Duncan Lunan was born in 1945 and grew up in Troon, Ayrshire, attending Marr College and Glasgow University. He is an M.A. with Honours in English and Philosophy with Physics, Astronomy and French as supporting subjects, and has a postgraduate Diploma in Education. He is a full-time author with emphasis on astronomy, spaceflight and science fiction, plus a wide range of other writing and speaking, as a researcher, tutor, critic, editor, lecturer and broadcaster. His first five books were “Man and the Stars”, “New Worlds for Old”, “Man and the Planets”, “Starfield” (edited), and the e-book “With Time Comes Concord”. “Children from the Sky” and “The Stones and the Stars, Building Scotland's Newest Megalith” were published in 2012, "Incoming Asteroid!" in 2013 and "The Elements of Time" in September 2016. He has contributed to 33 other books and his publications include over 1250 articles and 38 short stories including ten for the comic strip ‘Lance McLane’ created by Sydney Jordan, who illustrated “Children from the Sky” and "The Elements of Time". He was science fiction critic of the Glasgow Herald 1971-92, founded the Glasgow Science Fiction Writers' Circle, and as Manager of the Glasgow Parks Dept. Astronomy Project, 1978-79, he designed and built the first astronomically aligned stone circle in Britain for over 3000 years, described in “The Stones and the Stars” and illustrated with photographs by Gavin Roberts, Mark Runnacles and Linda Lunan, among others.
“Children from the Sky” is a speculative investigation of the mediaeval mystery of the Green Children of Woolpit. After ten years of research Duncan offers identifications of the date and locales of the story and of the principal characters, including the green girl herself. Both mediaeval chronicles which tell the story state that she survived into adulthood, and Duncan has traced two families of her descendants to the present. Part 3 of the book, ‘Speculation’, attempts to explain the mysterious parts of the story which led Robert Burton to place it in the astronomy section of "The Anatomy of Melancholy" in 1621. If true, they would imply extraterrestrial abductions, for experimental purposes, with the knowledge if not the connivance of some of the authorities of the day – “The scenario of The X-Files in the 12th Century.”
In contrast, "Incoming Asteroid! What Could We Do About It?" recounts a ten-year discussion project aimed at answering the question, 'If we we knew there was going to be an impact in ten years' time, what could we do? What would we do?' Contributors to the discussions included Prof. Colin McInnes, Prof. Max Vasile, Dr. David Asher, Dr. Nigel Holloway, Lembit Opik MP, Jay Tate of Spaceguard UK, and the late John Braithwaite and Dr. Arthur Hodkin. The scenario posits a 'Goldilocks' asteroid, not so big or in so inaccessible an orbit that nothing could be done, nor too easy to deal with to present a major challenge. The book considers deflection attempts by unmanned solar sails, a crewed expedition using a combination of mass drivers and gravity tractors, more drastic methods in the year before impact; stockpiling to lessen the death toll if the impact is unavoidable; what could be done with the space capability generated, if deflection is successful; and what is being done now to prepare for such eventualities. The book is illustrated by the Scottish space artists Ed Buckley, Sydney Jordan, Andy Paterson, Gordon Ross and Gavin Roberts.
In still greater contrast, "The Elements of Time" is a collection of seven stories, the four main ones featuring time travel via the classical elements of earth, water, air and fire. At first publication three of those were recommended for the Nebula Award of the Science Fiction Writers of America, and three of the others appear in print here for the first time. All the stories are illustrated by Sydney Jordan, creator of the world's longest-running science fiction comic strip, 'Jeff Hawke'. Duncan writes critical notes for the reprints of the full run of the strip by the Jeff Hawke Club, now nearing completion. His other interests include ancient and mediaeval history, hillwalking, jazz and folk music - he ran folk song clubs in Ayrshire for 16 years, and organised the ceilidhs for the World Science Fiction Conventions in Glasgow in 1995 and 2005.
From 1963 to 2010 Duncan was a Council Member of the Scottish spaceflight society ASTRA, was Curator of Airdrie Public Observatory for 18.5 of those years, and in 2006-2009 ran an educational outreach project from the Observatory to schools, funded by the National Lottery. He is Chair of the educational charity ACTA SCIO, founded in 2011, and co-founder with his wife Linda of the Astronomers of the Future Club, meeting in his home town of Troon, to which they returned in 2012. He is now Commissioning Editor for 'Space and Scotland', a new magazine of Scottish space affairs scheduled for first publication in December 2016.