About Adam

Adam Roberts is the author of a growing number of science fiction novels, short stories, essays and other writings. This site contains not just his blog, but everything you could ever want to know about everything Adam has ever published. And more...

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This is, official homepage of British science fiction writer Adam Roberts. Please use the links in the menu bar above if you're here to find out more about Adam's published books to-date, or more about Adam himself, or if you want to get in touch with Adam.

Or, if you're here to see what Adam's been up to recently, just keep reading:

Latest News

News for February

By Adam Roberts | February 10, 2018
Categories: Blogging

I've been busy. You wouldn't know it from this website, I concede; unless you were canny enough to realise that the reason updates have been so sparse lately is precisely because I've been busy. There will be more news soon, with concrete details, on books and other things; but for now I am breaking cover to record in this place that my project of reading the entire run of H G Wells's works (preparatory to me writing a Literary Biography of the man) has finally come to an end. A year, it took me, off and on. And at the other end of this link is the index to the blogposts I wrote recording my progress.

More soon.

2 Comments to-date;

Guardian reviews Real-Town

By Adam Roberts | November 3, 2017
Categories: Reviews

Link. As you can see the review fills a whole, spacious pararaph:

Never a writer to repeat himself, Adam Roberts yet again rings the changes with his 17th novel, The Real-Town Murders (Gollancz, £16.99), a fast-paced murder mystery set in a radically altered near-future Britain. With the majority of the population spending their lives in Shine, an immersive virtual reality, the country is a depopulated wasteland inhabited by exoskeletal exercise machines carrying comatose citizens. When a body is discovered in the boot of a car on an automated production line, private eye Alma is tricked into investigating the murder, soon finding herself mired in shady political shenanigans. As ever, Roberts’s use of the genre to explicate ideas – the allure of virtual reality and the consequent affectless society – is done with grace and economy, and what might have been a grim read is leavened by moments of irreverent black humour.

1 Comment so far

Interzone 272 (Sep-Oct 2017) Interview: Jo Walton

By Adam Roberts | November 3, 2017
Categories: Lit Crit, Reviews

Not that Jo Walton, though a very insightful and estimable Jo Walton nonetheless. His brief was to ask me a few questions about Real-Town, with a view to filling a page of Interzone. In the end we chatted, back and forth via email, until we had a 10,000 word dialogue. We both, I think, expected the magazine to request we trim this down to a tenth of its size, if you please, but hugely to their credit (I think) they ended up printing the whole thing, over 9 whole pages. Bravo, them!

... and so on. I won't reproduce the whole thing, or you'd have no incentive actually to buy a copy of Interzone 272. And you really should buy a copy: it's an all-round excellent magazine.

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Morning Star reviews Real-Town

By Adam Roberts | October 10, 2017
Categories: Reviews

Click the image to embiggen, should you be so inclined. ‘Fabulously inventive and at times horrifyingly funny and action-packed.’ Can't say fairer than that.

4 Comments to-date;

Maxim Jakubowski on “Real-Town Murders”

By Adam Roberts | September 20, 2017
Categories: Reviews

This is a first for me, I think: one of my novels reviewed by the eminent crime-fiction reviewer Maxim Jakubowski at a crime fiction site Crime Time. Here's what he thinks:

Adam Roberts/THE REAL-TOWN MURDERS (Gollancz) Roberts is one of the prominent SF author of ideas (alongside another Brit, Ian Watson) and this locked room impossible mystery set in the almost future in which a body is found in the boot of a car inside a fully-automated factory where every inch is constantly under the scrutiny of CCTV, is a wonderful example of his craft and intelligence in full deployment. Alma is a private detective assigned to the case in a near future world where most of the population are in the grip of an addiction to the Shine, a web-based alternate reality in which people prefer to live, seeing that most jobs are now superfluous as computers and machines take on all of the burden. Alma has an ill partner at home in need of regular gene therapy which only Alma can provide, which badly limits her time and the distance she can put between herself, her erstwhile lover Marguerite and the actual case, which makes the fast-paced action an ersatz Hitchcockian race against time, which leaves one a tad breathless. A wonderful variation on one of my favourite crime fiction sub-genres. Gripping and ingenious.

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Burgess and the Black Prince

By Adam Roberts | August 29, 2017
Categories: Book News

In today's Independent, a good article on Burgess and my unfinished Black Prince project. Please pledge, if you can!

