Showing posts with label dystopian. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dystopian. Show all posts

Sunday 16 April 2023

Nerd Church - Short Story: The Midday Sun


I have a bunch of stories from Medium that I was thinking about posting here once a month-ish, because why not? (Possibly gonna regret asking that! 😅)

This story was originally published by yours truly in the Promptly Written publication on Medium, for the following prompt, set by Ravyne Hawke:

‘Write a ‘moody’ piece around the following:

— a monumental decision
— confusion
— a fork in the road’

The Midday Sun

An artsy minimalist-looking illustration of telegraph poles and a large hot sun
Image by Ruben from Pixabay 

Sunday 27 February 2022

Nerd Church - Short Story: Girl, Alone


'The neighbours have come home. I can hear Mr L pulling his filtration system off – the sound seeps through the walls. Our walls are so thin – doesn’t seem like it could keep what’s going on out there at bay, does it?'

About mid-week this story was slammed into my brain, without warning, by the universe.

And I am but a simple writer - the universe calls, and I answer.

So... have this sci-fi-ish/dystopian-ish short story, I guess! 😅

(Bo Burnham's Inside (especially All Eyes On Me,) was pretty much my writing soundtrack for this - for anyone who finds that sort of insight interesting! ...Plus, it, uh, might explain a lot 😅)

Content Warnings:

- isolation

- life-threatening climate/environmental catastrophes

- brief non-sexual nudity and mentions of anatomy

- life-threatening heat and physical stress

- implied physical disability/health condition

- mental health issues/extreme stress

...I've never done a full Content Warnings list like this for one of my stories before, so be careful and tell me if I missed anything that needs to be listed!

'Girl, Alone' against a background of diamond-patterned translucent glass

Sunday 15 December 2019

Nerd Church - Hope, Politics, and the Zombie Apocalypse

**This post contains affiliat links for (US) which earn commission when you make purchases**

(Please do not make UK purchases with my Amazon links)

Something important happened on Thursday, dearest nerdlets!

What..? The UK election..?

Yeah, that happened too.

We now know which brand of f**ked we, as a country, are stuck with *sighs*

What I'm talking about, though, is yours truly watching a truly bizarre, but amazing, film, called Anna and the Apocalypse.

'Hope, Politics, and the Zombie Apocalypse' with a sprig of holly on the left-hand side, and the silhouettes of 3 zombies on the right-hand side. The first zombie has a santa hat, and a wreath around his neck. The second zombie has a reindeer antler headband. The final zombie has a gift tag and a bow. (...And I clearly got carried away making this graphic!)

Have you ever thought, 'wouldn't High School Muscial be better if it was combined with Shaun of the Dead... and it was in Scotland... at Christmas...?'

No? Well apparently someone did!

No, really. That is what this film is.

Sunday 3 November 2019

Nerd Church - Whose Dystopia Is This? A Discussion of Marginalisations in Dystopian Fiction, Focussing On Vox by Christina Dalcher

(Warning: this post discusses persecution of marginalised groups, sometimes in detail)

Dystopia, as a genre, is largely based on the oppression – either knowingly or unknowingly – of groups of people.

...Usually in a way that seems extreme in the context of the author’s cultural background, or else involves sufficient robots and sh** to convince us that this world is The Future™.

Title image - white writing on a pink background: Whose Dystopia Is This? A Discussion of Marginalisations in Dystopian Fiction, Focussing On Vox By Christina Dalcher

Sunday 19 May 2019

Nerd Church - Is This Dystopia?

(Warning: This post discusses the general state of the world. It covers topics including but NOT limited to: the far-right, general bigotry, rape, abortion, violence.)

The year is 2019.

In America, a reality TV star, and well-documented sexual predator* (by his own admission,) is enjoying his third year of power.

*(Warning: Link discusses rape and sexual assault)

Backed by the Russians, this son of a KKK supporter holds on despite numerous scandals and allegations.

In the South of the country, cisgender women and people with uteruses (uteri..? I can never figure out which one to use,) are subjugated when Alabama decides their bodies belong to the state, to the cisgender men who legislate there.

Alabama claims to be pro-life, and supports the death penalty. They cannot see the irony.

Arkansas makes steps in the same direction. (Warning: Link discusses rape.)

Across the country people who are different are made to feel afraid.

People's rights are slowly stripped away. People have no access to affordable healthcare. Life is a pre-existing condition.

And yet many cling on to their guns despite the graves of their children, thinking that a wall will somehow solve their problems.

Tuesday 24 October 2017

Release Day Review!!! - Strange Weather by Joe Hill

strange weather title image

divider image

Title: Strange Weather

Author: Joe Hill

Genre: Novellas, Anthology, Horror

Release Date: 24th October 2017

Amazon: UK - USA


Strange Weather is a collection of four novellas or short novels by writer Joe Hill.

Snapshot, Loaded, Aloft, and Rain are connected by bizarre weather events, providing a backdrop - or a catalyst - to the events which unfold.

