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Infinite Detail

(Infinite Detail #1)

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  1,794 ratings  ·  245 reviews
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 archit ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published March 5th 2019 by MCD X Fsg Originals
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Nirgal There's no sex scenes, only few description of (minimal) violence, but functional to the story, just to understand what happen.
The language it's norma…more
There's no sex scenes, only few description of (minimal) violence, but functional to the story, just to understand what happen.
The language it's normal.(less)

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Average rating 3.74  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,794 ratings  ·  245 reviews

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Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: uk, 2019-read
This is the kind of book we might pick up again in ten years' time only to be devastated by how many of Maughan's predictions of techno-terrorism have come true: Intertwining two alternating timelines - before and after a total internet shutdown that has plunged the world into chaos -, this author thinks through how our growing dependency on network technology and digitalization gives rise to new forms of power battles and warfare. The story centers on "the Croft", a counterculture enclave in Br ...more
Dec 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow ... One of the best SF books I've read this year, torn screaming and bleeding from the zeitgeist. A post-apocalyptic yarn about #TheEndofCivilisation when the Internet goes tits-up that refuses to pander to any genre expectations. Brutal, bleak, angry, savage, violent, a bit in your face with its fierce polemic. But urgent and so, so now. And it has a tragic (gay) love story as well, goddammit. Tim Maughan proves why SF is the only genre to parse the muddied waters of our insane world as it ...more
Eva Nebbia
I read more than half of this, looked up, thought, “I really don’t care what happens.” And put it down. 2019 is the year of me feeling okay with ditching books I don’t care about.
Dec 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Imagine there was no internet.

What would happen if we were cut off from our updates, our likes, our calorie tracking apps? How would we cope when our online calendars disappeared, when our entire history of communications with friends and family turned to electronic mist, deleted in an instant along with our email accounts?

Now, the crotchety old-timers among us will no doubt harrumph and orate at length about how such a disconnect could help us reconnect with what's important - the family time,
May 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-shelf, sci-fi
This is one of those novels that delve deep into the lives of a richly imagined near-future that takes us on a trip to a dystopia that explores:


Honestly, I'm reminded quite a bit of William Gibson's style. It's a slow and careful build-up of situations and world-building that gives us a no man's land of internet outcasts, people who don't want to be spied on or tabulated for all kinds of data mining, the path that micro-society takes after ten years, and the world of a p
Wendy Liu
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book came in the mail today and I read the whole thing this afternoon, in about 3 hours, stopping only to make lunch. Suffice to say I found it riveting.

This is a clever work of dystopian near-future sci-fi, imagining a world where the Internet is even more ubiquitous, and even more commodified, than it is now. Or at least, that's how it is in the "before" scenes of the book, set in 2021; the "after" scenes depict an Internet-free wasteland, where global capitalism has ground to a halt beca

SkyNet is real, and it wants to sell you shoes made by child slaves.

Every decade's science-fiction is taking common themes and anxieties of its decade, and transfers them slightly into the future. 60s SF had a nuclear war, 70s SF had ecological collapse, 80s SF had mega conglomerates ruling the planet, 90s SF had... I'm not sure?, but Infinite Detail clearly is about the anxieties Facebook, Google and the ubiquitous Internet have caused, the loss of privacy, more importantly, the loss of private
Oleksandr Zholud
This is a near future triller/post-apoc SF novel, which theGuardian chose as the best SF novel of 2019.

The story is split in two parallel plotlines, titled Before and After, with the latter taking about 3/4th of the book.

Before is about our increased reliance on internet, including the Internet of things (your smart fridge ordering groceries) and the corresponding increase in surveillance, both by government and private companies. This part is well-written for the author is a journalist who fo
Infinite Detail depicts life before and after the 'end of the internet', a mass failure of networks and systems which has created a sort of post-capitalist society. It's set mainly in Bristol, particularly the People's Republic of Stokes Croft – which really exists, though in the book it's developed from an activist enclave into a self-sufficient community with its own private network. Unusually for science fiction, the book is kind of plotless, with a sprawling cast that includes the architect ...more
August Bourré
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Originally posted here:

It’s rare for me to be as excited about a new release as I am about Tim Maughan’s excellent debut novel, Infinite Detail. I don’t recall exactly who put me on to Maughan’s work—someone on Twitter, surely, as that’s where I’ve gotten most of my book news and recommendations for close to a decade now—but I read Paintwork in 2016 and felt like I’d finally found the kind of science fiction I’d been looking for, and which the genre seeme
Aug 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
When's the last time you read dystopian sci-fi by a guy who loves drum & bass? ...more
Bryan Alexander
Infinite Detail is a novel about technological culture and dystopia, but those two topics aren't paired in quite the way readers might expect.

