Ian McEwan is the author of such celebrated novels as Atonement, The Children Act, Saturday, and On Chesil Beach and the Man Booker prize-winning Amsterdam. His fiction regularly engages with complex scientific and ethical issues, and 2008 Time Magazine named him one of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945." His new novel Machines Like Me takes place in a re-imagined 1980s England, one in which rapid technological advances have created artificial people — fully resembling living humans, but available to have their personalities set by their owners. It's a story with echoes of works like Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, and even Shakespeare's The Tempest — and one that engages deeply with the life and work of the computing pioneer Alan Turing. Ian McEwan took some time just before his novel's American publication to talk with Bill Tipper from his home in the UK. We asked him to begin by talking about the seed of this audacious new work.