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Iterations
Robert J. Sawyer
Quarry Press, 254 pages

Iterations
Robert J. Sawyer
The winner of the Nebula Award in 1995 for The Terminal Experiment, Robert J. Sawyer has also won three Aurora Awards, Canada's award for excellence in science fiction. His novel Starplex was a finalist for both the Hugo and the Nebula. In addition, he earned the Arthur Ellis Award from the Crime Writers of Canada.

Robert J. Sawyer Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Hominids
SF Site Review: Flashforward
SF Site Review: Frameshift
SF Site Review: Calculating God
SF Site Review: Factoring Humanity
SF Site Review: Illegal Alien
SF Site Review: Frameshift
Steven H Silver's Review of Starplex
Steven H Silver's Review of The Terminal Experiment

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Steven H Silver

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Although Robert J. Sawyer is best known for writing novels, he has also written numerous pieces of short fiction, many of which have been nominated, and won, for awards ranging from the HOMer to the Hugo. Nevertheless, Sawyer's short fiction is not generally well known, possibly because it doesn't appear in the major genre magazines. Iterations is a collection of twenty-two stories which were originally published in a variety of anthologies and a few magazines.

Sawyer has elected to open his collection with "The Hand You're Dealt," a Hugo-nominated futuristic police procedural which may be his most widely read short story. This story captures the feel and strengths of many of Sawyer's novels, and is a good introduction to his short fiction for those who are familiar with his longer work. As readers continue through the book to stories such as "The Abdication of Pope Mary III" and "The Contest," Sawyer introduces more humor into his writing which is generally not the point in his novels.

Most of the longer stories (as well as many of the shorter tales) are reminiscent of the themes which appear in Sawyer's novels. "Just Like Old Times" combines a look into the mind of a serial killer with the interest in dinosaurs that Sawyer demonstrated in the Quintaglio trilogy and The End of an Era. Similarly, the idea of the existence of God and scientists' views of the demiurge which feature in books like Calculating God and Factoring Humanity show up repeatedly in some of the above mentioned stories and longer, more serious tales.

Sawyer has also taken looks at first contact, as well as continuing contact, with alien races in the novels Starplex, Illegal Alien, and Calculating God. He generally depicts interesting and well-thought out aliens. In his short stories "The Blue Planet," Sawyer continues to present interesting creatures for humans to interact with.

In addition to the general unavailability of the stories included in Iterations, one of the collections strengths is the fact that a reader unfamiliar with Sawyer's writing who picks up the book can get a strong feel for Sawyer's style and concerns as well as determine whether Sawyer is a writer's whose work will appeal to a specific reader.

Copyright © 2002 Steven H Silver

Steven H Silver is a four-time Hugo Nominee for Best Fan Writer and the editor of the anthologies Wondrous Beginnings, Magical Beginnings, and Horrible Beginnings (DAW Books, January, February and March, 2003). In addition to maintaining several bibliographies and the Harry Turtledove website, Steven is heavily involved in convention running and publishes the fanzine Argentus.


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