50

Let’s Talk About: Why Dystopia Matters

why dystopia matters

Dystopia is probably one of my favourite elements of fiction. My love for dystopia/utopia came from a Sociology class that I did in my final year at university. It was called ‘Social Futures’, and was described to be a class that ‘re-imagined sociology in view of major economic, ecological and political crises taking place in the world today’. Which sounds pretty cool… except the first few weeks of the class weren’t cool at all. Our lecturer showed us Threads, a brutal movie that depicts the aftermath of nuclear war (seriously, don’t watch unless you’re mentally prepared — which I wasn’t). To convey the effect it had on me, I almost quit the class. But, I’m glad that I didn’t quit.

For all the misery this class inflicted on me, it also inspired my love for dystopia. I learned how important dystopia was as an idea and as a representation of a possible future. In today’s Let’s Talk About, I will combine my passion for dystopia as an idea with written analysis detailing why I think dystopia matters. In two weeks, my next Let’s Talk About will discuss why utopia – dystopia’s sister – is just as, if not more, important!

Continue reading

34

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

a thousand pieces of you

Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.

A Thousand Pieces of You explores a reality where we witness the countless other lives we might lead in an amazingly intricate multiverse, and ask whether, amid infinite possibilities, one love can endure.

Every once in awhile, there will be the rare book that will succeed in circumventing all of my criticism, that will make me fall in love with it despite its shortcomings. There will be the rare book that will make me think, “Okay I know it’s flawed and it has all these problems, but I don’t care! I LOVE IT.” A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray was one of those books. I saw it coming too – when I was told that A Thousand Pieces of You featured parallel dimensions and fate, I was sold. Stories with such themes have a direct line to my heart (and feels).

Continue reading

14

The Martian by Andy Weir

the martian

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.

Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm forces his crew to evacuate the planet while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded on Mars’s surface, with no way to signal Earth that he’s alive. And even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone years before a rescue could arrive.

Chances are, though, Mark won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first.

Armed with nothing but his ingenuity, his engineering skills–and a gallows sense of humor that proves to be his greatest source of strength–Mark embarks on a dogged quest to stay alive. But will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

Well, what can I say? The Martian by Andy Weir was fantastic.

Continue reading

65

Let’s Talk About: Male Love Interests – Where’s the Diversity?

male love interest

Let’s admit it guys: everyone has, in varying degrees, swooned over a Male Love Interest (MLI). Whether they were great characters that supported the protagonist in achieving their goal, are inherently good people, have good hearts, or contribute to the story, the love interest and the romance are, most of the time, one of the core elements of YA fiction.

In today’s Let’s Talk About, I’m not going to talk about why Male Love Interests are great, or how they are great. I’m not talking about their gooey insides. Today, I want to talk about how Male Love Interests, regardless of their personalities and idiosyncrasies, are pretty much all the same appearance-wise.

Continue reading

23

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

insurgent

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

My passionate opinions of Divergent notwithstanding, my decision to read Insurgent by Veronica Roth was more out of spontaneity and convenience, and less out of curiosity. Oftentimes it is the latter that compels me to read books, especially sequels of books that I did not particularly enjoy. Nonetheless, although I did not particularly enjoy Divergent, I picked Insurgent hoping that it would be an improvement, however marginal, to its predecessor.

Continue reading

19

Forget Tomorrow by Pintip Dunn

forget tomorrow

Imagine a world where your destiny has already been decided…by your future self.

It’s Callie’s seventeenth birthday and, like everyone else, she’s eagerly awaiting her vision―a memory sent back in time to sculpt each citizen into the person they’re meant to be. A world-class swimmer. A renowned scientist.

Or in Callie’s case, a criminal.

In her vision, she sees herself murdering her gifted younger sister. Before she can process what it means, Callie is arrested and placed in Limbo―a prison for those destined to break the law. With the help of her childhood crush, Logan, a boy she hasn’t spoken to in five years, she escapes the hellish prison.

But on the run from her future, as well as the government, Callie sets in motion a chain of events that she hopes will change her fate. If not, she must figure out how to protect her sister from the biggest threat of all—Callie, herself.

I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This review is based on an uncorrected Netgalley proof. 

With its engaging premise, Forget Tomorrow by Pintip Dunn immediately drew my interest. Though I am not as fluent in the free will versus determinism debate as I would like, the contents of the dialectic fascinate me more than the truth itself. If you share my perspective, then perhaps you will enjoy Forget Tomorrow, which offers some surprising insight into the question as well as a subtle discourse on social constructionism.

Continue reading

58

Let’s Talk About: Why I Need Representation

why i need representation

Full title – Let’s Talk About: Why I Needed Representation as a Child and Need it Now as an Adult

I’m reviving this discussion post series. Months ago, I wrote a piece on something I was very passionate about – ‘Strong Female Characters’. After that, I couldn’t think of anything to talk about. So now I am reviving this series and will be releasing a Let’s Talk About discussion post every second Sunday!

Today, I want to talk about media representation. Not only is representation of different peoples in media something I passionately advocate and support, it is also something very dear to my heart. In this post today, I will be talking a lot about ethnic identity, because it was something that I really struggled with growing up. So whilst I am talking a lot about Asian representation, my discussions and their inherent intention is for diversity and representation to extend to all groups. I will be drawing on a lot of personal experiences, so if they are different to yours, I would love to hear your own experiences in the comments below!

Continue reading