William Knight

Entertaining fiction with a technology message


September 2019

Jack Cooper is a depressed, analogue throwback; a cynical, alcoholic Gen-Xer whose glory days are behind him. He’s unemployed, his marriage has broken down, he’s addicted to internet hook-ups, and is deeply ashamed of his son Geronimo, who lives life dressed as a bear.

When Jack’s daughter engineers a job for him at totally-lit tech firm Sweet, he’s confronted by a Millennial and Zoomer culture he can’t relate to. He loathes every detail – every IM, gif and emoji – apart from Freya, twenty years his junior and addicted to broadcasting her life on social media.

Can Jack evolve to fit in at Sweet, or will he remain a dinosaur stuck in the 1980s? And will he halt his slide into loneliness and repair his family relationships?

XYZ is for every Gen-Xer who ever struggled with a device, and for everyone else who loves emojis ... said no one ever.

‘Essential reading for anyone in the workplace over 40, and a handbook for those cocky bastards who are not.’
Paula (Boomer, wannabe GenX)

Quotes about XYZ

The culture clash between our middle-aged techie, and the Silicon roundabout-type startup he finds himself working in, is hilarious and beautifully well-observed. This is an articulate, assured and very funny novel.

Elie D (XYZ)

I found this laugh out loud funny and so true to life. Jack is a bit of a sad character at times. Bringing his misfortunes upon himself, especially with his inability to stay sober and get out of bed in a morning. Hilarious and thought provoking at the same time. I loved the ending - just brilliant.

Linby (XYZ)

A really super, fun book. It’s a long time since I finished a book in one sitting. Especially suitable for grumpy old farts who work in IT (like myself) but I reckon a lot of other people will enjoy it too.

K. Humphries (XYZ)

The Donated (Generation)

October 2011

When combat veteran turned journalist Hendrix Harrison links bodies stolen from a forensic research enclosure to a powerful pharmaceutical company, he suspects fraudulent manipulation of clinical trials.

With Doctor Sarah Wallace, a determined forensic entomologist, he delves into a world of grisly drug tests, misguided scientists and desperate patients pursuing miraculous promises.

But with murderous interests arrayed against him, Harrison must use his old training, and battle his fear of technology, to expose the macabre price of donating your body to science.

About Me

A portfolio career, a technological bent and a grand injection of humour

I've written for the Guardian, the Financial Times and the BBC, among many other publications. I am a writer and technologist currently living and working in Wellington, New Zealand.

A graduate in engineering, I've chased varying careers never really knowing what to do when I grew up. I started as an actor and rapidly progressed to music. I enjoyed a brief flirtation with handbag design, but was eventually wired into technology -- specifically software -- in 1989.

But by about 2003 I was being regularly published in Computing newspaper in the UK, and I've since written about the many successes and failings of high-technology. It's a thing of mine, and you'll find that theme in The Donated and in XYZ and in my poetry if you are unfortunate enough to find a copy -- technology is a saviour and a menace.

The Donated (formerly Generation), was my first novel, and came from an idea in a New Scientist article in 2001. It took me nearly ten years to get right -- I'm a slow learner sometimes, and editing is both painful and uplifting.

XYZ is a satire based my experiences working in technology and a mid-life crisis ensuing from growing old among bright, young things -- that last bit's not me, but it's drawn from many people I've met and worked with.

Subsequent novels, Foretold and The Fractured, may be available sometime in the future. Subscribe below and you'll be the first to know.

Subscribe and get a free copy of The Donated

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©2019 by William Knight.

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