Max Barry is an Australian who pretended to sell high-end computer systems for Hewlett-Packard while secretly writing his first novel, SYRUP (1999). In fact, he still has the laptop he wrote it on because HP forgot to ask for it back, but keep that to yourself. He put an extra X in his name for SYRUP because he thought it would be a funny joke about marketing and failed to realize everyone would assume he was a pretentious jerk. JENNIFER GOVERNMENT, his second novel, was published in 2003 with no superfluous Xs and sold much better.
Max's third novel, COMPANY was published in 2006, and his fourth, MACHINE MAN, in 2012, was based on a real-time interactive web serial written and delivered in real-time one page per day from this web site. It made more sense than it sounds.
Max also created the online political game NationStates, for which he is far more famous amongst high school students and poli-sci majors than his novels.
SYRUP is in the process of becoming a feature film, due for release in 2013.
He was born March 18, 1973, and lives in Melbourne, Australia, where he writes full-time, the advantage being that he can do it while wearing only boxer shorts.