It’s a busy book. How long did it take?
I started in October 2008, and was correcting proofs by March 2011.
How did the desert get such a big part?
I took a road trip from LA to Joshua Tree with some friends. I was amazed by the landscape, and the weird quality of the light. I was writing a completely different book at the time. It wasn’t working out. I started writing a short story, which then metastasised.
Technology takes on a strong presence in it.
I think it’s important for all culturally literate people to understand the technological substrate of new developments.
Your novel references chaos and patterns. What do patterns mean to you?
I’m interested in complexity, in the mathematical sense, as well as the idiomatic sense. The idea of emergence—that it’s possible for complex patterns to arise out of many simple interactions—is fascinating.
Did David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas inspire...