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, out now through Head of Zeus; I’m currently working on a book about writers and political power, and an absurdly huge novel sequence (because if not now, when?)
I was one of the judges of the Baillie Gifford book prize in 2020; otherwise, my life looks more or less like this.