Advisory Board

Dr. Sylvain Neuvel

Sylvain Neuvel, Ph.D. is a Canadian science fiction writer, known as the author of The Themis Files. The first novel from the series, Sleeping Giants was a finalist of the 2016 Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Science Fiction, finalist of the 2017 Compton Crook Award, and finalist of the Concordia University First Book Prize at the 2016 Quebec Writers’ Federation Awards.

“This stellar debut novel … masterfully blends together elements of sci-fi, political thriller, and apocalyptic fiction.” —Kirkus Reviews

The Themis Files trilogy begins with his debut novel Sleeping Giants. It follows a group of scientists, led by a physicist named Rose Franklin, as they track down and assemble a giant robot of mysterious origins, scattered across the Earth. The idea for Sleeping Giants first came to him when his son asked him to build a toy robot. Not just any toy robot, he wanted one with an extended back story, wanted to know where the robot came from, and what it did. The novel is written in an atypical format, laid out in back-and-forth dialogues, journal entries, and documentation rather than through traditional narration.

Sylvain first submitted the novel to literary agents in 2014 and received 50 rejections, but the novel began accumulating favorable buzz after Kirkus Reviews published a rave review of the galley copy it had received. The novel was published by Del Rey Books in 2016. The novel, which was a longlisted contender for the 2017 edition of Canada Reads, has been optioned by Sony Pictures for development into a film and was sold for translation into twenty languages.

The second novel in the trilogy, Waking Gods, was released April 4, 2017. The third, Only Human, was released on May 1, 2018.

Sylvain has also been announced as one of three contributing authors on the book project Black Mirror: Volume I: A Literary Season. The first book was set to release February 2018 and features a collection of short fiction by each author.

Sylvain was born in Quebec City and raised in the suburb of L’Ancienne-Lorette. He dropped out of high school at age 15. Along the way, he has been a journalist, worked in soil decontamination, sold ice cream in California, and peddled furniture across Canada.

Sylvain went to the Université de Montréal where he earned his Bachelor’s of Arts in Linguistic in 1999 and the University of Chicago, where he earned his Ph.D. in Linguistics in 2003.

His main interests are word-based morphology, computational morphology, as well as formal and lexical semantics and most of his work focuses on a formal characterization of polysynthesis, compounding and agglutination in word-based morphological terms. Sylvain received FQRSC (Fonds Québecois de la Recherche sur la Société et la Culture) Postdoctoral Fellowship (2003–2005), SSHRC (Canada) Postdoctoral Fellowship (2003–2004), University of Chicago Century Fellowship (1999–2004), FCAR Grant (Fonds pour la Formation de Chercheurs et l’Aide à la Recherche) 1999–2001, and Dean’s Honor List, Université de Montréal (1998, 1999). His Ph.D. Dissertation from University of Chicago was Metamorphology: A Word-Based Account of Polysynthesis and Other Multivalent Morphological Relations.

Sylvain wrote multiple articles in Refereed journals about linguistics, among others: Vive la difference! What Morphology is About, Folia Linguistica: 35 (3–4). 313–320, Whole Word Morphologizer. Expanding the Word-Based Lexicon: A non-stochastic computational Approach. Brain and Language 81. 454–463, Pattern Analogy vs. Word Internal Syntactic Structure in West-Greenlandic. Geert Booij et Jaap van Marle eds., Yearbook of Morphology 2000. Dordrecht: Kluwer. 253–278, Second Degree Morphology: A Challenge to the One Variable Constraint, R. Singh ed., and Yearbook of South Asian Languages and Linguistics 2000, Thousand Oaks: Sage. 293–301.

He taught linguistics in India, and is currently currently Director of translation services and a software engineer for a Montreal company. He is a certified translator, but dreams to be an astronaut. His personal interests include tinkering and dabbling, and robotics as well as science-fiction in all shapes and sizes. He is obsessed with Halloween and is currently building a working R2-D2 replica. He loves toys and his girlfriend would have him believe that he has too many, so he writes about aliens and giant robots as an excuse to build action figures, for his son Théodore. Sylvian has two cats, President Laura Roslin, not quite as smart, and the brave Jyn Erso.

Read Sylvain’s interview Sylvain Neuvel Is Only Human, Concludes The Themis Files on Unbound Worlds. Watch Author Sylvain Neuvel on his ideal writing environments and choosing book titles.

View his The Themis Files page. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter. Visit his homepage and his Goodreads profile.