Recent events have given conspiracy theories a bad name, says author

While conspiracy theories are ideal material for story tellers, author C.R. Berry is worried that they are no longer just harmless entertainment.

DARTFORD, KENT – 24 November 2021 – Elsewhen Press is a publishing house specialising in high quality, entertaining and thoughtful speculative fiction, often addressing current, real-world issues through a fictional prism. For author C.R. Berry, inventing new conspiracy theories and subsuming existing ones, has been an effective way to create thrilling, internally consistent stories that are entertaining but clearly far-fetched. In his Million Eyes trilogy, and related short stories, time travel is the underlying explanation for many inexplicable events throughout history. But now he is worried that using conspiracy theories as a fictional tool may become socially unacceptable.

“The past couple of years have given conspiracy theories a bad name,” says Berry. “With COVID deniers, anti-vaxxers and the Trump-fuelled Capitol riot, we’re seeing conspiracy theories that are dangerous and doing harm. Those that feature in the Million Eyes series, such as the claims that Princess Diana was assassinated and the Gunpowder Plot was an inside job, are just supposed to be harmless hypotheticals. But the current climate has made me wonder if I should be writing about them at all.

“When talking about my books, I already had to make clear that I’m not a tinfoil-hat wearer, but now I feel like I need to add that COVID is real and, yes, people should get vaccinated.

“Having said all that, I am very careful about which conspiracy theories I use. I wouldn’t incorporate any that are racist or would prolong a pandemic. And also, while the Million Eyes series does perpetuate the idea that there was a second shooter on the grassy knoll and that the Christian Church covered up the existence of a secret gospel, these events are explained with time travel, which is intentionally preposterous. That’s because, to me, conspiracy theories – some of them, anyway – make for great stories. Hopefully that’s what I’ve achieved with Million Eyes.”

The first book in the Million Eyes trilogy was launched in print just a few days before the first UK lockdown in 2020. The second book has recently been launched, at a time when many people are still suffering from the effects of the pandemic itself and the social and commercial impacts of attempting to deal with it. Berry is currently putting the finishing touches to the final book.

Nevertheless, he is now seriously reconsidering whether his books after Million Eyes will be so conspiracy-laden. “I do wonder if I should carry on incorporating such controversial material into my writing at a time when misinformation is so prevalent. Even though I’m just posing fun what-if scenarios, I’ve been contacted multiple times by conspiracy theorists who assume I believe everything I write about. I’ve had many an online argument with Flat Earthers and others who insist that the Royal Family are secret reptilians, and I can honestly say I wouldn’t want to meet any of those people on a dark night.”

Peter Buck, Editorial Director of Elsewhen Press said, “We signed Berry for the Million Eyes trilogy long before the pandemic, at a time when conspiracy theorists were still a laughable minority. Now, as he says, they are a real and present threat, not just to stability and democracy but to the continued existence of the human race. I hope that Million Eyes can help to redress the balance by further undermining the obvious credulity of the stupid and gullible, and return conspiracy theories to their rightful place as merely humorous entertainment.”

Million Eyes II: The Unraveller by C.R. Berry is now available in eBook format and paperback.

Notes for Editors

About Million Eyes II: the Unraveller

Time is the Ultimate Saviour

Following an impossible discovery in East London, archaeologist Dr Samantha Lester joins forces with software developer Adam Bryant to investigate the events that led to the disappearance of his best friend, Jennifer, and to bring down the people responsible – Million Eyes.

Before long, Lester and Adam are drawn into a tangled conspiratorial web involving dinosaurs, the Gunpowder Plot, Jesus, the Bermuda Triangle, and a mysterious history-hopping individual called the Unraveller, who is determined to wipe Million Eyes off the temporal map.

But as the secrets of Million Eyes’ past are revealed, picking a side in this fight might not be so easy.

ISBN: 9781911409687 (paperback, 408pp) / 9781911409786 (eBook)

Visit bit.ly/Million-Eyes-II

About C.R. Berry

C.R. Berry started out in police stations and courtrooms – as a lawyer, not a defendant – before taking up writing full-time. He’s currently head of content for a software developer and writes fiction about conspiracies and time travel.

Berry was published in Best of British Science Fiction 2020 from Newcon Press with a Million Eyes short story. He’s also been published in magazines and anthologies such as Storgy and Dark Tales, and in 2018 was shortlisted in the Grindstone Literary International Novel Competition.

In 2021, he bought his first house with his girlfriend, Katherine, in Clanfield, Hampshire, discovering whole new levels of stress renovating it (not helped by a rogue builder running off with most of their budget). The couple are now in the fun stage, going full-on nerd and theming all the rooms – their bedroom is a spaceship, their kitchen a 50s diner.

