The Sims Book Tag – Tag Thursday

This is The Sims Book Tag, part of my regular blogging feature Book Tag Thursday.

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I saw this tag over on OneBookishGirl and loved it! The Sims was a huge part of my childhood so it felt right to take part in this. This is The Sims Book Tag! Click here to catch up on previous Tag Thursday posts.

The Sims Book Tag

THE ORIGINAL SIMS – The best author debut

I’m still in love with Solitaire by Alice Oseman. I think I Was Born For This (her third book) is better, and shows how she matured as a writer, but her debut book set the standard very high.

THE GRIM REAPER – SADDEST CHARACTER DEATH

This one is difficult because there have been a lot over the years. I think Rue in The Hunger Games trilogy was probably one of the most difficult deaths for me to process, especially because it was one of the first young adult series I read and I was quite young when I read it. Then, of course, there is also Prim. Her death also hit me very hard.

SIMS GETTING STUCK – A CHARACTER THAT JUST GOT IN THE WAY

I honestly can’t think of any. I think authors always have a reason for including the characters they do, and most of the time I really prefer the side characters over the main characters, especially when it comes to young adult fiction.

SIMLISH – A BOOK WITH AMAZING WRITING

All of the Robin Hobb books are honestly my aspirational writing goals – I love everything about the way she constructs the fantasy world and writes about her characters.

EXPANSION PACKS – A SERIES WHERE THE BOOKS KEEP ON GETTING BETTER

The Takeshi Kovacs series (Altered Carbon, Broken Angels and Woken Furies) by Richard K Morgan is the best example of this I can think of. I liked the first book, the second book a little more, and the third book absolutely blew me away.

SIM ROMANCE – THE WORST CASE OF INSTA-LOVE

I don’t tend to keep reading books that have insta-love. They very quickly get DNFed. Maybe let me know in the comments if you can think of any particularly bad examples and it’ll jog my memory!

 CHEATS – A BOOK THAT WAS ENTIRELY UNREALISTIC

Everything, Everything was a book that I loved but also felt was very unrealistic. Still, I enjoyed it, and read it in a couple of hours; I really love Yoon’s writing style and the strength of her characters, it was just the situation that didn’t feel believable.

NEEDS FULFILMENT – A CHARACTER WHO MADE ALL THE WRONG DECISIONS

There must be so many in young adult contemporaries but its been awhile since I’ve read any, so I’m not sure. Possibly the only recent example I can think of is Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, for obvious reasons. Frankenstein’s monster only ever wants to be accepted for who he is, and for the chance to have a companion like himself… but his creator ignores him and brands him a villain. With the right support, the book could have gone in such a wildly different direction. Still, I see the book’s point about nature versus nurture, and the idea of despising your own creation which was important for Shelley to explore.

ERROR CODE 12 – A SERIES THAT STARTED OFF GREAT BUT WENT DOWNHILL FROM THERE

I was about to say I couldn’t think of any, but then it occurred to me: Divergent. I adored the first book, and relatively enjoyed the second, but absolutely despised the last book.

THE SIMS VORTEX – A BOOK/SERIES THAT COMPLETELY ENGROSSED YOU

The Mortal Instruments. I’m a huge fan, always have been, always will be. The opening chapter of City of Bones is one of my favourite pieces of writing ever and is honestly what I reflect upon when I’m trying to find the tone of my own opening chapters.


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An Essential Guide To The World of Cyberpunk

As you know if you’ve been reading my Dissertation Diaries series, I’ve taken a deep dive into the cyberpunk genre. For awhile now I’ve had an idea to put together a basic guide for anyone interested either in taking their first steps into cyberpunk, or for hardcore science fiction fans who want to make sure they haven’t missed any essential reading (or viewing). This guide contains film, books and music – and with each piece of cyberpunk that I reccomend, I’ll give a brief summary of what it features and why I think it is essential.

An Essential Guide To The World of Cyberpunk

Themes

The themes of Cyberpunk all revolve around identity, criminality and technology. It explores a future where criminal gangs are given even more power by access to complex technologies, and often features characters who are morally grey, focused most on doing what is needed to survive.

