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CROOKED V.2 Author Spotlight: Jim Keen

We’re celebrating the launch of CROOKED V.2 by spotlighting the authors who have contributed stories!

Jim Keen writes books about the people who fascinate him in worlds that amaze him. He loves crime, thrillers, and stories about people with secrets. If there’s not a big twist along the way, he’d never write the first word.

The international bestselling Alice Yu series takes place forty years from now, in a world transformed by mechanical intelligences—AI’s big brother. Yu is a loner cop atoning for past sins. Through the series she discovers what it is to be human, while becoming something much more in the process. If you like the steely future noir of William Gibson, James S. A. Corey, and Martha Wells, you’ll love these sci-fi thrillers.

Alongside the Alice Yu trilogy, Jim has written four free novellas, plus drawn hundreds of illustrations and designs from the future. You can get all of those for free at


Tell us a bit about your story and the story world.

The science fiction books I’m working on occur in the late 2050s and early 2060s after the advent of AI. Intelligent machines have perfected automation, which has led to mass unemployment and significant changes to society, with an ever-widening gap between those at the top and everyone else. This story follows Sara, a memory hacker with unique talents, who is hired by the secretive SolarMute crime organization to steal a dead man’s mind…

What was the inspiration behind this story?

As my work occurs post-AI singularity, the wealthy have access to technology far beyond the dreams of most people. One such technology is the ability to be 3D scanned and organically reprinted, thus creating a type of eternal youth for those with the financial means. As always, people who are desperate enough will do anything for a way out, and SolarMute offers Sara hers.

If you could travel to any science fictional world, where would you go and what would you do?

I grew up massively influenced by cyberpunk, and it would be easy to say Blade Runner. However, while that makes for good entertainment, living in such a dystopia would be terrible! So, for me, it would be Star Trek: The Next Generation. I’m rewatching it with my son right now, and its post-scarcity utopia would be a fascinating world to experience (and less rainy).

What are some of your favorite sci-fi crime books or stories?

I think William Gibson is the greatest living science fiction author. A fantastic combination of beautiful prose, elegant structure and amazing imagination—I return to his books over and over. After that would be the Culture novels of Iain M. Banks; they’ve been a huge inspiration. I also thoroughly enjoyed The Expanse TV show.

What authors have inspired your writing?

While I’d love to write like William Gibson, I think my current work most resembles Neal Asher and Martha Wells, placing a big emphasis on interesting characters in terrible conditions…

What are you working on next?

This story, SolarMute, is the prequel to my next novel, Agent Zero which follows UN special agent John Risk as he is sent to hunt down and assassinate an evil AI running South America’s latest drugs war. A mission in which he just happens to need the services of an expert hacker…



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