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DMU author receives second nomination as he waits to hear if he has won world famous book prize

A Creative Writing lecturer from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) will find out tomorrow night if he has won one of the world’s most prestigious sci-fi prizes – just as he has been nominated for another book award.

Rod Duncan heard earlier this year that he was named as one of the nominees for the Philip K Dick Award for The Bullet Catcher's Daughter.


The Philip K Dick Award is named after the legendary sci-fi writer whose books, and the incredible ideas contained within them, formed the basis of classic films such as Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, Stephen Spielberg’s Minority Report, Paul Verhoeven’s Total Recall and Richard Linklater’s A Scanner Darkly.

Rod has travelled to Seattle to the awards event to find out if he has won and has recently heard he has now been shortlisted for the East Midlands Book Award with five other prominent writers from the area.

Talking about his latest nomination from the East Midlands, Rod said: “"The East Midlands Book Award is a reminder of the exceptional writing happening in this region.

“I’ve been involved in the writing scene here for more years than I care to admit. But I’ve never seen a more vibrant, diverse and creative mix than we have right now. To be shortlisted is a great honour. "

Rod spoke to DMU in January this year when he found out he had been short-listed for the Philip K Dick Award. At the time he said: “If you will excuse the British slang, I was completely gobsmacked to be standing alongside such wonderful writers, and to be up for an award bearing the name of Philip K Dick is a great honour. I feel hugely grateful.

“I have to think that I am not going to win it. I am far too excited to entertain any other possibility. I feel like a winner anyway, as I’m sure the other five people on the shortlist do, because to be associated with such a prestigious award is just wonderful.”

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The Bullet Catcher’s Daughter is part one of a series of at least three books which will form “The Fall of the Gas-lit Empire”. It is set in a Victorianesque version of Leicester and Lincolnshire and events happen in the aftermath of a Luddite revolution that has reined back technology.

The novel takes place at a travelling magic show and is themed around illusion, hence the bullet catcher trick in the title.

Critics have noted how the steampunk novel plays with the world of illusion on many levels and it has been recognised for the sleight of hand used by the author, including a surprising revelation towards the end.

Rod is now planning at least two more books in the series which will continue to involve his home of Leicester, and introduce Nottingham and Derby as other locations.

He said: “I have been back and forth around Britain and always seem to return to Leicester to live. I love the city and particularly the rich diversity, which is something that is very precious to me. That is the reason, more than any other, that I keep coming back here.”

An entire world of the Gas-lit Empire has also been created by Rod online. It includes maps, back stories, newspaper articles from the Empire and mysteries to solve.

The Bullet Catcher’s Daughter is published by Angry Robot Books and available online from Amazon, Waterstones, WH Smith and other book stores. The winner of the Philip K Dick prize will be announced in Seattle tomorrow, Friday 3 April.

The other nominees for the East Midlands Book Award are:
Common Ground by D A Prince
Smart by Kim Slater
The Astronaut, the Cake and Tomorrow by Matt Sisson
Towns in Britain by Jones the Planner
We Bleed the Same by David Wilkinson

Posted on Thursday 2nd April 2015

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