Chris Beckett

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For other people of the same name, see Christopher Beckett (disambiguation).
Chris Beckett
Occupation Social worker, Senior Lecturer, novelist
Genre Science fiction

Chris Beckett is a British social worker, university lecturer, and science fiction author. He has written several textbooks, dozens of short stories, and three novels.


Beckett was educated at the Dragon School in Oxford and Bryanston School in Dorset, England. He holds a BSc (Honours) in Psychology from the University of Bristol (1977), a CQSW from the University of Wales (1981), a Diploma in Advanced Social Work from Goldsmiths College, University of London (1977), and an MA in English Studies from Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge (2005). He has been a senior lecturer in social work at APU since 2000. He was social worker for eight years and the manager of a children and families social work team for ten years. Beckett has authored or co-authored several textbooks and scholarly articles on social work.[1]


Beckett began writing science fiction short stories in 1990, and had his first science fiction novel, The Holy Machine, published in 2004. He published his second novel in 2009, Marcher, based on a short story of the same name. (The Holy Machine and Marcher were issued by Cosmos in 2009 as mass market paperbacks.) Paul Di Filippo reviewed The Holy Machine for Asimov's, calling it "One of the most accomplished novel debuts to attract my attention in some time...",[2] Michael Levy in Strange Horizons called it "a beautifully written and deeply thoughtful tale about a would-be scientific utopia that has been bent sadly out of shape by both external and internal pressures."[3] and a review in Interzone by Tony Ballantyne declared, "Let’s waste no time: this book is incredible."[4][unreliable source?]His latest novel, Dark Eden was called by Stuart Kelly, of The Guardian, "a superior piece of the theologically nuanced science fiction".[5] While Valerie O’Riordan, in Bookmunch, called it "a science-fiction dystopian tale in the vein of Russell Hoban’s Ridley Walker or Patrick Ness’s YA trilogy, Chaos Walking – or, if we’re to go classical and mainstream, maybe Lord of the Flies" and "a character study of unconscious political ambition".[6]

Beckett has written over 20 short stories, many of them originally published in Interzone and Asimov's. Several of his short stories have appeared among the top three favorites in Interzone's annual readers' polls. Several have also been selected for republication, including in volumes 9, 19, 20, and 23 of The Year's Best Science Fiction, volumes 5 and 6 of the Year's Best SF, Robots and A.I.s in the Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois Ace anthology series.[7][unreliable source?]

He is also the author of several social work textbooks

Human Growth and Development An introduction to emotional, psychological, intellectual and social development throughout the lifespan. Written for students training in fields such as Social Work, Healthcare and Education, the book covers topics which are central to understanding people whether they are clients, service users, patients or pupils. Reviews: "An excellent text. Engages the reader and presents seminal theory in an easy to grasp format which I have found invaluable when teaching undergraduate nursing students." - Maureen Campbell, School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Dundee

"This second edition provides a wide-ranging and insightful analysis to psycho-social development across the lifespan. Highly recommended." Dawn Judd, Senior Lecturer in Social Work, University of Central Lancashire

"One of the great strengths of Beckett's writing is that his style is accessible to new undergraduates and he makes sure that complex material is summarised in a way that enables students to understand difficult issues." - Jacqueline Hughes, University of Huddersfield

"This is an excellent read. An impressive array of theoretical underpinnings applied to contemporary practice. Indeed a recommended read for students across the health and social care professions." - Michelle Davies, Academic Leader-Inter-Professional Practice (Social Work & Youth Work), University of Wales, Newport [8]

Essential Theory for Social Work Practice "I can say without equivocation this text is without doubt the best book about social work I have read. Chris Beckett explores the purpose, values activities and theories of social work in an ever-changing social context that is clearly identified and examined - Stephanie Petrie, University of Liverpool" [9]



Short story collections[edit]

  • The Turing Test, Elastic Press, 2008, ISBN 978-0-9553181-8-4.
    It comprises: "Karel's Prayer", "Dark Eden", "The Perimeter", "Piccadilly Circus", "We Could be Sisters", "Monsters", "The Turing Test", "Snapshots of Apirania", "The Gates of Troy", "The Marriage of Sky and Sea", "Valour", "The Warrior Half-and-Half", "Jazamine in the Green Wood", and "La Macchina".

