Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Getting to know Dystopia and Cyberpunk

Dystopia & Cyberpunk
by Camille Picott

A Guest Post for Jayda & Two Kids and a Migraine
September 19, 2012

Today I’ve been asked to discuss the genres of dystopia and cyberpunk, and what readers can expect of books in these genres.

Dystopia novels convey “the idea of a society, generally of a speculative future, characterized by negative, anti-utopian elements, varying from environmental to political and social issues.” (From Wikipedia—read the entire article here.) Examples of dystopia novels are The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. In these types of books, readers can expect to encounter societies that are supposedly ideal and perfect, especially in the eyes of the ruling class; in truth, these societies are flawed and oppressive and often totalitarian in nature.

Cyberpunk books “feature advanced science, such as information technology and cybernetics, coupled with a degree of breakdown or radical change in the social order.” (Also from Wikipedia—read the full article here.) Examples of cyberpunk are Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson and the Matrix movies. In these types of stories, readers often encounter dystopian societies coupled with high technology, most especially virtual reality. Cyberpunk novels often have what I call a “hard science” edge, with lots of technical explanations.

There is a lot of crossover between the two genres, though dystopias will in general lack the hard science of cyberpunk. Sometimes dystopias feature a lack of science and technology, with people living by more primitive means. Cyberpunk often features anti-utiopias, but always has some form of high technology.

My YA novel, Sulan, Episode 1: The League is a blend of dystopia and cyberpunk, which I fondly
call “dystopunk.” It features a dystopian society and high technology, but without the hard science a reader might expect to find in a cyberpunk novel. I purposely tried to omit hard science from my novel, mostly because I don’t like to read hard science in my fiction. I like books that can convey the science in simple terms and move on.

Dystopia and cyberpunk works offer a landscape for writers to explore worlds and societies dramatically altered through an extreme circumstance such as natural disaster, man-made disaster, social collapse, and political upheaval. Through these genres, writers extrapolate on what might happen if those extreme circumstances ever came to be.

In The Hungers Games, Collins explores a post-disaster world controlled through political oppression. In Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury tackles a future where the masses are controlled through ignorance. Stephenson creates a world largely controlled by corporations in Snow Crash. Matrix watchers get to experience what might happen if our world was dominated by artificial intelligence.

In Sulan, I explore some of my personal fears: fear of what might happen if our country faced a drastic climate change, and fear of what might happen if our country went bankrupt. I name these two events the Shift and the Default. They are the foundation on which sixteen-year-old’s Sulan’s worldview is built.

Thanks, Jayda, for letting me stop by your blog to talk about these two genres!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Book Review: Sulan by Camille Picott With Chance To Get Your Own Copy!!

About the Book:

Sixteen-year-old Sulan Hom can’t remember life before the Default—the day the United States government declared bankruptcy. As a math prodigy, she leads a protected life, kept safe from the hunger and crime plaguing the streets of America. She attends the corporate-sponsored Virtual High School, an academy in Vex (Virtual Experience) for gifted children.

Beyond the security of Sulan’s high-tech world, the Anti-American League wages a guerrilla war against the United States. Their leader, Imugi, is dedicated to undermining the nation’s reconstruction attempts. He attacks anything considered a national resource, including corporations, food storage facilities—and schools. When Sulan witnesses the public execution of a teenage student and the bombing of a college dorm, she panics.

Her mother, a retired mercenary, refuses to teach her how to defend herself. Sulan takes matters into her own hands. With the help of her hacker best friend, Hank, Sulan acquires Touch—an illegal Vex technology that allows her to share the physical experience of her avatar. With Touch, Sulan defies her mother and trains herself to fight.

When Imugi unleashes a new attack on the United States, Sulan finds herself caught in his net. Will her Vex training be enough to help her survive and escape?

About the Author:

Camille Picott has been writing books since the age of twelve. She specializes in science fiction and fantasy stories with Asian-inspired settings and Asian main characters. She is the author of two middle grade fantasy books, Raggedy Chan and Nine-Tail Fox.

