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About Chris Beckett
I'm a former social worker and lecturer, based in Cambridge, England. I've published nine novels and three short story collections. My collection, the Turing Test, won the Edge Hill Short Fiction Award. My novel, Dark Eden won the Arthur C. Clarke award. Its two sequels were shortlisted for the BSFA Best novel award. My collection, Spring Tide, was my first foray outside of the boundaries of science fiction. My most recent novel is Tomorrow.
More at www.chris-beckett.com
Follow on Twitter: @chriszbeckett
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THE WINNER OF THE 2013 ARTHUR C. CLARKE AWARD
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2013 BRITISH SCIENCE FICTION ASSOCIATION BEST NOVEL CATEGORY
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2013 BRITISH FICTION ASSOCIATION BEST COVER DESIGN (SI SCOTT)
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2013 BSFA AWARDS
You live in Eden. You are a member of the Family, one of 532 descendants of Angela and Tommy. You shelter beneath the Forest's lantern trees. Beyond the forest lie mountains so forbidding that no one has ever crossed them. The Oldest recount legends of a time when men and women made boats that could travel between worlds. One day, they will come back for you.
You live in Eden. You are a member of the Family, one of 532 descendants of two marooned explorers. You huddle, slowly starving, in the warmth of geothermal trees, confined to one barely habitable valley of an alien, sunless world.
You are John Redlantern. You will break the laws of Eden, shatter the Family and change history. You will be the first to kill another, the first to venture into the Dark and the first to discover the truth about Eden.
Mother of Eden has been shortlisted for the British Science Fiction Association Novel of the Year Award, 2015.
'We speak of a mother's love, but we forget her power. Power over life. Power to give and to withhold.'
Generations after the breakup of the human family of Eden, the Johnfolk emphasise knowledge and innovation, the Davidfolk tradition and cohesion. But both have built hierarchical societies sustained by violence and dominated by men - and both claim to be the favoured children of a long-dead woman from Earth that all Eden knows as Gela, the mother of them all.
When Starlight Brooking meets a handsome and powerful man from across Worldpool, she believes he will offer an outlet for her ambition and energy. But she has no idea that she will be a stand-in for Gela herself, and wear Gela's ring on her own finger.
And she has no idea of the enemies she will make, no inkling that a time will come when she, like John Redlantern, will choose to kill...
Angie Redlantern is the first to spot the boats - five abreast with men in metal masks and spears standing proud, ready for the fight to come. As the people of New Earth declare war on the people of Mainground, a dangerous era has dawned for Eden. After generations of division and disagreement, the two populations of Eden have finally broken their tentative peace, giving way to bloodshed and slaughter. Angie must flee with her family across the pitch black of Snowy Dark to the place where it all started, the stone circle where the people from Earth first landed, where the story of Gela - the mother of them all - began.
It is there that Angie witnesses the most extraordinary event, one that will change the history of Eden forever. It will alter their future and re-shape their past. It is both a beginning and an ending.
It is the true story of Eden.
The fascinating new novel from Chris Beckett, the Arthur C. Clarke award-winning author.
'Tomorrow I'm going to begin my novel...'
A would-be author has taken time out from life in the city to live in a cabin by a river and write a novel.
And not just any novel. A novel that will avoid all the pitfalls and limitations of other novels, a novel that will include everything.
At first these new surroundings are so idyllic that it's hard to find the motivation to get started. And then, in all its brutality, the outside world intervenes...
Ranging constantly backwards and forwards in time and space, Tomorrow becomes a restless search for meaning in a precarious and elusive world.
George Simling has grown up in the city-state of Illyria, an enclave of logic and reason founded as a refuge from the Reaction, a wave of religious fundamentalism that swept away the nations of the twenty-first century. Yet to George, Illyria's militant rationalism is as stifling as the faith-based superstition that dominates the world outside its walls.
For George has fallen in love with Lucy. A prostitute. A robot. She might be a machine, but the semblance of life is perfect. To the city authorities, robot sentience is a malfunction, curable by erasing and resetting silicon minds. But George knows that Lucy is something more.
His only alternative is to flee Illyria, taking Lucy deep into the religious Outlands where she must pass as human because robots are seen as mockeries of God, burned at the stake, dismembered, crucified. Their odyssey leads them through betrayal, war and madness, ending only at the monastery of the Holy Machine...
'Brilliantly and chillingly imagined' Guardian
'Explored with wit, thoughtfulness and emotional weight' Spectator
As a historian in the bleak, climate-ravaged twenty-third century, it's Zoe's job to record and archive the past, not to recreate it. But when she comes across the diaries of Harry and Michelle, who lived two hundred years ago, she becomes fascinated by the minutiae of their lives and decides to write a novel about them, filling in the gaps with her own imaginings.
Harry and Michelle meet just after the Brexit referendum when Harry's car breaks down outside a small town in Norfolk. Despite their different backgrounds, and Michelle having voted Leave while Harry voted Remain, they are drawn to each other and begin a relationship.
