Chaos Abates

The stress of the book is long over, all authors are paid, all books are sent to those who elected to be paid in books (except one who I still have to persuade to accept any payment at all!). It is not yet up on, and the new authors’ profiles are not on there yet.

That will happen after Monday. My office is also the guest room, we only use the upstairs rooms for storage since there’s no heating up there. My parents are here until Monday so I don’t have easy access to the desktop computer.

I am using the Laptop of Eternal Despair. It came loaded with Windows 10. Win 10 is designed for a touchscreen and this laptop doesn’t have one. So it’s not easy to use. It’s also of a spec that could run Win10 comfortably at first, but updates have swollen the program out of the laptop’s range. It is now agonisingly slow.

Once I have my desktop back I will upgrade this laptop to Windows 7.

Anyway. The big lifting of stress was jury service. If you haven’t been zapped with this one (this was my third time), what happens is this. You get a citation weeks in advance. From that point, if you are self employed, you cannot take on any work that would overlap that date and you cannot say when you will be available after that date. You might be on a one day trial or on a year-long one. This can kill your business but there is no opt-out from the court system.

Also, we live on a farm in a remote location. There is no public transport here. The nearest bus stop is an hour’s walk away for me, a lot longer for my parents, especially my father. He is 80 and has had several strokes.

Oh that doesn’t stop him. He has dismantled an old armchair we had in the greenhouse (it was there to be dismantled and burned but we hadn’t done it because we don’t go in the greenhouse in winter. It’s horrible in there). It is now completely dismantled and burned to ashes and he has cuts all over his hands. Yeah, it’s not just me, it’s in the family. My son had to have his finger sewn back together after a router incident, they X rayed him and asked when he had broken his thumb. He didn’t know he had.

Anyway. What was preying on my mind was, if I was called in to jury service I would have to take the car. That would leave my parents and CStM isolated here and if my father did some serious damage to himself, they had nobody to call on. Both my kids were at work and even if they could come out, they are both at least half an hour away. I would have known nothing because you can’t have your phone in a jury box.

If you’re wondering how much damage an 80 year old multiple stroke victim can do to himself…. last time they were here he was trying to realign patio slabs. Like son, like father…

Yes, we ended up visiting casualty that time. So you can imagine how concerned I was about being roped in to a case which might have been about something utterly tivial. As most prosecutions seem to be now. Calling someone by the wrong made-up pronoun gets you in more trouble than if you just kept quiet and stabbed them instead.

The next part of the jury process is a phone number. You call after 5 pm the night before you are due to attend and it tells you whether to attend or not. If you don’t have to go – I assume because there are cases still going on – you have to call again the following night. Three of these and if you are not called, you are free.

That’s what happened. I am free of jury service until they ‘randomly select’ me yet again five years from now. By then I might have a conviction for wrongthink which would exempt me. They are going to have trouble finding ‘clean’ jurors in five years.

By then we might even have left the EU. Scotland does not have local council elections this year but the ones in England are likely to send a very strong message to any Tories still capable of hearing it. I have seen Tory councillors on Twitter telling us that the council posts have nothing to do with Brexit and we shouldn’t punish them for what the Tory party is doing. Yeah… tough luck. You are going to get hammered.

It’s not about councils. It’s about sending a message. A message clear to every Tory MP except Tessie the Blind. She doesn’t care about the party anyway, she’s doing it all for herself. She will destroy the Tories as well as the country and they don’t seem to care. Well, it’s going to be fun to watch. Even John Major, the Monochrome Man, didn’t manage to do this much damage.

Will Corbyn win? The chaos he would inflict would be legendary. It’s the only Tory game now – ‘vote for us or Stalin’s apprentice gets in’ – but who will vote for Corbyn? How is he even still an MP? Labour supported Brexit too and Labour fucked it up too. He is really no more to be trusted than Tessie Maybe. We could see a whole new party system out of this if the Brexit supporters don’t fuck up this chance by fighting amongst themselves. Which is what they will do because they are politicians and therefore inherently stupid. Clever people get proper jobs.

The latest news is a Brexit delay until Halloween. Roobeedoo has wondered if Tessie is synchronising with Underdog Anthology release dates. It certainly looks like it, but it’s more likely that the Tin Tart just has no idea what she is doing.

The Tories are in crash and burn mode now, far more than even when Major John called ground control to say there was a problem. And they seem to think they can get votes by telling us the other side is bad.

Well, yes, they are. Our choice is to throw money into a Corbyn black hole or into a EU black hole. The Tories offer no other aletrnative, in fact they offer nothing at all. And they want us to vote for them.



The latest anthology is completed, so that’s one less stress to deal with. Tonight I find out whether I have to waste my time on jury service while leaving CStM and my parents in an isolated farmhouse with no means of going anywhere. Once all this is out of the way I’m going to have a good blast of whisky and sleep all the next day.

Actually I’ll do that on the 17th and CStM will probably join me. On the 18th we will have no electricity for the day. There is some major work planned on the local substation and there’ll be no power most of the day. Since our water supply is pumped through filters and UV treated (no chemicals, we get water from the tap here that is less processed than Perrier), no power means no water.

So we have bottled water in for the duration, just in case. We’ll fill a few buckets to flush the toilet and the cooker hob is gas (bottled supply) so that will still work. I suspect that having a wood burning stove could be a great thing on that day. Unless we manage to sleep right through it of course.

I wonder if, by the time we emerge from this madness, we will have actually left the EU? I have doubts. Tessie never wanted to succeed in any of her promises and now Parliament has deleted the constitutional Government so at any moment, expect Tiny Blur’s Enabling Act to be activated and then it’s a real dictatorship.

Tessie is still hell-bent on Internet censorship, as she was in the Home Orifice. Next up, censorship of social media. Soon there’ll be nothing left but the old Compuserve style forums and we’ll be issued with State approved 56K modems on dialup. Assuming we are ‘Approved Comrades’ of course.

How the Tories expect to win a single vote now is beyond me. Their only manifesto is based on ‘But… But… Corbyn will win if you don’t vote for us!’ Who the hell cares? It doesn’t matter who is in charge as Britannia slips quietly below the waves she once ruled. It doesn’t matter which politicians are in their little subsidised-booze Wastemonster bubble. Nobody cares any more, nobody trusts a single one of them.

I think this country needs a Corbyn government. I can just about remember the Harold Wilson one, the young have no idea what they are voting for. I say, let them have it. They love the shine of the flame, let them grasp it and feel the burn. They will not listen and they will not learn any other way.

I mean, the country is fucked under either of them now. Let Corbyn have a go. I can really see a lot of voters going for him on one basis and one basis alone.