 

Out today in paperback – Million Eyes II: The Unraveller

Today sees the launch of the print edition of Million Eyes II: The Unraveller by C.R. Berry, it is available from all good bookshops and Amazon.

Artwork: Alison Buck

The Rising Flood, Book 3 of the Marek series is out today in eBook

Out today, on all good eBook platforms, book 3 of Juliet Kemp’s gripping Marek series, The Rising Flood, takes us to Marek just as unseasonal storms are sweeping across the Oval Sea. Once again the book is graced with a beautiful cover from artist Tony Allcock.

Malka Older, Author of the Centenal Cycle series, Hugo Award finalist, said “Fantasy politics with real nuance and believable uncertainty, characters whose richness and depth has developed over three books, and a growing threat that starts pulling together threads across the series make The Rising Flood a fantastic read, while Marek is a textured place that is a joy to return to.

Artwork: Tony Allcock
Artwork: Tony Allcock

A darkness writhes in the heart of Teren.

The Academy is unleashing demons on dissenters, and refugees rush to leave the capital with nothing but their lives and a hope.

That hope brings them to the city of Marek, Teren’s only major port, which harbours dreams of independence. But Marek is not as stable as it seems.

Marcia, Heir to House Fereno, has spent the last two years fighting to keep Marek safe and prosperous – but with child, her relationship in ruins and the increasing threat of Teren to worry about, can she find her way through? The printing houses of the city run rabble-rousing polemic, penned by an increasingly frustrated majority who feel left out of the rule and riches of Marek. They demand change, and Marcia can’t help but agree with much of what they’re saying.

On the other side of the bridge, the tiny group of Marek’s remaining sorcerers must negotiate their way through troubles of their own. Cato, Marcia’s exiled brother, and Reb, her ex-lover, are trying to train a new generation of sorcerers and both are having problems. Jonas simply won’t take ‘no’ for an answer from Cato; and Reb’s two students feel held back, both know that change, and strife, may be coming – and neither are ready to deal with it. But Reb cannot bring herself to move faster.

Between them, the five sorcerers alongside Marek’s cityangel can expel a single demon. But Teren has many, and other fears loom on the horizon. Out-of-season storms rampage across the Oval Sea, threatening trade – and Jonas’ family, out plying the trade winds – and the unseasonable weather threatens Marek itself.

Menaced by the distant capital, by dissension from within, and even by nature itself – will the rising flood lift all boats?

Or will they be capsized?

You can get The Rising Flood on your favourite eBook platform via Books2Read.

 

Out today in eBook – Million Eyes II: The Unraveller by C.R. Berry

The second book in the Million Eyes trilogy is out today in eBook format. Million Eyes II: The Unraveller continues on from Million Eyes.

If you need a reminder of the story so far, watch the recap Previously in Million Eyes on C.R.Berry’s YouTube channel.

Artwork: Alison Buck

Following an impossible discovery in East London, archaeologist Dr Samantha Lester joins forces with software developer Adam Bryant to investigate the events that led to the disappearance of his best friend, Jennifer, and to bring down the people responsible – Million Eyes.

Before long, Lester and Adam are drawn into a tangled conspiratorial web involving dinosaurs, the Gunpowder Plot, Jesus, the Bermuda Triangle, and a mysterious history-hopping individual called the Unraveller, who is determined to wipe Million Eyes off the temporal map.

But as the secrets of Million Eyes’ past are revealed, picking a side in this fight might not be so easy.

Thiever, David M Allan’s sequel to Quaestor is out today in eBook

We are excited to announce the publication today, in eBook format, of David M Allan’s new fantasy novel Thiever, the sequel to Quaestor.

Artwork: Alison Buck
Artwork: Alison Buck

After the events in Jotuk at the end of Quaestor, Anarya is no longer a Sponger but is now a Thiever – when she takes someone’s magic talent they lose it until she can no longer hold on to it. Worryingly, the power also brings a desperate hunger to take others’ talents, just as the false god did. As Anarya struggles to control the compulsion, Yisul is fraught with worry and seeks help for her lover. But Jotuk is in upheaval; the Twenty-Three families are in disarray, divided over how the city should be governed.

In Carregis, the King seeks to establish himself as an effective ruler. First, though, he must work out whom he can trust.

Meanwhile, the priestesses of Quarenna and the priests of Huler are having disturbing dreams…

Thiever is available from today in eBook format on most popular platforms, and will be published in paperback in November.

Cover reveal for Million Eyes II : The Unraveller by C.R. Berry

Time is the Ultimate Saviour

So, can you deduce any clues from that tagline, or from the subtitle ‘The Unraveller’, as to how the story that started in Million Eyes unfolds (or should that be unwinds or unravels?)

