Webmind—the vast consciousness that spontaneously emerged from the infrastructure of the World Wide Web—has proven its worth to humanity by aiding in everything from curing cancer to easing international tensions. But the brass at the Pentagon see Webmind as a threat that needs to be eliminated.
Caitlin Decter—the once-blind sixteen-year-old math genius who discovered, and bonded with, Webmind—wants desperately to protect her friend. And if she doesn't act, everything—Webmind included-may come crashing down.
Webmind is an emerging consciousness that has befriended Caitlin Decter and grown eager to learn about her world. But Webmind has also come to the attention of WATCH—the secret government agency that monitors the Internet for any threat to the United States—and they’re fully aware of Caitlin’s involvement in its awakening.
WATCH is convinced that Webmind represents a risk to national security and wants it purged from cyberspace. But Caitlin believes in Webmind’s capacity for compassion—and she will do anything and everything necessary to protect her friend.
Jake Sullivan watched his father, suffering from a rare condition, collapse and linger in a vegetative state, and he’s incredibly paranoid because he inherited that condition. When mindscanning technology becomes available, he has himself scanned, which involves dispatching his biological body to the moon and assuming an android body. In possession of everything the biological Jake Sullivan had on Earth, android Jake finds love with Karen, who has also been mindscanned. Meanwhile, biological Jake discovers there is finally another, brand-new cure for his condition. Moreover, Karen’s son sues her, declaring that his mother is dead, and android Karen has no right to deprive him of his considerable inheritance. Biological Jake, unable to leave the moon because of the contract he signed, becomes steadily more unstable, until finally, in a fit of paranoia, he takes hostages. Sawyer’s treatment of identity issues —of what copying consciousness may mean and how consciousness is defined —finds expression in a good story that is a new meditation on an old SF theme, the meaning of being human.
Won John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel in 2006
Canadian author Robert J. Sawyer offers an epic hard-science space adventure full of technical descriptions of starships and physics tempered by human concerns. In the twenty-first century, the human race has both developed faster-than-light travel and contacted nonhuman intelligent races. , under the command of Keith Lansing, is one of the contact makers. Lansing faces hostile crew members, the personal and cultural idiosyncracies of nonhumans, the problems of first contact, and a marriage that may be deteriorating. Scientists on the study the mysterious artificial wormholes that make space travel routine and convenient. Then the wormholes’ creators appear, and the scientists must understand and communicate with them to save the galaxy.
Canadian author Robert Sawyer once again presents likable characters facing big ethical dilemmas in this smoothly readable near-future SF novel. Astronomer Sarah Halifax, who translated the first message from aliens and helped prepare humanity’s response, is 87 when the second, encrypted message arrives 38 years later. To aid the decoding, a tycoon buys rejuvenation treatment for Sarah and Don, her husband of 60 years; however, only Don becomes young again. While coping with the physical indignities of old age, Sarah tries to figure out the puzzle of the second message. The bond between Don and Sarah continues, even while Don is joyfully and guiltily discovering the pleasures of living in a young body again. They want to do what’s right for each other and the rest of humanity—for the aliens, too—if they can figure out what “right” could be. By its nature, a story about moral choices tends to get talky, but the talk is intelligent and performed by sympathetic and believable people.
Aliens, Tosoks, have finally made contact with Earth, but there are only seven of them, and they’ve arrived in a disabled spaceship. The Tosoks are intelligent and surprisingly easy to communicate with, and are happy to tour Earth and see what humans have to offer. But during a stop in Los Angeles, one of the human scientists traveling with the Tosoks is gruesomely murdered, and all evidence points to the alien Hask. The Los Angeles Police Department is determined to indict Hask for the crime, even though the aliens have little concept of laws or crime as we understand them. The only thing the U.S. government can do is secretly procure the services of Dale Rice, a leading civil rights lawyer, and hope he can clear Hask of the charges. But as the trial progresses, evidence indicates a cover-up by one or more of the aliens. Humanity’s survival—not just Hask’s fate—might hinge on the jury’s verdict.
Archaeologist Brandon Thackery and his rival Miles ‘Klicks’ Jordan fulfill a dinosaur lover’s dream with history’s first time-travel jaunt to the late Mesozoic. Hoping to solve the extinction mystery, they find Earth’s gravity is only half its 21 century value and dinosaurs that behave very strangely. Could the slimy blue creatures from Mars have something to do with both?