1 Comment so far

Alan Jacobs on “Real-Town”

By Adam Roberts | August 26, 2017
Categories: Reviews

As he notes in this detailed, generous and (of course you'd expect me to say so) perceptive essay on Real-Town Murders, Alan is a friend of mine. You may, accordingly, want to take his praise with a pinch of salt. Value judgement aside, it seems to me that he's basically right about my perversity, and I am certainly fascinated by a particular—I would say—sweet spot where pulp's kinetic verve meets the sorts of halting disintegration of language that characterise actual human discourse, that latter taste at least as old as my PhD work on Robert Browning, a poet of whom Lionel Trilling rightly said 'he was interested less in speech and more in the obstacles to speech'. But I can neither complain nor act surprised when I discover that other people don't feel the same way. Besides which, the Author Is Dead, and I'm an author, so my opinion shouldn't sway you. That said, I'm still alive enough to be genuinely grateful for Alan's kindness and frankly a little abashed by his high opinion.

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SciFi Now Reviews “Real-Town”

By Adam Roberts | August 26, 2017
Categories: Reviews

Must read now, it seems. Bear with me: there will be a couple of these over the coming weeks. Normal service will resume after that.

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Real-Town Murders: SFX review

By Adam Roberts | August 21, 2017
Categories: Book News, Reviews

My new novel, The Real-Town Murders, is officially published this coming Thursday (24th August), but already there are some reviews of it in the world. Above is what Jonathan Wright, of UK genre's premier magazine SFX, thinks of it. It's a pretty positive review, although as you can see I am docked a star for being too clever-clever (ah, how that phrase has dogged my career! Ah well.)

5 Comments to-date;

Anthony Burgess and Adam Roberts, “The Black Prince”

By Adam Roberts | June 10, 2017
Categories: Book News

I have a favour to ask.

So: Unbound are hoping to publish my collaboration with Anthony Burgess, The Black Prince. If you visit the Unbound page you'll discover more about the project: in a nutshell, I took Burgess's idea from the 1970s to write a historical novel about the Hundred Years War in the style of John Dos Passos (one of many projects the ridiculously prolific Burgess never finished), his basic structure and an unmade screenplay he wrote, and completed the novel. Just the idea that there might exist in the world, some day, a book with Burgess's name and mine on the cover fills me with an excitement it's hard to convey: so dedicated a Burgess fan-boy I am. In order to prepare for writing this project I re-read the entire run of Burgess's fiction, which only cemented for me my sense of how extraordinary and important a writer he was. I hope I have done his genius justice in finishing his idea: part of me thinks I have. At any rate it's unlike any other historical novel of which I'm aware.

For this to become a reality, though, I need anyone interested to pledge to support the project. You can do that at the Unbounders page, and if enough people do then the whole book becomes a reality. For each pledge you get a copy of the book with your name in it, additional material (depending on which pledge you opt for) and my genuine and unceasing gratitude.

5 Comments to-date;

Real Town Murders

By Adam Roberts | May 19, 2017
Categories: Book News


Cover reveal: book comes out 24th August. It's part locked-room puzzle-whodunit, part SF/Hitchockian thriller, and part literary-pretentious meditation on location, gender, bodies and death. So, that's three parts; but you get all three for one low, low price!

6 Comments to-date;

New Short Fiction for May

By Adam Roberts | May 10, 2017
Categories: Book News, Short Fiction


A (free!) short story: 'In the Night of the Comet'.

1 Comment so far

Some Recent Reactions to “The Thing Itself”

By Adam Roberts | April 30, 2017
Categories: Reviews


Reactions to The Thing Itself continue to bubble under. On Twitter Gwilym Eades‏ called it ‘one of the best novels of any genre’ and ‘[the] Kind of book u finish reading & u want to read everything else by the author’, and added a link to his blogpost discussing the novel; and Philip Christman has reviewed the novel very generously for the Christian Courier, saying it ‘provides all the thrills of an airport-bookstore read, and a universe besides’. Particularly gratifying for me is that he also says the book ‘provokes some important questions’, in particular: ‘is the God of Kant also the God of Abraham, Ruth and Jesus? Karl Barth for one would say no’.

Also, and though it's not specifically related to TTI, I'm a huge-enough XTC fan to have been ridiculously chuffed by this tweet from Jonathan Thornton.

1 Comment so far

H G Wells Blog

By Adam Roberts | April 24, 2017
Categories: Blogging

Wells terracotta bust Jo Davidson 1930

I'm reading through the complete run of H G Wells books (fiction and non-fiction both) in order, and blogging about each as I do. You'll find the results on my Wells at the World's End blog, should you be interested. Be warned though: some* of the posts are pretty long ...


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Bethany (2016)

By Adam Roberts | March 23, 2017
Categories: Book News, Reviews


The most recent Interzone includes a full-page review of my short novel Bethany. Here's the final paragraph:


I say a little about how I came to write Bethany at the end of this (be warned, quite long) blogpost on Endo's great novel Silence. It's the last three paragraphs, so you can scroll down to those if you like. Or not.

3 Comments to-date;

Russian Esquire list 10 Notable Translated Novels

By Adam Roberts | March 15, 2017
Categories: Book News

... and guess what's number 10. Мне очень приятно!

