Michael Morris has been a biological scientist, an animal rights activist, a government policy adviser and a university teacher. He is now running his own environmentally focused tertiary education institute in New Zealand. Michael has written a great deal of non-fiction, much of it academic scientific work of little interest to anyone outside a narrow speciality. More recently Michael has written more easlity accessible information and advocacy pieces about the environment and promoting decent treatment of animals, including his book on factory farming published at Smashwords.
Michael is new to fiction writing, but sees some parallels with writing advocacy pieces. Both types of writing need to engage the emotions as well as the intellect. The dark elf series is his first foray into fantasy. Michael also has a horror short story published in the "darker times" anthology.
What do you read for pleasure?
I read widely, mostly fiction, but also current affairs.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
I enjoy Utopian/Dystopian literature, starting with Thomas Moore's original 'Utopia', which appealed to me mostly because it was so far ahead of its time in its democratic and socialist principles. Ursula LeGuin's 'The dispossessed' would also rank well up there as a more detailed and thought provoking study of both the strengths and weaknesses of an anarchist society. For dystopain literature I like 'Brave New World' by Aldous Huxley. At a time when most science fiction authors were predicting the age of space flight and colonisation of planets through advances in physics, Huxley made the more accurate prediction that in the next generation would actually be biology that would make the most advances, predicting the advent of test tube babies and animal cloning. George Orwell's 'animal farm' was an interesting read, both as an allegory for revolution and as a literal account of the way animals are treated on farms. Lastly the original 'hunger games' is something that affected me very much with its stark horror and portrayal of a ruthless society, as a prediction, or possibly a warning.
This book describes the shocking ways factory farmed animals are treated in New Zealand, the lengths industry and government will go to maintain the status quo, and effective ways to make a difference for animals as individuals and as a society. The issues raised about exploitation, political influence and effective activism can be applied to many situations worldwide.
A very charming story for children with a relevent theme. I like the vegetarian dragon, but I should point out that it is "animals" that vegetarians don't eat, not "meat". Calling them "meat" buys into the carnist world view.
The style could be improved with a bit more proofreading; a few repeated words and phrases here or there, but overall a very readable fantasy.
A gripping read. Seduction books can easily degenerate into porn or corn, but the author handled this theme skilfully with likeable yet flawed characters, fast pacing, well described action scenes and a plot that moved the book along.