Mike Adamson

Color Therapy, flash fiction, Issue 44, September 2018

Wharf Rat, fiction, Issue 52, September 2020

Lord of All Seas. fiction, Issue 53, December 2020

Mike Adamson holds a Doctoral degree from Flinders University of South Australia. After early aspirations in art and writing, Mike returned to study and secured qualifications in both marine biology and archaeology. Mike has been a university educator since 2006, has worked in the replication of convincing ancient fossils, is a passionate photographer, a master-level hobbyist, and a journalist for international magazines. Short fiction sales include to Little Blue Marble, Weird Tales, Abyss and ApexDaily Science Fiction, Compelling Science Fiction and Nature Futures. Mike has placed some 120 stories to date. You can catch up with his writing career at ‘The View From the Keyboard,’ http://mike-adamson.blogspot.com 

Get to know Mike...


April 7th, 1963

When did you start writing?

I remember being asked in school, aged around five, to draw a picture and add a caption: an hour later I had two pages of writing and two small drawings at the bottom, about a sci-fi expedition to the Moon—that may have been the beginning. Then around eight, I wrote a dinosaurs-vs-time-travellers piece in a notebook over a school holiday, and began to think of myself as a writer. By twelve I was hammering away at a manual typewriter on my first sci-fi novel, which I never completed, and two years later was learning to write properly with the beginnings of copious fan-fiction. I wrote my first complete novel, a sprawling space opera, at sixteen, and though I was still nowhere near publication polish, and life would take me in many different directions in the years ahead, the shape of things to come was already pretty clear.

When and what and where did you first get published?

My first published piece was in the classic Australian diving journal Underwater Geographic, in 1985. Absolutely on spec, I sent in a science fiction short story, postulating that cetacean language had been decoded, and the editor, the late Neville Coleman, took me on. The story was serialised over two issues, and featured my own paintings as illustrations. After that I became Marine Mammal Correspondent for the magazine, and published several articles with them on dolphins in Australia. In the Nineties I wrote for hobby magazines, including the US title FineScale Modeler, and placed a story or two with the fiction section of Elsevier Scientific's biology website HMS Beagle, which is sadly no longer with us. However, fiction writing was quite out of focus from the mid-90s onward, as I was in university by then, and not until after my PhD did I have the chance to come back to it, with both the skills and maturity of a new perspective on life.

Why do you write?

I remember as a child looking at the covers and titles of science fiction books, and being excited, intrigued and inspired. I would look at a blank notebook, and to me it represented not just lined paper but what could be created on that paper. I remember a deep, warm feeling inside me that was filled with potential and wanted to come forth, words just wanted to land on paper—and it was frustrating at that age because the mental machinery to do so was not in place. I was left with a formless yearning to create something dramatic and I exotic, and still remember that feeling well. I used to produce copious science fiction artwork on sheets of cartridge paper, quite pulpy stuff at times, and at others sincere attempts to capture the look and feel of the professional art of the period, and I used art to express what I did not yet have the words for. I see them as complimentary parts of the same creative process, and that process is still at work. I write because I feel compelled, the stories must be told, and who am I to deny the muse? It's not all sci-fi, of course, I'm equally happy writing historical adventure, fantasy, military actioners, or mystery. I've recently placed some Sherlock Holmes material and have discovered an academic fascination with the Victorian world.

Why do you write Science Fiction and/or Fantasy?

Writing has always been escapism, and there remains a delight in bringing to life a time or place which exists only in my own head. Some might say that writing about your own times and places is lazy, because it requires no research, but I would say it's a relief for the same reason. When I write Sherlock Holmes, I use maps of London as it was 120 years ago, and make sure to get my historical details correct, so, quite apart from academia, I'm no stranger to research. But science fiction is the great melting pot for all human ideas, hopes, dreams and indeed fears, and provides the endless opportunity to explore the new and different. These things are not always good—as dystopian fiction lives on—but the chance to reflect on what might be is an eternal fascination. Beyond that, I grew up with science fiction and the genre, in and of itself, is as comfortable as old slippers.

Who is your favorite author? Your favorite story?

Very difficult question! There are so many! When I was a youngster, Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea was a consuming delight, but of course the obligatory explorations were made through the classic works of Clarke and Asimov. I enjoyed the novels of the Australian writer A. Bertram Chandler, in the old Ace Doubles editions. As a teen I encountered pulp giant Robert E. Howard and he has remained a favourite to this day. In fact I've become a devotee of all the Weird Tales “big three,” being exposed also to the exotic and incredible prose of Clark Ashton Smith in the 80s, and more recently consuming the entire Lovecraftian canon. When it comes to contemporary thriller and adventure, I would cite Wilbur Smith, whose novels I have enjoyed for nearly forty years, as well as the work of great sea writers such as Douglas Reeman, or South Africa's Geoffrey Jenkins.

What are you trying to say with your fiction?

I'm not aware of a particular message, unless it's that “things will get worse before they get better.” This may be endemic to all fiction, though, as a story is obliged to be about conflict (you don't get very far, trying to tell a story without a conflict in it), and conflict implies tough times, with a successful outcome the happily-ever-after aspect.  But, at a deeper level, I find myself coming back often to the theme that the worst aspects of human nature are our own worst enemy. This has an unavoidable political overtone, and lives on the conflict between opposing “isms,” so very much in focus these days. Survival at any price? The relative worth of the old and the new? Can we learn from the past, and, if so, what? These are eternally fresh pastures for storytelling, but at the end of the day I'm an optimist, and need to believe that the human race can survive its adolescence, create prosperity and security for all its members, and look after the natural world in a humane and responsible way as well. We're supposed to be smart, aren't we? Surely, we can solve this equation if we have the will to, and my stories often reflect this battle to overcome, and create a better, durable society.

If you could write your own epitaph, what would it say?

“He saw a future that was worth fighting for, and explored it to the end.”

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