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Turned Out Nice 2011

Turned Out Nice


A Reason for Everything paperback

A Reason For Everything

as we know it

dope girls


me and what I do


Wellcome Collection
                GuideA Guide for the Incurably Curious
Wellcome Collection's guide: 200+ images, and text by me.

Incurable Curiosity: a Tabloid Treatment

Turned Out Nice: How the British Isles Will Change as the World Heats Up

Faber & Faber, 2010.

' ... grimly realistic and yet in many ways inspiring ... A richly detailed, engrossingly readable history of how Britain came to be the way it is, Turned Out Nice is also a riveting description of what Britain is likely to become.' John Gray, New Statesman

' ... injects some delightful coolness and subtlety into all this' Andrew Marr, Financial Times

' a tour de force of information and speculation ... Nature writing which takes the future and its possibilities as seriously as the past ' The Economist

'intimate and stylish' Fred Pearce, Guardian

' a science writer of rare gifts' Marcus Berkmann, Daily Mail

Summertime 2100, and the living isn't easy (edited extract from Turned Out Nice, Independent on Sunday 30 May 2010)

A Different Climate: The Thought Fox blog post about our relationship with the future.

Trust: Self-Interest and the Common Good

Oxford University Press, 2008.

'Brilliant' - Guardian

Trust: The Page 99 Test

Trust: opening pages (Google Books)

A Reason For Everything: Natural Selection and the English Imagination

Faber & Faber, 2004.

'Brilliant' - Sunday Telegraph
'Beautifully written' - Times
'Brilliant ...
beautifully written' - Daily Telegraph

'a supremely intelligent author’ - Graham Farmelo, Sunday Telegraph

'A marvellous book'  - James Flint,  New Scientist

'a wonderful writer' - A.C. Grayling, Literary Review

'One of the best science writers we have' - Andrew Brown, Guardian

'yet another brilliant book' - Neal Ascherson, Observer

'a talented and witty writer' - Paul Harvey FRS, Times Higher Education Supplement

'a very good book' - Richard Fortey FRS

As We Know It: Coming to Terms with an Evolved Mind

Granta, 1999.

"Utterly fascinating ... a beautiful and moving picture of evolution." - Andrew Marr, Observer

Dope Girls: The Birth of the British Drug Underground

Latest edition Granta, 2003 (print) and 2013 (ebook)

"The best, most perceptive and most authoritative account of the British drug scene ever." - Will Self

dopegirls Dope Girls Blog: the story as it unfolds

Case notes, coal gas and cocaine (Wellcome Library guest post 9 November 2012)

The Chemical Generation and its Ancestors: Dance Crazes and Drug Panics across Eight Decades (International Journal of Drugs Policy 8/3, 1997)

The Race Gallery: The Return of Racial Science

Jonathan Cape, 1995.

Chapter 11:  The Seacoast of Macedonia




The future

Evolutionary thinking and human nature


Polish questions


Health and inequality


Śejla Kamerić: an artist's search for Bosnia's missing (Financial Times 30 January 2015)

Smart and smarter drugs (Mosaic 29 July 2014)

The Wellcome at 75 (Financial Times 24 September 2011)

Book of a Lifetime: Thomas Pynchon's Mason & Dixon (Independent 4 June 2010)

Materiel World (essay for Suzanne Treister's NATO project)

The future

The lynx effect: Mass extinction (Intelligent Life January/February 2013)

The thousand-year stare: imagining and caring about the distant future (Aeon 17 September 2012)

What we owe tomorrow's people (RSA Comment 15 July 2011)

Who needs oil? London in mid-21st century (Evening Standard 13 May 2011)

Review of John Gray's The Immortalization Commission (Independent 28 January 2011)

Climate change is a hard sell - especially when it's freezing out (Guardian 10 December 2010)

Evolutionary thinking

Review of Svante Pääbo's Neanderthal Man (Independent 2 April 2014)

Review of Richard Dawkins's An Appetite for Wonder (Independent 28 September 2013)

Review of Steve Jones's The Serpent's Promise (Independent 24 May 2013)

The Neanderthal mind (Aeon 15 May 2013) and a radio chat about it on Word of Mouth, NHPR, 10 June 2013)

Review of Peter Bowler's Darwin Deleted (Literary Review April 2013)

Review of Stephen Davies's The Artful Species (Independent 18 March 2013)

Ice Age art at the British Museum (Financial Times 6 February 2013)

Us and them (Aeon 10 January 2013)

Review of Mark Pagel's Wired for Culture (Independent 16 March 2012)

Review of Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow (Independent 18 November 2011)

Review of Steven Pinker's The Better Angels of Our Nature (Independent 7 October 2011)

Review of Richard Fortey's Survivors (Independent 9 September 2011)

Review of Chris Stringer's The Origin of Our Species (first published in Literary Review August 2011)