‘At least he’s not Theresa May.’

Entertainment time – Pandora’s Lost Luggage

A story from Transgenre Dreams.

“The delegation has arrived, Mr. Blackthorn.”

Erasmus Blackthorn tapped the intercom on his desk. “Send them up, Melissa.”

He placed his hands on his huge and largely empty desk and swung his chair a little. They had come to dissuade him, but they were too late. His people were already on site and already digging. Erasmus indulged himself a smile, which he knew he would have to lose soon. These people would expect serious conversation and if he was to get what he wanted out of this meeting, he would have to keep it serious.


“Do we have the permits yet?” Charlie West’s face was full of concern, but then it always was.

“They are coming. Mr. Blackthorn has cleared this with the authorities. Don’t worry, Charlie, we aren’t going to get into any trouble.” Terry Rarity sighed. Charlie was a worrier. Maybe Terry shouldn’t have brought him on this dig but Charlie was a good archaeologist and particularly skilled at noticing the tiny details so many others overlooked. The downside was Charlie’s insistence on proper protocol. If he ever found out there were no permits, that the whole thing was a catalogue of Blackthorn’s calling in favours, coupled with payoffs and bribes, he’d have a fit.

“You know I’m not comfortable unless it’s all above board.” Charlie stared at his shoe as he twisted it in the dirt.

“I know. It’s fine, Charlie, really. We’re just following up on earlier work. The hole we’re digging into was first dug in 2001. This isn’t some speculative dig, we already know we’re onto something.”

Charlie sniffed. “Do we know why they stopped work back then?”

“Well,” Terry said. “You know the current situation in this country, right? The government had a lot more to worry about than some guys in a hole in the ground and really, they still do. They can’t spare time nor money on archaeology. We have Mr. Blackthorn’s funding so the country isn’t having to pay out, and they get tax revenue and permit fees and they do need the money. That’s the only way we’ve been able to revive this dig.”

Charlie shrugged. “I don’t understand why nobody did it this way before. It’s a fascinating find and it just got ditched for so many years.”

Ah, Charlie, you’re still at the stage where you think science is pure and scientists don’t engage in sneaky, underhand practices to keep the money flowing. “It’s about funding. Basically, about keeping funding going by not reaching the end point.” Terry held up his hands. “It’s the science version of politics, Charlie. Stay one step away from the final discovery for as long as possible, and the money keeps coming. It’s the game that has corrupted real science in every field.” Terry smiled. “We don’t play that game and neither does Mr. Blackthorn. We want to see the end point. We want to see the last secret opened within our lifetime.”

Charlie closed one eye in a lopsided smile. “I want that too.”


“Gentlemen, welcome. Please, have a seat.” Erasmus indicated the three chairs placed in front of his wide desk. “Can I offer anyone a drink?”

The three men exchanged glances and all shook their heads.

“No thank you, Mr. Blackthorn. The matter at hand is urgent, at least to us.”

Erasmus recognised Professor Christopher Rooke and extended his hand. “I’m quite certain it is of the utmost importance to you, Professor Rooke.”

The Professor ignored Erasmus’ proffered handshake and raised his eyebrows. “You know me?”

“Of course.” Erasmus let his hand fall to his side. “I do not enter into projects, nor business arrangements, not even meetings, without knowing who I am dealing with.” He nodded to the other two men. “Professor Williamson. Doctor Prosser. I haven’t studied all your work in detail, of course, that would require rather more time than I have available, but I think I have the general idea.” He relaxed into his chair. “Please, gentlemen, be seated, and tell me your concerns.”

The three men sat. Professor Rooke placed his arms on the desk, fingers interlocked. “We are here because of the projects you have applied for. The permits you have applied for, I mean. You’re clearly in a position to fund the projects yourself.”

“Quite so. I have engaged the services of one of your colleagues, a Doctor Rarity, and we are seeking permission for digs in a number of locations.”

“Rarity!” Prosser sneered. “He’s a treasure hunter, not an archaeologist.”

Erasmus smiled. “I am a businessman, not a scientist. I am not interested in discovery for its own sake. I am, as you correctly deduce, in it largely for the profit.”

Rooke waved Prosser to silence. “Mr. Blackthorn, what you will find is not treasure. There is no gold in the chambers you propose investigating.”

Erasmus smiled wider. “I know, but not all treasure is gold.”


Terry looked over the drawing Charlie had made. “So all these stone vials contain pressurised carbon dioxide?”

“Yes,” Charlie indicated the lines of vials embedded in the walls and revealed by their ground penetrating radar. “Try to break through by force and we’ll release enough of it to asphyxiate ourselves down there. It’s heavier than air, and two or three of those would be enough to fill the dig.”

“I wonder how they did that?” Terry mused. “We have to get a few of them out intact, for later study.”

“Won’t be easy.” Charlie sniffed. “Those things are embedded in the stones and then there’s the vibration down there. Subsonic, makes you feel like crap. We still don’t know where that comes from. We have to cycle the diggers because they can’t work in there for more than an hour. They certainly can’t hold on long enough to extract one of those vials.”

“We’ll get back to the vials later.” Terry scanned the hand drawn diagram. “There must be a way into the thing. I bet the vibrations come from something inside, and if we can find it and stop it, it’ll be much easier. I can’t see a way in.”

“There might be one.” Charlie pointed to a mark on the ground scan. “It’s in the north face. We’re digging down the east face.”

Terry squinted at the printout. “Where?”

“It’s faint, but it’s there. A rectangular patch about halfway down the side of the structure.” Charlie took a red pen and circled the spot.

Terry took a deep breath. He had been right to bring Charlie along. Nobody else would have spotted that. “So, can we get to it?”

Charlie shrugged. “The easy way would be to dig another shaft. The quick way would be to tunnel sideways, around the thing, but that has more risk of a tunnel collapse.”

“We won’t be able to dig another shaft. We’re lucky to have access at all, the government here isn’t going to like us digging holes wherever we please.” Terry tapped his pen against his chin. The truth is, digging another shaft will get us noticed and we aren’t supposed to be here. “We have to try the tunnel. Just make sure it’s well shored up.”

“It’s not too far around and we’re already past the point where we’re deep enough. I’ll get the ground staff to make a start. Can we get enough wood?”

“No problem. Mr. Blackthorn gave us a generous budget,” Terry said. “Just tell me what you need.” And I’ll bribe the right people to get it.


Williamson tapped his fist against his mouth and cleared his throat before speaking. “Mr. Blackthorn, we are all aware of your fascination with the occult. It is likely you expect to find some artefact in the chambers you are interested in. I can assure you, there is nothing of interest in any of them. Nothing that you, nor anyone else, can make use of.”

