Purser-Hallard received his doctorate in English literature at Oxford University, during which time he was President and Society Poet of the Douglas Adams Society, and a founder member of a student comedy troupe called Cruel and Unusual Punishment. His DPhil thesis, entitled 'The Relationship Between Creator and Creature in Science Fiction', examines how British and American science fiction of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries examine the relationship between humanity and a putative creating deity through stories about the creation of sentient individuals by scientists, working from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein through to recent authors like Bruce Sterling, William Gibson and Dan Simmons. He also has interests in eschatological science fiction, as seen in his first novel, Of the City of the Saved....
Purser-Hallard has given three talks at the liberal Christian Greenbelt festival, all on the intersections of science fiction and religious themes: "Science Fiction as the Bible" and "The Bible as Science Fiction]" (2004), and "The Spirituality of Doctor Who" (2005). Between 2006 and 2009 he wrote a regular column on science fiction and faith for Surefish, the ISP and webzine arm of Christian Aid. He publishes regular 140-character microfictions on Twitter, under the username trapphic.
Much of his published fiction up to 2013 was set in shared universes with origins in Doctor Who licensed fiction. His brother Nick Hallard, an artist, provided endpieces for the More Tales of the City collection and unofficial illustrations for Purser-Hallard's Of the City of the Saved... web pages.
- Iris Wildthyme of Mars (due from Obverse Books in 2014), an Iris Wildthyme anthology set on Mars.
- Tales of the Great Detectives (due from Obverse Books in 2014), a City of the Saved anthology featuring multiple Sherlock Holmeses.
- More Tales of the City (Obverse Books 2013), the second City of the Saved anthology.
- Tales of the City (Obverse Books 2012), the first City of the Saved anthology.
- The Pendragon Protocol (Snowbooks 2014), the first novel in the Devices Trilogy.
- Of the City of the Saved... (Mad Norwegian Press 2004), a novel in the Faction Paradox series.
- Horizon, or Señor 105 contra las Momias Locas de Odinhotep, (Manleigh Books, 2013), an e-novella in the Periodic Adventures of Señor 105 series.
- Predating the Predators, a novella (alongside others by Mags L Halliday and Kelly Hale) in The Vampire Curse (Big Finish Productions 2008), an anthology in the Bernice Summerfield series.
- Nursery Politics, a novella (alongside others by Kate Orman and Jonathan Blum) in Nobody's Children (Big Finish Productions 2007), a Bernice Summerfieldd anthology.
- Peculiar Lives (Telos Publishing 2005), a novella in the Time Hunter series.
- The Adventure of the Professor's Bequest in Further Encounters of Sherlock Holmes (due from Titan Books in 2014, edited by George Mann).
- De Umbris Idearum in Burning with Optimism's Flames (Obverse Books 2012, edited by Jay Eales).
- A Hundred Words from a Civil War in A Romance in Twelve Parts (Obverse Books 2011, edited by Lawrence Miles and Stuart Douglas).
- Battleship Anathema in Iris Wildthyme and the Celestial Omnibus (Obverse Books 2009, edited by Paul Magrs and Stuart Douglas).
- Future Relations (co-written with Nick Wallace) and five pieces under the umbrella title Perspectives in Collected Works (Big Finish Productions 2006, edited by Nick Wallace), a Bernice Summerfield anthology.
- The Ruins of Time in Short Trips: Time Signature (Big Finish Productions 2006, edited by Simon Guerrier), a Doctor Who anthology .
- The Long Midwinter in Short Trips: The History of Christmas (Big Finish Productions 2005, edited by Simon Guerrier), a Doctor Who anthology .
- Minions of the Moon in Wildthyme on Top (Big Finish Productions 2005, edited by Paul Magrs).
- Sex Secrets of the Robot Replicants in A Life Worth Living (Big Finish Productions 2004, edited by Guerrier), a Bernice Summerfield anthology. Sex Secrets of the Robot Replicants was reprinted as a prelude to the novel The Two Jasons by Dave Stone (Big Finish Productions 2007).
- Scapegoat in Emerge (Subway 2003, edited by Jane Campion and Jude Simpson), an anthology of poetry, prose and drama.
- Various entries in The Book of the War (Mad Norwegian Press 2002, edited by Lawrence Miles), an anthology in encyclopedia form belonging to the Faction Paradox series.
- The Drugs Did Work, an article on Philip K. Dick, in The Guardian (12 August 2006).
- "Cybernetic godhead": the relationship between creator and creature in the science fiction of William Gibson, in the journal ManuScript (1999).
- A Momentary Stay Against Confusion, an interview with Dan Simmons (2003).
- Microfiction, including the sequence Homo Arcanum: A Posthuman Tarot.
- Cruel and Unusual Punishment
- Philip Purser-Hallard at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
- "About the Author" in Purser-Hallard, Peculiar Lives p134. Telos Publishing 2005.
- DougSoc webpages from 1997, now stored at the Internet Archive.
- "People" on the Cruel and Unusual Punishment webpage.
- "Afterword" and "About the Author" in Peculiar Lives pp132-34.
- Abstract on Purser-Hallard's website.
- Short biography at the Greenbelt website.