“City of Dust” is Niles’ first attempt at science fiction — with just enough horror in the mix to make the writer feel right at home. The story follows detective Philip Khrome, who turned in his own father for “thought crimes” as a boy, as he attempts to understand a new kind of monster that’s attacking his city in a future world where imagination, books, and religion have been outlawed.
(After the jump, read more about Steve Niles’ “City of Dust” and get an exclusive sneak peek at the second issue!)
“It’s very ‘Fahrenheit 451,’ ‘1984,’ all those wonderful Big Brother stories, with my own twist on it,” Niles said. “And it’s only because we don’t seem to be able to get past those issues. We have a vice presidential candidate who is accused of trying to get certain books removed from libraries.”
According to Niles, Philip Khrome is the outcome of what Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin wishes upon the world — he “drank the Kool-Aid,” as Niles puts it — completely believing the company line that books are bad, not to be touched. That is, until he finds one during the course of his investigation.
“It’s an A-B-C book about monsters,” Niles said. “And in his day and age, they don’t know what a Dracula or a Frankenstein is. It’s been so long that it’s been censored.”
Which, of course, means that the people in the City of Dust are ripe for a brutal re-education.
“Whenever they restrict freedom of expression, they unleash much worse dangers than the things they were trying to suppress,” Niles said. “They’re frightened of change. It all comes down to fear. Fear of the unknown. That’s where all this stuff comes from, and it’s really fun, in this story, to be able to play with these things, as well as play with fun horror themes. So don’t worry, there’s going to be plenty of monsters.”
The second issue of “City of Dust” hits shelves November 5. Radical Publishing has provided MTV with an exclusive sneak peek at the covers for the second issue, as well as a full-page spread. Click on the thumbnails below for full-size versions of each image.
Did you read the first issue of “City of Dust”? Who do you think would make a good Philip Khrome?