Derek Haken was born in London in 1923, and has always been proud to be a Londoner. Since his early days he was an avid reader, and grew to love many books, particularly long and chunky stories or whole sagas. His favourite huge novel is still War & Peace, but others include the Forsyte Saga, Lord of the Rings, The Barchester Chronicles, Gone With the Wind, and the long series of books by Wilbur Smith, Patrick O’Brien, and C.S. Forester. He always enjoyed science fiction, from H.G. Wells and Aldous Huxley to modern great saga writers like Philip Pullman, Brian Aldiss and Julian May.
In his late teens he formed a resolve to follow Henry Williamson, the author of Tarka the Otter, and one day to match the example of that brilliant word-craftsman by building a family, moving to the West Country of England, and writing. This thought stayed with him through a long business career, and he has now lived in retirement in Devon for many years.
The World War 2 years brought him a lust for travel. He served in the British Navy for nearly five years and being lucky where he was drafted found that period full of excitement and adventure. As a telegraphist on a destroyer he took part in a number of Russian convoys including the action in the Arctic when the battle-cruiser Scharnhorst was finally sunk. Later he was made a sub-lieutenant RNVR when voyages to the Med and Australia across many oceans made settling as a clerk after the war seem dull. But he returned to work for the same friendly company who had continued to make up his salary throughout the war. He served them happily for a total of 43 years since leaving grammar school, not unusual in those far more stable times, and rose from junior clerk to senior management, with the single aim of building a good pension to enable him to see lots more of the world after retirement. And for the last 30 years he has done just that, travelling extensively by car throughout Europe and elsewhere, or as a passenger on cargo ships to enjoy long periods away in South Africa, Australia and the U.S. A long and lucky life for a working class child born in Lewisham.
He has been happily married three times and believes passionately in couples and bringing up children. The arguments for following this lifestyle or remaining single are a main theme in the series of novels he has written in recent years called The Providence Saga.
These novels represent a serious vision of what might happen to the human race over the next 300 years. Unlike many other present-day writers of Sci-fi, Derek Haken does not believe that the future holds only chaos and horror for mankind. He believes that the richness of normal life will go on, despite many seemingly impossible problems prophesied by doomsters. The novels have been described as “life-affirming”. They are also full of strange adventures by generations of one family, and have been enjoyed by many as “good reads“.