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Kim Stanley Robinson and Francis Spufford

By Adam Roberts | February 14, 2017
Categories: Events and Appearances


... are appearing in Waterstones Piccadilly on the evening if the 3rd April, 2017. Starts at 7pm. My understanding is that tickets are limited, so if you're interested you should probably reserve yours sooner rather than later. I'll certainly be there, and as it says on the other end of that link, I have written 'works in both the fiction and critical genres.' So there's that too!

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New for 2017

By Adam Roberts | February 6, 2017
Categories: Chitchat


I've been neglecting this blog lately, and will strive to neglect it less in the future. There's been little to report, though. Life has been going on, of course; though I'm not vain enough to believe that anyone is interested in bulletins from that front. Same old same old. As noted in previous posts on this website, 2016 was a quiet year for me publication-wise. The Thing Itself was selected as the book of the year by the great critic John Wilson, which delighted and rather startled me. A couple of the Strange Horizons reviewers honoured it likewise; which was lovely, if achronological, since the novel is a 2015 title. Ah well.

One SF-related thing I did publish in 2016 was the much-expanded 2nd edition of my Palgrave History of Science Fiction. This hasn't made any awards shortlists or anything, and, following my resolution of the 23rd Aug inst. infra, I am blithe about this fact. That said, I was pleased on behalf of Anna McFarlane and Paul Graham Raven, excellent young critics both, whose chapters from the Glyphi Adam Roberts: Critical Essays (ed. Christos Callow Jr. and Anna McFarlane, 2016) volume made the BSFA Awards longlist. Congratulations to them, and fingers-crossed for when the shortlist is announced. (Glyphi have allowed interested parties to download the two chapters in question; if you click the previous link you may still be able to do so, if you're interested!)

Some new things are coming from me, probably, later this year. I'll keep you informed.

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Dec 8th: Contemporary Writers Launch: Adam Roberts, Rupert Thomson, Tom McCarthy

By Adam Roberts | November 28, 2016
Categories: Events and Appearances


See you there?

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Eurocon Barcelona 2016

By Adam Roberts | November 28, 2016
Categories: Events and Appearances


I was there. The above is a photo of Aliette de Bodard and I enjoying a laugh over that most chucklesome of topics, Jules Verne.

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By Adam Roberts | November 22, 2016
Categories: Book News, Non-Fiction

Well, it's been a pig of a year, I think we can all agree. But, look: this website is about what I write and what I publish, so let's focus-down our disappointment onto that for the time being, shall we? Which is to say, onto two things, sciencefictionally speaking.

The first is non-fiction: the revised second edition of my Palgrave History of Science Fiction. This is a comprehensively revised version of the 2006 first edition, including wholly new chapters (a new last chapter presents an account of 21st-century SF) and lots of extra new stuff and titivations and so on. It's not cheap I'm afraid, but you might want to order a copy for your local library. As a for-instance.


The second is fiction, a short novel called Bethany about a man who goes back in time to shoot Christ with a high-powered rifle, with this peculiar wrinkle: he plans on killing him after he has resurrected but before he ascends to heaven. This is about 35,000 words of text, so 'short novel' (I'm not sure whether, under the SF community's fiercely regulated nomenclature, it counts as a novella, novelette or novelicule) describes it. Were it published in hard copy it would be something like 140-pages long. Ah, but it's not being published in hard-copy: it's available only as an e-book title, and you can, if you are so minded, buy it from here.


This is the only book-length (or small-book-length) fiction I'm publishing in 2016. Slim pickings, I know. But, unlike the Palgrave book, it is at least relatively cheap: $/€ 3.99, £2.49. For a whole novel! A short novel, but still. Next year Gollancz will be proper-publishing my next full-length-novel, The Real Town Murders. So there's that to look forward to. If you're a looking-forward, 2017-surely-can't-be-as-ghastly-as-2016 sort of a person.

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Stranger yet and Stranger, more Horizoned still

By Adam Roberts | November 19, 2016
Categories: Reviews

The very same day that the US Election result was announced on the world's media, this review of The Thing Itself by Kevin Power (himself no mean writer) was published. It may be the best review I've ever received. Funny old world, isn't it, though? Swings and roundabouts, and so on, and so forth.

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Thing Itself in The Guardian

By Adam Roberts | November 1, 2016
Categories: Reviews


Clickage will embiggen. From last Saturday's Guardian Review (30th Oct 2016), occasioned by the mass-market paperback. Apologies for the slightly jaundiced flavour of this photo, and the crease running down the middle of it. That's life, though!

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My Cameo in “The Walking Dead”

By Adam Roberts | October 29, 2016
Categories: Book News


Thanks to Adam Whitehead for bringing this to my attention. It appears that I, sort-of, appeared briefly in the latest episode of the long-running TV series The Walking Dead. Cool!

