(Taken from this interesting webpage about Raymond, with many book covers.)
Having read or re-read all of Derek Raymond’s novels, save one, I am turning my attention to his autobiography, The Hidden Files–a somewhat difficult out-of-print book to get a copy of, and not particularly cheap, either.
The descriptions on the dust jacket of The Hidden Files includes this insight, rather more sensationalistic than his actual fiction:
A memoir on [Raymond's] writing techques and inspiration, peppered with autobiographical vignettes, it provides a unique insight into the dark recesses of a writer’s mind. And in charting his own erratic career, Raymond reveals impeccable credentials as a chronicler of the high-life and low-life sleaze. Born into a wealthy, eccentric, upper-middle class family and educated at Eton, he soon dropped out–a traitor to his class–and immersed himself in London’s criminal underworld of the 1960s. His acquaintance with crime has served him well as a novelist; his bleak, violent accounts of psychopaths, his cynical, cold-blooded detective, his musings about tormented, cold-blooded killers and meditations on the nature of evil paint chillingly real portraits of the demons at the heart of society.
Although I’ve only just started in on The Hidden Files, I thought I’d give you a taste of it by typing up the introduction, which you can find below the cut. In it, Raymond talks about the origins of the title–the fact there are parts of ourselves we keep hidden from other people, and suggesting that in part this is because those hidden files feed into the fiction. His description of the immersive aspect of writing fiction rings very true to me–and is making me increasingly wary of an unthinking embrace of social media and the resulting fragmentation of our attention spans, the wholesale creation of not just open channels but open thoroughfares through which other people’s personalities, ideas, and ephemera smash into our consciousnesses. Is there damage to the hidden files as a result? Even, perhaps, corruption that we don’t notice? Is it connectivity or assault? Anyway, this is a tangent to Raymond’s point, I’m sure, but something that struck me.
I’ll report back on The Hidden Files when I finish it. In the meantime, here’re the links to my prior Derek Raymond post and, of course, Raymond’s introduction, British spellings preserved.
Derek Raymond’s Factory Novels
The Pathology of Derek Raymond’s Dead Man Upright