RELEASE DAY: Dreams Before the Start of Time

I can hardly believe I’m typing this: my THIRD novel is published today — Dreams Before the Start of Time.

This near-future novel suggests what it will mean to be a parent, a child, a family when science offers new ways of conceiving and giving birth — when artificial wombs free women from the pain and dangers of childbirth, when eggs can be created from stem cells, when a man can create a baby without a woman, and a woman can create a baby without a man. How will these breakthroughs affect relationships and the status of motherhood in society?

In other words, as a writer of speculative fiction, I give myself license to imagine both the intended and unintended consequences!

Dreams Before the Start of Time, published by 47North, received a boost pre-release, receiving a starred review from Publishers Weekly. And today, release day, I’m thrilled to bits to read this review on From Couch to Moon.

Here are snippets of early reactions to the novel: Read more

Susan Duerden on Narrating Dreams Before the Start of Time

Susan Duerden

ONE WEEK to the release of Dreams Before the Start of Time, and I’m really delighted to tell you that award-winning actress Susan Duerden is the main narrator for the audiobook edition. Her performance is simply wonderful, which comes as no surprise to me since Susan also narrated my first novel, A Calculated Life.

I’m fascinated with the transition from manuscript to novel to audiobook. As I listen to the audio, I feel I encounter the novel anew; it feels unfamiliar, in a good way, and I find myself grinning all the time that I’m listening. 

Last week, we chatted by email and Susan very kindly took the time to answer a few questions:

Is there a particular character or storyline that appealed to you in Dreams Before the Start of Time?

I absolutely loved Dreams Before The Start Of Time and narrating it was a joy. I particularly loved the character Toni and her storyline. She left such an impression on me. I was so glad she reappeared throughout the book. I really loved her sense of humor, especially in the face of adversity. I thought her relationship with Atticus was wonderfully written.

How do you prepare for a new narration project? Read more

Kickstarter for 2084 – Orwell inspired anthology – plus latest reviews

Support this Kickstarter!

I’ll keep this as brief as I can for all you lovely but busy people: I’m in a fab line-up of authors for the short story anthology 2084 (Unsung Stories), and any support for the Kickstarter will be massively appreciated! There’s a special edition of the anthology with its own cover art for the Kickstarter campaign. Fingers crossed we meet the target.

Stories by Jeff Noon, Christopher Priest, James Smythe, Lavie Tidhar, Aliya Whiteley, David Hutchinson, Cassandra Khaw, Desirina Boskovich, Ian Hocking, Oliver Langmead and me.

My own story, “A Good Citizen” imagines a future with weekly referendums and a universal wage. Picture a world with a recurring nightmare of near-Brexit proportions!

Early reviews for Dreams Before the Start of Time

Publishers’ Weekly has given a starred review to my upcoming novel. This is a brilliant start for Dreams Before the Start of Time, my third novel. For those who don’t know PW, this New York-based magazine reviews some 9,000 novels a year and gives a starred review to those ‘of exceptional merit’. It’s a go-to magazine for those in the publishing industry. So needless to say I’m pretty chuffed. Read more

Novella Release! The Enclave from NewCon Press


The limited edition, signed hardback! I love it!

All three formats of my first novella, The Enclave, have now been released by NewCon Press: eBook, limited edition hardback and paperback!

I’ve always stated that I’d never write a sequel to A Calculated Life (47North). And I haven’t done so! 

The Enclave cuts across the world of A Calculated Life with a cast of new characters. I felt strongly that I had far more to say about the lives of the unenhanced, fully organic population living out in the enclaves. And it was immensely rewarding for me to return to that world.

It’s a standalone novella (a smidge over 20,000 words). If you’ve read A Calculated Life, I hope you’ll enjoy the occasional echo from that novel.

If you’re tempted to read the novella… you have the choice of a splendid limited edition, signed hardback (or paperback) from the NewCon website here. Or a Kindle eBook here.

Many thanks go to Ian Whates at NewCon Press for inviting me contribute to this wonderful series of four novellas, including works by Alastair Reynolds, Simon Morden and Neil Williamson. Art work by Chris Moore. Read more

A Conversation with Matt Hill, Author of Graft—Finalist for the Philip K. Dick Award 2017

Matt Hill's novel Graft is a finalist for the Philip K. Dick Award 2017.

Matt Hill’s novel Graft is a finalist for the Philip K. Dick Award 2017.

It’s incredibly timely to post this conversation—originally published by Strange Horizons under the title Manchester, A Tale of Two Dystopias—because of two exciting events:

Last week, the Philip K. Dick Award announced that Matt’s novel Graft is a finalist for the 2017 Award. Many congratulations, Matt!

