By Yohannes Edemariam
Former Ryerson student Robert Sawyer recieved science-fiction’s top literary award last month for his latest novel Hominids, about a portal leading to an alternate reality from Sudbury Ont.
He recieved the award in Toronto at the 50th presentation of the Hugo awards, which were held as part of Torcon 3, the 60th World Science Fiction Conventions.
Sawyer, 43, graduated from Ryerson in 1892 with a degree in radio and television arts: he also took creative writing classes and has fond memories of his time here.
“The writer I am today formed during my years at Ryerson through both my coursework and extra-curricular activities,” he said.
sawyer says he was first published in Oakham House literary journal the White Wall Review, for which he wrote a short story about God and the Devil in a contest for eternal possession of the souls of all mankind.
How did it feel to win? “I feel fabulous,” he said. “It’s the highest award in my field.”
Science fiction is his preferred genre, he added, because it allows him to ponder the larger philosophical questions of life, such as the existence of God and what it means to be human.
“You can’t explore those questions in a Western,” he said.
Sawyer said the award affirms his position as an artist and guarantees him, in the form of further book deals, the luxury of making a living doing what he loves.
His next novel will be about a man who uploads his consciousness into an android body and then “gives it the right of personhood” before deciding he wants it back.