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Writing "You See But You Do Not Observe"
by Robert J. Sawyer
Copyright © 1996 by Robert J. Sawyer
All Rights Reserved.
Because my novel The Terminal Experiment won the
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America's
Nebula Award for Best Novel of 1995,
a sample of my work appears in the anthology Nebula Awards
31 (Pamela Sargent, editor; Harcourt Brace, 1997). Here
are the comments that preceded my short
story "You See But You
Do Not Observe" in that book.
Usually, the winner of the Nebula Award for Best Novel is
represented in this anthology series by an excerpt from his or
her book. But I've never found novel excerpts satisfying
they're something akin to reproducing a few square inches of a
painting. With the editor's kind permission, I chose instead to
make my appearance here with this short story. It's an
award-winner in its own right: it received the Sixth Annual
HOMer Award for Best Short Story of the Year, voted on by the
30,000 members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature
Forum on CompuServe.
In some ways, no story could be further from being typical
of my work: "You See But You Do Not Observe"
is a Sherlock
Holmes tale, published with the permission of Dame Jean Conan
Doyle and told, as closely as I could manage it, in Sir Arthur
Conan Doyle's style. But it embodies, perhaps more clearly than
anything else I've written, the central theme of all my work:
namely, that clear-headed, unflinching, rational thinking is the
only effective way to deal with reality. That was certainly the
worldview from which I created my Nebula-wining
novel The Terminal Experiment,
which revolves around a scientific
investigation into the nature of the human soul: no fuzzy New
Age thinking for me, thanks and, of course, none for Mr.
Sherlock Holmes, either.
More Good Reading
Writing "The Shoulders of Giants"
Writing "Lost in the Mail"
Writing The Quintaglio Ascension trilogy
Writing The Terminal Experiment
Writing Illegal Alien
Writing Calculating God
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