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The Globe and Mail

Robert J. Sawyer looks forward through the past

Robert J. Sawyer in his Mississauga living room: The space is adorned with science-fiction memorabilia.

Michelle Siu/The Globe and Mail

I have a lovely office in my home, but I almost never use it; I've migrated, both for reading and writing, into the living room of my penthouse condo in Mississauga to take advantage of my fireplace and the lovely views.

I came into science fiction - and especially SF as social commentary - through the TV shows and movies of the 1960s. The limited-edition 33-inch model of Star Trek's Enterprise and the Planet of the Apes statues acknowledge that.

This is my 10th year of doing almost all my reading as e-books, this photo notwithstanding. I have a letter rack next to my recliner that holds both my Kindle and my Kobo.

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My next novel, Triggers, is about memory, and I'm reading the wonderful Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything, by Joshua Foer; my editor, Adrienne Kerr, sent me a paper copy, so I'm reading it in that format. More than any other trait, our memories define who we are, and yet memory is a fallible and inaccurate faculty.

My Kobo is loaded with Shelby Foote's massive three-volume The Civil War: A Narrative, which is much less daunting in e-book form; you could kill a man with the paper editions. It might strike some as odd that a science-fiction writer reads history, but SF is about reasoned extrapolation into the future, and the only way to do that is by understanding the past. Foote's prose style is absolutely engrossing; he presents fact with the sumptuousness of the best fiction writing.

Hugo Award-winning science-fiction writer Robert J. Sawyer's latest novel is Wonder.

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