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Ken MacLeod (born 2 August 1954), an award-winning Scottishmarker science fiction writer, lives in South Queensferrymarker near Edinburghmarker.

MacLeod graduated from Glasgow Universitymarker with a degree in zoology and has worked as a computer programmer and written a masters thesis on biomechanics.His novels often explore socialist, communist and anarchist political ideas, most particularly the variants of Trotskyism and anarcho-capitalism or extreme economic libertarianism. Technical themes encompass singularities, divergent human cultural evolution and post-human cyborg-resurrection. MacLeod's general outlook can be best described as techno-utopian socialist, though unlike a majority of techno-utopians, he has expressed great scepticism over the possibility and especially over the desirability of Strong AI.

He is known for his constant in-joking and punning on the intersection between socialist ideologies and computer programming, as well as other fields. For example, his chapter titles such as "Trusted Third Parties" or "Revolutionary Platform" usually have double (or multiple) meanings. A future programmers union is called "International Workers of the World Wide Web", or the Webblies, a reference to the Industrial Workers of the World, who are nicknamed the Wobblies. There are also many references to, or puns on, zoology and palaeontology. For example in The Stone Canal the title of the book, and many places described in it, are named after anatomical features of marine invertebrates such as starfish.

He is part of a new generation of British science fiction writers, who specialise in hard science fiction and space opera. His contemporaries include Stephen Baxter, Iain M. Banks, Alastair Reynolds, Adam Roberts, Charles Stross, Richard Morgan and Liz Williams.


Fall Revolution series

  1. The Star Fraction (1995; US paperback ISBN 0-7653-0156-3) -- Prometheus Award winner, 1996; Clarke Award nominee, 1996
  2. The Stone Canal (1996; US paperback ISBN 0-8125-6864-8) -- Prometheus Award winner, 1998; BSFA nominee, 1996
  3. The Cassini Division (1998; US paperback ISBN 0-312-87044-2) -- BSFA nominee, 1998 ; Clarke, and Nebula Awards nominee, 1999
  4. The Sky Road (1999; US paperback ISBN 0-8125-7759-0) BSFA Award winner, 1999 ; Hugo Award nominee, 2001 – represents an 'alternate future' to the second two books, as its events diverge sharply due to a choice made differently by one of the protagonists in the middle of The Stone Canal

Engines of Light Trilogy

A series which begins with a first contact story in a speculative mid-21st century where a resurgently socialist USSRmarker (incorporating the European Union) is once again in opposition with the capitalist United Statesmarker, then diverges into a story told on the other side of the galaxy of Earth-descended colonists trying to establish trade and relations within an interstellar empire of several species who travel from world to world at the speed of light.
  1. Cosmonaut Keep (2000; US paperback ISBN 0-7653-4073-9) -- Clarke Award nominee, 2001 ; Hugo Award nominee, 2002
  2. Dark Light (2001; US paperback ISBN 0-7653-4496-3) -- Campbell Award nominee, 2002
  3. Engine City (2002; US paperback ISBN 0-7653-4421-1)

Other work

  • Newton's Wake: A Space Opera (2004; US paperback edition ISBN 0-7653-4422-X) -- BSFA nominee, 2004 ; Campbell Award nominee, 2005
  • Learning the World: A Novel of First Contact (2005; UK hardback edition ISBN 1-84149-343-0) Prometheus Award winner 2006; Hugo, Locus SF, Campbell and Clarke Awards nominee, 2006 ; BSFA nominee, 2005
  • The Highway Men (2006; UK edition ISBN 1-905207-06-9)
  • The Execution Channel (2007; UK hardback edition ISBN 1841493481 ISBN 978-1841493480) -- BSFA Award nominee, 2007 ; Campbell, and Clarke Awards nominee, 2008
  • The Night Sessions (2008; UK hardback edition ISBN 1841496510 ISBN 978-1841496511) -- Winner Best Novel 2008 BSFA
  • The Restoration Game (2009)

Short fiction

(incomplete selection)


  • Poems & Polemics (2001; Rune Press: Minneapolis, MN) Chapbook of non-fiction and poetry.
  • Giant Lizards From Another Star (2006; US trade hardcover ISBN 1-886778-62-0) Collected fiction and nonfiction.


The Science Fiction Foundation have published an analysis of MacLeod's work The True Knowledge Of Ken MacLeod (2003; ISBN 0-903007-02-9) edited by Andrew M. Butler and Farah Mendlesohn. As well as critical essays it contains material by MacLeod himself, including his introduction to the German edition of Banks' Consider Phlebas.



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