Erasmus raised his eyebrows. “You’ve opened them?”

All three shifted in their seats. Rooke spoke. “No. We have not opened them because there is no need. We already know what they contain and they have to remain sealed.”

Erasmus could raise his eyebrows no further. “Really? So what do they contain?”


Charlie led the way down the steep stairway cut into the sloping shaft. “It’s no more than ten or twenty years old. The wood still has local builders’ stamps on it.”

“You mean someone beat us to it? Damnation.” Terry clenched his fists.

“Here we are.” Charlie stopped at a hole lined with new wood. “We cut through a few feet of earth and the tunnel was already there. Looks like someone blocked it off but they didn’t do a very good job.” Ahead, the new wood changed to slightly older, darker wood lining the walls and roof of the tunnel. “I’ve sent the diggers home for the day. We don’t need them now and finding this spooked them a bit.” He grinned. “It spooked me a bit too, until I realised it was very recent.”

“Maybe they didn’t get as far as that entrance you found. Maybe they didn’t open it.” Terry bit into his lip. If they had lost out, future funding from the Blackthorn group would not be guaranteed.

“Maybe.” Charlie handed a flashlight to Terry and turned his own on, then started along the tunnel. “Nobody has been down this passage yet. It might not go all the way.”


“We can’t tell you.” Prosser folded his arms. “You just have to trust us.”

Erasmus smiled his broadest smile. “I won’t have to worry about trust. One of those chambers will be open soon. Doctor Rarity is digging into it as we speak.”

The effect was electric. Erasmus relaxed in his chair and wished he had brought popcorn. All three men shouted at once, all three pulled out cellphones and scrolled through screens of something or other. Contacts, Erasmus guessed, but who should they call first? Which of the many unexplored chambers, around the planet, was Doctor Rarity about to open?

Professor Rooke was first to grasp the dilemma. He quieted the others then turned to Erasmus, his phone gripped in his hand.

“Which one? Where are you digging?”

Erasmus steepled his fingers. “I can’t tell you that. You just have to trust me.” He could have laughed at the expression on Rooke’s face, but he managed – barely – to contain himself. This was the moment he had planned for all along and now it was here he had to stay in control. This was no time to collapse in helpless laughter. He could do that when his game was over.

Prosser banged his fist on the desk. “You don’t know what’s in there! You have no idea what you’ll release.”

“We’ll know soon enough.” Erasmus looked from one to the other. He had them in a corner, and the looks on their faces told him they knew it.


“The vibrations don’t seem so bad in here.” Terry ran his hand over his stomach. “I always feel as if I’m about to shit myself in the main shaft, but all I feel in here is a little bit queasy.”

“I think the vibrations come from the top of the pyramid and travel down the structure.” Charlie placed his hand on one of the side walls, then the other. “Yes, you can feel it on the side that’s next to the pyramid. Maybe the wooden walls attenuate it, or perhaps it’s all the earth that’s still piled against this side.”

“Interesting.” Terry tested the walls and nodded. “We’ll have to have a look at the top of this thing. Might be something we can sell to the military.”

“Well, this is where the tunnel turns a corner so we’re about halfway.” Charlie shone his flashlight along the tunnel. “This might get to the entrance after all.”

“I hope not.” Terry gritted his teeth. “I hope they gave up just before they reached it, and left it to us to finish the job.”

“That would be nice, but it’s a long shot. Nobody goes to this much trouble just to give up at the last minute.” Charlie started walking again.


Williamson closed his eyes and drew a long, slow breath. He opened them and faced Erasmus. “What will it take to stop your dig? Money?”

This time, Erasmus did laugh. “Money? I have more than I will ever need, thanks. No, you can’t buy me off. Try again.”

“What is it you want?” Prosser’s face showed defeat.

“It’s simple.” Erasmus tilted his head. “I want to know what’s in those chambers. That’s why I’m funding Doctor Rarity’s expedition. Really, there is nothing complicated about it, gentlemen. I just want to know.”

For several long minutes, they sat in silence. Finally, Rooke spoke.

“If we tell you, will you stop the dig?”

Erasmus kept his face impassive. “If you can convince me you’re telling the truth, and that it’s important to keep the chambers sealed, yes.”

“We can’t.” Prosser put his hand on Rooke’s arm. “This is too big to get out.”

Rooke’s laugh came out as a snort. “If he opens that chamber, it all gets out. And we have no idea how to put it back.”

“He’s right.” Williamson faced Erasmus. “We have to rely on your absolute discretion. Not one word of this can leave this room.”

“Of course.” Erasmus allowed himself a small smile. “I am a businessman, gentlemen. Keeping secrets is part of the job.”

“How much time do we have?” Rooke stared at the desk. “How long before he opens the chamber?”

“He will call me when he finds a way in. I want to be there when it opens. So we have a little time yet.” Erasmus put his elbows on the desk. “Begin at the beginning, Professor Rooke.”


“What the hell?” Charlie almost dropped his flashlight.

Terry battled the rising nausea in his insides. The vibrations had increased, massively and suddenly and the thing on the floor really wasn’t helping. He was sure his gut was going to violently empty at both ends, any second now.

“Charlie…” Terry retched. “Charlie, let’s get the hell out. We have to tell Mr. Blackthorn about this.”

“We should tell everyone.” Charlie stood immobile, his face in a shocked rictus.

“Charlie. Move. Now. Or I’m going without you.” Terry started down the tunnel. “Blackthorn is paying us. We tell him first.” He was relieved when he heard Charlie’s footsteps following, then terrified when his mind wondered if that was really Charlie following. After what they had seen… dare he look back?

Terry picked up the pace and tried not to break into a panicked run.


Professor Rooke tapped his finger on the desk a few times before he spoke. “You are no doubt aware of the, ah, conspiracy theories concerning ancient structures? The pyramids in Egypt, the Göbekli Tepe find, Gunung Padang in Indonesia, the Aztec and Inca ruins, even Stonehenge in England and so on? We have gone to great lengths to keep the things under them secret, even to the extent of announcing the Stonehenge chamber find on April 1st so everyone would think it was a joke.”

“The theories that they could not be constructed by modern technology, so must have been of alien origin?” Erasmus smirked. “Surely you aren’t going to give me a flying saucer story?”

“No.” Rooke’s face remained serious. “There was no alien involvement. Those structures were built by, and most were deliberately destroyed or buried by, humans. At a time long before our current ancestors were cavemen.”

“I have heard the ideas put around that those structures are so old, they must have been built while we were still making flint tools. It is a difficult idea to put credence in.” Erasmus raised his hand. “My apologies for the interruptions, Professor.”

