I’m drawn by the great mysteries in life – why do we exist? How did we come to be? What makes us who we are? Such questions have no simple answers, but the journey in exploring them is never wasted. By nature I appreciate the process of science in exploring how things are, although it is a little lacking in the why. Although I’m not a religious person I do have a fascination for it, not just the theology, but also the more personal aspects like faith.
My personal inspiration comes from exploring these ideas. I don’t like to look just back though, it’s as much fun seeing what could happen!
The new book follows on from Faust 2.0 in which a spontaneously evolved artificial intelligence infests the internet. I found that fascinating. What gave you that idea?
The nature of intelligence is another one of those fundamental questions that I love to ponder. With Faust 2.0 there were a few concepts I wanted to cover. The first was the technological singularity – this is the idea that technology will reach a point where its evolution is beyond our capability to understand or control it. This is a frightening possibility, yet also a fascinating one.
A common theme with such a future is the evolution of artificial intelligence – although I have to say that I’m not a fan of that term, it makes it sound like a machine’s intelligence is mimicry, rather than real and I think that’s rather short sighted.
The idea that an intelligence could spontaneously emerge is based on the idea of complexity. The basic mechanisms of the brain are simple in principle and become more complicated as they are combined.
I certainly wonder sometimes if my computer is thinking for itself!
Do you have any pet projects you haven’t yet tackled? Any genres you’re drawn to that you haven’t tried yet?
I’ve not done a Space Opera yet – although I do have plans for one. As you can imagine I have something a little different in mind for it :-)
I'll look out for that.
You have two books of short stories out. Are there any plans to write more of these?
Oh yes – I love writing short stories. In fact I’m writing one at the moment to submit for a coming anthology. I haven’t written one for a while and I’d almost forgotten how liberating writing short fiction can be. I think I’ll have to make more time to write more and put another collection together.
I enjoy reading short stories. It's nice to ponder different ideas without taking a week to read them.
As well as writing, you’re a demon reader and reviewer. I’ve heard it suggested that you’ve cloned yourself! Do you have time for any other hobbies?
I like to keep busy. Work occupies a lot of my time, writing fills most of the rest. I also have my Old Ones Productions venture for celebrating artwork and supporting my other endeavours like making chess sets. I do believe that to be a good writer, you need to be a good reader as well and so I make sure that I read for at least an hour a day.
I've seen some of the chess figures on Facebook. Very different!
So what next? What’s on the top of your ‘to do’ list?
As well as the short story submission I’m writing the first draft of The Space Inbetween which is a pet project I’ve wanted to write for some time. It’s a cosmological horror with a blend of Lovecraft and Milton influences.
I’m also planning to get myself out more to promote my books and this starts in February with Bolton Comic Con – so if you’re in the area come and say hello.
So there's our invitation! Thanks Michael. You can see Michael's books on his Amazon profile here.