This isn’t God’s first attempt at creation. A new comic fantasy reveals all…

Comedy writer Craig Meighan, tired of having to be creative with the truth to support the government’s dubious political agendas, took his wife’s advice and quit the Civil Service to be creative with fiction instead.

DARTFORD, KENT – 19 March 2021 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the publication of Far Far Beyond Berlin by Craig Meighan. A satire on bureaucracy, it imagines the Biblical Genesis story as God’s seventh and final attempt to get his creation right. But what happened to the previous six universes? They still exist and one unlucky government worker accidentally gets transported to the first and must find his way home through each of them, which could have apocalyptic consequences for all seven universes and God himself.

Craig Meighan had written for short films, radio jokes and stand-up comedy but hadn’t been making a career in it. He joined the civil service and initially enjoyed it, but three governments, 4 Prime Ministers and 12 years later, he found himself in the odd position of working very hard to achieve things that were the exact opposite of his moral beliefs.

The decisive moment came when he received an existentially terrifying pension statement that suggested he’d have a further 38 punishing years until retirement. Afraid that he’d be stuck in the job forever, he told his wife Jen that he felt like he was wasting valuable time.

Craig says: “My retirement age was projected at 71. I checked my life expectancy and, because I’m from a predominantly working class bit of Scotland, that was projected at 68! I had a better chance of dying during a zoom call about welfare policy than I did of enjoying a retirement. Jen asked what I wanted to do with my life and I told her what she already knew, that I wanted to be a writer. She asked the killer question, which was, ‘Why aren’t you trying to do it?’ I didn’t have a good answer. She read my work and told me that she believed I was good enough to write professionally, that I would always regret it if I didn’t give it my full undivided attention to see where it could take me and that I should quit my job and just write. If I was no further forward after a year, I could go and get an office job again and at least I’d know that I’d tried. The next day I handed in my notice to the job I’d held for 12 years. When someone shows that level of support to your dream, you have to give it everything. You owe them 100% effort.”

Craig finished his book and submitted it to various publishers. Peter Buck, Editorial Director of Elsewhen Press takes up the story: “As soon as we read it, we knew we’d love to publish it. The combination of fantasy, satire, and playing with the creation mythos, was irresistible. If you can imagine Hitchhiker’s in the style of Pulp Fiction, you’ll understand why we were hooked right away. We asked Craig which of the characters in the book were inspired by the ministers that he had worked for, but he wouldn’t tell us. The pandemic has delayed our publication schedule but we’re delighted that we can now share Craig’s book with readers, and they can try to guess for themselves.”
Craig adds: “Sometimes it’s all you need: one person to show some belief in your abilities, one person to back you. It’s nice to repay that faith, even if how you repay it is to write a book which features a sentient almond. I now spend most of my week writing fiction and I am 6000% happier than I was before. So Jen’s support has completely changed my life for the better, come what may.”

Far Far Beyond Berlin is available from today as an eBook, and in paperback on 17th May.

Notes for Editors

About Craig Meighan

Craig Meighan was born in Lanarkshire, in central Scotland. Both a keen drummer and a fan of science fiction, he grew up wanting to be either Animal, from The Muppets, or Douglas Adams. This has led to an unfortunate habit of smashing up his computer at the end of each writing session.

With the ambition of becoming a screenwriter, he attended film college in Glasgow. He spent a short time making corporate videos and then after attending one chance meeting, he accidentally joined the civil service. Intending to stay for one summer, he ended up staying for 12 years (so think carefully before inviting him round for tea).

He is too polite to say which of the killer robots, demons and other assorted antagonists that appear in his book, are based on his interactions with actual government ministers.

His first novel, Far Far Beyond Berlin, was written in the evenings, after work, every day for a year, at the end of which time his wife Jen convinced him it was time to finally leave the safety of the office job and pursue writing full-time. She cunningly incentivised him by promising that if he managed to get his book published, he could get a big dog.

Craig lives with Jen, just outside Glasgow, where they like to play softball, enter pub quizzes and do escape rooms. He is delighted to say that he is now the proud owner of a huge daft greyhound named Ralph.

