Science fiction writer Robert J. Sawyer starts his residency on June 1. ((Carolyn Clink))

A leading light in science fiction is heading to Saskatoon's light source synchrotron.

Acclaimed Canadian sci-fi author Robert J. Sawyer will be the first ever writer-in-residence at the massive scientific facility.

Sawyer, who has written 20 novels and won the coveted Hugo and Nebula awards, told CBC News he is excited about what he calls a "once in a lifetime" opportunity to hang out with working scientists.

"I spent a lot of time visiting science labs over the years, but it's always the VIP tour," he said in an interview Wednesday.

"You are in and you are out in a couple of hours, and everyone has shown you all the things they want you to see but none of the day-to-day grind of the work as well. I want to get the flavour of that."

Several of Sawyer's stories are set at Canadian science facilities, such as TRIUMF, SNOLab and the Royal Ontario Museum.

With the synchrotron, he'll have a fresh source of inspiration.


Scientists from all over the world work at the Canadian Light Source synchrotron. ((CBC))

The multi-million-dollar, 2.9-gigaelectron-volt facility, officially called the Canadian Light Source, whips up particles with giant magnets to create a highly pure and powerful form of light.

The light is piped down a variety of "beamlines" to let scientists examine matter at the sub-atomic level.

As part of his residency, Sawyer will make himself available to the public as a resource and mentor.

Budding writers will be able to book one-hour consultations with the sci-fi legend. Sawyer begins the two-month residency in June.