Short Stories[edit]

  • "The Famous Cave Paintings on Isolus 9" (forthcoming)
  • "Johnny's New Job" — originally published in Interzone (forthcoming)
  • "Atomic Truth" — originally published in Asimov's (2009)
  • "Greenland" — originally published in Interzone (2008)
  • "Poppyfields" — originally published in Interzone (2008)
  • "Rat Island" — originally published in Interzone (2008)
  • "Karel's Prayer" — originally published in Interzone (2006)
  • "Dark Eden" — originally published in Asimov's (2006)
  • "The Perimeter" — originally published in Asimov's (2005); reprinted in Russian in Esli magazine
  • "Picadilly Circus" — originally published in Interzone (2005); republished in The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Third Annual Collection (2006); reprinted in Russian in Esli magazine
  • "We Could be Sisters" — originally published in Asimov's (2004)
  • "Tammy Pendant" — originally published in Asimov's (2004)
  • "Monsters" — originally published in Interzone (2003)
  • "The Turing Test" — originally published in Interzone (2002); republished in A.I.s, edited by Gardner Dozois and Jack Dann, Ace Books (2004)
  • "To Become a Warrior" — originally published in Interzone (2002); republished in The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twentieth Annual Collection (2003)
  • "Watching the Sea" — originally published in Interzone (2001)
  • "Marcher" — originally published in Interzone (2001); republished in The Year's Best Science Fiction: Nineteenth Annual Collection (2002)
  • "Snapshots of Apirania" — originally published in Interzone (2000)
  • "The Welfare Man Retires" — originally published in Interzone (2000)
  • "The Gates of Troy" — originally published in Interzone (2000)
  • "The Marriage of Sky and Sea" — originally published in Interzone (2000); republished in Year's Best SF 6 (2001)
  • "Valour" — originally published in Interzone (1999); republished in Year's Best SF 5 (2000)
  • "The Warrior Half-and-Half" — originally published in Interzone (1995); republished in Year's Best SF 5 (2000); republished in The Ant Men of Tibet, edited by David Pringle, Big Engine Books (2001)
  • "Jazamine in the Green Wood" — originally published in Interzone (1994)
  • "The Welfare Man" — originally published in Interzone (1993); republished in The Best of Interzone, edited by David Pringle, Voyager (HarperCollins) (1997); truncated version published in Health and Disease: a Reader, Open University Press (1995)
  • "The Circle of Stones" — originally published in Interzone (1992)
  • "The Long Journey of Frozen Heart" — originally published in Interzone (1991)
  • "La Macchina" — originally published in Interzone (1991); republished in The Year's Best Science Fiction: Ninth Annual Collection (1992); republished in Gedanken Fictions: Stories on Themes in Science, Technology and Society, edited by Thomas Easton, Wildside Press (2000); republished in Robots (2005)
  • "A Matter of Survival" — originally published in Interzone (1990)


  • Essential Theory for Social Work Practice, Sage, 2006
  • Values and Ethics in Social Work: An Introduction, Sage, 2005 (co-written with Andrew Maynard)
  • Social Work Assessment and Intervention in Social Work, Russell House, 2003 (co-written with Steven Walker)
  • Child Protection: An Introduction, Sage, 2003; 2nd Edition, 2007
  • Human Growth and Development, Sage, 2002


  • The October 2008 issue of Interzone contains an interview with the author by Andrew Hedgecock. The same issue contains three of his short stories.


  1. ^ Chris Beckett, Faculty of Health and Social Care, Anglia Ruskin University.
  2. ^ Paul Di Filippo, On Books, Asimov's Science Fiction.
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Chris Beckett, Reviews of The Holy Machine<.
  5. ^ [2]
  6. ^ [3]
  7. ^ Chris Beckett, Short Stories.
  8. ^ [4]
  9. ^ [5]

External links[edit]