From her long perspective, the way Zoe sees their world is somewhat different from the way we see it now. Two Tribes becomes a reflection on the way our ideas are shaped by class and social circumstances, and how they change without us even noticing. It explores what divides us and what brings us together. And it asks where we may be headed next.
Comments from James Walton, Chair of Edge Hill panel of judges:
‘I suspect Chris Beckett winning the Edge Hill Prize will be seen as a surprise in the world of books. In fact, though, it was also a bit of surprise to the judges, none of whom knew they were science fiction fans beforehand. Yet, once the judging process started, it soon became clear that The Turing Test was the book that we’d all been impressed by, and enjoyed, the most – and one by one we admitted it.
‘This was a very strong shortlist, including one Booker Prize winner in Anne Enright, and two authors who’ve been Booker shortlisted in Ali Smith and Shena Mackay. Even so, it was Beckett who seemed to us to have written the most imaginative and endlessly inventive stories, fizzing with ideas and complete with strong characters and big contemporary themes. We also appreciated the sheer zest of his story-telling and the obvious pleasure he had taken in creating his fiction.’
Arthur C. Clarke Award-Winning Author
'An uneasy read that manages to feel both timely and urgent... Beckett offers an intelligent, visceral reminder that unless we change what today looks like, tomorrow will be turbulent indeed.' - Guardian
America, one century on: a warmer climate is causing vast movements of people. Droughts, floods and hurricanes force entire populations to simply abandon their homes. Tensions are mounting between north and south, and some northern states are threatening to close their borders against homeless fellow-Americans from the south.
Against this backdrop, an ambitious young British-born publicist, Holly Peacock, meets a new client, the charismatic Senator Slaymaker, a politician whose sole mission is to keep America together, reconfiguring the entire country in order to meet the challenge of the new climate realities as a single, united nation. When he runs for President, Holly becomes his right hand woman, doing battle on the whisperstream, where stories are everything and truth counts for little.
But can they bring America together - or have they set the country on a new, but equally devastating, path?
'A disturbing descent into a surreal world, written with a deft hand.' Adrian Tchaikovsky, winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award 2016
South America, 1990. Ben Ronson, a British police officer, arrives in a mysterious forest to investigate a spate of killings of Duendes. These silent, vaguely humanoid creatures - with long limbs and black button eyes - have a strange psychic effect on people, unleashing the subconscious and exposing their innermost thoughts and fears.
Ben becomes fascinated by the Duendes, but the closer he gets, the more he begins to unravel, with terrifying results...
Beneath the World, A Sea is a tour de force of modern fiction - a deeply searching and unsettling novel about the human subconscious, and all that lies beneath.
'Beckett is superb at undercutting reader assumptions with a casual line of dialogue or acute psychological observation: the book reads like Conrad's Heart of Darkness reimagined by JG Ballard.' Guardian
A thought-provoking collection of contemporary short stories from the winner of the Arthur C. Clarke award 2013.
Chris Beckett's thought-provoking and wide-ranging collection of contemporary short stories is a joy to read, rich in detail and texture. From stories about first love, to a man who discovers a labyrinth beneath his house, to an angel left alone at the end of the universe, Beckett displays both incredible range and extraordinary subtlety as a writer. Every story is a world unto itself - each one beautifully realized and brilliantly imagined.
When announcing the winner, one of the judges – James Walton, journalist and chair of BBC Radio 4’s The Write Stuff – said, “I suspect Chris Beckett winning the Edge Hill Prize will be seen as a surprise in the world of books. In fact, though, it was also a bit of surprise to the judges, none of whom knew they were science fiction fans beforehand.”
In 2012 the Sunday Times named Chris’ latest novel Dark Eden the best science fiction novel of the year, and it is currently shortlisted for the BSFA Award in the same category. NewCon Press are delighted to be publishing The Peacock Cloak, the latest collection from one of Britain’s most distinguished and accomplished genre authors. Contains twelve stories (85,000 words) all previously uncollected.
Published for the first time in the UK this, the NewCon Press edition, represents the author’s preferred text, extensively revised and rewritten from the book’s original release in 2009.
Charles Bowen is an immigration officer with a difference: the migrants he deals with don’t come from other countries but from other universes. Known as shifters, they materialize from parallel timelines, bringing with them a mysterious drug called slip which breaks down the boundary between what is and what might have been, and offers the desperate and the dispossessed the tantalizing possibility of escape.
Summoned to investigate a case at the Thurston Meadows Social Inclusion Zone, Bowen struggles to keep track of his place in the world and to uphold the values of the system he has fought so long to maintain…
“With its twin themes of boundaries and mirrors, and the dizzying effect of these multiple views of the same events, Marcher… reflect better than any other SF work extant the true complexity of alternate universes.” – Suite 101