Robert J. Sawyer est en interview en anglais. Il évoque longuement son nouveau roman : Rollback.
Toute l'interview est ici
"SAWYER: Rollback, my seventeenth novel, out now from Tor, is a good example of what I've been talking about in terms of trying to appeal in and out of genre. Canada's national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, called it "a novel to be savored by science-fiction and mainstream readers alike," whereas Publishers Weekly, in its starred reviews, recognized that the core SF reader should like it, too, saying "Sawyer, who has won Hugo and Nebula awards, may well win another major SF award with this superior effort." And, indeed, it is hardcore, hard SF: heck, it was serialized in Analog prior to book publication: you can't get any more hard-SF than that!
Rollback started with a pure high concept: a man and a woman, both in their 80s, are offered a chance to be rejuvenated, each becoming physically 25 again. They accept -- and it works for the man and fails for the woman.
The book just grew organically from exploring the ins and outs of that concept: all the heartbreak, all the joy, all the wonder. Of course, I had to find a reason why someone might want to live for a very long time that wasn't petty and self-serving, and I soon settled on making the woman a SETI researcher who had been instrumental in decoding messages from aliens, and that the dialog, because of the light-speed delay, was going to take many decades if not centuries. And then that made me start thinking about morals and ethics, and how our view of right and wrong might change if we lived for a very long time, and the novel's philosophical backbone is exploring what morals might actually be universal, transcending species boundaries. A novel accretes -- a plot point here, a grace note there, a flourish, an ironic touch -- but that was its genesis.
It really was a Hollywood-style high-concept pitch, by the way. I was actually under contract to Tor to write a different novel -- a single, standalone volume to have been called Webmind about the World Wide Web gaining consciousness. And I was finding as I was working on it that the idea was too big for one book. But I had a contract to fulfill, and so I actually had a power lunch -- I felt so Hollywood! I went out to lunch with Tor publisher Tom Doherty and my editor at Tor, Dave Hartwell, and said, look, I want to set aside Webmind, and do another book for you instead: and I gave them the high-concept pitch, and they green-lit it, as the saying goes.
Rollback was an emotionally draining book to write, I must say: I had to face a lot of my own thoughts and fears about aging and death; I freely confess that I cried while writing parts of it. But the response has been wonderfully positive from readers. Many of them have told me they cried in the right places, too -- and, of course, laughed a lot, too: I always have lots of humor in my books. "