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Ejército Nuevo Modelo

By Adam Roberts | October 22, 2016
Categories: Book News, Events and Appearances


Ediciones Gigamesh are publishing a Spanish-language translation of my New Model Army, and here's the cover art. Creo que podemos estar de acuerdo, esto es lo más excelente trabajo. ¿No?

It's being launched at Eurocon 2016 in Barcelona (4, 5 & 6 November) where I will also be. Come along and say hello, if you're there. If you don't the scary Queen from the cover will haunt your dreams.


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The Paperback Itself

By Adam Roberts | October 17, 2016
Categories: Book News


Last week saw the mass-market paperback publication of my latest, and, we can be honest, best, novel: The Thing Itself. This link will take you to the page where, I note, it's on sale from some vendors brand new for a mere £3.63. That's a little over 30p for each of the twelve sections that make up the whole! Not much, considering that those twelve not only provide a variety pack of science fictional goodness and a primer in the Critique of Pure Reason, but will also persuade you to believe in God (if you don't already).

I know that not everybody approves of amazon, and there are good reasons for being wary of it as a retailer; but I wanted to include the link so I could quote a few of the reader reviews from there. So Kate calls it 'a fabulous, clever novel'; Andrew Wallace says its 'another great novel by the Godfather of British SF' and Brian Clegg describes the novel as 'a mind-bending delight' adding:

and nothing like the combination of the title and the cover suggests (yet even this deception is not entirely straightforward). Anyone versed in the genre would instantly make the leap, with the combination of 'The Thing' and a polar setting, to the classic science fiction film The Thing -- and indeed Roberts does make a passing bow to this in the opening of the book. However, the monster in the movie is about as crude as they come -- here, what we experience as alien is both horrible and transfigured as a possible reality for the concept of god. ... I can say without any doubt that this by far the best science fiction book I've read all year. I can also say that it won't be to everyone's taste -- so don't blame me if you don't like it -- but to some it will be a revelation of what science fiction can be. This is the kind of science fiction that should be winning the Booker Prize. Simple as that.

So there we are. On the other hand, 'Rascible' thinks it 'a bit of a muddle'; so not everybody is entirely enamoured.

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By Adam Roberts | October 17, 2016
Categories: Book News


Christos Callow and Anna McFarlane have edited this splendid collection of critical essays about my writing. It's a rather astonishing thing, in fact, to have so many insightful and eloquent critics turn their attention on what I do, and I'm almost exactly as abashed as I am honoured. You can buy a copy here.

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Jurassic London: Brown Bread

By Adam Roberts | September 1, 2016
Categories: Book News


That most excellent press 'Jurassic London' have decided to call it a day. They are issuing one last anthology (including a story by me, but a great many better stories by other, greatly better writers too) which they are calling The Extinction Event: 'our final anthology,' they say, 'a celebration of five great years, and a hearty thank you! to all the authors, artists, partners and readers that made Jurassic London possible.' You can buy one of the few copies of this valuable artefact on their website where they say: 'The Extinction Event will be published on 20 October, and only as a slipcased hardcover, limited to 150 numbered copies. It comes complete with black and white illustrations, colour endpapers, a snazzy ribbon bookmark and everything else we could possibly throw into it. This will be the only edition. Once they're gone... they're gone.' Snap 'em up, I would.

There's also a launch, on the 20th October, which I'm going to make every effort to get to if I possibly can, and where books will be signed, and costumes worn, and fun will be had. Sad, but glad. If you see what I mean.

There's also a facebook page, if you're into that sort of thing.

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NewCon at Ten

By Adam Roberts | August 23, 2016
Categories: Book News


Something else that happened over the summer was the 10th anniversary of Ian Whates' excellent Newcon Press. To celebrate this auspicious event , Ian commissioned SF stories on the topic of 'ten', and the result is the volume whose handsome cover adorns the top of this post. I think you should buy it, and you can take that as a disinterested recommendation, because I'm not even in it. Ian did ask me for a story, and I wrote him one, called 'Between Nine And Eleven'; but he chose to include it in a completely different anthology. This one, in fact, which is also worth your money:


The truth is NewCon has consistently been one of the best of the many small presses in SF, and Ian is nothing short of a national treasure. It, and he, deserve your support.

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EUP’s Roberts’s Coleridge’s Shakespeare

By Adam Roberts | August 23, 2016
Categories: Book News


One week to go until the release of this title: Coleridge: Lectures on Shakespeare (1811-1819) (Edinburgh University Press 2016), edited by, well, me. It's £85. Yes, I know, but I don't get to set the price. Still, even though it hasn't been published yet, it's already's 559,223th bestselling title. Say no more.

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