“Not at all.” Rooke’s smile was tight and short lived. “This tale is going to get a lot stranger before the end.” He closed his eyes for a moment. “It was almost Utopia. One world, one language, one government with very few laws and most people did what they liked. The Tower of Babel story was almost real. No God did that, humanity broke itself apart deliberately. To save itself, or so they believed. The tinfoil hatters are partly right, but the loss of that advanced civilisation was not the result of a cataclysm. Not a global flood, not an asteroid, nothing like that.” He opened his eyes to look directly at Erasmus. “They destroyed it all themselves. All their records, all their achievements, all their technologies. They, in fact, tried to delete themselves from history and returned to the primitive life. They weren’t ‘contemporary with cavemen’ They became those cavemen. Deliberately.”

Erasmus shook his head. “Why?”

“They became morose.” Williams winced at Rooke’s glare. “Sorry. A bad joke.”

Rooke sighed. “Bad, but essentially correct.” He leaned forward on Erasmus’ desk. “They came to believe their technology was bad, that it was destroying the planet, that they were heading for a global catastrophe of their own making. It wasn’t true but they believed it and ‘morose’ is the reason. Or rather, Moros.”

Erasmus sat back in his chair, rummaging in his brain for his memories of that name. “Moros was part of Greek mythology. He brought mortals to their doom. I’d have to look up the details, I don’t remember this particular character very well.”

“You won’t need to. Moros was a real entity. As were most of those in the various pantheons of gods. Memories of the old times, passed down and corrupted. Did you ever notice how every single religion has one ‘chief’ god and then a lot of lesser gods, or angels, or demons, with specific jobs? They are all memories of the same thing. The things the ancients woke, or activated, or perhaps even created, with their technology.”

“You don’t know?” Erasmus raised one eyebrow.

“There are only fragments left. They did a very good job of erasing themselves. We have a good picture but it’s incomplete.”

“I understand. So this Moros was human?” Erasmus folded his arms and leaned forward, fascinated.

“No. We have not been able to determine exactly what he, and others, were. They might have been in human form but they were not human. They certainly didn’t like humans very much.” Rooke snorted. “They spent their time convincing humanity it was doomed, on any level they could get a grip on. They were the ones telling people they were causing their own destruction and they were so convincing, so believable, that humans trying to avoid their own destruction actually caused it.”

“So Moros led them to self-destruction, as the legends say.” Erasmus sniffed. “However, I don’t see how this leads to what is in the chambers. Is it the knowledge they tried to delete? If so, that would be worth a great deal.”

Rooke shook his head. “We have some of their technology but we dare not release it, nor use it. Something in their work called up, or let loose, or created Moros and his gang of doomsayers and we don’t know what it was. We do know they deliberately tried to destroy or hide absolutely all of it but we don’t know which parts are dangerous.”

“Well, surely this Moros is long dead by now so you can’t call him up again,” Erasmus said.

Prosser spluttered. “Aren’t you listening? Moros might have been created by their technology so if we try to use it, we might create another one. And this time we don’t know how to lock it away.”

“I was getting to that.” Rooke said. “It’s worse than Doctor Prosser suggests. Moros, and his underlings, once created or released or whatever happened, turned out to be immortal.”

Prosser piped up. “Also unkillable. The damn thing is indestructible and that’s why we don’t want to accidentally make another.”

Erasmus whistled. “You’re telling me this Moros is locked in one of those chambers, right?”

“Exactly right.” Rooke leaned further forward. “His gang, his brood, whatever you want to call them, are in the other chambers. Someone worked out how to snare them but we haven’t found any record of how they did it. They erased everything and put humans back to the stone age to start again.”

“If they had the threat contained, why didn’t they just go back to the way things were? Rebuild their civilisation?”

“When the lie gets big enough it cannot be contained. Even when the originator is out of circulation. These were people, just like us, with the same failings. They continued to believe they had to shut everything down.” Williamson shrugged. “We don’t know for sure, of course, but our best guess is that Moros was contained too late. Those who contained him realised that they had to hide all evidence of what they had done and hope no future generations ever found the chambers.”

Rooke smiled. “Curiosity doesn’t just kill cats, Mr. Blackthorn. Your expedition could well kill everyone. If those things get out, we don’t know how to put them back.” He sat back in his chair. “That is why those chambers must never be opened. Or at least, not until we know how to contain the things within them.”

Erasmus considered this. “I agree,” he said. “An overt demon would commit atrocities, and humanity would react at once. A subtle demon like Moros does not destroy. He incites people to destroy themselves. He could build his plan over decades without being noticed. Sowing division and hate and paranoia until humanity collapses under its own fear. I will of course keep your secret and stop the dig as soon as Doctor Rarity calls me.”

“Thank you, Mr. Blackthorn.” Williams wore a look of relief, as did the others. “Will you now tell us where he is digging?”

“In the one place I didn’t apply for permits. The least known place of all the places so far discovered.” Erasmus grinned. “In Croatia, Sevastopol. The buried pyramid discovered by Vitaly Goh in 2001.”

“Oh my God. We were just in time.” Prosser put his face in his hands.

Rooke shut his eyes, tight. “It’s the least known place because it’s the one we tried to keep most secret. It’s where Moros is contained and if he gets out he can release all the others.”

Williamson scoffed. “He’d never get in. The pyramid has a subsonic generator to deter humans and is loaded with asphyxiants. Try to break through and you’ll die.”

“Fortunately, Doctor Goh documented these things before the military took over the area.” Erasmus steepled his fingers. “I sent Doctor Rarity in with full knowledge of those traps. And I’m afraid keeping things secret is very difficult in this digital age. YouTube, in particular, is becoming quite a resource.”

Rooke nodded. “The military have been in control of the area since. They were instructed to leave it alone.” He looked at Erasmus. “I suppose they have become lax, and open to bribery, since they started?”

Erasmus laughed. “Quite so. An army guarding a hole in the ground for almost two decades does become easily distracted. It wasn’t what they signed up for.”

“It’s no laughing matter.” Prosser scowled. “This conversation might just have saved us all from going back to another stone age, although this time Moros might have finished us. We might also have saved your life, Mr. Blackthorn. Moros has been in the box for tens of thousands of years. He will need sustenance. He’ll suck all the life out of the first person he hits when the door is open.”


“Damn this phone. Why is it taking so long?” Terry glared at the screen, at the low bars of the reception indicator. “If we had WiFi here we could have contacted him that way.”

“Military wouldn’t allow it in case we tapped into their systems.” Charlie sat with his hands in his lap, staring at the floor. “Do you think they know?”

