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Duncan, Dave

Entry updated 29 May 2023. Tagged: Author.

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Working name of Scottish-born petroleum geologist and author David John Duncan (1933-2018), in Canada from 1955, a citizen from 1960; he also wrote as by Sarah B Franklin and Ken Hood. His earlier singleton novels inclined mostly to sf. The first, A Rose-Red City (1987), complicatedly puts its twentieth-century protagonist into a walled Utopia, where demons (and the Minotaur) oppose his attempts to extract Ariadne from the world. Shadow (1987) is a Science-Fantasy tale of dynasties in trouble on a strange planet "light-years hence". West of January (1989) is a crowded Planetary Romance set on a world whose day and orbit are of approximately the same duration and in which a not particularly attractive hero – his name is Knobil and, as the book is at times comical in intent, the K can be assumed silent – has adventures all day long, some of which carry subtle stings in their tails. Strings (1990), also sf, features a significantly naive protagonist caught up in events the book's readers understand better than he, as a desperately terminal Earth must be escaped, via superstring transport, and a princess must be succoured. Duncan's work has all the flamboyance of tales written strictly for escape, but (as has been noted by critics) never for long allows his readers to forget what kind of problems he is inviting them to dodge. His most virtuoso passages seem almost brazenly to dance with despair. Three much later novels are sf: Pock's World (2010), set on a planet threatened by quarantine and possible destruction because of an infestation of Alien stock, which proves to have been Genetically Engineered from the human genome; Wildcatter (2012), about prospectors for exploitable planets in interstellar space (here called The Big Nothing), and their attempts to outsmart giant corporations from Earth; and Eocene Station (2016), featuring escape from vengeful governments via Time Travel to the titular research station 50 million years in the past.

Duncan was a founder and honorary life member of SF Canada, the Canada-specific equivalent of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Over his career, he increasingly concentrated on fantasy; his several series are fantasy [see Checklist below], including the Nostradamus sequence beginning with The Alchemist's Apprentice (2007) (see Nostradamus); the same is true of his work under pseudonyms [again see Checklist below]. The posthumously published novel Pillar of Darkness (2019), reportedly his sixtieth, is sf dealing with an expedition to the titular Macrostructure or Zone that appeared in Africa 30 years before the book's action, and within which Technology progressively fails. A further fantasy also awaits publication. [JC]

David John Duncan

born Newport-on-Tay, Scotland: 30 June 1933

died Canada: 29 October 2018



Seventh Sword

A Man of his Word

Handful of Men

The Great Game

The Years of Longdirk

  • Demon Sword (New York: HarperPrism, 1995) as by Ken Hood [The Years of Longdirk: pb/Jean François Podevin]
  • Demon Rider (New York: HarperPrism, 1997) as by Ken Hood [The Years of Longdirk: pb/Donato Giancola]
  • Demon Knight (New York: HarperPrism, 1998) as by Ken Hood [The Years of Longdirk: pb/Donato Giancola]
    • The Years of Longdirk (New York: Open Road Integrated Media, 2018) as by Ken Hood [omni of the above three: ebook: The Years of Longdirk: na/]

Tales of the King's Blade

  • The Gilded Chain: A Tale of the King's Blades (New York: Avon Eos, 1998) [Tales of the King's Blade: hb/Hal Just]
  • Lord of the Fire Lands (New York: Avon Eos, 1999) [Tales of the King's Blade: hb/Paul Robinson]
  • Sky of Swords (New York: Avon Eos, 2000) [Tales of the King's Blade: hb/Boris Zlotsky]
  • Paragon Lost (New York: HarperCollins Eos, 2002) [Tales of the King's Blade: Chronicles of the King's Blade: hb/Stephen Hickman]
  • Impossible Odds (New York: HarperCollins Eos, 2003) [Tales of the King's Blade: Chronicles of the King's Blade: hb/Paul Robinson]
  • The Jaguar Knights (New York: HarperCollins Eos, 2004) [Tales of the King's Blade: Chronicles of the King's Blade: hb/Paul Robinson]

The King's Daggers


  • Children of Chaos (New York: Tor, 2006) [not to be confused with the Chaos novels by Charles C Wright in the same year from the same publisher: Chaos: hb/Daniel Dos Santos]
  • Mother of Lies (New York: Tor, 2007) [Chaos: hb/Daniel Dos Santos]


The Brothers Magnus


  • King of Swords (Las Vegas, Nevada: 47North, 2013) [Starfolk: pb/]
  • Queen of Stars (Las Vegas, Nevada: 47North, 2013) [Starfolk: pb/Chase Stone]

Enchanter General

  • Ironfoot (New York: Skyhorse Publishing/Night Shade Books, 2017) [Enchanter General: hb/Stephen Youll]
  • Trial by Treason (New York: Skyhorse Publishing/Night Shade Books, 2018) [Enchanter General: hb/Stephen Youll]
  • Merlin Redux (New York: Skyhorse Publishing/Night Shade Books, 2019) [Enchanter General: hb/]

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