Wednesday 22 March 2017

Review Time! - The Voices of Martyrs by Maurice Broaddus

The Voices of Martyrs title image

flower divider

Title: The Voices of Martyrs
The Voices of Martyrs book cover

Author: Maurice Broaddus

Genre: anthology, short stories

Genre (of individual stories): historical fiction, contemporary, sci-fi, fantasy, paranormal, vampires, urban fantasy, horror, dystopian, magic realism

Amazon: UK - USA

A few starting notes:

I received a free digital review copy of this book via NetGalley. NetGalley provides review copies from publishers in exchange for fair and honest reviews.

Honestly, I like me some short stories - and I never fail to be impressed by Rosarium Publishing - so I figured, why not? And decided to give this a shot.


A collection of voices - an unforgotten collected memory that encompasses the past, present, and future.

These short stories are tales of strength, pain, sacrifice, and life. These are the voices of martyrs.

Sunday 25 September 2016

Nerd Church - Sing It For The World

This week, dearest nerdlets, I'm going to get all multimedia on your butts in an attempt to explain why your voice - and everyone else's too - is important right now.

(OK, so I ramble and get off-track a bit in this post, but hopefully there's a point in here... somewhere.)

It's inevitable that you're aware of the general feeling in the world.

The Trump threat, Brexit, and the rise of the far right here there and everywhere, means that never has it been more important for you to raise your voice for this world.

The legacy of this generation can not be the rise of intolerance and bigotry. We have to work to make this world a better place.

One MCR song comes to mind. 'Sing' is about refusing to give up and just let sh** happen to the world.

It's a song that my fellow Killjoys, MCRmy, and members of the Black Parade will know well. But to those who might not, this song is a battle cry for speaking out. It says that you have to keep trying - no matter the odds.

Please, if you get the chance, listen to it; and pay attention to the lyrics. There's a lot of truth in there.

It's more than a little concerning just how relevant both the album Danger Days, and the Green Day album 21st Century Breakdown, are, given that they're both dystopian-set.

Then there's using your voice as a well-known figure to try and do some good.

(Like the Save the World campaign did this week. Please, Americans - let the world see Mark Ruffalo naked!)

But it doesn't always take big things to change the world.

Do you want to hear about something beautiful that made me tear-up this week?

The actor Nico Tortorella has a new podcast available called Love Bomb.

Love Bomb is all about sexuality and understanding each other, and is generally awesome sauce.

The beginning of the first episode is a spoken-word poem-type thing. It's also at the start of the extended preview which you can check out on iTunes here. (Please do!)

That first spoken-word poem thing is about being sexually fluid.

Nerdlets, do you know what it feels like to hear the things that you haven't been able to put into words? Do you know what it's like to know that there are people out there - albeit a continent away - who feel like you do?

So yeah, I teared-up.

I also tweeted about it - cos dudes, I'm aware that most people don't understand sexual fluidity; and this meant a lot to me.

Then, something awesome happened:

So yes, that felt... completely amazing! XD

Cee, you seem to have got off track.

This may very well be true dearest nerdlets - but I had a point! (Somewhere... at some point...)

My point, (I think,) was that we can all change the world - we can all have an impact (even if it's only on a 20-something book-nerd in her front room in South Wales.) 

We can all mean something.

Yes, we can all change the world. But you have to raise your voice.

'...You've got to make a choice
If the music drowns you out
And raise your voice
Every single time they try and shut your mouth...'

Nerd Church is a weekly post where I try to keep the world from going to sh** all on my lonesome - feel free to come and help me out! ;)

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Wednesday 27 April 2016

Month in Review(s) - April 2016

Lots more reviews this month! Especially of graphic novels.

There've been some truly rocking graphic novels out this month - my faves are probably Blood Stain and I Hate Fairyland.

Check out all the lovely reviews! :)



Eliza Rose by Lucy Worsley - historical fiction

New Adult

Growing Up by Tricia Sol - contemporary, LGBTQ+, short stories, romance (m/m)


Play Hard by J T Fox - LGBTQ+, romance (m/m,) short stories, contemporary
Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult - contemporary, crime*, witches*, magic realism* (*ish)

Graphic Novels

Golem by Lorenzo Coccetti - dystopian, sci-fi, manga
Paper Girls, Vol 1 by Brian K Vaughan - sci-fi
Blood Stain, Vol 1 by Linda Šejić
Echoes by Joshua Hale Fialkov - horror, crime
I Hate Fairyland, Vol 1: Madly Ever After by Skottie Young - fantasy, fairies/fae, humour

Thursday 7 April 2016

Comics Wrap Up - And It's Better Off This Way

Film Trailers

A teaser for the upcoming Captain America: Civil War -

Not sure that I can't take much more of this - release the film damn you!

Graphic Novels

golem graphic novel

On Tuesday, I reviewed Golem (US - UK) by Lorenzo Ceccotti (LRNZ.)

