Shortlisted for the 2020 Locus Magazine Best First Novel Award.
“My pick for the book of the year, Tim Maughan’s Infinite Detail (MCD x FSG Originals), is a before-and-after tale of near-future social collapse after a coordinated attack takes the internet down. It’s hard to believe it is a debut, so assured and evocative is Maughan’s writing. As a portrait of the fragility of our current status quo it is as thought-provoking as it is terrifying; you won’t ever take your wifi for granted again.” — Adam Roberts, author of New Model Army writing in The Guardian (selected as The Guardian’s Science Fiction and Fantasy Book of The Year 2019)
“Maughan conducts a masterclass in the thrill and contradictions of counterculture, the uses and abuses of networks, the ways that capitalism can bend and flex to adapt, until, suddenly, it breaks. This is a stunning debut.” — Cory Doctorow, author of Little Brother and Walkaway (Read full review)
“Deft and jolting as an EMP, Infinite Detail is a worryingly credible ghost story about our electronic lives.” —Lauren Beukes, author of The Shining Girls
“A singular speculative debut, Infinite Detail asks crucial questions about the nature of our relationship to technology. A lively and provocative novel particularly equipped for the challenges of our moment.” —Jeff VanderMeer, author of Borne and the Southern Reach trilogy
“Looping and layered, disruptive and deeply linked—Tim Maughan’s unsparing tale of the internet’s end is a paper internet unto itself. The native 21st-century novel is coming into view; it looks like Infinite Detail.” —Robin Sloan, author of Sourdough
“Infinite Detail is an immaculately patterned debut novel, its author as in control of its design as the metafiction specialist Christopher Priest. Maughan’s feel for and knowledge of the technological straightjacket of contemporary culture is the equal of William Gibson. I have not often felt optimistic after reading a dystopian sci-fi novel, but Maughan’s debut leaves you with a Vonnegut-like sense of abiding humanity. Infinite Detail offers a sorely-needed perspective on the transience of the internet age. Fierce and compassionate, its vision of a post-apocalyptic afterlife is a blessing.” —Dan O’Hara, editor of Extreme Metaphors: Selected Interviews with J. G. Ballard
“Tim Maughan’s fiction is whip-smart, funny as hell, and full of hard truths most people would rather ignore. And despite its riveting dystopian scenario and biting critiques of life in late capitalism, Infinite Detail has so much deeply felt grace, heart, and hope.” —Ingrid Burrington, artist, journalist, and author of Networks of New York: An Illustrated Field Guide to Urban Internet Infrastructure
“Tim Maughan gets it. This civilization is over and everyone knows it. Infinite Detail gets on with the job of figuring out what to do next. His inspiring characters show us how to live and love in these ruins.” —McKenzie Wark, author of A Hacker Manifesto, Gamer Theory, and Telesthesia
“Tim Maughan brings his informed knowledge of why the contemporary (and soon-to-be contemporary) world works as it does, along with his deep awareness of how subcultures—be they industrial or musical—operate, to his debut novel Infinite Detail, resulting in a powerful narrative featuring memorable characters hardened but never crushed by the challenges in their lives, told in crystal-sharp writing that leaves you wanting more, lots more.” —Jack Womack, author of Random Acts of Senseless Violence
“Maughan’s dynamic, sprawling, post-postmodern cyberpunk debut is split between the prelude to, and the aftermath of, a worldwide technological apocalypse that has left mankind without an internet, resources, luxury, or the ability to travel internationally as they scrabble through now-treeless wastelands….Maughan handles it beautifully with maximalist daring and depth; the result is an energetic novel about civilization as it races toward the ultimate overload.” – Publishers Weekly (Read full review)
“The novel says something important and thought provoking about such hot-topic issues as privacy, the interconnectedness of the world’s population, and class structure; but, thanks to Maughan’s rigorously developed characters and his ability to tell a compelling story, the book is never preachy. A seriously good page-turner with plenty of meat on its bones.” – Booklist
“I still think about Infinite Detail days after finishing it. It’s one of those rare novels that, if you enjoyed it the first time, you’ll want to re-read it to catch details that you missed the first time around.” – Ars Technica (Read full review)
“You never know quite what you’re going to get with journalist Maughan’s thoughtful dystopian debut novel, which offers a blush of cyberpunk, a shakerful of Neal Stephenson, and a dash of Cory Doctorow’s speculative fiction…An original and engaging work of kitchen-sink dystopia.” – Kirkus
A timely and uncanny portrait of a world in the wake of fake news, diminished privacy, and a total shutdown of the Internet.
BEFORE: In Bristol’s center lies the Croft, a digital no-man’s-land cut off from the surveillance, Big Data dependence, and corporate-sponsored, globally hegemonic aspirations that have overrun the rest of the world. Ten years in, it’s become a center of creative counterculture. But it’s fraying at the edges, radicalizing from inside. How will it fare when its chief architect, Rushdi Mannan, takes off to meet his boyfriend in New York City—now the apotheosis of the new techno-utopian global metropolis?
AFTER: An act of anonymous cyberterrorism has permanently switched off the Internet. Global trade, travel, and communication have collapsed. The luxuries that characterized modern life are scarce. In the Croft, Mary—who has visions of people presumed dead—is sought out by grieving families seeking connections to lost ones. But does Mary have a gift or is she just hustling to stay alive? Like Grids, who runs the Croft’s black market like personal turf. Or like Tyrone, who hoards music (culled from cassettes, the only medium to survive the crash) and tattered sneakers like treasure.