© Wendy Elliott
Kings County native Nicholas Morine, who lives near Sunken Lake, recently released two debut novels, Punish the Wicked: A Dystopian Horror and Cavern: City in the Dark.
Morine, who grew up playing Dungeons and Dragons, terms both works of speculative fiction - no holds barred.
The Horton High graduate got hooked on fiction early. He attended a writing camp with Sheree Fitch as a youth, then went to Memorial University in Newfoundland and got two degrees. His post-graduate degree in philosophy seems to serve him well in churning out speculative plots.
“My writing philosophy is that for far too long, particularly locally though in the larger Canadian sense, all of our attentions seem to be focused on regional interests and historical nonfiction,” he said.
Morine sees a case for “exciting things happening outside of this slice of Canadiana, something that local authors can offer that is distinctly different.”
Two small firms, Montag Press of California and Problematic Press of Newfoundland, agree with him.
His first book took him almost four years to write and it is about a death metal band in the 21st century.
“It is set in a kind of George Orwellian, near future that has a digital environment,” Morine says.
Think Clockwork Orange, he adds.
“If it was a movie, it would be restricted for sure.”
Morine’s second novel fits into a different genre. It is set deep in earth because the planets’ surface is a wasteland. He says it was quicker to write.
Currently, he is writing a young adult novel and a fourth adult work set in Shanghai 30 or 50 years ago. Morine is fascinated by his research and promises a romantic thriller.
While he agrees that the future he envisions may not be a cheery place, Morine believes in the power of positive thinking, “no matter how hard the work.”
Like many young Nova Scotians, he ponders the Ivany report while contemplating the near future. He considers political issues important and loves living in “a pocket of social liberalism,” he says.
“Life is not about making a ton of money,” Morine says of his choice to live in the Valley he loves. His current worldview places a priority on the freedom to write in his chosen genres: science fiction, fantasy and dystopian works. So he takes shifts at a call centre, works at a gaming store and does freelance projects. Even so, his writing time daily could be two or three hours.
Morine says he’s been inspired by writers like Jack London, Harlan Ellison and local graphic artist Mark Oakley. He welcomes the growing interest in conventions like Hal-Con.
The day we chatted, he was pondering questions of empathy. As a writer, Morine has to see the world through someone else’s eyes. So much grist for the mill.