2000 (updated : 2008.03.25)

by michael werneburg

I fell in love with writing in high school. Not because of the 'writing' we did in class, but because I had the inspiration of certain mid-'80s sci-fi authors who helped me see that it was okay to be dissatisfied with the work of so many big-name authors of that time. Authors like Mick Farren and William Gibson and Ursula K le Guin and Anne McCaffrey managed to combine ideas with real-life situations and characters and impulses a way I found a lot more engaging. They were breaking the genre out of the mold of super-heroics with perfect knowledge, and leaving behind bloodless stories that Explored an Idea. In particular, I felt that Farren's work seemed like the kind of thing I wanted to attempt: losers thrust into extroardinary circumstances doing what must be done, with enough world-building to tie the story together. I find that my short stories wind up being more speculative but that might be a result of the format; you only really have room for one thought.

I stopped writing altogether when my son was born. I was the incident manager at an investment bank (a fourteen-hour-a-day job) and with a new-born baby and weekly Japanese studies writing became impossible. Then the Great Financial Crisis came and I had to move to find work and began years of studying and volunteering and so one. In 2020, nearing fifty, I started again.

I have to date written three novels that are in various states of disrepair. One fantasy (from high school), one science-fiction (from my late twenties to late thirties), and one that crosses the line between them (written in university). I have no idea why I thought that a novel-length form was the way to start, but it wasn't until I'd already drafted all three that I started to write short stories. These are the ones I've found and dusted off. The first three are my favorites.



A novice enters a bike race with the intent of exploiting a flaw in the course design. Too bad his competitors are armed and dangerous.

16,000 words.



A materials specialist on a deserted world created by unknown aliens discovers that something has begun to change after tens of thousands of years. Is humanity's recent presence the trigger? What is the purpose of the artificial planet known as Readyworld.

14,800 words.



The alien ambassador has refused all attempts at communication. As the ambassador is about to be introduced to the world when a team of frustrated scientists come to a stunning realization.

3,400 words.

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When I first saw the name, Neil MacKenzie, I became excited as that was my ggrandfathers name. I have been researching my family history to no avail. He was born in Scotland in 1816, emigrated to CB about 1828. He Married Margaret Morrison who was from Loch Lomond,CB. I know both died at Fourchu. I would appreciate any information that viewers may have.

Thank you in advance.

Malcolm Neil MacKenzie

New Hampshire

Mac MacKenzie
2010.12.04 00:00:00

Let's hope so, Malcolm. A lot of this stuff is available in For a fee, mind you.


Mac from New Hampshire,

Although I don't have any info for you on Neil, I believe he's also my ancestor.

I tried your email on capebretongenweb, but it doesn't work anymore.

2010.12.18 00:00:00

Looks like the fellow has descendants all over this end of the continent! And one little boy born in Tokyo.


rand()m quote

Talent hits a target no one else can hit. Genius hits a target no one else can see.

—Arthur Schopenhauer