Review of David Lewis-Williams and Sam Challis's Deciphering Ancient Minds (Independent 10 June 2011)

Can modern science explain gender differences or our capacity for cruelty and kindness? (Independent 1 October 2010)

Review of Dennis Sewell's The Political Gene (Independent 8 January 2010)

Review of Peter Forbes's Dazzled and Deceived (Independent 30 October 2009)

Review of Richard Dawkins's The Greatest Show on Earth (Independent 18 September 2009)

Did Charles Darwin believe in racial inequality? (Independent 30 January 2009)

Ideas: Neanderthals  (New Statesman 30 October 2006)

Review of Richard Dawkins's The God Delusion (Independent  29 September 2006)

Ideas: Sex on the Brain : on sex differences (New Statesman 7 August 2006)

Savannahstan: Beyond Africa and Asia (author's version of 'Made in Savannahstan', New Scientist 1 July 2006)

Review of Daniel Dennett's Breaking the Spell (Independent 10 March 2006)

Ebu Gogo, Dwarf or Hobbit? (author's version of 'The Little Troublemaker', New Scientist 18 June 2005)

John Maynard Smith 1920 - 2004

Darwin Day and the Peppered Moths (Independent on Sunday London section 29 February 2004)

John Maynard Smith (New Statesman 14 July 2003)

Review of Steven Pinker's The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature (Independent 14 September 2002)

Unity is Health: An Evolutionary Left (author's version of 'An Evolutionary Left', Prospect October 2001)

Market Eugenics (Prospect May 2000)

Handaxes: Products of Sexual Selection? Marek Kohn & Steven Mithen (Antiquity 73, 1999)

Views for the Left - Peter Singer (Independent on Sunday 24 May 1998)

Cinderella Revisited - Martin Daly and Margo Wilson (Independent on Sunday 24 November 1996)

Drive an Escort, not a Ferrari, and be happy - Robert Frank (Independent on Sunday 16 June 1996)


MPs must be told what we expect before trust can blossom again (Times 22 June 2009 - subscription required)

Who can you trust? (New Statesman 26 June 2008)

Polish questions

Review of Hanna Krall's Chasing the King of Hearts (Independent 18 October 2013)

Review of Zygmunt Miłoszewski's A Grain of Truth (Independent 19 November 2012)

Review of Paweł Huelle's Cold Sea Stories (Independent 20 October 2012)

Review of Artur Domosławski's Ryszard Kapuściński: A Life (Independent 18 August 2012)

Review of Andrzej Stasiuk's On the Road to Babadag (Independent 29 July 2011)

Review of Jan Karski's Story of a Secret State (Independent 13 May 2011)

How Britain can help Poles (, 5 June 2008

Ideas: Enemies of the People: on populism (New Statesman 28 August 2006)

Poland's Beacon for Europe (openDemocracy 25 October 2005)


Ideas: Colour Shift: on race and science (New Statesman 12 June 2006)

This Racist Undercurrent in the Tide of Genetic Research (Guardian 17 January 2006)

Genes and the Nation State (Independent on Sunday London section 16 March 2003)

So What Tribe Do You Belong To? (New Statesman 30 July 2001)

Health and inequality

Unknown Knowns: The Relationship between Inequality and Health (conference paper, September 2006)

Ideas: From Top to Bottom : on equality (New Statesman 10 July 2006)

Review of Richard Wilkinson's The Impact of Inequality: How to Make Sick Societies Healthier (Prospect September 2005)

Why an Unequal Society is an Unhealthy Society  (New Statesman 26 July 2004)

Local interest

Down Town (The Brighton Moment)



Matthew Sweet's Palace of Great War Varieties, BBC Radio 3, 28 December 2014 and now online.


'My lingo, my train'. The free movement of languages and people (video), Fabrica Understanding Territoriality conference 26 May 2015.

Are smart drugs really that smart? Seán Moncrieff asks me on Newstalk (podcast), 7 August 2014.

Will It Turn Out Nice In 2100? (video), FutureFest 28 September 2013.

The Thing Is ... Death (audio stream / podcast), Wellcome Collection, 23 January 2013.

Can We Rise Above a Warming Planet? Climate Change, Democracy and Human Nature: lecture, October 2010.

Believing in Change: Darwin, Lincoln, Obama: lecture, Royal Society of Edinburgh, 13 November 2009.

Endless Forms

Between Apes and Angels: Representing the Darker Implications of Darwinism: video podcast for Endless Forms: Darwin and the Visual Arts, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

Thinking Allowed, British society and climate change (second item) presented by Laurie Taylor, BBC Radio 4.

Thinking Allowed, 'Cocaine Girls in the West End', presented by Laurie Taylor, BBC Radio 4.

Thinking Allowed, on Trust, with Onora O'Neill; presented by Laurie Taylor, BBC Radio 4.

Interview with ReadySteadyBook