About Far Far Beyond Berlin

Even Geniuses need practice

Cover artwork: Gordon Miller

Not everything goes to plan at the first attempt… In Da Vinci’s downstairs loo hung his first, borderline insulting, versions of the Mona Lisa. Michelangelo’s back garden was chock-a-block full of ugly lumps of misshapen marble. Even Einstein committed a great ‘blunder’ in his first go at General Relativity. God is no different, this universe may be his masterpiece, but there were many failed versions before it – and they’re still out there.

Far Far Beyond Berlin is a fantasy novel, which tells the story of a lonely, disillusioned government worker’s adventures after being stranded in a faraway universe – Joy World: God’s first, disastrous attempt at creation.

God’s previous universes, a chain of 6 now-abandoned worlds, are linked by a series of portals. Our jaded hero must travel back through them, past the remaining dangers and bizarre stragglers. He’ll join forces with a jolly, eccentric and visually arresting crew of sailors on a mysteriously flooded world. He’ll battle killer robots and play parlour games against a clingy supercomputer, with his life hanging in the balance. He’ll become a teleportation connoisseur; he will argue with a virtual goose – it sure beats photocopying.

Meanwhile, high above in the heavens, an increasingly flustered God tries to manage the situation with His best friend Satan; His less famous son, Jeff; and His ludicrously angry angel of death, a creature named Fate. They know that a human loose in the portal network is a calamity that could have apocalyptic consequences in seven different universes. Fate is dispatched to find and kill the poor man before the whole place goes up in a puff of smoke; if he can just control his temper…

Visit bit.ly/FarFarBeyondBerlin

 

Cover reveal: Far Far Beyond Berlin by Craig Meighan

Did you know that God had six attempts to create the perfect universe before he finally created ours? Each of them was a learning experience for Him!

Far Far Beyond Berlin is the debut fantasy novel from writer Craig Meighan, which tells the story of a human who becomes stranded on the first world that God created, Joy World, and his subsequent attempt to return home to our world, which involves traversing all six of God’s previous worlds. God is not happy. In fact he’s getting quite flustered so he dispatches Fate, his angel of worse than death, to catch and dispose of the interloper.

As you can imagine, this paves the way for adventures, scrapes, shenanigans, but above all a good laugh (for us, not for the protagonists). And en route we meet some interesting characters including the one who is going to reveal the cover to us… Graham the Gravity-Goose:
 

If you can’t see the video above, click here to watch it on YouTube.

Far Far Beyond Berlin will be published on March 19th on all the best eBook platforms (available to preorder from the end of February) and in paperback on May 17th.

The cover is by artist Gordon Miller.

You can find more details about the book here.

 

“It reminded me of a Doctor Who plot” – Reviewer names Million Eyes one of her top reads of 2020

Cover: PR Pope
Calling it “tense, ominous and addictive”, book blogger Karen at Hair Past A Freckle posted a review of C.R. Berry‘s time travel conspiracy thriller, Million Eyes, the first book in the Million Eyes trilogy, in January last year. On New Year’s Day 2021, she named it one of her top reads of 2020.

Karen begins by explaining how Million Eyes begins in 1100 with King William II and something that very obviously shouldn’t exist in the 12th century. Like many readers, she knew of this event having seen the Rufus Stone in the New Forest where William was supposedly accidentally shot, and which Million Eyes says may not have been quite as straightforward as history tells it.

It’s difficult to review this book without giving away spoilers but I can say that there are some completely unexpected moments which totally shocked me.

She goes on to describe the two main characters, Gregory Ferro and Jennifer Larson, saying that they are “very different people” and that she “particularly enjoyed seeing how Jennifer’s understandable scepticism gradually diminishes as she realises that he is telling the truth”. She calls the characterisation “excellent throughout” and that Jennifer in particular is a “fabulous character”.

She rounds off her review by saying that “as a long-time Whovian, perhaps the biggest compliment I can pay to Million Eyes is that it reminded me of a Doctor Who plot”.