It takes place along two timelines, something very close to our present ("Before") and a time about fifteen years hence ("After"). During the former we follow characters involved in a technological-separatist community carved out of the British city of Bristol; during the latter, we follow people in the same area after an apocalyptic event. The central tra
Michael Burnam-Fink
Oct 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, sci-fi
Infinite Detail is a novel of our grim cyberpunk present, of a time that feels distinctly pre-apocalyptic. We live in a world with immense accumulations of wealth and power and information, and yet rather than steer towards a coherent vision of the future, hell, do anything at all, these machines alternately brutalize and seduce us. If you want a vision of the future, it's Kendal Jenner offering a riot cop a Pepsi forever.

One timeline, BEFORE, follows hacktivist Rushdi Manaan. Rushdi is British,
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a doozy of a book to read on what turned out to be the longest blackout in recent past. Although to be precise this novel isn’t apocalypse by blackout so much as it is apocalypse by disconnect. Yes, the power goes out, but the main paralyzing factor is that a population so cripplingly attached to its gadgets and instant and constant connectivity suddenly finds that dependency taken…nay, ripped away suddenly, brutally and irreversibly. So in a way it’s very much an apocalypse now, a very ...more
Mar 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbt, science-fiction
I never reviewed it, but I read Tim Maughan's Paintwork back in 2012, making me an oldschool Maughan fan (Maugfan?). I'm sure I heard about it from Jonathan McCalmont (pretty much all the good SF I've read has been recommended by him). I can't believe it's been 7 years since I read Paintwork and 7 years until he published his debut novel, Infinite Detail. Like Paintwork, this novel concerns itself with technology, urban spaces, music, and alternate modes of community engagement. Infinite Detail ...more
James Hanlon
Dec 07, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: own
Interesting premise but a weak book. The story basically goes nowhere. The entirety of the book is just world building and exposition. Ok, we get it, the internet abruptly went dark and bad stuff happened... now what? Also, how do people think the little girl, Mary, is some kind of soothsayer when she's wearing freaking Google glasses with blinking LEDs on the frames? The collapse in the book happened within their lifetimes, did they just suddenly forget everyone used to walk around 24/7 wearing ...more
Jun 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
After the weighty novels I've been reading recently, It was really nice to spend an evening racing through something light and easy for a change. I do not mean to depreciate 'Infinite Detail's quality by this; most things seem light after Gravity's Rainbow. The subject matter isn't particularly cheerful, yet there is something bitterly amusing about reading very-near-future depictions of societal breakdown while in lockdown. This one was published in 2019 and feels suitably cutting edge, except ...more
A brilliant contemporary novel that imagines our current globalized, networked, surveilled world taken just slightly further than it already is — and then suddenly brought to a crashing halt. Informed by research into the material reality of how capitalist global supply chains actually operate, how much these supply chains today depend on the Internet, and how much these networks enslave us in a process of self-actualization via self-commodification. In short, Infinite Detail is a deeply anti-ca ...more
Jan 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was pretty fascinating. I feel like there is a lot to unpack with it. The book’s chapters take place either “Before” or “After”. The pivotal moment being an instantaneous catastrophic destruction of the internet. The “Before” takes place a few years into the future from now. People are (unsurprisingly) even more absorbed in tech and the internet. I feel like reading the about the new technology was fascinating and believable, like I was reading about the actual future. Didn’t feel gimm ...more
Kelsey Atherton
Apr 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Finished this a few weeks back but wanted to digest it before posting a review.

Tim Maughan is one of those people who exists on the edge of the technological present, playing back your own hopes and fears to you. I read his Paintwork many years ago, and am pleased Infinite Detail carries on with his much-needed approach of poking the possibly-immediate future and seeing how many wasps come out.