In her spare time, Camille loves to read books and write reviews. Her reviews are written from a writer’s perspective, highlighting various aspects of craft found in the books she reads.
To visit Camille, and to read her book reviews, go to

My Review of the Book:

I loved this book!!  One of the main things I loved is that I could live through this fascinating story about a society that is so different from my current one, although realistic enough it could happen.  I honestly have no fighting skills, gosh I am honestly pretty out of shape.  So if my Country was attacked and I would not be able to protect myself, let alone others.  Although, I do have to say after reading this book that is nothing at all that I would say I am proud of!!

I am also happy to see a positive image of a YA's.  We have all been teens and sadly they do get a bad image by many adults.  This was true when my parents were teens, when I was and it still is for any current YA.  Although as this book shows there are definitely many strong and mature teens out there, in fact many are braver then us adults.  I was happy to have the main character a female and a strong female.  Sulan is a great role model for young and old alike.  She is a strong and courageous female without a doubt!

If your looking for a new book to read, I definitely recommend this one!  If your lucky you may also win one and well!  Enter below for your chance to win your own copy of Sulan by Camille Picott!!

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I was supplied a book for review purposes.  All views are 100% my own and not influenced in anyway!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Book Review: Tea Party Culture War

About the Book: 

America stands at a crossroads: culturally, economically, and politically. Enter The Tea Party Movement, whose focus is primarily fiscal conservatism, government accountability, and reduced taxation.

Currently, America suffers from a clash of worldviews, but the issue is much deeper than politics; it is ultimately a spiritual battle between good and evil. For the sake of generations to come, we need to win this war. We need to take action to defend our beliefs. We need to take the right road.

Link to watch the book trailer: 

About the Author: 

 A long-time resident of California, author and economist, Steve Johnston, B.S., J.D., earned a Juris Doctorate degree from Western State University of Law and a Theological degree from Calvary Chapel School of Ministry.

Mr. Johnston has over 20 years experience in prison ministry and Bible teaching, and has served as a chaplain in Orange County and Los Angeles jails as well as Pelican Bay, a California maximum security prison. Mr. Johnston describes his book, The Tea Party Culture War (WinePress, 2011) as a systematic manifesto of the Tea Party Movement.

Mr. Johnston and his wife of 38 years divide their time between homes in Palm Desert, California and Brookings, Oregon. They have one adult daughter and one granddaughter.

My Review of the Book:

Looking for more reviews of the book?  Why not check out these great reviews:

First off I do have to say that I am Canadian and really do not know a lot about American politics.  Although, I do have to say that I learned when I was in University that even though I have limited knowledge on American Politics, thanks to news and media, I know just as much about American if not more then I do about my own countries politics.

Prior to reading this book I had heard about The Tea Party, and no not just the music group, but I really did not know much about what The Tea Party stood for and their role in American Politics.  I really found this book interesting and I learned a lot with it.  Even though it is not my typical reading genre the book kept me entertained and it was very thought provoking throughout. 

If you are looking for a book to read to learn about the principles that created and defined America then look no further.  Steve Johnston does a great job with linking the America we all know and the America from the start.  It was a very education and informative read!

Looking at buying a copy for yourself of a family member?  Look no further:

I was provided a book for review purposes, although the book did not influence me in any way.  All views are 100% my own!!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Successful Breastfeed​ing Essentials Giveaway US Only!!

Successful Breastfeeding Essentials

Welcome to the Successful Breastfeeding Essentials Giveaway!  Breastfeeding can be both challenging and rewarding, so it's important to have great support to get off to the best start.  One lucky reader will win all of the items that were reviewed in the Essentials series, a $140 value!  For full reviews of each item, click on the links below!  Here's what's up for grabs:

Sport Wirefree Nursing Bra

A $40 e-gift certificate to Leading Lady

Breastfeeding My Feeding Friend

A My Feeding Friend nursing pillow

Calma breastfeeding bottle

A Calma breastfeeding support bottle from Medela

Udder Covers Breastfeeding

An Udder Covers gift set including nursing cover, cloth breast pads, and a Milk Bands nursing bracelet

To enter to win, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below.  Open to US residents.  Ends at 12:01AM on September 11. Thanks for stopping by!

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