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]


Science fiction[edit]

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 favourites 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?]

Social work[edit]

Beckett is also the author of several social work textbooks. These include Essential Theory for Social Work Practise and Human Growth and Development. The latter is an introduction to emotional, psychological, intellectual and social development across a human lifetime. It is 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.



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".
  • The Peacock Cloak, NewCon Press, 2013, ISBN 978-1-907069-49-9.
    It comprises: "Atomic Truth", "Two Thieves", "Johnny's New Job", "The Caramel Forest", "Greenland", "The Famous Cave Paintings on Isolus 9", "Rat Island", "Day 29", "Our Land", "The Desiccated Man", "Poppyfields" and "The Peacock Cloak".

Short Stories[edit]


  • 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.

External links[edit]