Adam Rutherford's Train Delay Playlist

Posted by
Ralph Jones

We had a chat with geneticist extraordinaire Adam Rutherford, the man behind the science of Ex Machina and Annihilation, and asked him what he’s up to, culturally speaking.

ALBUM: DJ Shadow: The Mountain Will Fall

“I’m a massive hip-hop fan. This album by DJ Shadow is currently sitting on my turntable. It’s epicly good. It’s difficult to categorise. The weird thing is my kids love it as well. They regularly ask for it to be put on. It has some stupidly loud beats.” 

TV SHOW: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

“It’s not Sabrina as we remember it – it’s very much in the DNA of Buffy, so it’s properly scary and dark. It’s got that Buffy sensibility where there is the real world and there is another version of the real world, which is supernatural. They sit next to each other. Sabrina is the person who crosses that divide. The cat has a full back story. The Devil exists, he’s in it. The only thing about Sabrina that is not working for us is that it’s borderline too scary for my 12-year-old and it’s definitely too scary for my 10-year-old. It’s pretty chilling. It’s all a bit more grown-up than the previous version.”

FILM: Annihilation

“It’s the story of five scientists, who are all women, sent into investigate an exclusion zone in Louisiana, which may or may not be alien in origin. I won’t give too much away, but Natalie Portman plays a geneticist and I helped write the script. If you’re gonna be portrayed onscreen by anyone, it might as well be Natalie Portman.”

PODCAST: Waking Up With Sam Harris

“I listen to a lot of Sam Harris podcasts. Sometimes I find them intolerably annoying and intellectually smug. But on other topics there are few outlets that have greater perspicacity or insight into things of profound interest. There was a brilliant one with Masha Gessen.”

BOOK: Hello World by Hannah Fry

“This book, subtitled How To Be Human In The Age Of The Machine, is a guide to how artificial intelligence and algorithms are already controlling our lives to a degree, and whether or not is this is a good or bad thing. It’s essential reading. Hannah’s a great storyteller.”


“It’s a writer’s app with a series of background noises that play while you’re writing. Mine’s programmed to a train café.”

The Book Of Humans is out now, £18.99 (Weidenfeld and Nicholson)

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(Image: Getty)


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Ralph Jones

Ralph Jones is a staff writer for ShortList magazine. In April 2015 he won a seven-foot throne of dildos but he’d rather you didn’t mention it. He performs sketch comedy and is on Twitter at @OhHiRalphJones

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