What do we know? Well, conspiracy theories abound (of course). C.R.Berry has mentioned dinosaurs, the Gunpowder Plot, Jesus, the Bermuda Triangle, and the mysterious Unraveller! Time is often likened to a tapestry, and we all know the biggest enemy of a tapestry… moths I mean, unravelling threads. So imagine how much of a threat an Unraveller would be to the tapestry of time itself…

And that was C.R.Berry’s inspiration for the cover by Alison Buck:

Artwork: Alison Buck

Following an impossible discovery in East London, archaeologist Dr Samantha Lester joins forces with software developer Adam Bryant to investigate the events that led to the disappearance of his best friend, Jennifer, and to bring down the people responsible – Million Eyes.

Before long, Lester and Adam are drawn into a tangled conspiratorial web involving dinosaurs, the Gunpowder Plot, Jesus, the Bermuda Triangle, and a mysterious history-hopping individual called the Unraveller, who is determined to wipe Million Eyes off the temporal map.

But as the secrets of Million Eyes’ past are revealed, picking a side in this fight might not be so easy.

Million Eyes II: The Unraveller will be out as an eBook in September and in paperback in November

 

Available from today in paperback: Far Far Beyond Berlin by Craig Meighan

Cover artwork: Gordon Miller

The paperback edition of Far Far Beyond Berlin by Craig Meighan is available from today. Order online or from your favourite bookshop.

Howlish ABC for Growups – free download

Artwork: Alison Buck

In HOWUL, a life’s journey by David Shannon, the novel’s eponymous hero is given two books to help him learn how to write: Jack and Julie Learn To Read and The ABC Book. The world they show (our world) is filled with happy, smiling, well-fed children. Howul’s world (in the future) is very different.

Now, in Howlish ABC for Growups, he provides us with own savage, hilarious alternative. An ABC written by an angry, misanthropic 35-year-old. Envious of all the luxuries Jack and Julie have, he hates how easily they take them for granted. The first entry is “A is for Arseholes”. It neatly sets the tone…

An excerpt from Howul’s ABC appears in the published novel and has already been exuberantly seized upon by readers and critics (“A hilarious highlight” – Reader’s Digest). This fully-extended and fully-illustrated version of Howul’s ABC is now available as a free, 68-page download (pdf, eBook and Kindle – see below). We’re not asking you to give us your email address or sign up to anything to get it: it is completely free, with no strings.

Reading Howlish ABC for Growups will give you a good sense of who Howul is, what his life is like and what he makes of us (the “People Before”). If you like it, we’re sure you’ll also love HOWUL, a life’s journey.

You can download Howlish ABC for Growups from here.

Available from today in paperback: Riftmaster by Miles Nelson

Cover art: Miles Nelson

The paperback edition of Riftmaster by Miles Nelson is available from today. Order online or from your local bookshop.

Science fiction publisher’s life saved by devices straight out of science fiction

DARTFORD, KENT – 30 April 2021 – Elsewhen Press is a publishing house that pushes the boundaries in speculative and fantasy fiction. Their stories present otherworldly but terrifyingly prescient visions of the future, featuring Android writing machines, body-augmenting mind control and transdimensional crime-fighting. However, present-day technology can also feel like it has been sent from a future world, where even a watch can save a life.

Following complications with his heart over the Easter period, Peter Buck, co-founder and editorial director of Elsewhen Press, needed hospital treatment. But it wasn’t a doctor that told him he needed to dial 999 – it was his Apple Watch!

Buck explained: “My wife bought me the Apple Watch for Christmas because it measures heart rate, blood oxygen and ECG. Being of a nervous disposition when it comes to my heart, because I’ve suffered from hyper-tension for many years, I had been checking my ECG whenever I felt a skipped beat or ‘a bit funny’.

“Every time, the watch reassured me that it was a sinus rhythm and perfectly okay. However, over Easter, for the first time, it told me I was suffering from atrial fibrillation with a very high heart rate. Even so, I did it again a couple more times over the next hour or so with the same result, so was convinced by the watch that it was a genuine heart condition and not me being a hypochondriac.

“Later, when I saw the cardiologist in the hospital, he was impressed by the output from the watch’s ECG app. He wanted to do an echocardiogram and produced what looked like a tricorder from his pocket, grinned and said ‘You’re not the only one with fancy tech!’”

Thankfully, after a few hours of treatment, Peter was sent home to recover with a newfound appreciation for science fiction-inspired machinery.

Buck added: “It was a victory for geekdom, as a sci-fi gadget saved my life (as well as the NHS). The doctors told me that if I had not come into the hospital immediately, it could have been much worse, possibly fatal.”