Entertaining fiction with a technology message
XYZ: Updating Jack Cooper
Generation X technical whiz, Jack Cooper is an unemployed, workplace dinosaur. Grumpy and sarcastic, he would rather seal his eyes with sticky notes than work in an office full of Gen Y and Z snowflakes harping on about dancing-baby gifs.
So when Jack's pregnant daughter finds him a job at an ultra-cool, tech firm, he expects nothing more than a painful drowning beneath company values and a rapid descent to the bottom of a gin bottle.
Yet Jack needs the money. His wife is pushing for a divorce, his single daughter will soon deliver a grandchild, and his embarrassing son suffers from a grizzly identity confusion.
How will Jack lift himself from his angry 1980s nostalgia and halt his slide into drunken, divorced loneliness? And how will he remain sane while bombarded by Instant Messages, smiley-faced poos, and the constant celebration of mediocrity?
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.
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)
Previously published as Generation
When combat veteran turned journalist Hendrix Harrison links bodies missing 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.
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: Updating Jack Cooper 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.
The Algorithm will be available in June 2021