by Michael Leon
Q&A with Michael Leon
Q: Any weird things you do when you’re alone?
A: I’m not sure if you’d call this weird, but I spend time every day learning the French language. I decided to drop my daily habit of reading the morning newspaper over a coffee and replace it with reading French! Surprisingly, I am enjoying the process, thanks mainly to a nifty app called Duolingo. It uses gamer technology to make learning a language addictive and almost enjoyable!
Q: What is your favourite quote and why?
A: I noted Albert Einstein’s quote on my Goodreads site. “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.” I always laugh at the irony of his words. His words illustrate the extreme variation in human capabilities. Einstein is arguably the greatest genius of all time, capable of explaining the cosmos. Yet he is powerless to influence the darker side of human nature. I actually met him in Lucerne! Don't believe me? Contact me and I'll show you where we met!
Q: Who is your favourite author and why?
A: I like so many authors. It's hard to choose. One of my favourite Australian authors is Tim Winton. I wish I could with his unlimited style. His novels feel like poetry and they portray the Australian landscape like no other. In terms of science fiction/fantasy - equally hard to choose. But I admire JK Rawling's Harry Potter series. Her world building skills are imaginary and vivid.
Q: What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
A: First and foremost, write a story that is important to you. Writing a book to publisher stage is a long and exhaustive process, sometimes taking years! So make sure you believe in the project. Then you will be more likely to succeed.
Q: Where did you get the idea for this book?
A: The ideas formed in my earlier years. So for that reason, I found Cubeball the most fun to write. As a typical young boy growing up in outer Melbourne, I loved nothing more than to kick a football outside with my friends and pretend to emulate my football hero's feats. In the evenings I would enjoy competing with my brothers at a game of snooker on our family billiard table. Writing Cubeball allowed me to re-live some of those boyhood dreams. It also made me realise that whilst I had some natural talent at sport, I had a more fertile imagination! I feel fortunate that now I can spend a great deal of my time imagining stories to tell. I particularly enjoy imagining the future. It has been a fascination that has endured throughout my life.
A naturally gifted ex-national champion and a savant with a computer-like mind compete against the world's best in the 22nd century's most popular sport - CUBEBALL - the chess-like, technology-enhanced, snooker of the future where the world stage is dominated by gambling, drugs and massive audiences.
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Unlike the real Mars settlement, Mons City was surrounded by a vertical city. Skyscrapers impossible to build on Earth or Mars dwarfed the largest mountain in the solar system. Mons City consisted of two cities, the Left Bank and Right Bank. Each city was built at the base of Olympus Mons, forming the largest boulevard ever digitally designed. Two parallel lines of skyscrapers extended thirty kilometres out from the Martian mountain and five kilometres apart. There was only one way in to Mons City and that was through the boulevard. Hover lines crisscrossed between the two cities making a Tokyo train station look like a country town. Twenty two million gamers (most online from their home) competed in this game. Around fifty thousand actually entered the game from Velvet Underground. Most of them were there to hide from the real world or rest and recover from the demands of the game. About another thousand were like Mickey, looking for someone. It was a melting pot of technology, human energy, drugs and dreams. So much had been won, lost or wasted in this boulevard of broken dreams. Mickey slowed as he entered Mons City.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
I worked with national and international organisations as a business analyst in Australia and overseas. I authored many business books analysing the foodservice and food retail industry in Australia, Europe and Asia, as well as agribusiness global trends. I also ran a consultancy business that assisted Australian enterprises to develop new markets in Australia and overseas.
I commenced writing science fiction novels full time in 2009. It was a life-long interest of mine. I have written five novels - all exploring contemporary social issues in future speculative worlds. They are: Shadow Dance; Extinction; Cubeball; Titan Sages and Alive. My novels blend speculative science, new age and poetry. Readers of novels such as Carl Sagan’s Contact would enjoy my novels.
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