Robert J. Sawyer on FlashForward and the Future

By Jason Boog Comment

rsawyer.jpgAdaptation is a tricky question for contemporary science fiction authors. To find out more, we caught up with a prominent author currently wrapped up in a high-profile adaptation.

Today’s guest on the Morning Media Menu was Hugo Award-winning science fiction writer Robert J. Sawyer–talking about his novel and the television show FlashForward, a television show based on his novel by the same name. Sawyer discussed the future of the show and the new level of interaction that writers have with their readers–delivering some advice for authors hoping to foster stronger relationships with their fans.

Here’s an excerpt: “It used to be books were a very small audience compared to television. What’s happened, as I mentioned, is television audiences are getting smaller and smaller and book audiences, at the high end, are getting bigger and bigger. It is truth–as no one could have said 40 years ago–more people have read the blockbuster novel of 2009 than have watched the top-rated TV show of 2009. But in fact, we live in that world.”

Sawyer continued: ” The reality of being able to reach out and actually interact with readers has been enormously valuable for me. All the different ways of interacting with people makes them feel proprietary about the work. They feel like they are part of the process, and that’s good–they are great encouragements and helps to me.”

Sawyer added: “There’s no doubt that we did not get the ratings that we wanted, even for the premiere. We were hoping to be as big as Lost‘s premiere. Every year it gets harder and harder to be as big as a show that premiered five years ago. Lost‘s numbers were abysmal compared to classic Star Trek episodes from 40 years ago. The audience has fragmented more and more, people are listening to Podcasts and things like that–Internet radio instead of watching TV. All of that is fine.”

He concluded: “Our numbers were solid when we started, there’s been some attrition, however, I invite people to go over to my blog… I put up an industry analysis of our most recent ratings. They really are much healthier than people who don’t know how to parse these numbers have been suggesting online. I think we’ve got a very good shot at coming back next season.”