Visions of the Future: Farel Dalrymple's Apocalypse

Visions of the Future is a blog tour sort of thing where five authors talk about the apocalypses they have created for their books. Learn more about the tour and the other blogs participating in the tour here. Today on The Book Wars, we have Farel Dalrymple whose book The Wrenchies was published by First Second this past July.  Find him at his website here.

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The Wrenchies has two storylines – one set today, in our present, and one that’s set in the future.  Bad things happen in both time periods — but the future in The Wrenchies can be much worse than the present.

There are horrendous violent struggles and atrocities that go on all the time in the real world, but to most people I think the future world of The Wrenchies might seem a lot more violent, hellish, and chaotic then our present world is. I did want the story to be generally horrific, like reading some kid’s weird nightmare, but a kind of a fun one too, hopefully. I don’t really know if The Wrenchies future is worse or better than how the world is or was. The children all feel this pervasive oppression that has to do with the Shadowsmen’s grip on the world, but maybe this isn’t all that worse than all the anxiety and depression people all over the world struggle with daily?

 My future world is more of a fantasy setting where there are random crazy things and magic going on than any sort of hard sci-fi stuff about technology or politics. My commentary on where our culture is, all the garbage the children live amidst in the future, what they were left from the former world, just mounds of trash. The magic stuff just makes that part of it bearable and represents my own sort of magical thinking that I think we as a culture collectively engage in.

 Our consumer culture, I feel, is coming to end.  Either we as a species will evolve or we destroy ourselves. I feel this desperation that I think a lot of other humans probably feel as well, that we can see our environment being damaged and resources being depleted and all that comes with that, but feel helpless and ignorant of how to stop it. A lot of people I know think it is already too late to keep the world changing into an extremely hostile and unlivable environment, that within the next decade there will be so many worldwide ramifications of this that we are beyond any hope for humanity.

 Meanwhile I just keep making comic books, because I am holding on to some sort of delusion that making comics is what I have to do. I don’t know if that is a trend or anything like that, but I feel like it is spirit of the times. A lot of people out there know that we have to do something as a species but don’t feel smart enough or rich enough or whatever to really figure out what to do. So we just go on about our day trying not to think about all the famine and war and genocide and rampant disease. People are still watching reality shows while sexting and driving around gas guzzling SUV’s while the polar ice caps are melting

 In The Wrenchies, besides it being after the apocalypse and that being terrible, there are also a number of terrible things that happen to the characters and the world because of the apocalypse’s effect.

 Obviously violence towards children is terrible. A lot of the things in the future world I think are disgusting are just exaggerations on what I don’t like about our own real world: pollution and environmental abuses, overpopulation, greed, corruption, war . . . I imagine my characters feel sort of like I do for the most part. They are sad when their friends die. They don’t like seeing people get exploited or seeing a bully picking on anyone. They don’t enjoy hurting things, except for maybe Bance who claims to enjoy killing monsters. But that might just be tough guy talk.

 The future I created is a polluted and hostile world, but I also wanted there to be a lot of fun things like magic and secret bases and laughs and positivity to try to counteract that.

There is also the pervasive oppression I mentioned earlier that all the children feel. Evil or darkness or whatever you want to call it seems to thrive in this future world but I didn’t want most of the young Wrenchies to cynical or jaded. They are still children with hopes and dreams and the excitement of youth – and the ability that only a child has to fight off the oppressive spirit of The Shadowsmen.