The LSD Dossier
The LSD Dossier is a novel credited to Roger Harris but mostly written by Michael Moorcock. It introduces Nick Allard, a British secret agent for MI6, attached to Cell 6 under the auspices of Commander Robert Moody. Harris' original novel was found to be unsatisfactory by the publishers, who gave it to Moorcock to re-write. Only the plot and two of Harris' original chapters survived the process. It was published in the United Kingdom by Compact Books.
Unlike Moorcock's later Allard novels - Somewhere in the Night and Printer's Devil - The LSD Dossier was never revised and republished as a Jerry Cornell novel, and Allard is portrayed in it as slightly more heroic than as he came to be written in the two sequels.
The LSD Dossier was out of print for forty years before being made available as a PDF download from the Moorcock's Miscellany website.
Publishing History (UK)
- Mass Market Paperback, Compact, 160pp, 1966 (as by 'Roger Harris')
* * The following section may contain spoilers * *
Although dismissed by Moorcock as recently as 2007 as being "crap", The LSD Dossier is a remarkably good read being very much in the style of an Ian Fleming 'James Bond' thriller, although perhaps owing slightly more to the Sean Connery-era films than the original novels. However, Nick Allard is a somewhat seedy character, with something of a shady past, who is closer to Len Deighten's "Harry Palmer" than to Fleming's more urbane Bond. The plot has been criticized - not least by Moorcock himself - for using the McGuffin the premise that LSD is addictive in the same way as Class-A drugs like heroin, whereas in reality it is non-addictive.
While The LSD Dossier appears to all extents and purposes to be outside the main Eternal Champion saga, Nick Allard was at one time identified as an incarnation. It's possible to interpret Allard's hallucinations while under the influence of LSD-25 as being his experience of the lives of the other incarnations.
"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless. For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him. And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished. He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest. But then, after several lifetimes of this marvellous existence, where he had destroyed and created many, many things, he began to descend swiftly into darkness. Into hell. Into fire. Into torture of the most dreadful kind. Infinity upon infinity. Eternity after eternity. And Allard was all things. Sometimes he killed. Sometimes he brought to life. Sometimes he was incredibly strong, at others despicably weak. Time meant nothing."
In this, Allard is like John Daker, in that he experiences all the many existences of the Eternal Champion, but unlike Daker Allard would understand them to merely be delusions. Of course, Allard would himself be an aspect of Daker, so we have a degree of recursion here.
- "[Compact] got a man called Roger Harris to write The LSD Dossier, about an agent called Nick Allard, who was Harris's notion of a slick, sophisticated James Bond-type hero. The book wasn't publishable, according to Compact, so they asked me to rewrite it. What I gave them, except for one chapter, was essentially a completely new book, because it was easier to write it myself than go laboriously through this terrible prose - it's catching bad prose. When you're editing bad prose, it gradually lowers the tone of what you're trying to do. As I wrote it, I thought what a sleazy individual this Allard actually was: he seemed to me like a kind of corrupt estate agent. So does James Bond, really.
- "LSD Dossier wasn't my title, of course, and Roger Harris was a real person non-too-pleased with my revisions which mainly consisted of throwing away everything but his revised first chapter and a middle chapter and doing the rest myself. But I don't count it amongst my own titles because it is technically a rewrite. I suppose Caribbean Crisis is a bit like that."
- "I think Roger Harris was the pseudonym of a real person. He wasn't happy with what happened to his book. We never saw him again."
- cf. The Eternal Champion, 1970
- The LSD Dossier, Chapter 17
- Death Is No Obstacle, p27. (Savoy, 1992)
- Multiverse Q&A Answer, 2000-01-25
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