It’s the personal implications of first contact that Sawyer (Illegal Alien) dramatizes in his disturbing and uneven new novel. Set in Canada, circa 2017, the story focuses on Heather and her computer-scientist husband, Kyle, who have separated following the suicide of their daughter Mary. When younger daughter Rebecca confronts her parents and accuses her father of molesting her, the family starts to shake apart. Redemption comes in the unlikely form of alien altruism: the messages from Alpha Centauri that psychologist Heather has studied for years prove to be blueprints for a “psychospace” device that enables her to see into the overmind of humanity, and to know anyones deepest thoughts. In a flash, Kyle is exonerated, Rebecca apologizes, and her nasty, manipulative therapist is blamed for the false accusation. Although the novel ends with Heather greeting the first starship from Alpha Centauri, the bulk of the plot centers around the family’s own mystery, and so the conclusion comes off as anti-climactic. Sawyer also includes too many digressions about the cultural significance of Seinfeld, Star Trek bloopers and quantum physics, delivering a tale that ultimately works more as a study of the human heart than as believable story of alien encounter.
When aliens land in Toronto, they present astounding evidence that their planet and Earth have experienced the same cataclysmic events — evidence that they claim proves the existence of God.
Robert J. Sawyer, the author of such “revelatory and thought-provoking”* novels as and The WWW Trilogy, presents a noir mystery expanded from his Hugo and Nebula Award-nominated novella “Identity Theft” and his Aurora Award-winning short story “Biding Time,” and set on a lawless Mars in a future where everything is cheap, and life is even cheaper…
Alex Lomax is the one and only private eye working the mean streets of New Klondike, the Martian frontier town that sprang up forty years ago after Simon Weingarten and Denny O’Reilly discovered fossils on the Red Planet. Back on Earth, where anything can be synthesized, the remains of alien life are the most valuable of all collectibles, so shiploads of desperate treasure hunters stampeded to Mars in the Great Martian Fossil Rush.
Trying to make an honest buck in a dishonest world, Lomax tracks down killers and kidnappers among the failed prospectors, corrupt cops, and a growing population of —lucky stiffs who, after striking paleontological gold, upload their minds into immortal android bodies. But when he uncovers clues to solving the decades-old murders of Weingarten and O’Reilly, along with a journal that may lead to their legendary mother lode of Martian fossils, God only knows what he’ll dig up…
The story was first serialised in magazine in the mid-December 1994 to March 1995 issues, under the name , before its first novel publication in May, 1995.
Won Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1995.
Nominated for Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1996.
First published in the anthology Sherlock Holmes in Orbit, edited by Mike Resnick and Martin H. Greenberg (DAW, 1995); authorized by Dame Jean Conan Doyle.
Winner of both the CompuServe Science Fiction and Fantasy Forum’s Sixth Annual HOMer Award for Best Short Story of the Year and Le Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire, France’s top SF award, for Best Foreign Short Story of the Year.
Pierre Tardivel, a French Canadian geneticist, works on identifying junk DNA for the Human Genome Project. There is a 50 percent chance that Pierre is carrying the gene for Huntington’s disease, a fatal disorder. That knowledge drives Pierre to succeed in a race against time to complete his research. But a strange set of circumstances — including a knife attack, the in vitro fertilization of his wife, and an insurance company plot to use DNA samples to weed out clients predisposed to early deaths — draw Tardivel into a story that will ultimately involve the hunt for a Nazi death camp doctor.
A team of physicists trying to prove the existence of a theoretical particle inadvertently shifts the consciousness of humankind forward 20 years. Only two minutes are "lost," but memories of the future inspire new cults, seemingly illogical stock market speculations, and a host of new patents. Rivalry between two of the male physicists for one woman heats up, since the flash-forward has shown her to be married to the "wrong" man. One of the rivals, Lloyd Simcoe, foresees his own murder, though not his murderer. Even though the event is 21 years away, Lloyd is panic-stricken and searches worldwide for clues in the visions of others. In the end, these brief glimpses of the future prove addictive, and a new team repeats the experiment in a more controlled fashion, which treats the reader to visions of an apocalyptic, almost Wellsian future. There is also Simcoe's sad avoidance of his own death, which he accomplishes by becoming painstakingly cautious.
A slower-than-light starship that was launched in the beginning of 21 century to Tau Ceti, after more than a thousand years of flight is nearing its destination. But technical progress did not stand still back on Earth through all those years, and Tau Ceti has already been populated by humans for centuries…
Nominated for Nebula Award for Best Novella in 2005
Experimental psychologist Jim Marchuk has developed a flawless technique for identifying the previously undetected psychopaths lurking everywhere in society. But while being cross-examined about his breakthrough in court, Jim is shocked to discover that he has lost his memories of six months of his life from twenty years previously—a dark time during which he himself committed heinous acts.
Jim is reunited with Kayla Huron, his forgotten girlfriend from his lost period and now a quantum physicist who has made a stunning discovery about the nature of human consciousness. As a rising tide of violence and hate sweeps across the globe, the psychologist and the physicist combine forces in a race against time to see if they can do the impossible—change human nature—before the entire world descends into darkness.
Finding a real congregation on Mars wasn’t going to be easy—in fact he had to admit it would be a miracle if it ever happened…
First published in , 14–20 January 1981.
or Log on
or Sign up