You can read the full review on Hair Past A Freckle here.

 

Sex and Drugs and Mind Control

Latest novel from Simon Kearns is a literary fusion of science fiction, existential terror and psychological thriller in the style of the ‘New Weird’

DARTFORD, KENT – 22 January 2021 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the publication of The Night Has Seen Your Mind by Simon Kearns. In an isolated house in the snowy wasteland of the Arctic, five people take part in a cryptic experiment funded by a tech billionaire – although they will be well rewarded financially, have they even considered the potential psychological impact, and is it worth the gamble? Crossing genres, this story is the epitome of modern speculative fiction.

Peter Buck, Editorial Director of Elsewhen Press said, “Especially pertinent as we all live through yet another lockdown, Simon Kearns has successfully leveraged our inherent fear of isolation and bleakness to make us identify with his diverse characters as they slowly try to come to terms with their prolonged stay in the Arctic. That anxiety combines with a natural suspicion of hi-tech entrepreneurs, distrust of intrusive devices that attempt to read your mind, and the inevitable suspicion of stir-crazy strangers. The result is an exciting yet very well-grounded story that may literally blow your mind. Not only is sex and drugs and mind control an appropriate tagline for the story, it may also turn out to be how many readers have coped with lockdown.”

The Night Has Seen Your Mind is available from today in eBook format and will be available in paperback from 22nd March.

Notes for Editors

About Simon Kearns

Simon Kearns was born in London in 1972 and grew up in Northern Ireland. In his teens he returned to London to study philosophy. At the end of 2004 he moved to the south of France where he lives with his partner and two children. His debut, Virtual Assassin, (Revenge Ink, 2010), explores personal responsibility in a corrupt society. It was followed by Dark Waves, (Blood Bound Books, 2014), about a powerful haunting and the scientist determined to debunk it. His stories have appeared in publications such as The Future Fire, Litro, The Honest Ulsterman, and on numerous websites.

He revels in etymology, guitar, gaming, and the science of superstition.

About The Night Has Seen Your Mind

Tech billionaire, Mattias Goff, has invited five creative professionals – programmer, pianist, writer, actor, and photographer – for a month-long residency at Crystal Falls, his Arctic retreat. Researching brain waves, and especially the enigmatic gamma wave, Goff asks his guests to wear a kind of EEG cap in order to record the electrical activity in their brains while they engage with their respective disciplines. Although they will be paid $5Million each for the experience, they all start their sojourn a little wary – some more than others. Cut off from the outside world in the stunningly beautiful, if stark, Alaskan winter landscape they immerse themselves in their work. Soon, though, reality seems to be shifting. What is Goff really researching? Are his guests only being observed, or manipulated?

Cutting across genres, The Night Has Seen Your Mind is a literary fusion of science fiction, existential terror and psychological thriller in the style of the ‘New Weird’.

Visit bit.ly/TheNightHasSeenYourMind

 

Author invents quirky future dialect of English for a literary tale of revenge

David Shannon’s absurdist satire, HOWUL, recounts an unlikely hero’s journey, in a ravaged yet familiar future

DARTFORD, KENT – 15 January 2021 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the publication of HOWUL, a life’s journey by David Shannon. Provocative yet savagely funny, this absurdist satire is ominously relevant today despite being set, in North Wales, in a future following an undisclosed catastrophe which has radically affected technology, culture, and even language. Shannon says, “Buried in it is a howl against austerity and oppression. My inspirations were Riddley Walker, Don Quixote and Mad Max.”

Cover design: Alison Buck

Lindsay Nicholson MBE described HOWUL as “Un-put-down-able! A classic hero’s journey, deftly handled. I was surprised by every twist and turn, the plotting was superb, and the engagement of all the senses – I could smell those flowers and herbs. A tour de force.”