“Of course they know. That corpse was in military uniform. The same uniform they wear on the base.” Terry’s phone beeped. “At last. Hello? I have to speak with Mr. Erasmus Blackthorn. It’s urgent.”

“That corpse looked mummified. Like it was a thousand years old.” Charlie lowered his head. “How can that be?”

“Quiet, Charlie.” Terry waved his hand.

The woman’s voice on the phone said: “Mr. Blackthorn is in a meeting. Can you call back?”

“No. No, this is very important. Tell him it’s Doctor Rarity. He knows who I am and he’ll understand why it’s important I speak to him at once.”

There was a pause. “I’ll get a message to him but I don’t think he’ll be pleased. He doesn’t like being interrupted in meetings. Please hold.”

Appalling, tinny music drifted from the phone. “Jesus H. Christ!” Terry forced his grip to relax in case he accidentally crushed the phone in his fingers.

The woman’s voice returned, sounding rather less pompous than before. “Mr. Blackthorn will take your call. I’m putting you through, Doctor Rarity.”

Terry braced himself. This was likely to be the worst phone call of his life.


Erasmus opened a drawer in his desk and took out an ashtray, lighter, and a box of cigars. “I think this meeting is a success, don’t you, gentlemen?” He offered the cigars around. All three declined.

“Isn’t it illegal to smoke in your place of work?” Prosser scowled at him.

“Probably.” Erasmus lifted a cigar and clipped the ends. “Some of us just don’t care.”

“Perhaps we should have let you die when that chamber opened. It would be one less smoker on the planet.” Prosser’s face twisted in a sneer.

“Oh, I had no intention of opening it. No need, really.” He lit his cigar. “You see, gentlemen, I wanted you here at this precise moment for a reason. Have you been watching the news? Have you followed the insanity of the world lately? It had a sudden onset, didn’t it?”

“What are you talking about?” Rooke narrowed his eyes.

“Well, sure, there has always been a low-level insanity in society. That’s normal. The last decade or so though, it has ramped up enormously. Didn’t you notice?” Erasmus took a puff and blew a blue cloud into the air. “After your description of the end of that advanced civilisation, did you really not notice?”

Williamson blinked. “Notice what?”

A light blinked on the phone. Cigar clamped in his teeth, Erasmus checked the message on its LCD screen. ‘Dr. Rarity calling. Do I put him through?’ Erasmus picked up the phone. “Yes, Melissa, put him on. He is relevant to this meeting.” He put the phone on ‘speaker’ and replaced the handset then answered Williamson. “Noticed what I’m about to tell you you should have noticed. If only you scientists had put windows in those ivory towers.”

“What?” Rooke leaned forward. “Do you have information we should know?”

“A great deal.” Erasmus grinned. “And some you’ll never know. This information though, is something you would never have accepted had I not set up this proof.”

“We are scientists.” Prosser’s sneer intensified. “We deal in facts and reality, not the pipe dreams of some money-oriented business-suited smoker.”

“Shut up, Prosser.” Rooke glared at him. “There’s something going on here and we have to listen.”

He’s getting the idea, Erasmus thought. The phone beeped to signal a call coming through.

“Hello? Mr. Blackthorn?” Terry’s voice crackled through the bad connection. “It’s Terry Rarity.”

Blackthorn took a puff of his cigar and relaxed in his chair. “Yes, Doctor Rarity. You are speaking to me, Professor Rooke, Professor Williamson and Doctor Prosser. You may speak freely.”

“Prosser? That arse?”

Erasmus feigned a coughing fit but noticed the little smirk on Rooke’s face. “Yes, and as I said, we can all hear you.”

“Never mind. Look, we found the entrance and it’s open. There’s nothing in there.”

Erasmus took a slow drag on his cigar. “I told you not to open it until I was there.” His voice stayed calm. The other three did not.

“You opened it? You bloody idiot!” Prosser shouted.

“I didn’t open it. It was already open.” Terry yelled from the speaker. “Listen. There’s a corpse, looks mummified but is in modern military uniform. There’s a tunnel that Charlie reckons is no more than ten to twenty years old. Someone beat us to it. Calm the hell down, I’m still trying to get this into perspective in my head.”

“Would anyone like a whisky?” Erasmus opened another drawer and lifted out a decanter and some glasses.

“You don’t seem to be at all surprised.” Rooke shook his head. “You knew about this?”

“No, I didn’t know for sure, but I suspected.” Erasmus poured himself a whisky then set the decanter on the desk. “Help yourselves, gentlemen.” He tapped ash from his cigar. “This is exactly what I have been expecting.”

“Expecting?” Terry shouted from the speaker. “You sent me on a wild goose chase?”

“What the hell do you mean, you expected it?” Rooke narrowed his eyes.

Erasmus held up his hands. “Gentlemen, please, calm down. We can discuss this in a civil fashion.”

“You don’t seem to think there is any urgency.” Prosser’s face had turned bright red. “Didn’t you listen?”

Erasmus sighed. “Doctor Rarity has already told us that the chamber has been open for over a decade. The results you fear are already under way.”

“What results? What’s going on?” Terry sounded baffled.

“Doctor Rarity, thank you for your work on this. I will of course continue to fund the expedition, although you might want to let the military know they have a body down there.”

“But the chamber—”

“Is empty, yes.” Blackthorn steepled his fingers. “There is still the matter of the subsonic generator. Find that, and it’s likely to be worth a fortune.”

“Well…” Terry muttered.

“Take a few days off. Give your staff a break too. You’ll need to let the military collect the corpse anyway.”

There was a pause. “Okay.” Terry sounded calmer. “Thanks, Mr. Blackthorn.”

“Keep me updated. Goodbye for now, Doctor Rarity.” Blackthorn switched off the phone. He faced the others. “Well, gentlemen, we can talk now. I suspect this matter is not something we should be letting Doctor Rarity know about yet, given his delight in publicity.”

“Absolutely.” Williams nodded.

“That publicity hound would have it on every front page.” Prosser sneered.

Rooke leaned forward. “Why are we here, Mr. Blackthorn? You seem to already know everything.”

“Not at all,” Erasmus said. “I knew the chambers existed, of course. Every late-night geek rummaging on YouTube knows about them. However, I had no idea what was in them. I congratulate you on keeping that part very quiet, by the way. I really didn’t know about Moros and his gang of dark whisperers. In fact, I doubt I would ever have thought of that name. He was a very minor character in the mythology we are taught nowadays. No, all I had was a feeling that the buried pyramid in Croatia was likely to have been breached. The little I had heard of the place made it, logically, almost inevitable. I didn’t know what was in there but I had a feeling something was released.”