Infinite Detail runs a fine line between a hate story of technology and electronics, and a love story f
Mar 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Tim Maughan is a master of making the invisible visible. In Infinite Detail, he forces us to consider the inner workings of systems so ubiquitous that we can barely remember what it was like before we had them, let alone project what a future might be like without them. The premise of the novel is the near-instant dystopia created when all of the internet suddenly stops working. This scenario immediately brings into sharp focus one of the deep ironies about technologies of any kind – the higher ...more
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you’re into soundsystems, Bristol, shipping-containers, post-abundance, surveillance capitalism, and how it all will look like after the crash of Internet... go read.
Julien L
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
For me, the mark of a good dystopian novel is both in its ability to project itself onto the future, and to hit on the realities of our current climate. Dystopian novels should make us think about the future, our current reality, the politics and culture of it all, and what changes we need to make in ourselves. Dystopias let us genuinely analyze how shit things are now.

That being said, Infinite Detail would make for a good replacement for 1984 in the classroom.

Maughan's novel approaches contemp
N. Gerard
Apr 25, 2019 rated it really liked it

I heard about this book through a BBC news article on how societal collapse might end up being a good thing, and the next day I was surprised to find the book on the shelves of my local independent bookstore. In this book we only begin to see a glimpse of the positive potentials, but it does provide a very credible scenario for how such a collapse might take place and how it would impact the people of Bristol, my home town.

The author takes us back and forth through pre and post collapse, weaving
Valentina Palladino
Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
What would you do if the Internet disappeared? I don’t mean your home Wi-Fi shuts down for a few hours - I mean the Internet as we know it today crashes and burns. Maughan explores this idea in Infinite Detail by giving his take on life before and after a cyberterrorist attack effectively cancels the Internet.

I grow fonder and fonder of ID the more it infiltrated my thoughts in the time after I finished it. The first half of the novel keeps you guessing, almost to the point of frustration. But
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Book Review: Infinite Detail
Author: Tim Maughan
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux/MCD x FSG Originals
Publication Date: March 5, 2019
Review Date: March 4, 2019

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

From the Amazon blurb:
“BEFORE: In Bristol’s (UK) 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 i
Jun 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A near-future tale of omni-connected technology and the corporate-erasure of privacy, set both before and after a never-fully-explained act of cyber-terrorism brings down the whole system.

At times I approached reading it as less of a novel and more as a searing monograph on how emerging tech will impact our lives. I'd be cool with an entire book exploring how an unnecessarily-monetized Internet of Things might inadvertently impact homeless populations. That was just fantastic and I almost have
Peter Hollo
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Just exquisitely brilliant. Couldn't be more of a book that was written basically for me.
Tim Maughan's fiction has excited me since his first little collection Paintwork. His incisive understanding of current and just-over-the-horizon technology and how it interacts with politics and society - the pure factualness of Gibson's quote that "the future is already here – it's just very not evenly distributed" - is a constant presence in his work, as is his embedded understanding of "the street" (you
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Our Modern Dystop...: Infinite Detail Reading 1 1 Jul 27, 2020 09:29AM  

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Tim Maughan is an author and journalist using both fiction and non-fiction to explore issues around cities, class, culture, technology, and the future. His work regularly appears on the BBC, New Scientist, and Vice/Motherboard. His debut novel INFINITE DETAIL will be published by FSG in 2019. He also collaborates with artists and filmmakers, and has had work shown at the V&A, Columbia School of Ar ...more

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“the hydroponic farms in the old buildings at the back of the Croft, the ones left over from before, the ones the old hippies used to grow their vegetables before the crash. When Grids took the Croft he put them all over to growing ganja, until he realized he could get a higher price growing herbs and spices—the things the Land Army didn’t provide through their tightly controlled rationing, the things everybody wanted. Illicit flavors, tastes, and smells.” 1 likes
“The pinnacle of human effort had been to create a largely hidden, superefficient, globe-spanning infrastructure of vast ships and city-size container ports—and all to do nothing more than keep feeding capitalism’s hunger for the disposable. To move plastic trash made by the global poor into the hands of hapless, clueless consumers. A seemingly unstoppable beast built from parasitic tentacles, clenching the planet with an iron grip.” 1 likes
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