Author Tim Dempsey is our first guest of the new year! Tim is a young up ‘n comer who recently released his first novel, Urban Monarchs, on Amazon. Of all the authors lined up, I felt it fitting to start off our series of interviews with someone whose focus is on dystopian fiction. Dystopian fiction seems particularly relevant during these trying times. I especially appreciate Tim’s description of Board City. He has meticulously crafted the city from the ground up and populated it with all sorts of interesting creatures and characters.
Your book, Urban Monarchs, is described as a cyberpunk dystopia. What parallels do you see in your book with what’s going in 2020?
The setting of my novel, Board City, isn’t your standard dystopia. There is no all-encompassing authoritarian body, not that there aren’t some who are trying to fill that role. Instead, the dystopic aspect of the book comes from the constant instability of Board City as different gangs try to eliminate one another and seize the power of their rivals.
When it comes to 2020 and my story, I’d have to say that the largest connection would be when the main characters end up trapped within their penthouse by a forcefield and argue with one another about how to handle the situation. Granted this was due to a very different circumstance than a pandemic.
Are there any cyberpunk influences in your writing?
I can’t think of one “big” influence for Urban Monarchs. It takes a lot from all over the genre, especially in terms of aesthetics. When it comes to names, my two biggest influences would have to be the book, The King In Yellow and the game of chess.
Describe Board City. What is it like to walk down the street?
Board City is the type of place where you’d have a harder time finding someone that hasn’t killed someone than one who has. In the more populated areas of the city, you will find streets filled bursting with people, many of whom will have a brown liquid running out of their eyes and down their faces, a common symptom of drug abuse in Varse. In one part of the city, The Brooks Maze, you would see many bleak apartments piled on top of one another in hastily constructed stacks. The black eyes of the Varse inside will watch your every move as they huddle against the window and wait for a sign of vulnerability, it is best to bring a weapon or a group when visiting. In the nice part of town, Monochro, the odds of you being assaulted on the street are at least half what they would be in other parts of the city and as you walked through the sidewalks and passed by the glittering buildings, the only things you would have to watch out for are the black-clad Marauders gang who make their home in this part of town. All in all, it’s a very unpleasant place to be unless you happen to really enjoy the prospect of unprovoked violence.
How do you implement magic in a world of technology?
The magic existed long before the technology did, although the Varse isn’t its biggest fan. In my setting, magic does not come from the world around you but is instead accessed from within oneself. Humans and the other species that have populated the world long before the Varse appeared had been using magic for millennia. When half the planet died during the Black Stone Event and was turned into the vast desert that the story of Urban Monarchs would one day take place in, the Varse appeared one day out of that nothingness. After a few generations of spreading out across the continent, a figure called The Provider allegedly appeared and gifted the Varse with the technology that they have now and promised to return with more when they mastered the gifts that they were given.
What can we expect in the future from you?
I am currently writing my second book which is set in the same world, but in the past and deals with the conflict between vampires who wish to spread themselves across the world and the vampire hunters that have been tasked with stopping them. I have also started a homebrew Dungeons and Dragons Podcast called Dice and Effect, in which my friends and I will adventure through the mysterious world of Corieon and either help defeat the evils that lurk there or make everything many times worse, which is much more likely.Grab Urban Monarchs at Amazon
To learn more about Tim and the world of Mekebe, check out his website at www.mekebestories.com.