Peter Buck, Editorial Director of Elsewhen Press said, “HOWUL is a brilliantly unique book that sparkles with wit and tells a compelling story. It is an account by the eponymous ‘hero’ of events that befall him on his quest to seek answers and revenge. It is, therefore, written in the patois of the future that Howul inhabits – a clipped, almost pidgin, dialect of English which is nevertheless entirely comprehensible. It not only adds authenticity, humour, and at times pathos, to the story, but also illustrates the skill with which Shannon has constructed not just the world and the storyline but even a consistent grammar in which to tell it – comparisons with Anthony Burgess are inevitable.”

HOWUL is available from today in eBook format and will be available in paperback from 15th March.

Notes for Editors

About David Shannon

David Shannon grew up in Bristol, the youngest of 3 children. Yes, he was the spoilt one. After stints as a TEFL teacher in Italy and croupier in London, he had a first writing career as a journalist working for (among others) Cosmopolitan, the Sunday Times, the Radio Times, Good Housekeeping, Country Living and Best. He wrote a lot about showbiz, interviewing and profiling many celebrities. Even though any actors he met kept telling him what a difficult career theirs is, he then abandoned journalism for acting. Many years later he’s still doing it, using the name David France. How successful has he been at this? Judge for yourself. Have you ever heard of him? He’s done plenty of low-budget feature films (including Werewolves of the Third Reich) but makes most of his living by writing, running and acting in murder mystery events. Chronic shyness afflicted him for many years but he is now painfully opinionated about almost everything. And he loves pigs. Despite this, he remains happily married to a writer slightly more famous than him – the 2019 Booker Prize winner, Bernardine Evaristo. They live in London.

About HOWUL

Books are dangerous. People in Blanow think that books are dangerous: they fill your head with drivel, make poor firewood and cannot be eaten (even in an emergency).

This book is about Howul. He sees things differently: fires are dangerous; people are dangerous; books are just books. Howul secretly writes down what goes on around him in Blanow. How its people treat foreigners, treat his daughter, treat him. None of it is pretty. Worse still, everything here keeps trying to kill him: rats, snakes, diseases, roof slates, the weather, the sea. That he survives must mean something. He wants to find out what. By trying to do this, he gets himself thrown out of Blanow… and so his journey begins.

Like all gripping stories, HOWUL is about the bad things people do to each other and what to do if they happen to you. Some people use sticks to stay safe. Some use guns. Words are the weapons that Howul uses most. He makes them sharp. He makes them hurt. Of course books are dangerous.

Visit bit.ly/HOWUL

The Founder Effect – no. 21

21.

 

Fingers flailing wildly for effect, I say, And so, and so, and so Churchill tells them, “Now that is precisely the sort of thing up with which I will not put.”

Raat! Hahahahahahahahahaha!

Chimpy’s nostrils spray a clumsy spritz of Moscow mule. Five sequential spouts ejaculate from the geoduck shelter. Naomi booms loudly enough to vibraslide Chimpy’s chalice off the coffee table, which he dives for to no avail. A lightbulb pops and crumbles in another room.

But of the mess I couldn’t care less. Today I turned 21 and I am having the time of my life. For breakfast, Chimpy prepared me a Yoshoku omurice made with silkie chicken and Electra performed a flawless rendition of Marilyn Monroe’s “Happy Birthday, Mister President.” We have indulged in Dionysian pleasures since.

Mittgrabbing my tankard, I step over Gambino and Lucchese, stumble on a pile of pointed words and phrases that haven’t yet fully evaporated, and make my way to the loo. There are four trash bags crammed taut with crumpled paper lined up against the wall. The dolphins cost me half a closet of mail.

Before the porcelain god, I relieve myself. Hence my mind returns to Antonia, my leitmotif. There are certain facts about her. She has an aura that stimulates all five senses. If intuition is a sixth sense, then all six senses; if emotion a seventh, seven. I am confident it’s probably there on all the undetectable wavelengths, too. She is desirable and charming and I am charmed by and desire her. Calm is the key of her register, which is so constant it gives me doubtspook. While I admit that Antonia’s stigmata have become an unhealthy obsession—we are watching The Passion of the Christ tonight and I have moved the flat screen so that even Beethoven can join us—I am sure she is guilty of something. I always pick up that whiff of fear hormone whenever the animals engage her. My faith is in the universe, and I suspect she might be a protected witness, if not a repeat offender, if not a notorious felon, in the court of natural law.

