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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Homunculus

I just finished listening to two podcasts featuring my friend Robert J. Sawyer. Rob is not only a phenomenal writer, but he is also a brilliant and captivating speaker.

First Podcast - Click here to download and listen. In an interview with Tee Morris at Ravencon where Rob was guest of honor, Rob talks about various topics such as his latest novel Rollback, the recent hub-bub over Howard Hendrix's comments about writers who give their work away for free being called "webscabs" as well as about the need for writers to market themselves.

But one of the things that I was reminded about was how Rob is a wonderful ambassador for science fiction not only because he is a wonderful speaker, but because he consistently reminds people that science fiction is not all about high action stories that teenage boys read in comic books or watch on television, but that it is rather the "literature of ideas" -- and his fiction (which you can read tons of free samples of on his website here) is a great illustration of that.

Second Podcast - Click here to download and listen. This is an excerpt of Rob giving a lecture on the importance of a strong and consistent point of view in writing at Odyssey: The Fantasy Writing Workshop. Within the lecture he discusses the theory of homunculus, the little man inside our heads and how easy it is to break that concentration on point of view by offering some subtle examples.

I'm reminded, listening to Rob in these podcasts, that I will never give up any chance to listen to him speak, whether it's in person, on television or the radio or in a podcast. And regardless of it being a reading from one of his novels or stories, giving a talk about writing, or just talking about current developments in the world of science, he is fascinating to listen to and the perfect example of how to hold an audience captivated with his every word.

Hmm, maybe it's because when I hear Rob speak I get to be the humunculus inside of his head for a while and the view is pretty darned cool.

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