I’m a novelist, critic, and writer of non-fiction.
I began my career writing science fiction stories, novels and films before jumping down various rabbit holes: perception (The Eye: A Natural History), 20th-century radical politics (The Weight of Numbers), the shipping system (Dead Water) and augmented reality (Wolves). I co-founded and edited Arc magazine, a digital publication about the future, before joining New Scientist magazine as its arts editor. These days I work for myself, crouched in a freezing cold flat on a hill in London, writing a monthly science-fiction column for the Times, also reviews for the FT, The Times, The Spectator, the Telegraph and others.
My latest non-fiction is Stalin and the Scientists (Faber, October 2016). The Smoke, my most recent novel, was published by Gollancz in February 2018. I recently finished work on a big reprint anthology, We Robots, for Head of Zeus, due out towards the end of 2020; I’m now embarked on a book about writers and political power, and an absurdly huge novel sequence (because if not now, when?)
I’ll be one of the judges of the Baillie Gifford book prize in 2020; when not reading for that, my life looks more or less like this.