Gaming

If you have ever been in the video gaming circles, chances are you heard of Cyberpunk 2077. I remember being fourteen and coming across the teaser. Back then, it was a short cinematic piece – but I loved it. Rumours kept circling each year that there were developments with the game, and it kind of became an internet running joke. Cyberpunk 2077, the game that we were going to have to wait until 2077 to play. Until E3 2018 (which I watched live… yeah, I’m a real video game nerd sometimes) and right at the end of the conference when, as the closing speech happened, a trailer “hacked” E3. I heard the opening lines of the song the teaser had been set to, Bullets by Archive, and realised the day had arrived.

Honestly, one of my highlights in 2018 was watching this live. It was incredible.

Of course, this was followed by E3 2019 when there was another, more detailed trailer. Unfortunately the game won’t be released until at least April 2020, when I will have already submitted my dissertation, but I’m excited to use the game as a post-dissertation treat for myself.

Reading

  • Neuromancer, Count Zero, Mona Lisa Overdrive – the Sprawl trilogy by William Gibson is absolute essential reading. It is what began cyberpunk. Gibson’s short story collection, Burning Chrome, is also good to read if you like this style of writing because it contains Johnny Mnemonic, the actual first short story that is cyberpunk; the events of this short story are referenced by Molly in Neuromancer.
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – the book that Blade Runner is based on, by Philip K. Dick! In my opinion I far prefer the book and its intense discussion of the differences between natural and organic versus artificial and fake.
  • Altered Carbon, Broken Angels, Woken Furies – I cannot state enough how I love the Takeshi Kovacs series, by Richard Morgan.
  • Other honourable mentions include the Sprawl Trilogy, Mindplayers and Chimera.

Watching

  • Bladerunner – I’m not the biggest fan of this film, but if you’re a huge cinema nerd you probably have already seen it at least once. It gets the aesthetics of cyberpunk absolutely right and is beautiful to watch… but it might not make complete sense if you haven’t read the book it was based on, Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?
  • The Matrix – this is an absolute classic. It is largely inspired by William Gibson’s books, and even includes references within the film and soundtrack. For example, Trinity shares a lot of traits with Molly in terms of the way she has masculine coding, her relationship with Neo, and in the soundtrack there is even a song called Mona Lisa Overdrive, the third book in Gibson’s Sprawl trilogy.
  • Altered Carbon on Netflix – adapted from the book of the same name, this is probably the best visual medium of Cyberpunk I’ve encountered so far. The aesthetics are similar to Blade Runner, but the storytelling is far better and more complex.
  • Ghost In The Shell – I’ve only watched the more recent adaptation which I’ve heard is not anywhere near as good as the original anime, but the plot focuses heavily on the issues of identity that is common across cyberpunk.

Listening

Any of the music created by Head Splitter is great, especially their Cyberpunk 2077 fan soundtrack. It captures a lot of sounds associated with a cyberpunk environment which is fast-paced and associated with gangs of technologically enhanced criminals.

Next up, a song from the Matrix Reloaded soundtrack! It is called Mona Lisa Overdrive, a direct reference to Gibson’s third Sprawl book of the same name.

This list wouldn’t be complete without the trailer song for Cyberpunk 2077, which is Spoiler by an artist called Hyper. I loved it in the trailer and I love it in general as a song to work on my dissertation to.

The next one is much more recent – one of the songs produced for Cyberpunk 2077.

Hyper has a lot of cyberpunk-esque music so I would reccomend looking into the entire Lies album if you have an interest in this style of music. One of my absolute favourites is Clockwork.

… And then, other things with (Minor) Cyberpunk Influences

These two aren’t technically cyberpunk, but they do address a lot of the issues that cyberpunk explores.

Mr Robot

If you love technology based shows, an extremely unreliable protagonist, and an exploration of the consequences of anarchy – this is the show for you. It is probably one of my all time favourite shows.

