2020 Snapshot: Michael Gardner

Michael Gardner is a writer of fantasy and horror, who masquerades as an economist by day. He grew up in a country town in New South Wales, but now lives in Canberra with his patient wife and two wonderful kids. The experience of fatherhood often finds its way into his stories. As does rural Australia. His work has appeared in Writers of the Future Volume 36, Aurealis, and Andromeda Spaceways Magazine. He is a two-time finalist for the Aurealis Awards.

You can find out more about Michael and his work at www.michael-s-gardner.com.

  1. Tell us about your recent publications/projects?

Late last year I received the exciting news that I’d placed second in the third quarter Writers of the Future competition. My story, “Foundations”, has since been published in the Writers of the Future Volume 36, released in April this year.

Part of my prize is the opportunity to travel to Los Angeles to attend a writing course run by David Farland, Orson Scott Card and Tim Powers. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, this has been postponed till next year. I’ve got my fingers crossed that things calm down before then, and I can get out to the US next year to attend.

In addition to that, I’ve had short stories published this year in the Society of Misfit Stories, and Bards and Sages Quarterly. I also have an upcoming publication in Metaphorosis Magazine, due out in August.

  1. What has been the best publishing or SF community experience of your career so far?

It’s hard to go past having one of my stories appear in Writers of the Future Volume 36. I’ve been buying and reading the anthology for a number of years, as well as entering the competition. Placing in the competition was something I aspired to, but never seriously thought I’d achieve. It was also my first professional sale.

Before that, having two of my stories selected as finalists for the Aurealis Awards was the biggest highlight. My story ‘The Offering’ was a finalist for the Aurealis Award for the best Australian horror short story of 2018. And my story ‘This Side of the Wall’ was a finalist for the Aurealis Award for the best Australian fantasy novella of 2018.

  1. Which recent Australian/NZ work would you recommend to international fans interested in expanding their Antipodean spec fic knowledge?

I love horror. And one of my favourite horror writers is Kaaron Warren. I recently read her latest novella, Into Bones Like Oil, and thought it was an amazing story, as well as being incredibly creepy and unsettling.

For those preferring short stories, I’d recommend T R Napper’s Neon Leviathan. Dark science fiction, with vivid Australasian settings. This is my favourite short story collection that I’ve read this year. I couldn’t believe it was his debut collection.

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