To Be a Machine | Granta
  • Published: 01/03/2018
  • ISBN: 9781783781980
  • 129x20mm
  • 256 pages

To Be a Machine

Mark O'Connell

WINNER OF THE WELLCOME BOOK PRIZE 2018
Shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize 2017

A stunning new non-fiction voice tackles an urgent question… what next for mankind?

‘Troubling and humorous, this is one of my current give-it-to-everyone books – I buy six copies at a time’
Jeanette Winterson

A voyage into the dark heart of transhumanism, where dwell many hopeful mind-uploaders, robo-warfighters, subdermal implanters, doomed immortalists, and sundry aging Singularitarians. A funny, wise, and oddly moving book

Nicholson Baker

O'Connell's forensic investigation of the unnervingly fluid border between the human and the machine is elegant and gripping: at once a hilarious anthropological survey of the people who believe technology will give us eternal life and a terrifying account of how technology is changing the cardinal features of human existence

Olivia Laing

In this hilarious and moving volume, Mark O'Connell interweaves his journalistic adventures among the transhumanists with his own thoughts about mortality and life experiences, starting with the birth of his son and ending, memorably, with a colonoscopy. The field of transhumanism and the individuals who populate it emerge as at once bizarre, compelling, and, ironically, deeply human, because what is more human than trying to overcome the limits of our bodies and mortality? Nothing! It's super-detailed and cosmic and minute and high-stakes and funny and sad, all at the same time

Elif Batuman

The Author

Mark O’Connell is an award-winning Irish writer. His first book, To Be a Machine, won the 2018 Wellcome Book Prize and was shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize. In 2019, he became the first ever non-fiction writer to win the prestigious Rooney Prize for Irish Literature. His second book, Notes From an Apocalypse was longlisted for the Wainwright Prize. He is a contributor to the New York Review of Books, and his work has appeared in theNew Yorker.

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From the Same Author

Mark O'Connell on Granta.com

Granta Books Writing | Granta Books

In Conversation

Jenny Offill & Mark O'Connell

‘This isn’t the end of the world. It’s history going about its business. This isn’t the last apocalypse by a long shot.’

Jenny Offill, author of Weather, talks to Mark O’Connell, author of Notes from the Apocalypse.