Duncan  Smith

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Duncan Smith

Goodreads Author


Born
in Sydney, Australia
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December 2015

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I write 'music novels' - books that have their own soundtrack albums. Here's how that began.

A few years ago I wrote a book called The Vortex Winder. Then my rock band, Lighthouse XIII, wrote an album of the same name, in which all the songs fitted into the story. It ended up like a film-musical, but with a book instead of a film.

This continued with the sequel, The Maelstrom Ascendant and the new book Cultown (unrelated to the others). I now have three novels, each with their own original rock soundtrack album.

As for literary genre, my novels have been linked to the following: psychological thriller, music, philosophical, adventure, and magic realism. My books don't fit neatly into one genre, and that's fine - it's more fun to mix things
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Duncan Smith 'Cultown' has just been published, so I'm not working on a new book just yet. I'm trying to write a blog and / or short story each week in 2017. They'…more'Cultown' has just been published, so I'm not working on a new book just yet. I'm trying to write a blog and / or short story each week in 2017. They'll appear on the Sparks blog on my website. (less)
Duncan Smith It's a longish answer, but here it is. 'Cultown' is the story of Thomas Swan, a charismatic figure who forms a cult called the Milinish.

The most dull …more
It's a longish answer, but here it is. 'Cultown' is the story of Thomas Swan, a charismatic figure who forms a cult called the Milinish.

The most dull and obvious way to tell such a story would be to write it from a position of superiority i.e. “Aren’t cults terrible? Cult leaders are awful and the people who join them must be weak, deluded fools.” That is not my way. For one thing, the story is told from the cult leader’s perspective. For another, it is suggested that he has good reason for his actions. And finally, I say we are all cult members, or brainwashed, in one way or another.

'Cultown' deals with topics to do with science and religion. If it had been written by a hard core scientist, it may have just been someone making fun of religious beliefs. But the Milinish is a scientific cult as much as a religious one. A reader of the book said it ‘shows not just the cultishness of religion, but of science too.’ One of the book’s themes is that for some people, science has become our new religion, with all the problems that entails.

I wrote the first version of this book in the late 1990s, while studying these topics at university. The first version of the book was quite good, but when I went back to it a couple of years ago, I realised it had flaws and could have been much better. In the last ten years I’ve become a much better writer, as a result of writing two novels – 'The Vortex Winder' and 'The Maelstrom Ascendant.' From the lessons learned there, I’ve been able to improve 'Cultown' considerably in its quality of writing.

That is not the only difference. The story’s setting has been updated from 1999 to 2017, incorporating the changes in technology we’ve seen in that time. Most significantly, Cultown now has a full rock soundtrack album. For both 'Vortex' and 'Maelstrom', my band, Lighthouse XIII, recorded a full soundtrack of songs, each of which fit into the story (sort of like a movie musical, except it’s a book). That trend continues with' Cultown'. There are twelve new songs which tie into the story.

When we think of cult members, we tend to think of people who are brainwashed into a given belief system and forced to adhere to a set of values and expectations. Yet if that is true, there are many different types of cults. On a mass scale, Nazism, for example, operated much as a cult does, with many of the same characteristics on show. There are other, more recent political examples. More generally, whenever we align ourselves with an organisation that expects us to conform to certain values, beliefs, and behaviour, we are at risk of showing cultish behaviour to some degree. My fascination with the psychology of cults was one factor that led me to write this book.

I was also intrigued by the leaders themselves. What prompted them to form such groups? The most obvious explanation was the desire for power, yet I’ve tried to go beyond such simple motivations. Thomas Swan is also, I hope, a sympathetic figure. He is ‘evil but not vile’ as one of the song titles has it. Besides, as Cultown is partly a comedy, as well as a drama, Tom is good for a few laughs!(less)
Average rating: 4.53 · 47 ratings · 25 reviews · 6 distinct worksSimilar authors
The Maelstrom Ascendant

4.53 avg rating — 15 ratings
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Cultown

4.53 avg rating — 15 ratings2 editions
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Conquest By Concept

4.43 avg rating — 7 ratings
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The Tightarse Tuesday Book ...

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The Vortex Winder

4.50 avg rating — 4 ratings
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The Vast and the Spurious

it was amazing 5.00 avg rating — 1 rating
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Conquest By Concept by Duncan  Smith
"A breath of fresh air, a reminder that it’s okay to be happy in your own skin, no matter what colour it is. That extreme ANYTHING never ends in contentment. That humans are as tribal as any other species. That the crimes of the past are not the fault" Read more of this review »
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The Magic of Spin by Ashley Mallett
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Very interesting book about what is probably the greatest 'art' in sport.

I suggest Mr Mallett might write a follow up about the great non-Australian spinners - Bedi, Chandresaker, Gibbs, Laker, Underwood, Murali, and so on. The Indian market is much
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Fugue for a Darkening Island by Christopher Priest
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I've read this twice, which means it is good, but his style is a little dry at times. I'm rating the original. Apparently he has updated it to make it more PC. I'm fascinated as to how he has done that, considering the topic. ...more
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Ben Hall by Frank Clune
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Very well brought to life, the legendary Ben Hall and his gang. Great work Frank Clune
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Rise of the Right by Greg Barns
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This book calls for more tolerance and diversity, yet the author seems to have little tolerance for those who do not share his own political values. Mr Barns is entitled to his beliefs, but others are entitled to question them and may have good reaso ...more
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Tis Magic! Our Memories of Catweazle by Alan Hayes
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One of the best TV series ever made, this book helps show why it touches people so deeply.
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Lillee & Thommo by Ian Brayshaw
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This takes me back to my childhood. In depth look at Lillee and Thommo. No pics but made up for my first hand accounts of them by their peers.
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Gynocentrism by Peter Wright
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An in-depth look at a topic that has had little exposure. Worth reading as an alternative to what we normally get on gender-themed history.
Confess by Rob Halford
"I don't usually seek out memoirs from celebrities. They are often poorly written and ultimately far too reliant on anecdote instead of thoughtful analysis. However, given Halford's unique role in heavy metal I wanted to see how this story unfolded. I" Read more of this review »
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The Various Haunts of Men by Susan         Hill
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