Detroit: Become Human

This PS4 exclusive addresses what it means to be a human, and how we define humanity. It draws parallels with human rights issues and abuses, and features a wide range of topics such as picking your own family, rebelling from oppressive organisations, becoming a hero, making your own decisions and then facing the consequences of those actions.


What are your goals for this month, be it reading, blogging or personal? Let me know in the comments!

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My Goals For The Second Half of 2019

I got the idea for this post from a post by MichelleLikesThings and thought it was a great way of looking at the second half of the year, especially since the next six months of my life are going to be quite important with entering my final year of university.

My Goals For The Second Half of 2019

Reading

I definitely want to meet or exceed my goodreads reading challenge, which I’m still ahead on so I shouldn’t have any trouble with finishing it this year. I also want to read more non-fiction, not only for university but also in general.

I’m getting quite interested in true crime and I would like to start to build a collection of good true crime books. If you have any recommendations, drop them in the comments below!

Blogging

I want to have a minimum of one blog post per week up until December. I currently have a schedule planned until the beginning of October as I’m writing this, which is right at the end of July, and my posts for the next two weeks are completely ready and scheduled.

I’ve been having a lot of success with promoting my blog posts on Twitter and becoming more involved in the writing community there, both of which I’m glad I started to do. I would also like to go blog hopping to comment on other people’s posts more, because although I do this sometimes, I know I don’t do it enough.

I think ultimately I would like to start to talk more about my writing – finding a balance against how much I talk about books – and about the university experience in general. I also enjoy it when I talk more generally about the things I’m facing, such as my post about Why You Should Do What You Fear which was a lot of fun to write and had a great response. So… it would be nice to publish more posts like that, when inspiration strikes.

Writing

I’ve not really been writing much stuff for my own personal writing – it has mostly been my ghost project.

However, I do have my AI project in the background, and if there comes a time when I need a break from university work but I still want to be creative, it is a good escape. I won’t really set any goals with this in 2019, but if I did get a first draft done, that would be amazing.

University

The biggest challenge over the next six months is my dissertation. Click here to read more about my cyberpunk academic dissertation and my major project in creative writing, both of which I’m documenting in my dissertation diaries series here on the blog.


What are your goals for the second half of 2019? Are there any challenges you know you’re going to be facing? Let me know in the comments!

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Book Of The Week: Mona Lisa Overdrive

It’s time for Book Of The Week again. In this post I’ll be talking about Mona Lisa Overdrive, one of my dissertation books and effectively the sequel to Neuromancer, both of which are written by William Gibson. Click here to read about my previous Book Of The Week posts.

Mona Lisa Overdrive

  • Title: Mona Lisa Overdrive
  • Series: Sprawl
  • Author: William Gibson
  • Content Warnings: violence, targeted violence against women, prostitution, sexual assault, drugs/overdose, death, injury, plastic surgery
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This book is technically the third in the Sprawl series by William Gibson, but I’m reading it immediately after Neuromancer because I heard that the characters crossed over and the second book, Count Zero, wasn’t appealing as much to me. I’m glad I switched around the order, because the plot still makes sense and has reintroduced me to loving Gibson’s work as much as I did with Neuromancer.

Mona Lisa Overdrive focuses across the lives of several women and how they survive in their society. This makes it perfect for my cyberpunk dissertation (read about it in the Dissertation Diaries). It deals with a lot of heavy topics, as a lot of books in cyberpunk do, but the world of Mona Lisa Overdrive takes the set up of Neuromancer and explores it further – which is exactly what I wanted to read.

I only wish there were more books about Molly. Her character is super interesting to me, not only from a dissertation point of view but from a general reading point of view.


What have you been reading this week? What are your thoughts on it so far – are you enjoying it? Tell me everything, in the comments!

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Thank You, Next Book Tag – Tag Thursday

In this post I’m talking about books that taught me love, patience, and pain.

I saw this book tag a few weeks ago over on A Book A Thought and liked the idea of it. Click here to have a look at previous Tag Thursday posts.

Thank You, Next Book Tag

Name a book that you said “thank u, next” to, i.e. DNF’d (did not finish).