Last night in the dark as I stared at the ceiling waiting to turn 21, I contemplated all of the things Antonia might really be. The Frenchman’s minions had delivered my new pod of dolphins and crates of Greenland herring stuffed to the gills with roe; this excitement fresh on the mind, for some reason my thoughts hopscotched all the way to the topic of the lost kingdom of Atlantis. Plato wrote in the Critias that ‘Poseidon, receiving for his lot the island of Atlantis, begat children by a mortal woman.’ What is going on here and now with Antonia feels like the opposite—it is I who is the mortal, she the deity, this menagerie our adopted children. Maybe she is a resurrection from a dead religion of a bygone world like Atlantis, for they, too, had their gods, no doubt. But perhaps she is something else. Perhaps she is the embodiment of a natural miracle: neither the incarnation nor the product of a knowing god but an issuance of matter (not spirit) that is perfect, or in some other obscure or oblique sense divine. That is to say, a holy thing. A wordless scripture. A solid æther.

 

Chimpy has lined up six yabbies on the coffee table, all six balancing perfectly still on their heads, his newest parlor trick. (Toast, out like a light, he signs.) I refill my tankard from the pony keg in the kitchen. Electra is lying on her back on the floor, playing dead for laughs, tongue dangling from her beak, one rigid talon twitching like a cartoon. Eve sniffs Electra with fearful concern.

She’s just kidding, I tell Eve.

Eve looks up into my eyes. Her tail comes to life.

Let’s take a walk, girl. I let her lick my hand.

 

The hallway outside my flat noisechurns with the sweet stink of petrol. Eve is by my side as we enter the unhinged doorway of no. 9.

The grindblast is coming from the heavy rotating saw that Antonia is guiding along a straight path in the floor. She is spraying the blade with a water hose. Scores of floorboards lean vertically up against a wall in tidy lines. Beside them is an equally measured stack of concrete slabs.

She stops the saw, pulls up another plank, adds it to the rest. She turns to me and Eve and smiles. She takes off her protective goggles.

Dozen it look hood?

It looks fantastic, I reply.

She gestures behind her.

Half the room’s floor is gone. About a meter down into the flat below I see a liquid surface tremble and ripple. The entire second floor of the building is nearly full with water, to contain the pod of dolphins. Vents such as this one will allow them to surface, breathe, and talk.

Do you think it’s full downstairs yet? I ask.

Antonia removes her gloves. Maybe buy tonight.

Eve dips her snout down into the floor, sniffs at the waves. Her ears stiffen.

¡Ya vienen!

I’m sorry, what?

A sharp, throaty mist erupts from the water, followed by another and another. Waves clap on the surface.

One dolphin raises its head completely in the air, bares teeth and tongue, and sings, Tktktktk ckckckckck ananananana ayuayuayu!

Others follow suit, with varying degrees of interest and intent. Tktktktktktk. Ckckckckckckckck! Kekekekekekekekeaaaaahhnaaapei.

I respond, I’m glad you find everything comfortable. Help yourself to some herring if you haven’t already. They’re spawning. Tkatkatkatkatka.

Antonia gasps. ¡Vaya, Raymundo! That so good!

I hadn’t realized I responded in clicks. It just came out of me.

Eve spinshakes from neck to tail to dry herself. She is grinning with open mouth.

I suddenly remember our other task, what I really intended for us to do.

No. 21, “H. Blindeth” (or so it says on his mail).

My tankard is empty again. I need a refill.

 

“A disorienting but enthralling experience” – Review of Million Eyes by Parallel Worlds

Cover: PR Pope
Parallel Worlds have posted a review of C.R. Berry‘s time travel conspiracy thriller, Million Eyes, the first book in the Million Eyes trilogy, in Issue 9 of their monthly magazine.

Reviewer Ben Potts compares Million Eyes to Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code and George Orwell’s 1984. He notes that the manipulation of timelines and ensuing time travel paradoxes are just a backdrop for the novel’s main draw: the conspiracy thriller elements, which are front and centre.

