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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Infinite Detail

Infinite Detail

A Novel

Tim Maughan

MCD x FSG Originals

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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.

The world of Infinite Detail is a small step shy of our own: utterly dependent on technology, constantly brokering autonomy and privacy for comfort and convenience. With Infinite Detail, Tim Maughan makes the hitherto-unimaginable come true: the End of the Internet, the End of the W… More…

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.

The world of Infinite Detail is a small step shy of our own: utterly dependent on technology, constantly brokering autonomy and privacy for comfort and convenience. With Infinite Detail, Tim Maughan makes the hitherto-unimaginable come true: the End of the Internet, the End of the World as We Know It.

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1. AFTER


The pathetic tinkle of the shop’s bell announces their first visitor, the first believer of the day. The first of the regulars, the tired-looking mothers and lost children, the ones that come in just to catch a quick...

Praise for Infinite Detail

“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, Boing Boing

"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." —David Pitt, Booklist

“Maughan’s dynamic, sprawling, post-postmodern cyberpunk debut . . . is an energetic novel about civilization as it races toward the ultimate overload.” —Publishers Weekly

"The characters are compelling, and it’s worth reaching the end just to find out how Maughan wraps up this Byzantine puzzle box. An original and engaging work of kitchen-sink dystopia." —Kirkus Reviews

"Infinite Detail is the new required reading for the future's next fifteen minutes. A sobering, often frightening look at the implications of the networked world. Riveting, sinister and deeply human." —Warren Ellis, author of Normal

“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… More…

“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, Boing Boing

"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." —David Pitt, Booklist

“Maughan’s dynamic, sprawling, post-postmodern cyberpunk debut . . . is an energetic novel about civilization as it races toward the ultimate overload.” —Publishers Weekly

"The characters are compelling, and it’s worth reaching the end just to find out how Maughan wraps up this Byzantine puzzle box. An original and engaging work of kitchen-sink dystopia." —Kirkus Reviews

"Infinite Detail is the new required reading for the future's next fifteen minutes. A sobering, often frightening look at the implications of the networked world. Riveting, sinister and deeply human." —Warren Ellis, author of Normal

“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

"Tim Maughan brings a deep knowledge of why the contemporary world works as it does, along with an informed awareness of how subcultures operate, to Infinite Detail—a powerful narrative featuring characters hardened but never crushed, told in crystal-sharp writing that leaves you wanting more." —Jack Womack, author of Random Acts of Senseless Violence

"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

"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

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

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Reviews from Goodreads

Tim Maughan

Tim Maughan is an author, a journalist, and a features writer who uses both fiction and nonfiction to explore issues around cities, class, culture, globalization, technology, and the future. His work regularly appears on the BBC and in Vice and New Scientist.

Tim Maughan also wrote Paintwork, and has coauthored series like Chromewash, The Best British Fantasy 2014 and Closer.

image of Tim Maughano
Tim Maughan

Tim Maughan

Meet the Author

March 26, 2019

Meet Tim Maughan as he discusses his novel, Infinite Detail.

READ THE FULL EXCERPT →

Tor.com

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