Interview with Robert J. Sawyer on Oppenheimer, Consciousness, AI and Philosophical Zombies || EP 347

Robert J. Sawyer is one of only eight writers in history — and the only Canadian — to win all three of the world’s top Science Fiction awards for best novel of the year: the Hugo, the Nebula, and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award (the full list of such winners: Paolo Bacigalupi, David Brin, Arthur C. Clarke, Joe Haldeman, Frederik Pohl, Kim Stanley Robinson, Robert J. Sawyer, and Connie Willis), and he’s the first author in thirty years to receive a Lifetime Achievement Aurora Award.

Rob is also an award-winning scriptwriter and an in-demand keynote speaker.

Sawyer’s work frequently explores the intersection between science and religion, with rationalism frequently winning out over mysticism especially Far-Seer, The Terminal Experiment, Calculating God, and the three volumes of the Neanderthal Parallax [Hominids, Humans, and Hybrids]

Sawyer often explores the notion of copied or uploaded human consciousness, mind uploading, most fully in his novel Mindscan, but also in Flashforward, Golden Fleece, The Terminal Experiment, “Identity Theft”, “Biding Time”, and “Shed Skin”.

His interest in consciousness studies is also apparent in Wake, which deals with the spontaneous emergence of consciousness in the infrastructure of the World Wide Web. His interest in quantum physics, and especially quantum computing, inform the short stories “You See But You Do Not Observe”(a Sherlock Holmes pastiche) and “Iterations,” and the novels Factoring Humanity and Hominids.

SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, plays a role in the plots of Golden Fleece, Factoring Humanity, Mindscan, Rollback, the novelette “Ineluctable,” and the short stories “You See But You Do Not Observe” and “Flashes.” Sawyer gives cosmology a thorough workout in his far-future Starplex.

Sawyer has won both Canada’s top SF award (the Prix Aurora Award) and its top mystery-fiction award (the Arthur Ellis Award) for his 1993 short story “Just Like Old Times.”[20] Illegal Alien is a courtroom drama with an extraterrestrial defendant; Hominids puts one Neanderthal on trial by his peers for the apparent murder of another Neanderthal; Mindscan has the rights of uploaded consciousnesses explored in a Michigan probate court; and Golden Fleece, Fossil Hunter, The Terminal Experiment, Frameshift, and Flashforward are all, in part, murder mysteries.

You may have watched the 2009 TV series Flash Forward a phenomenal series on ABC.

I brought Robert Sawyer on because his writing brings us to the nexus between consciousness and science.  (And I am a big fan!)

 “Robert J. Sawyer is just about the best science fiction writer out there these days.” —Denver Rocky Mountain News

   “Robert J. Sawyer is by any measure one of the world’s leading (and most interesting) science-fiction writers.” —The Globe and Mail

   “Robert J. Sawyer is a writer of boundless confidence and bold scientific extrapolation.” —The New York Times

   “Robert J. Sawyer is the science fiction 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.” —Maclean’s: Canada’s Weekly Newsmagazine

Robert has a new book out on the secret history of Robert Oppenheimer you can pre order a copy here.  https://www.amazon.com/Oppenheimer-Alternative-Robert-J-Sawyer-ebook/dp/B084H26X5S/

Check out Robert’s website here https://www.sfwriter.com/

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