As pivotal moments in history shift, the world starts to become more and more… off, offering a disorienting but enthralling experience. We won’t spoil some of the more delectable twists here, but it gets interesting.

Potts also notes the “believable and genuine conflict” between the two main characters, Gregory Ferro and Jennifer Larson, and that the book does a good job of making the reader feel like they’re stepping backwards in time. He adds that Berry’s writing is “clear and easy to understand” and caps off his review by calling it an “excellent read”.

Potts also makes reference to Berry’s interview with Time Travel Nexus, in which he talks about the creation of the book, the short stories that accompany it (which we published as a free ebook called Million Eyes: Extra Time), his love of sci-fi and conspiracy theories, and how he went about creating his ‘rules of time travel’ for the Million Eyes series.

You can read the full review here. You can also listen to a podcast version of Issue 9 of the magazine.

The Founder Effect – no. 20

20.

 

I light another cigarette, toss the match into the ashtray, and resume pacing around the room.

I ask, Is this what you meant when you said what you said to me that day in the pet shop?

“Don’t be so specific, man.”

Please. That time when Antonia and I were walking together.

Raat! Two peas in a pod.

Exactly. Is this what you meant? The superstitions, the followings? Beethoven said she is a goddess.

“…I knowww all there is to knowww about the crying gaaame…”

What do you mean?

Raat! Cut it off.

Cut what off?

“It’s not my fault.” “God made me this way.”

Electra, please. You’re mixed up. That’s not what I mean. I could plainly see under the black light that her hands bear the signs of stigmata.

Raat! “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?”

Well, that’s more in the right direction. But will you tell me: is that what you meant?

She’s no more a goddess than I am.

So that is not what you meant?

“Welllll, I do an’ I don’t.”

I ash my cigarette. I plead, Electra, I need to know.

Everything goes red.

Sheis th eMessi ah.

From behind a cloud of silt and ink, Beethoven unfurls a single tentacle, a limb as thick and twice as long as my own arm. Its suckers smush against the transparent boundary, warp and flatten, silent. They look just like the eyeless faces of burning, screaming souls.

The red ends.

 

I can hear my father now: Sinjoro devas marŝi, ne kuri. ‘A gentleman should walk, not run.’ But I wouldn’t expect him to understand my urgency.

I am out of breath when I top the stairs and enter the doors of the Kant-Gump Lane Branch of the Public Library. Behind me, amongst the tourists in the street surrounding the statue of our city’s founder, two women—one shouting, the other sobbing—are pointing and gesturing at me while being restrained by police officers in black uniforms.

Under the light of stained glass and chandeliers, amidst the smells of paper and stone, I get to the books I need: leatherbound, brittle pages. In 1224, two years before his death, St. Francis of Assisi manifested stigmata of the Christ, the first known instance of such a thing ever reported. Without cause, he bled from hands and feet as well as from his rib, where Jesus was speared on the cross. St. Bonaventure’s Major Legend (1266) records an anecdote about a portrait of St. Francis that temporarily displayed stigmata right before the eyes of the painting’s matron and a fellow witness, the marks becoming visible only when the two contemplated the miracle and vanishing from view just as swiftly. Nothing I read convinces me that the resultant stigmata tradition is anything more than a few hundred hoaxes exploiting superstition, but I cannot deny what I saw on Antonia’s hands under the black light in the bug suite.

A true stigmatic manifests all five wounds: both hands, both feet, and the flank of the torso. Outside the library, I stop to light a cigarette. A man with a shaven head wearing an orange toga and sandals kneels a few feet from me, his lips moving in prayer.

 

Everything turns red.

Imea nsh eis theM essiah.

I light another cigarette. I ask, Yes but what does that actually mean? Why does she have Christian stigmata on her? Of all things?

S he is the thirdr evela tion.

Fine, but why not the Sixth Sun or Shiva or Shangó?

Shebea rs thewounds ofcruxi ficti on. Ripp edf rom thec ross, handsa ndf eetsplit, and shehas heal ed andi srebo rn.

