by Michael Leon
Publication Date: October 19, 2015
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.
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.
Q&A with the Author
1. What are four things you can’t live without?
I can’t live without my number one fan, my beautiful partner, Anne.
I can’t live without writing and all the freedom it affords me. What other career allows you the chance to explore the world and imagine.
I can’t live without travel. It feeds my soul and motivates me to always remain curious.
I can’t live without fine food and wine. Dining with friends is a great joy. I just wish I was a better cook!
2. What is your favourite television show?
That is hard to answer. There are so many brilliant shows to choose from. Recent standouts include: Game of Thrones; The Killing (Norway); Breaking Bad; The Fall; and The Legacy (Norway).
3. If you could be any character, from any literary work, who would you choose? Why?
I’ll cheat and pick a movie, rather than a book, for I would almost certainly choose Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. I so loved the character and his nemesis, Salieri, I watched the movie on its release a dozen times. It actually changed my life, for it made me think more about living creatively, rather than in the business-like manner I had been living up until then. The other bonus was that I gained an appreciation for Mozart’s wonderful music, as well as some of the other great composers. It was one of the motivations for including Ludwig in Cubeball.
4. What have you got coming soon for us to look out for?
I am in the final editing process of my new novel, Emmisary. This novel deals with the idea that we live in a multiverse. Scientists are now asking whether we live in a multiverse made up of an infinite number of universes. The thought is mind bending as it implies there could be an infinite number of worlds that we each live in and share. Think about it!
5. What book or authors have most influenced your writing?
A.C. Clarke, together with Stanley Kubrik influenced me greatly in my formative years. It has left me with a desire to try to look at the world we live in differently and in a challenging way. Ray Bradbury’s book, Fahrenheit 451 will always remain scorched into my creative mind for so brilliantly portraying the essence of its story in one of the best opening pages ever written. I am still aiming to emulate his incredible feat. The Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson is a testament to the value of undertaking thorough research.
About the Author
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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