PKD Award Winner Mark Hodder on Steampunk, Michael Moorcock, and Laughing Like a Lunatic


Mark Hodder recently won the Philip K. Dick Award, for his highly lauded first novel The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack. Praise included a starred review from Booklist and an excellent review in the Washington Post by Michael Dirda that called the book “a high-spirited mix of fact and fancy.”

Another positive review, from Publishers Weekly, does a good job of summarizing the set-up for the novel: “A historical figure already larger than life, Capt. Sir Richard Francis Burton, pursues a legendary and violent Victorian creature, Spring Heeled Jack, at the behest of the prime minister in this convincingly researched debut. Fans of steampunk will be intrigued by the alternate history setting, in which the queen dies mid-century; they will also enjoy following Burton and his sidekick, poet Algernon Swinburne, as they investigate the dark secrets of 19th-century England and recall Burton's legendary expedition to find the source of the Nile.”

Despite having just finished work on his latest novel, Hodder was kind enough to take the time to answer a few questions for Omni… Were you surprised to win the Philip K. Dick Award?

Mark Hodder: I watched the PKD Award ceremony being streamed live on the internet. When the winner was announced, I was, for the first time in my life, entirely dumbstruck! Michael Moorcock was among those who blurbed that novel, and a mighty blurb it is. Is Moorcock someone you’ve read extensively?

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