Earlier this year I was asked by Simon Ings – one of my favourite novelists – to write a new short story for Arc magazine. If you don’t know Arc then you really should – it’s a quarterly mix of fiction and essays about the future published by none other than New Scientist. My first reaction was to be hugely flattered, followed swiftly by being terrified – I mean for drokk’s sake go and look at the list of previous contributors. Big names. Scary.

So after I’d pulled myself together I got down to actually writing something. The result was Limited Edition; an attempt to see if I could use science fiction to make some sense of the riots and looting that erupted across the UK’s cities last summer. I’m still not sure that I managed that at all, but I did end up with this Bristol based story of edge-land retail parks, limited edition sneakers, bored teenagers, DIY drones, rabid consumerism and the gamification of looting. Hopefully, even if it doesn’t provide any answers or explanations, it’s still a fun read.

Anyway, you can find out for yourself today. The magazine is out now on a bunch of digital platforms, and if you’re quick it won’t cost you a single penny. Or you can even order a printed copy. I won’t hesitate to recommend it – not on the basis of my story, but the rest of the content. There’s some great fiction from the likes of Lavie Tidhar and Nan Craig in there, as well as essays from clever people like Paul Graham-Raven and Justin Pickard. Go grab it, and then come back here and tell me what you think.

(Oh, and the illustration above – also from the mag where it accompanies my story – is by the amazing artist Robert Carter – best known for his political and celebrity portraits for US magazines and newspapers. And it catches certain imagery from the story perfectly.)