Robert J. Sawyer is a Canadian Science Fiction author. His novels mainly deal with the conflict between science and mysticism/religion.
His works include:
- The Quintaglio Ascension trilogy
- End of an Era
- The Terminal Experiment
- Illegal Alien
- Factoring Humanity
- Flashforward (which spawned a television series)
- Calculating God
- Iterations (collection of short stories)
- The Neanderthal Parallax trilogy
- Identity Theft and Other Stories (collection of short stories)
- The WWW trilogy
- Red Planet Blues
Tropes in Robert J. Sawyer's works include:
- Coca-Pepsi, Inc.: In Rollback, Coca-Cola and Pepsi merged at some point in the mid-21st century. The protagonist is delighted he never has to hear a waiter apologetically ask "Is Pepsi okay?" ever again.
- Do Androids Dream?: Mindscan features a technology for copying a human personality into immortal android bodies. The elderly and people suffering from terminal illnesses undergo this process and sign all their property over to the copy before leaving for an extralegal moonbase to live out their last days in luxurious retirement. However when one of the recipients finds out that a cure has just been discovered for his condition and wants to take his old life back from his copy the legality and humanity of the android duplicates is brought into question.
- False Rape Accusation: Both played straight and thoroughly subverted in Factoring Humanity. The main character is accused of molesting his daughter, and he is known to the reader (but not the other characters) to be innocent. A major plotline involves him striking up a friendship with a teacher who was falsely accused of raping one of his students. They discuss how their allegations have affected them and the older peer comforts the main character. Near the end of the story the teacher admits that he actually did it.
- First Contact Math: This fails in Calculating God. Transmissions to Delta Pavonis go unnoticed by the native aliens, because they have a brain structure that makes them incapable of doing math.
- Intelligent Gerbil: Sawyer is the Trope Namer for this.
- Phlebotinum Killed the Dinosaurs: End Of An Era features time travelers who pop into the end of the Cretaceous to discover that Earth's gravity was purposefully modified by Martians in order to breed biological war machines (aka dinosaurs) against a fifth planet in the Solar System orbiting between Mars and Jupiter. In the end, the scientists cause the KT Extinction Event by turning off the antigravity generators, simultaneously killing off both the dinosaurs and the Martians. Essentially, phlebotinum created the dinosaurs. Taking it away killed them.
- Portal Network: Starplex features a network of portal points spanning the entire universe. All the points begin dormant but come online whenever something touches them. Sometimes they're opened by random debris, but most are activated deliberately by advanced civilizations. The points are only detectable using subspace technology, which means no race can activate its point and join the galactic community until it reaches the technical level of at least basic FTL. It actually turns out that the points are time portals, created by engineers from the future so they could visit the past. The fact that they're spatially connected, facilitating galactic commerce and infrastructure, is really just a side effect.
- Stay with the Aliens: In Calculating God the aliens take the main character, who happens to be dying of cancer, with them.