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February 17-19, 2023 — Westin Boston Seaport District
December 2, 2015

Mini Interview: Robert J Sawyer & Cerece Rennie Murphy

Winter may be coming, but so is Boskone 53 and that means the Mini Interviews are back! We’re excited to bring you our first two mini interviews, featuring Robert J. Sawyer and Cerece Rennie Murphy. We hope you enjoy meeting Robert and Cerece, and we’ll see you at Boskone in February 2016!

Robert J. Sawyer

Robert-Sawyer-author-photo-by-bernard-clark Robert J. Sawyer has won the best-novel Hugo Award (for Hominids), best-novel Nebula Award (for The Terminal Experiment), and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award (for Mindscan), plus the Aurora, AnLab, Galaxy, and Audie Awards, among others. According to the Locus Index to Science Fiction Awards, he has won more awards as a science-fiction or fantasy novelist than anyone else in history. He was the 2014 recipient of NESFA’s Edward E. Smith Memorial Award (the Skylark), and that year was also one of the initial nine inductees into the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame. His 23 novels include Calculating God, Rollback, Wake, Triggers, and Red Planet Blues; his next, Quantum Night, comes out March 1, 2016, from Ace. The ABC TV series FlashForward was based on his novel of the same name, and he was one of the scriptwriters for that series. Rob — who holds two honorary doctorates — has published in both the world’s top scientific journals, Science (guest editorial) and Nature (fiction). He lives just outside Toronto. For more information, visit his website, follow him on Twitter, or friend him on Facebook.

What are you looking forward to at Boskone?
It’s been a dozen years since I’ve last been to Boskone (although in 2014, NESFA was kind enough to give me its “Skylark” award). I very fondly remember the quality of the programming, and I’m looking forward to reconnecting with old friends.

Robert-Sawyer-quantum-nightWhat are you working on now? What excites or challenges you about this project?
I’m just finishing up the copyedit on my 23rd novel, Quantum Night, which will be officially published March 1, 2016 (although I’m hoping to convince Ace to free up a few advance copies for Boskone). One of my personal definitions is that “science fiction is the literature of intriguing juxtapositions,” and in this novel, I combine quantum physics and experimental psychology, two of my favorite fields but also disciplines that would almost never interact outside of SF. I’m an optimistic author, but never want to be thought of as Pollyannish or naïve, and Quantum Night is my attempt to wrestle with why there is so much evil in the world while still lighting the way to a better future.

How would you describe your work to people who might be unfamiliar with you?
I’m a hard-SF writer, heavily influenced by the best of Frederik Pohl (I consider his Gateway to be the finest novel our field has ever produced). I’m also liberal, even by Canadian standards, and a rationalist, a secularist, and a humanist (Humanism Canada gave me their first ever “Humanism in the Arts” award) — and my work embraces all those things. I mostly do near-future or present day stories, usually set on Earth, with a strong philosophical bent. My prose is pellucid (much more Arthur C. Clarke than Gene Wolfe) and my tone usually upbeat.

What is your favorite Star Wars memory, scene, or line? What is it that memory, scene or line that continues to stick with you today?
Honestly, I’ve never been the biggest Star Wars fan — I’m much more a classic Star Trek guy — and I do feel the public’s perception of science fiction has been diminished by Lucas’s contributions; we’re seen as adventure and escapism rather than a vehicle for rational extrapolation. But, not to be a party-pooper, my favorite line is, “So this is how freedom dies — to thunderous applause,” uttered by Padme in Episode 3, and just about the only time in the first six films that Lucas gives us what I think science fiction is supposed to provide: social comment and a reflection through a distorting mirror on current events.

Cerece Rennie Murphy

Cerece Rennie Murphy first fell in love with science fiction watching Empire Strikes Back at the Uptown Theater in Washington, DC with her sister and mother. She was only 7 years old, but it’s a love affair that has grown ever since. Mrs. Murphy’s love of the written word has grown throughout the years, evolving from reader to author of the best-selling Order of the Seers science fiction trilogy and the early reader children’s book, titled Ellis and The Magic Mirror. In addition to working on the 2nd book in the Ellis and The Magic Mirror children’s book series with her son, Mrs. Murphy is currently developing a historical adventure and a 2-part science fiction thriller set in outer space. Mrs. Murphy lives and writes in her hometown of Washington, DC with her husband, two children and the family dog, Yoda. To learn more about the author and her upcoming projects, please visit her website, follow her on Twitter, and friend her on Facebook.

What are you looking forward to at Boskone?
I love sci-fi conventions. For me, it’s a chance to connect with people who are just like me – weirdos, geeks and nerds who are inspired by fairies, aliens and super powers. It’s such a wonderful community, so I’m just looking forward to meeting new people and fully geeking-out without having to be concerned with whether or not anyone else thinks it’s strange.

Cerece-Rennie-Murphy-Large-TrilogyFrom a fan perspective, what new book, film, TV show, or comic are you most looking forward to seeing/reading?
This year is an incredible fan year for me. We’ve got the new Star Wars movie coming out AND the new X-Files season on the horizon, so it pretty much doesn’t get any better for me. Star Wars got me into science fiction and the X-Files inspired my first piece of fan fiction, which got me on the road to writing my own science fiction. 🙂

How would you describe your work to people who might be unfamiliar with you?
Well, I’d have to say that as a science fiction writer, I enjoy exploring themes of community, individuality and spirituality within stories that have a lot of action and suspense. I like some romantic love in there, too, but just a bit. I’m also likely to write in any genre that suits me at the time. I just finished a children’s book with my son and I’m writing a time-bending love story now. After that, I’ll be writing a 2-part space opera and the 2nd book in my children’s book series.

Bonus Question:Cerece-Rennie-Murphy-EllisAndTheMagicMirror

What is your favorite Star Wars memory, scene, or line? What is it that that memory, scene or line that continues to stick with you today?
(It could be a moment from within any of the films, a moment associated with the films, or something inspired by the films. – My favorite scenes from Star Wars are all the scenes between Luke Skywalker and Yoda from Empire Strikes Back. I remember watching theses scenes in the theatre when I was 7 years old. They literally changed my perception of God, my place in the world and my potential. I realized then, as I still believe now, that we’re all Jedi, we just don’t know it. Watching Luke’s fear and doubt keep him from fully accessing his own potential was powerful for me, even then. I don’t think you can sum up the human condition any better than that. “Luminous beings are we….not this crude matter,” I really believe that the healing of our entire world could begin with this statement.


Register for Boskone today. Join us February 19-21, 2016


Registration Rates:

  • Adult rate: $50
  • College student rate: $35
  • K-12 student rate: $25
  • Friday: $25; Saturday: $45; Sunday: $25