And in two weeks’ time, NewCon Press will publish my novella, The Enclave, written in the world of A Calculated Life—itself a finalist for the Philip K. Dick Award in 2013. You can pre-order the Kindle eBook or Paperback/Limited Edition Hardback 🙂 Read more

UPDATE: Full Cover for Dreams Before the Start of Time and more…

A slightly belated Happy New Year, everyone! I hope I’ll be blogging more often this year—posting more conversations with some of my favourite authors and offering updates on writing projects. 

Last year was a full-on writing year, which meant I kept a very low profile. I seemed to spend the entire year flitting on-screen between Scrivener and a variety of news streams as I tried to make sense of the political shifts on both sides of the pond. How to respond? Probably through writing fiction!

During 2017, I’ll be out and about talking about my upcoming novel, Dreams Before the Start of Time (47North), and my novella, The Enclave (NewCon Press). Pre-ordering is now on for both titles in all formats.

Publishers Weekly ‘Most Anticipated’

Dreams Before the Start of Time is one of Publishers Weekly’s most anticipated titles of Spring 2017. I couldn’t hope for a better start! Read more

Cover Release: The Enclave from NewCon Press

My first novella-length piece of fiction—The Enclave—will be published by NewCon Press in February 2017, as part of a series of four science fiction novellas. Chris Moore has created a stunning piece of art that spans the series.


I’ve lost count of the number of readers who have asked for a sequel to A Calculated Life. I’ve resisted the pressure because the novel feels complete to me! However, last year I mooted the idea of a companion piece that would cut across the world of A Calculated Life, set in the enclave outside Manchester, which featured in the novel.

Well, here it is! The Enclavea standalone novella. It will be published in excellent company, as follows: Read more

COVER RELEASE! Dreams Before the Start of Time

I’m thrilled to reveal the stunning cover art for my latest novel, Dreams Before the Start of Time, which will be published by 47North on 18 April 2017.

I think you’ll agree that designer David Drummond has produced a great piece of work. So, my thanks to David!

What’s more… you can now pre-order this novel (paperback, eBook or Audio CD) and you’ll receive it on publication day!

Dreams Before the Start of Time

CLICK to preorder my third novel, Dreams Before the Start of Time, which will be published on 18 April 2017.

Read more

The Enclave: a novella set within the world of A Calculated Life

front cover

The Enclave is set within the world of my debut novel A Calculated Life, finalist for the Philip K Dick Award and the Kitschies Golden Tentacle.

I’m thrilled to tell you that I’m working on a novella, The Enclave, which is a companion piece to my first novel, A Calculated Life. This SF novella will be one of four in a series including works by Alastair Reynolds, Simon Morden—such fabulous company!—commissioned by independent publisher NewCon Press. The fourth novella in the series will be announced in due course and all four will be published individually and later slip-cased to form a set. How exciting!

Since I completed A Calculated Life (47North), I’ve felt an itch to write a story set within the same world, one that weaves across the narrative rather than forming a sequel. So I’m excited to revisit life in the enclaves—home to society’s underclass late in the twenty-first century.

I’ve been radio silent in recent weeks for a good reason: I’ve been editing my third novel, Dreams Before the Start of Time. It’s a multi-generational story of two families spanning into the next century, and it will be published in April 2017 by 47North. In this novel, I imagine the impacts of likely advances in human reproductive technologies. It’s a standalone novel. However… one the main characters is Toni Munroe who appears in my second novel, Sleeping Embers of an Ordinary Mind. Read more

A Conversation With Speculative Fiction Author Nina Allan


Nina Allan’s Desert Island book is Iris Murdoch’s The Book and the Brotherhood. “There is something exalted about her work, a sense of heightened reality that shines a light on ordinary objects and occurrences and reveals their hidden magic – and madness.”

Award-winning author Nina Allan had fifty published short stories to her name before she wrote her first novel, The Race. This debut novel was shortlisted for the Arthur C Clarke Award. Her novella Spin won the BSFA Award for short fiction, and the French translation of The Silver Wind won the Grand Prix de L’imaginaire.

I’m delighted that Nina joins me today in a conversation about the writing process, touchstone influences and our writing quests!

Here goes—

ANNE: Recently I read Stephen King’s On Writing and although he gives great advice throughout, I was curious about one of his comments on the subject of theme. He feels that the theme of a novel is something that emerges in the first draft or after the first draft, and can then be enhanced in subsequent reworking. But for me the theme, or concept, comes first, before I start outlining and plotting a piece of fiction. How do you view the importance of theme? Does it vary from one writing project to another? Read more