“Just feelings? That’s a thin reason to pay for an archaeological expedition.” Prosser blinked. “You must have had more?”

Erasmus nodded. “I have noticed a massive increase in what I would term ‘general lunacy’ all over the world. It started in the early 2000s. So I began searching for a link, something big, something that happened around that time. Vitaly Goh’s discovery was the biggest anomalous event of the time and it was being kept rather quiet, I thought.”

“But he didn’t open the chamber. He didn’t get very far at all.” Rooke shrugged. “Once we realised what he had found, we persuaded the government of the time to declare it a military base and close it. That put a stop to his and all other digs. Until now.”

“Not quite.” Erasmus pursed his lips. “You didn’t think it through, you know. That pyramid contains a subsonic generator that has operated with no apparent power source for tens of thousands of years. Clearly, this is something of interest to a weapons technologist and most definitely of interest to the military.” He paused for breath. “Gentlemen, you put a military base on top of a potentially useful weapon and told them to leave it alone. Of course they didn’t leave it alone.”

“Oh, shit.” Rooke put his face in his hands.

“My guess is that they opened it within a year of you closing it down. Which means Moros was released in 2002 or 2003. Which fits with when the world really started cracking up.” Erasmus took a sip of his whisky and stubbed out his cigar.

“Doesn’t make sense,” Williamson said. “If they got as far as opening it and lost a man in the process, why didn’t they carry on looking for that generator?”

“As with all of this, we can only guess at most of it.” Erasmus refilled his glass. “Maybe Moros caused them to forget what was down there. Maybe they were scared – soldiers are human too, remember. Maybe they decided to close the dig until they could find another way in. Maybe… maybe they thought they’d let some actual archaeologists do the job and pick up the device when they found it.” He waved his hand. “Any guess is as good as any other at this point.”

“And none of them matter.” Prosser glowered. “Moros is out, and has been for almost two decades. He’s had plenty of time to release all the others. Who knows what they might have been doing?”

Erasmus snorted. “Really? After all you’ve just told me? You don’t know what they’ve been up to?” He held up his hand and unfolded one finger at a time. “The planet is doomed unless we give up all our technology. People are splitting into smaller and smaller factions and fighting over differences that really don’t matter. People are outraged if someone utters one word out of place.” He closed his hand and banged the desk. “And so much more. How could you not have noticed, when you were the ones with the answer to why it was happening?”

Rooke still had his hands over his face. He lowered them to reveal new lines in his skin. “We thought the chambers were intact. We didn’t know.”

“Ha!” Erasmus bared his teeth. “And if you had known where Doctor Rarity was digging, you would have blocked it and we still wouldn’t know.” He sighed. “Well there’s no point getting angry about it. Pandora’s box is open.”

Williamson laughed, a hollow sound. “Box? This is Pandora’s entire luggage set for a year-long round-the-world cruise. We were supposed to be the baggage handlers and we’ve lost the lot.”

Erasmus stood and leaned on his desk. “Gentlemen, I will need access to every bit of that ancient technology you have deciphered. Every fragment, no matter how apparently inconsequential. If we are to put this thing back in its box, we need every clue available, and it is not going to be easy. Whatever trick those ancient people used to get Moros and his horde contained will not work again. We have to know what that trick was, and how they made those containment chambers.” He stared at the three stunned faces before him. “What do we do first?”

Rooke eyed the decanter. “I think I’d like to accept that drink now.”

No rest for the wicked

I hadn’t realised just how much time I’ve spent on publishing recently until I found my belt had shrunk. That trim waist, honed by four years of heavy physical work, has been undone by eight months of solid writing and publishing. I have to get back in shape to deal with the monster garden. It’s all starting to grow fast now.

Four books in eight months. Three of them multi-author books. Not bad for a one-man-and-one-woman-who-also-has-a-full-time-job operation, I think.

Yes, Transgenre Dreams is done. The eBooks will show up fast, the print book requires me to proofread and approve it after Amazon manually check it’s going to print okay. Could take a few days, but it’s all loaded up and ready to roll. Just have to hope there are no mistakes in it or the process goes around again.

The eBooks have a complex linking system with three menus – a main menu, a poetry menu and an ‘about the authors’ menu and of course, all those ‘back to menu’ links. I’m just waiting for someone to find a glitch.

The print book is quite pricey this time – for those ‘who funds you’ obsessives out there, I’ll make 30p per book. My investment in it was just shy of £250 plus a lot of time. As with all the others, I doubt it will make breakeven any time soon. I’d have to sell about 900 copies, at a rough estimate. That could take a while.

That wasn’t the point. Not for any Underdog Anthologies. They come under ‘advertising’. They showcase the authors and the genres Leg Iron Books covers, which is pretty much anything legal and halfway decent. I’d rather see the volume sales in the single-author novels/anthologies and we have some brilliant ones in the catalogue. Also some of mine.

There are at least two novels and a technical book on the way that I know about, but fortunately none are imminent because, frankly, I could do with a rest.

I’m not going to get one. My parents arrive for a visit tomorrow and I am slated for jury service on the 10th April, halfway through that visit. The house is not quite ready for visitors. CStM has worked her fingers to the bone while I’ve been swearing at the slow connection while loading up the books. If she wasn’t here, this place would have become a shithole over the last eight months. Once this visit is over I have promised to buy her that soft ice cream making machine she’s been ogling. She really has earned it.

The spiders and beetles are awake and I have no idea what those spiders hope to catch but some of their webs are immense. There are webs appearing all over the place. On the plus side, the mice have stopped coming in since the dog found out she gets bacon every time she kills one. Now she’s actively hunting them. The mousetraps have seen no action at all this winter.

Tomorrow I have to move this office upstairs because this room is also the guest room. My father is 80 and doesn’t cope well with the long steep twisty staircase here. I have until about 2 pm to do it. The room I move it into is the one room the spiders don’t seem to like but we mostly use upstairs for storage because there’s no heating in any of those rooms. That’s not too bad now and okay in summer but really, nobody goes up there in winter.

I love this house and its inbuilt weirdness but I won’t buy it. Renting will do. It really needs a family or someone who can afford staff. There are servants’ quarters but they would need a lot of work – we use them as attics since there’s no heating in them and the fireplaces are sealed. They are also 1600/1700 style servant rooms. No modern staff would even go in there. It would take a lottery win, a big one, to convince me to buy this place (Since I don’t buy lottery tickets my chance of winning is slightly lower than someone who does) Even though it is older than two local tourist attractions – and has a more mature garden too.

Open it to the public? What? Why do you think I moved way out here in the first place? It was to get away from the public. I’m not going to invite them round.

