- Maighread MacKay
New Sci-Fi Thriller by Author, C.R. Berry
Updated: Nov 8, 2021
Bio for C. R. Berry
C.R. Berry started out in police stations and courtrooms—ahem, 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. (Note: he’s not a tin foil hat wearer, doesn’t believe 9/11 was an inside job, and thinks that anyone who believes the Earth is flat or the Royal Family are alien lizards needs to have their heads examined.)
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.
Now that the dust is settling, Berry is refocusing on the final book in the Million Eyes trilogy and getting back to writing his first collaborative novel with Katherine: a space-set adventure with aliens, terrorists, a mysterious wall that surrounds the universe and—of course—
Let's meet C.R. Berry:
1. What genre do you write or do you write more than one?
My books are, in the main, conspiracy thrillers. They have multiple villains who are part of some sinister organisation, and their identities and motives are a mystery at first but are slowly exposed as the protagonist/s peels back the curtains they hide behind.
However, the Million Eyes trilogy are not just conspiracy thrillers. They’re sci-fi and historical fiction books too. They have time travel and chapters set in the Middle Ages, Ancient Rome, the Stuart Period, the Victorian Age—even the late Cretaceous. They also get more sci-fi-y as they go along. The second book, Million Eyes II: The Unraveller, is about an apocalypse that’s coming two hundred years in our future, and the third book is going to have quite a few chapters set in that future. My next book after this trilogy is complete, which is called The Puddle Bumps, is going to be part conspiracy thriller, part horror, part detective fiction.
So, I don’t like to stay in one lane, genre-wise.
2. Why did you choose these genres?
I’ve chosen to write conspiracy thrillers mainly because I like how complex they are. Because you’re dealing with an organisation rather than a singular villain, there’s normally a lot of multifarious dodginess for the protagonist to unpick. I love the whole “things aren’t what they seem” setup, with an organisation that appears to be doing good on the surface but is actually hiding a whole bunch of skeletons in its corporate closet. And I love it when a protagonist pulls on a single thread and unravels something heinous and far-reaching. That thread could be a document, a tape, even a murder that appears to be an isolated incident but is actually connected to some huge trail of corruption.
As for sci-fi, well I’ve loved that since I was small. I’m a massive Doctor Who, Star Trek, Star Wars, Alien and Back to the Future fan, and my writing has elements of all of these.
3. What is your latest book?
Million Eyes II: The Unraveller, which is the sequel to Million Eyes. It follows directly on from the final scene of the first book, and features archaeologist Dr Samantha Lester and software developer Adam Bryant (a supporting character in book one) teaming up to take down Million Eyes—the corporation that is using consumer tech to hide its time-travelling shenanigans. It follows a similar pattern to book one, with my main aforementioned protagonists hunting the truth in the present, while the titular ‘Unraveller’ is trying to erase Million Eyes from the timeline at various points in the past.
4. Is it part of a series?
Yes, it is the second book in the Million Eyes trilogy. I’m currently two thirds of the way through the final book, Million Eyes III: Ouroboros. Ouroboros is going to reveal the origins of the Unraveller, there’ll be a final showdown between my protagonists and Million Eyes, and all the loose ends will get tied up with a timey wimey bow.
5. When will it release/did it release?
Million Eyes II: The Unraveller released as an ebook on 24th September and will release as a paperback on 8th November.
6. What do you hope they learn from/like about your work?
The Million Eyes books are designed to entertain and thrill, first and foremost. But I guess the underlying message is not to blindly accept everything you’re told without checking it. Not all sources can be trusted. There’s a lot of discussion in the first and second books about belief, reason and healthy scepticism. Indeed, Jesus’s storyline in Million Eyes II: The Unraveller derives from my scepticism about the reliability of the gospels as historical accounts. I also think that the message about checking sources and not accepting things on faith is very relevant when misinformation about Covid (and various other things) is rife.
7. Do you have any new stories on the go?
In addition to Million Eyes III, I’m looking for publishers for some new stories set in the Million Eyes universe, including one called The Covid Effect, which is about Million Eyes having deleted Covid from the timeline, yet someone remembers… I have one more story to write in this series and then I plan to include them all in a follow-up collection to Million Eyes: Extra Time, called Million Eyes: Over Time. Million Eyes: Extra Time is available now as a free ebook, and reveals that, in fact, a lot of other controversial historical events only happened because of Million Eyes—such as the assassination of JFK, the replacement of Paul McCartney and Queen Elizabeth I with duplicates, and the mysterious Green Children of Woolpit.
C.R.'s New Book:
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.
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My novel Million Eyes is OUT NOW from Elsewhen Press
A fast-paced sci-fi conspiracy thriller about power, corruption and destiny
My short story collection Million Eyes: Extra Time is available for FREE download
12 time-twisting tales set in the world of the Million Eyes trilogy
Excerpt from Million Eyes II: The Unraveller
December 5th 1945
Something ain’t right. Where the heck are we now?
A knot of dread cramped Lieutenant Charles C. Taylor’s gut. His squadron of TBM Avenger torpedo bombers, Flight 19, appeared to be flying into oblivion. The five planes were holding course at two hundred and seventy degrees—they should have hit land by now. They should’ve hit land bloody ages ago.
Taylor had known something bad might happen on this flight. A few hours before takeoff, he’d had a feeling. Couldn’t put his finger on it. Just some weird sense of foreboding. He’d gone and asked the aviation duty officer if he could be replaced as instructor and flight leader, but there was no one else. So here he was.
It should’ve been a routine flight. A simple mock bombing run and navigation training exercise. Nothing was supposed to go wrong.
Lieutenant Robert Cox, another pilot in the vicinity who’d picked up Taylor on the training channel, and some radioman called Baker at the Port Everglades Communications Centre, had been trying to help Taylor and his men get back to base at Fort Lauderdale. But Taylor hadn’t heard from Cox in a good half-hour and now Baker’s transmissions were growing ever fainter.
“Dagnabbit, Powers, why haven’t we hit land yet?” Taylor said into his radio headset.
The Avengers were flying west in close formation. For some reason neither of Taylor’s compasses were working, so he’d ordered Captain Powers to take over lead.
Taylor got a garbled reply from Powers, laden with static. “We… should… are.”
“Powers, repeat your last transmission,” said Taylor, waiting. “Powers, do you read? We’re on the wrong course. We should turn around and head east.”
This time, no reply.
Taylor’s chest tightened.
“Lieutenant Taylor, sir, do you read me?” Ensign Bossi’s voice.
Thank Christ. Somebody. “I read you loud and clear, Bossi,” said Taylor. “I’ve been trying to reach… anyone.”
“Sir, I think I can see land,” said Bossi. “D’you see it?”
Taylor peered towards the horizon. Shit—yes! He could see it. A large, dark, mountainous shape.
He tried to inform Baker at Port Everglades, “FT-28 to Port Everglades. We are approaching what looks like a large island. Over.”
Baker uttered a muffled reply, “Port Everglades… transmissions are weakening… repeat.”
Taylor sighed with exasperation. “Baker, I repeat, we’re approaching a—”
The landmass they were approaching was… moving. Rising. Out of the sea.
“Lieutenant Taylor, are you getting a load of this?” said Bossi.
“Hot damn, what is that?”
“Not an island, sir.”
Taylor could see it now they were closer. Bossi was right. It wasn’t an island at all.