I didn’t walk away from thinking something along the line of wow, he’s good.
The reason I like his work is that Robert Sawyer is a really bright guy who cares a lot about what he has to say, and he makes sure he says it—through his characters—in such a way that will make you think. He educates in such a way as you don’t even know you’re being educated. He chooses some tough topics to get interested in, and he doesn’t shy away from all sides of these issues. Examples? What is life? What is a soul? What is consciousness? You know, simple things like that.
Anyway, I’m thinking about him now because the last day or three I’ve enjoyed using my lunch breaks to take in videos of talks he’s given. I like his way of phrasing the questions he’s exploring, and I like the way he brings his thoughts together with his research. In other words, I think they’re fascinating. They take some time (an hour each), but if you’re interested in hearing what a sharp person who’s done a lot of thinking and researching on some intriguing subjects has to say, they’re well worth the time.
A talk given to students at Seneca College focused on Calculating God:
A visit to Google’s Waterloo office, focused on consciousness and his WWW trilogy:
You can, of course, pick through other of his videos. Lots of great stuff there. Then hop over to your favorite bookseller and pick up something (else!) he’s written.