I’ll take a break from publishing and writing until the end of April, I think. I’ll have considerable grass cutting and planting duties after the visit and jury nonsense is over, and I really do need to lose some of this winter fat layer.

CStM also needs a rest. She has worked hard to keep this place in some kind of shape while I’ve been tied up with writing and editing and publishing. It’s too big for one person to deal with. Even though we live in the same house she has seen little of me for eight months. Fortunately she’s as unsociable as I am so it kind of works but it’s not a good long term plan.

To be fair, someone could move in here and we wouldn’t notice until things went missing from the fridge and the toilet flushed at mysterious times. But we’d probably just blame the ghost.

I would like to get back to blogging about politics and antismokers but really, both have become so unbelievably silly that it is impossible to parody them now. Even the Church of Climatology is beyond parody – warning about warming while ice sheets gain millions of tonnes of ice. Yes, sure, it’s not a religion, but you have to Believe or we will face the End Times…

I’ll just put it into stories. Maybe it’ll trigger some sense in someone, somewhere, who thinks they are just reading entertainment. I bet someone is thinking ‘Goebbels’ now. It’s Legiron’s Law, a subset of Godwin’s.

Oh hell. I’m going to post ‘Pandora’s Lost Luggage’ next. It’s from Transgenre Dreams and I don’t think it’s the best story in there by a long way even though I wrote it.

Well, life is like a train delay. You just have to put up with it until it’s over.


So Tessie Maybe is going for another extension. Surely even the EU is getting fed up with this now? Parliament voted ‘no’ to another extension, her own Cabinet said ‘no’, and most likely the Closet, the Cooker, Underbed Monster and the Ironing Board said ‘no’ too.

She’s not hearing the voters, not hearing Parliament and not hearing her own Cabinet. What voices is she hearing, and are they only in her head?

Looks like she’s planning to set up Corbyn to take the blame this time. She wants to talk to him about a way out of the web of lunacy she has created. He will make demands. She will refuse, so he will refuse to support her crazy deal. Then, when we go out with no deal, she can say it’s Labour’s fault.

No, Tessie. It’s your fault. All yours. You have had nearly three years to come to your senses and no amount of extension can help you now. You cannot blame Parliament or Labour or even your own MPs because you are not listening to any of them. You are doing this all on your own.

I think she really believed she could snap her fingers and all of Parliament would support the horrors in that lunatic deal she dreamed up. I think she really believes that being Prime Monster means she is in sole command, that everyone in the country must do as she says. A smack in the face from Reality awaits.

Can she really go to the EU and ask for things that her own government do not support? What are the EU thinking now?

If they have any sense, they are thinking about the upcoming EU elections. They are wondering how many Nigel Farages the UK will send them if they let this pissed-off population have a say in those elections. If they have any grasp on reality at all they will understand that more people voted in that referendum than ever before and at least 17 million of them are going to vote ‘screw you’ if they get a chance. If there is anyone sensible in the EU elite, they really won’t want the UK voting in those elections.

As for the Squeaker, Tyrion Bercow, I actually agree with him not allowing a vote on ‘no deal’. As he said, ‘no deal’ is the default if the exit date arrives and there is no deal. There is nothing to debate about it. They voted to take ‘no deal’ off the table but it was never on the table. It’s not an offer. It’s a default position. Pretending it’s anything else is like falling off a cliff and voting to not hit the ground.

Actually, this Parliament would take that vote and relax on the way down because they’ve solved the problem. Oh, and Tessie would demand an extension to the height of the cliff so they have longer to fall. Anyone saying ‘We fell off a cliff and we’re going to die’ would be declared to be Hitler and ignored.

Watching this government in action is alternately frustrating and comical. They really have no idea what they are doing and most of them have no idea how close to bursting the boiler of anger is getting in this country. We’ve seen even Boris the Spider and Jake the Greasy Moggie change positions recently. We’ve seen an MP deselected and that deselection overridden by Tessie. Stupid move, Tessie. Who is going to campaign for him at the next election, eh?

I never thought I’d see the day when every party in Wastemonster made Scotland’s Spiteful Nannying Party look not so bad after all. Well it doesn’t make them look better, it just means we can look at them now and think well, they aren’t really any worse than the rest of them. I still won’t vote for them, naturally. Never have and never will. Independence sounds okay, but with that lot in charge? Hell no.

Brexit might or might not happen on April 12th. It might have already happened since Tessie put it into law that it would happen on 29th March. I’m pretty sure it’s going to happen before the EU elections – if she hasn’t grown a brain by then, and the EU has, they’ll kick us out sharpish.

Of course, the EU is doomed anyway. France is going to send them a raft of Marine le Pens for their parliament. Italy is going to do something similar. Eastern Europe has experienced the Soviet nonsense they are trying to implement and they’re going to send a load of Lech Walesa clones. Greece is pretty pissed off and many other countries are too. Oh, in many countries the politicians are quite happy with the Hell they have foisted on their populations but the people living with this shit are not.

We are not leaving a thriving community of happy people. We are deserting a sinking ship.

As one whose Chinese horoscope is ‘rat’, I think that’s a good idea.


Book stuff – if you’re not interested, stop now.

The eighth Underdog Anthology awaits only one author’s response and it’s ready to go. The print cover is here, all set. The Kindle cover is just the front part of that one, the Smashwords cover will have to have all 12 authors’ names on the cover. It won’t look as neat but them’s the rules.

I hope to hear from that last author very soon. My parents will be here within 36 hours and that is going to eat heavily into my available time. Plus, I have the spectre of jury service on the 10th April which is going to mess things up even more. I did promise to get this book out in the first week of April and I intend to do just that.

Even if it needs to be revised after publication.


Well, we nearly had Brexit. And the Tory party nearly had a future. They will be spoken of in future as we now speak of the Whigs, once their opposing number in the two-main-party system we have, but now relegated to a bunch of irrelevancies. It took me a long time to work out who the Whigs were. It’ll take the next generation just as long to work out who the Tories were.

Now we have a new party. Change UK, which is going to be abbreviated to CUK because they really didn’t think it through. Naturally, they don’t plan to change anything at all including the modern politicians’ disregard for anything the public has to say. They certainly don’t plan to change their cushy jobs and their Marie Antoinette attitudes. But then, none of them do.

Well I won’t vote for CUK. I won’t vote for Conservatives ever again. I won’t vote Labour because they aren’t Labour any more. They are Catweasel’s Commies now. As for the Lib Dems and the SNP… no. Just no. The Church of the Militant Elvis makes more sense.