I think, I have no god. Or, at best, if I do, it’s the invisible hand. But not a thing worthy of worship. By no means.

An tonia is theo pposite ofyou.

The red ends.

 

In a brass Art Nouveau birdcage at the top of an eye-high pedestal, my new pride and joy snares and swallows yet another weevil.

She is magnificent, I say.

Antonia hugs my arm, leans her temple on my shoulder. On cheese prom México! Electra wheel loaf her.

I’m sure she will.

Antonia sighs, squeezes me tighter. A welcome gesture of sincere affection.

And yet my skin crawls. Ripped from the cross as Beethoven said. I think, For what crime was she punished? What heresy?

Antonia is the opposite of you. If so, I wonder: What is it she lacks?

I hear boots; the Frenchman appears. Stetson hat, bolo tie, velvet brocade on a gunfighter blazer.

Howdy patron, he says. Il dit que le camion livrera les dauphins demain soir.

I ask, Will the shipment include the herring?

He claps me on the back. Oui, bien sûr. Ils auront besoin d’accéder à l’ascenseur de service.

I’ll be sure to meet them when they arrive.

D’accord.

We shake hands.

Avoiding him, Antonia walks down an aisle, each animal in a cage or tank clamoring as she passes.

 

I unlock the door to my flat to find Rascal eating the remains of a pillow cushion. Goose down floats in the air like snowflakes, drifts of it piled against the walls. The cedar ribs of the sofa’s carcass horrorsplay from under torn fabric. What’s worse, Eve is balled in a corner where she never sits. She is licking in her groin what is an obvious wound. Neither Eve nor Rascal pay me any mind when I enter with the birdcage.

Raat! Who’s the fox?

She is your new companion, Electra. A Socorro mockingbird. From the Revillagigedo Islands.

Raat! Can we name her Elvis?

Of course we can.

The good news is the Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaeles in no. 20 moved out. They leave a letter they drop through the mail slot. I don’t have to open it and see that it is in fact from them to know so. Chimpy tosses it in with the rest in the now second mail closet (which is already near knee high).

Now all I need is no. 21.

 

“A deliciously dark vein of humour” – Review of Million Eyes by Brown Flopsy’s Book Burrow

Cover: PR Pope
Calling it a “cracking five-star romp of a read”, Sue at Brown Flopsy’s Book Burrow has posted a review of C.R. Berry‘s time travel conspiracy thriller, Million Eyes, the first book in the Million Eyes trilogy.

She says she “enjoyed every time-warped minute of it” and that “your head will spin at times as you try to follow some of the time loops in play”.

Several of the scenes actually had me chuckling – even the very bloody ones – as there is a deliciously dark vein of humour that runs through the whole shebang.

Noting that Million Eyes gets readers thinking about “corporate greed”, she explains how Berry pokes fun at some well-known entities. She says, “Think a certain search engine provider and a fruit-themed electronics manufacturer”. She also really liked the “little nod towards the weirdness of current American politics at the end”.

You can read Sue’s full review here.

 

“Frightening tale of just how difficult it is to hide in Britain today” – Review of Million Eyes by Northern Reader

Cover: PR Pope
Historical fiction book blogger Joules Barham has posted a review of C.R. Berry‘s time travel conspiracy thriller, Million Eyes, the first book in the Million Eyes trilogy, on their site Northern Reader.

Barham calls Million Eyes “genuinely exciting”, combining “historical mysteries which have engaged academics, conspiracy theorists and many others” with “all the elements of a thriller”. She points out that it comments on modern surveillance and that there are “moving” and “quite brutal” moments along with nods to Doctor Who.

The research into setting and theories of the events is undoubtedly impressive, and goes a long way to establish the fantasy explanation.

Barham also hints that the book covers more historical events than its back cover blurb reveals, asking readers to “keep an eye on the date of each section”.

Barham rounds out her review by saying that Million Eyes is a “skillful and carefully constructed novel with much to offer historical fiction fans”.

You can read the full review on Northern Reader here.