Ken MacLeod was born in Stornoway, Scotland, in 1954. He's been married to his wife Carol since 1981. They have two grown-up children, Sharon and Michael. After graduating with a BSc (Honours) in Zoology at the University of Glasgow, he did research at Brunel University, eventually gaining an MPhil. He worked in IT in London and Edinburgh. Since 1997 he has been a full-time SF writer. He has written eight novels, two novellas and several short stories and articles. Ken lives in West Lothian. He blogs at The Early Days of a Better Nation.
Why do you blog? > Because writing on Usenet newsgroups began to feel like writing on water.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Get out more: write about things other than things online, and I don't mean your cats, OK?
Who are your intellectual heroes? > Spinoza, Hume, Darwin, Marx.
What are you reading at the moment? > The Year of Our War, by Steph Swainton: a 'New Weird' fantasy.
Who are your cultural heroes? > Phil Ochs, Leonard Cohen, Warren Zevon, Karen Matheson, Shirley Manson and Edwin Morgan.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > I don't know if it counts as a novel, but: Njal's Saga.
What is your favourite poem? > The one that has most moved me recently has been Hugh MacDiarmid's 'Island Funeral'. Edwin Morgan's 'The Coin' can reliably make my neck hairs prickle.
What is your favourite movie? > Blade Runner.
What is your favourite song? > This varies according to the mental soundtrack of the book I'm writing. For the latest one, it was 'Mo Ghile Mear' on the Chieftains' album 'The Long Black Veil'.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > The economic calculation argument, several times.
Who are your political heroes? > Cromwell, Lincoln and Lenin.
What is your favourite piece of political wisdom? > In practical politics: 'Put not your trust in princes.' In political theory: Spinoza's argument that the law works '...not by reasons, but by threats.'
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > Get the troops out of Iraq.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > The US drive for world hegemony.
What would be your most important piece of advice about life? > Life is not a rehearsal.
Do you think you could ever be married to, or in a long-term relationship with, someone with radically different political views from your own? > Yes.
What is your favourite proverb? > 'Procrastination is the thief of time.'
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > Fight harder for my most mistaken positions, and thereby learn better sooner.
What would your ideal holiday be? > Days of sun, swimming, beer and books, with a few strenuous and interesting excursions.
What do you like doing in your spare time? > Reading, with a CD, a small whisky and a cigarette.
What talent would you most like to have? > To think faster.
What would be your ideal choice of alternative profession or job? > Palaeontologist.
Who is your favourite comedian or humorist? > Rich Hall.
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > David Hume, Tommy Jackson and Tom Paulin.
What animal would you most like to be? > A cat.
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