I’m going to vote though. If there is no realistic choice I will not vote ‘for’ anyone but ‘against’ whichever one is currently incumbent. As a last resort I will write ‘No thank you’ on the paper. There is nobody in favour of delivering the referendum result or of even slightly relaxing the smoking ban so my options are going to be limited to a ‘fuck you’ vote of some kind. Even Jake the Greasy Moggie turned tail and voted for the now thrice-thrashed Surrender Deal. Who is there left to trust?

It has all become very silly indeed but it did inspire a story – ‘Pandora’s Lost Luggage’ – which is in the next Underdog Anthology and which I will post here for entertainment purposes when the book is done. As I’ve said all along, those anthologies aren’t out there to make a profit – none of them have yet broken even – they are advertising. For me, for Leg Iron Books and of course for the starting-out authors in them. So yes, I’ll post that story here.

That book has occupied an awful lot of my time recently because it turned out to be a very big one. Details elsewhere – and Leg Iron Books authors should keep an eye on that site because that’s where the book details are now.

I have also not forgotten the Freddo contest. Just need this book out of the way first… I have a Fistful of Freddos ready to set it up.

What I need is an island where I can declare myself an independent country. But not off Scotland. The Grand Solar Minimum and the SNP’s insanity is going to cover this place in glaciers in a decade or so.

If only Australia was sane. But then, we did send them there…

Article 13 and Russian servers

I now have all but one of the author contracts back for Underdog Anthology 8, I have started assembling the book and have a cover image. This one was a lot of work – 12 authors, 21 stories and 12 poems! RooBeeDoo and I have finished editing, all authors’ edits are back and it’s still going to take a few days to assemble it. It will be out on time.

Also I have a new toy. A tiny 2 cm cube that holds a 32Gb memory card and takes HD video with the option of infrared for low light. It came from a Chinese seller on eBay and cost less than a tenner. I’ve had it clipped to an OO scale truck and run it around my little test track. I don’t seem to be able to put the video directly on here so I’ll probably have to upload it to YouTube…

if the new EU rules will let me. A lot of the models are copyright of Hornby, Wrenn, Lima and many others. The video copyright belongs to me, yes, but the copyright of the things in it do not.

Article 13 is so far reaching that if I were to quote any part of the linked article I would have to pay. I’m not clear on whether I would have to pay just for the link but if so, articles, newspapers etc won’t get any more traffic from bloggers. We don’t get paid for this and we can’t afford the expense.

What if I were to link to, and quote, an article from outside the EU? Is that covered by the silly new law? I’m not clear on that either so wouldn’t risk it. As long as we are inside the EU, we’re going to have an internet the Chinese will laugh at.

And let’s face it, our government has absolutely no intention of leaving the EU. All those banners from the March of Rejects saying ‘Tory Brexit’ are total bollocks. It has nothing to do with the Tories. None of them want to do what the referendum said, despite so many of them at the time claiming they would. It’s a stitch up, and that was clear from the start.

Will Article 13 change Tessie Maybe’s mind? Hahaha! Total control of the internet is her sweatiest wet dream and has been since she was in the Home Orifice. She already has the ‘porn filters’ coming (ooer missus) that we know will filter far more than porn. We also know they will not work. In fact they will do a lot worse than just not working – the youth of today know all about VPN and TOR and will descend into the Hell of the Underweb where they will see a lot more than a bit of rumpy-pumpy.

The political morons already have the Great Data Protection Racket (GDPR) that means a lot of non-EU news and other sites have to either comply with it, or more often, simply block EU access. You need a VPN to use the real internet already, more rules won’t change that at all, and will only have the effect of driving more and more people onto VPN and TOR.

I’ve seen people on Twitter claiming that Article 13 passed because there are too many UKIP MEPs. I’ve seen the list of UK MEPs who voted for it. Not one of them is UKIP. If there had been more UKIP MEPs it might not have passed. ‘Stay in,’ they say, ‘and fix it from within’. Cameron tried that and was sent home with a very sore arse. When will they grasp this? It cannot be fixed!

Well, if we stay in, TOR and the VPN providers will make a fortune. On the Euternet, YouTube will be worthless. No point even clicking on it, and you might as well delete the app. The same will be true of Farcebok and Twatter and most other sharing sites because they have taken the smoking-ban approach.

Instead of going after the copyright-infringer, they will go after the platform. The host will have to act as unpaid police to ensure none of their visitors break the law – or the host gets sued. Just like that pub landlord who gets prosecuted for ‘allowing smoking’ on his premises. So all those sites will take the easy option and just block pretty much anything within the EU.

They have to. They are dealing in millions of uploads per month. They can’t check every single one. They’ll use an algorithm and it will be set to overkill to make sure they don’t get sued. Smaller ones will simply cease operating within the EU altogether. Only the blandest of the bland will get onto YouTube when this takes effect.

Will this affect Leg Iron Books? Maybe. I’ll still be able to load books onto but if the cover image was made by someone else I’ll have to get their permission to show it. In writing. If the story description was written by the author I’ll need written permission to show that too. I will have to police comments, here and on the Leg Iron Books site, in case someone posts an image or snippet of text from someone else’s copyright. How to easily wreck a site you don’t like? Just post a comment containing some fanfiction or a copyrighted image and they’re fined out of business and probably in jail too.

Potentially worse – will Amazon etc refuse to load books or at least refuse to show them in the EU in case of copyright infringement? They cannot possibly check with every uploader. Besides, I can’t put in a block-licence on copyright because, like any other reputable publisher, I don’t own other authors’ copyrights. Every author would have to do it individually and even Amazon would find it hard to cope with that. It will make anthologies a nightmare.

I expect ‘Click to look inside’ to vanish from every EU version of Amazon. No more teaser samples. If your title is picked out by the algorithm as similar to someone else’s, or could be fanfiction, you’ll get no sales in the EU because nobody will see it. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and the rest cannot check every single book and they will take no chances.

There are books in my catalogue in Dutch and in French. They don’t sell much but whern they do, it’s in the EU. As you would expect. If the Dutch and the French can’t see them, who will buy them?

Well, they’ll still sell to those who have VPNs that make them look like they are in Russia, which is rapidly becoming hte most free nation on the planet. If Kim Jong Jinglejangle gets a brainwave, he could make his country very rich indeed. All he needs is a couple of geeks and some servers and his people need never know. Imagine that world, where you circumvent the EU restrictions by routing through North Korea. It could happen.

This is only the beginning. The EU will make the internet unusable. We won’t even go back to Compuserve forums, it’ll be used for email only unless you want to read EU propaganda. Those who bought Amstrad’s daft email phones will be laughing, they will be more useful than any smart phone or tablet soon.

Until they start checking email content. Then it’s time to get back to snail mail because it’s still a bit faster than a pigeon…

…until it isn’t.