Join us as we peek behind the scenes of our upcoming anthology, ON TIME. Learn more about Adrik Kemp in his featured interview.
ABOUT THE STORY
What inspired your story?
Chasing the 999 evolved from an idea of eternal life and parallel realities (or the rebranded ‘multiverse’). I took a few ideas, like probability theory and artificial intelligence, and used them to create a world in which a cruise ship (able to go to international waters) traverses the ocean with a cargo of people in stasis who’s minds have been sent to alternate realities where they might have a better, or worse, chance. This was distilled into the story of one of those people, who is chasing the titular 999. The readings above a tank indicate the years left to live as predicted by a Probability Intelligence, but the max reading is 999… The question is, does this mean eternal life and if so, what does that look like?
Can you tell us a little bit about your protagonist?
The main protagonist is really much more passive than he should be. Luke Ng has been chasing eternity his whole life. He has worked menial jobs and scraped and saved until he can get a highly-sought-after pod aboard the Princesa Futura and a ticket to the potential of everlasting life. With nothing to lose, he hopes for a better future in one of the proven infinite timelines just out of reach.
What is the most interesting thing about the world you’ve created?
The most interesting thing about the world of the Princesa Futura and the uncertainty of the 999 is the Probability Index, or PI. The story of this artificial intelligence based on probability factors of parallel timelines is something of a cautionary tale in trusting programs.
What genre or mix of genres does your story fit into?
In terms of genre, Chasing the 999 is definitely science fiction, but has a touch of horror to it as well.
How have your personal experiences influenced this story?
Having never been to a parallel world (that I know of) or met any AI (that I know of), the only personal experience is having been on a cruise ship. If we’re going to talk very literally! But everyone is seeking eternal life in one way or another, aren’t we?
What would you like readers to take away from your story?
I would love if readers came away from this story with a little more impetus to live in the present rather than always waiting for something in the future, or worse, dwelling on the past.
What was your favorite part of the story to write and why?
The best part of writing this story was PI and the journey taken by this inhuman piece of programming.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
When did you write your first story, how old were you, and what was it about?
I was about twelve, and it involved a lot of people exchanging a lot of mysterious brown paper packages and wasn’t very good!
What is your writing survival checklist? (Aka, what helps your write the best: music, snacks, coffee, complete silence, a stress ball, a cat, or an outline, etc.)
I write the best when I’ve done my research. Outside distractions don’t bother me too much, but music can get distracting, particularly when my husband, Carl De Villa is rehearsing…
What has influenced you most as a writer?
Other writers of course! Without having been a reader from a very young age, devouring Stephen King when I was far too young to even understand all of it, I wouldn’t have been inspired to go down this somewhat fraught path.
What font do you prefer to write in?
Whatever, I’m not bothered really. But having a background in screenwriting, I find Courier is a fallback font.
Do you have any writing blogs/vlogs/podcasts, etc. that you would recommend?
My own? At https://adrikkemp.wordpress.com/
What is your favorite and least favorite word, and why?
My favourite words are always changing, and usually new ones I didn’t know before. I’m currently in love with verdigris. I find clunky acronyms or backronyms tend to be my least favourite words.
Adrik Kemp is an Australian author of speculative fiction, fantasy and horror tales. He identifies as queer, and happily lives in Sydney with his husband.
He has published short stories about aliens, mermaids, interplanetary pen pals, vampire cowboys, AI, ESP and much more. Notably, these have been published through Aurealis Magazine, Third Flatiron Press, Transmundane Press & Pride Publishing. He wants to explore as many varied worlds, situations and relationships as he can through words.
Adrik has a Master of Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Technology, Sydney. He was honoured to be the winner of the 2015 OutStanding LGBTIQ Short Story Competition in Sydney, Australia.
ON TIME is coming in late September 2020. Be sure to follow us on Amazon.