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Iterations Hardcover – Jan 2002


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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Quarry Press (Jan. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1550822950
  • ISBN-13: 978-1550822953
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.2 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

More About the Author

Robert J. Sawyer has been described as Canada's answer to Michael Crichton. Critically acclaimed in the US he is regarded as one of SF's most significant writers and his novels are regularly voted as fan's favourites. He lives in Canada.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME on 8 Aug. 2004
Format: Paperback
Reading Robert Sawyer is always a heady experience. Those who know his work will be prepared for innovative thinking, excellent prose style and realistic characters. Underlying those skills will be his insistence that the scientific and technical base of his stories will be solid. This collection, covering several years of short story publication, is vivid testimony to his abilities. Nearly two dozen sterling pieces demonstrate why Sawyer is at the top rank among speculative fiction writers. Each is introduced by a commentary on about the story's inspiration or publication history. He has his own favourites, but ranking them is strictly a reader's pleasant task.
The title piece, "Iterations" is illustrative of Sawyer's conceptual reach. The issue of "alternative" universes is a topic of active debate among physicists. It's one Sawyer has dealt with elsewhere. Beyond the question of how they can come about, there are social issues that arise. If we learn to detect alternative spheres of existence, what human judgments are likely to follow. This story enters that murky realm with vivid imagination and solid logic. What decisions might you have to make if you discovered there were other versions of you?
Even deeper social issues are considered in "Just Like Old Times". As lifespans extend through better health services and a larger work force retires early, what decisions will have to be made to protect depleting resources. While this question seems a departure from the normal run of "speculative fiction" [and Sawyer rarely strays into the arena of "space opera"] he uses this to raise some disturbing questions. In this story of justice, time travel [except not really] and a disturbed human psyche, Sawyer demonstrates how the unanticipated can result in the best intentions running wild.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 17 reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Imagination, innovation and stimulation 27 Nov. 2003
By Stephen A. Haines - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Reading Robert Sawyer is always a heady experience. Those who know his work will be prepared for innovative thinking, excellent prose style and realistic characters. Underlying those skills will be his insistence that the scientific and technical base of his stories will be solid. This collection, covering several years of short story publication, is vivid testimony to his abilities. Nearly two dozen sterling pieces demonstrate why Sawyer is at the top rank among speculative fiction writers. Each is introduced by a commentary on about the story's inspiration or publication history. He has his own favourites, but ranking them is strictly a reader's pleasant task.
The title piece, "Iterations" is illustrative of Sawyer's conceptual reach. The issue of "alternative" universes is a topic of active debate among physicists. It's one Sawyer has dealt with elsewhere. Beyond the question of how they can come about, there are social issues that arise. If we learn to detect alternative spheres of existence, what human judgments are likely to follow. This story enters that murky realm with vivid imagination and solid logic. What decisions might you have to make if you discovered there were other versions of you?
Even deeper social issues are considered in "Just Like Old Times". As lifespans extend through better health services and a larger work force retires early, what decisions will have to be made to protect depleting resources. While this question seems a departure from the normal run of "speculative fiction" [and Sawyer rarely strays into the arena of "space opera"] he uses this to raise some disturbing questions. In this story of justice, time travel [except not really] and a disturbed human psyche, Sawyer demonstrates how the unanticipated can result in the best intentions running wild. In some respects, this tale could fit just as easily in the "horror" genre due to its conclusion.
Rather than draw you through a turgid exposition of Sawyer's imagination, pick up this book and find out for yourself. Those who still feel "SF" is a minority genre could learn much from this collection. Speculative fiction offers opportunities to stimulate thinking about many questions in many ways. Even better, if offers some fresh questions to consider. Sawyer is a master at getting at the heart of issues considered but fleetingly by most. Read him and find out why so many readers pick up his works on release dates. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
A Must-Have for any Robert J. Sawyer Fan 7 Aug. 2005
By Donald J. Bingle - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Like the other reviewers, I confess to being a Robert J. Sawyer fan. Fortunately, this collection gives plenty of insight into the breadth and quality of Rob's fiction for both the uninitiated and those who have only read Rob's novel-length works, such as Calculating God and The Neanderthal Parallax Trilogy. Since many of Rob's stories were not written on spec, but for themed anthologies, you also get a good sense of what an imaginative mind can do in a variety of genres--from hard scifi, to near-future earth, to horror, to mystery. An enjoyable read all around. Those wanting yet more should also consider picking up Relativity, a collection of stories, essays, speeches, and writing tips by Robert J. Sawyer, published by ISFIC Press. Although a few stories from Iterations are duplicated and the writing tips can be picked up from Rob's excellent website, [...] Relativity is highly recommended, just like Iterations. Enjoy. Donald J. Bingle, Author of Forced Conversion.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Unfortunately, Robert J. Sawyer is a genius. 3 Mar. 2007
By John Brook Monroe - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sawyer in short-story form is as engaging as he is in novel form. There isn't one story in the book that didn't hook me, and I'm a pretty tough audience. First of all, Sawyer simply knows how to lay down words. I'm sure he gets as much editing as the next guy, but edits can't save a bad story. Sawyer doesn't write bad stories.

Secondly, Sawyer has a unique talent for going where others have gone, and finding the new twist that no one has thought of. In the eponymous story, the author tackles the old "parallel universe" theme and turns it 90 degrees from the path everyone else has taken. Every story has something just as fresh to offer, which I imagine is getting harder and harder to do as memes are explored and exhausted by other writers.

The book is a worthy addition to Sawyer's body of work, and a worthy addition to any science-fiction fan's bookcase.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Robert J. Sawyer is easily the best sf writer out there 3 May 2005
By Sunquist - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I will forever be jealous of anyone finding Mr. Sawyer for the first time and experiencing the amazement that is an inevitable aspect of each new encounter with his work. It's an expensive taste though, because once you've read him, you don't borrow his books- you buy them, and you become selfish about lending them out. Therefore he has made me jealous and selfish and very, very impressed and intertained. I can live with that. "Iterations" is a collecion of his stories with the value added free bonus of a short historical commentary at the beginning of each. I have read the entire who's who of sf short fiction, and even compared to the 20th century greats, these stories are awe inspiring. There's not a clunker in the bunch. If there were a six star rating, this book and nearly everything he's ever published would easily deserve it. I buy him immediately at publication and I don't bother reading the jacket because it doesn't matter what the book's about. It will be wonderful.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Some really good tales and some not so good! 17 Dec. 2005
By Michael A. Newman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I am not usually a big fan of the short story. There are some really good ones in this collection by Sawyer who in my opinion is the current best at the scifi novel. Each tale is presented with an introduction as to how Sawyer came up with the idea for the tale.

There is an excellent tale involving Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson being drawn into the future to solve a puzzling riddle. There is also a tale about high school student who is kind of nerdy but smart. He is always the last one picked (or not even picked) for sports teams in school. He gets the ultimate revenge against the jocks that wronged him.

There is are several tales that deal with parallel universes and dinosaurs. All in all I really enjoyed about half the tales and the other half were just so-so. Since you can skip over the tales that you don't care for, I give the book 4 stars based on the really good ones.
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