The most recent book I completely decided not to finish was for university and it was The French Lieutenants Woman. I already had my final essay planned and I knew I could be spending the time on better and more important things. I also had pretty much zero interest in the story, even though I was over half way through.

Name a book that taught you love (i.e. a book you loved).

City of Bones still has one of my all time favourite opening chapters. I always think about the impact it had on me when I was younger whenever I’m writing my own opening chapters to my favourite writing projects.

Name a book that taught you patience.

It isn’t one specific book, but the Game of Thrones series (A Song Of Ice And Fire) definitely taught me patience – not just in waiting for the next book, but also for reading. I did enjoy the series but it took a long, long time for me to read it.

Name a book that taught you pain.

Too many! I literally can’t think of any one in particular. I think all books should teach you something about pain, in an emotional sense.

Name a book that you loved at the time of reading but in hindsight you do not like as much anymore but which you still learned some other quality from.

This is an interesting category of book. There are definitely a lot of young adult books that I feel like this about, especially the contemporary books. I think I’m experiencing it to some extent with Harry Potter – I still like the world building and what it meant for my childhood, but I’m not a fan of J.K. Rowling any more and I haven’t been for some time.

Name a book you’re currently talking to, i.e. have the hots for.

I recently finished Woken Furies by Richard Morgan and I’m in love with it. I’m in the process of writing a review for it and the rest of the Takeshi Kovacs series!

Name the book that gon’ last – the book of you – the book that helped you love yourself a little bit more.

I don’t know if there is one specific book in isolation, but anything by Alice Oseman has a big impact on me. The Hunger Games was one of the big books that got me into reading and made me a lot of friends who were all fans of young adult.


If you’re interested in these questions, consider yourself tagged. What did you think of my answers? Let me know in the comments below!

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Trying To Read Everything – Dissertation Diaries

I haven’t written a dissertation update post in a few weeks and figured it was time for an update! Click here to catch up with all the previous Dissertation Diaries episodes.

Trying To Read Everything

I recently joined my local library and this obviously gave me access to a lot of places to study, and also to borrow books from.

Cyberpunk Dissertation

I’ve been going through each of my cyberpunk books and using colour coded post it notes to indicate where each female character is mentioned. It is taking awhile to do, but will be super useful when it comes to beginning to draft up my dissertation, I hope.

I’ve also been investing in buying some books that are categorised as feminist cyberpunk. I’m not entirely sure what this means, but it will be interesting to see the genre from a different angle in relation to how female characters are portrayed. I’ll definitely be talking about them in reviews and discussion posts in the future.

Creative Writing Dissertation

The library membership I have is very useful for books about a range of creative writing topics. Amongst the books I’ve borrowed recently were books about storytelling and creating memorable characters.

By far the best book for my creative writing, though, has been reading Lincoln in the Bardo. It was recommended to me by my supervisor and I’m so glad that I finally got around to reading it. I’ve gained so many ideas about how I can change and develop my current writing – I’m pretty set on the plot, but I’m still figuring out the best and most meaningful way to tell the story.


What have you been reading recently? What are your current projects? Let me know in the comments!

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August Monthly Goals

August is the last month I have off before I return to university! In this post, I’m going to talk about my goals for the month of August. Click here to read previous Monthly Goals posts.

August Monthly Goals

Reading

This is the last month I have of summer to get as far ahead on dissertation reading as I can. I’m also expecting to be working at my part time job quite a lot this month, so managing the balance will be important. Strangely enough I’m looking forward to getting back to university because I don’t actually start the new term until the middle of September – so I will have a few more weeks of free time back with my friends without having too much university stress.

Blogging

I’m finally ahead in terms of scheduling posts but throughout August I want to continue this. Ideally, as I’ve mentioned in previous months, I will have at least one post a week scheduled while I’m away at University. Then if I have time for other posts, I can schedule them around those I have already scheduled.


What are your goals for this month, be it reading, blogging or personal? Let me know in the comments!

If you enjoy my content, please consider supporting me through Ko-Fi! Find me elsewhere on Instagram & Twitter.