This is a dystopian graphic novel which I kind of had mixed feelings about. You can check out my review here.

What I will say is that Golem has some truly stunning full-page artwork which, to me, made the whole thing worth the read.

This week, I read Paper Girls Vol 1 (US - UK) - a Brian K Vaughan title that I stupidly thought I wouldn't like.

I did like it. I liked it a whole damned lot.

Paper Girls vol 1 cover
My review for Paper Girls will be up sometime next week... when I've finished writing it!

Other Stuff

The lovely Olivia from Olivia's Catastrophe told me about DC commissioning YA novels based on a lot of their characters. So, I had to look it up, didn't I?

Over on Comics Alliance, I found the full story - including that the authors involved are Marie Lu, Leigh Bardugo, Matt de la Peña, and Sarah J Maas. Which should make a lot of you guys very happy.

So my TBR isn't thanking them, but still looking forward to it.

I also read this post by B C Kowalski about how geek/nerd culture is all-inclusive and THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A FAKE GEEK GIRL.
Oddly enough, I couldn't agree more.
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Tuesday 5 April 2016

Review! (Graphic Novel Edition!) - Golem by Lorenzo Ceccotti

Title: Golem

Golem graphic novelAuthor: Lorenzo Ceccotti (LRNZ)

Genre: Graphic Novel, Manga, Dystopian, Sci-Fi
Release Date: 5th-7th April

Amazon: UK - USA

A few starting notes:

I received a free digital review copy of this book via NetGalley. NetGalley provides review copies from publishers in exchange for fair and honest reviews.

This is a translation, from an Italian author, which blends manga-style art with Western-style art.

So, of course, I was interested enough to give it a try. ;)


In a post-apocalyptic Italy, with a corrupt government, a young boy is kidnapped.
But what's so special about him? Why does the government think they can use him? - That whoever has him, has power?

Best bits:

The first few pages of every chapter were stunning, hand-on-your-heart, page-length pieces of art worthy of any museum or gallery.
These were the pieces that the striking cover-art promised. And they are truly breath-taking: like, tears-to-the-eyes style of beautiful.
The rest of the artwork was interesting in places... but more serviceable than anything.

I really liked the character of Steno, just because he was so damned sweet and innocent.

He was like a mini, Italian, dystopian, version of Captain America. I wanted to pet him on the head and give him a medal, simultaneously.
There were moments of emotion in this book, and even of plot, that were really great - but... yeah, I have mixed feelings about this book.

Not so great bits:

I had trouble actually following what was going on - I'm not going to lie.
I got the rebel-group characters confused a bit, because a lot of them were introduced in battle scenes and dark panels, or in a quick and running multi-person intro.
And then I'm just there like: who the hell was he? Where did she come from? Wait, which one is that?!
Maybe something was lost in translation... maybe.
The fact remains, I'm still not entirely sure wtf was going on. Maybe it's just me - maybe this book and me just didn't gel together; who knows?

Oh, and I say this so much that it's almost lost all meaning, but there's gore, violence, and some swearing in this book.


Don't think I'm dismissing this book entirely.

Let's get one thing straight, for all my confusion - I enjoyed this book.
There were narrative issues, ok? But those full-length pages? It was worth the read just for that.

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Saturday 26 March 2016

Review Time! (Yay!) - After Tomorrow by Gillian Cross

After Tomorrow Gillian CrossTitle: After Tomorrow

Author: Gillian Cross

Genre: Kids, Dystopian

Amazon: UK - USA

A few starting notes:

I wanted to read this because the premise seemed so relevant at the moment given the mass migration problems, and the amount of refugees coming into Europe right now.

I thought it would be interesting to see how the topic was handled - particularly in a kids' book - and I can remember reading a few Gillian Cross books when I was a kid, and finding them different to a lot of other stuff that's out there.

She's usually not afraid to look at things from a different angle - and we all need that every now and then.


Matthew and his little brother, Taco, make the dangerous journey across the channel to France, and a life away from the starvation and violent raids of the UK.

France, though? Not quite the new start they were hoping for.

Instead, they have the camp of Les Mondieux (or Lemon Dough, as it's known by the Brits,) and a whole new set of challenges to face.

Best bits:

The worrying thing about this book is that it's the location (leaving the UK,) that makes it dystopia: otherwise it would be contemporary.

This sort of thing is happening - right now, in Calais, people are living in The Jungle migrant camp, and hoping to find passage to the UK. People who, through no fault of their own, have had to leave their homes and everything they've ever known.

So the fantastic thing about this book is that we get to see the proverbial shoe on the other foot - these are British kids making the same desperate journey that thousands of kids are trying to make every single day.

This book is a great way of re-packaging a problem which no-one seems to want to own - making it more relatable and (hopefully) fostering more empathy and understanding.

I also appreciated that the parents didn't just sit there and do nothing - although they did have moments of uselessness, it was all pretty understandable within context. It's refreshing to see any kids book which allows parents to be parents and do their best for their kids.

Not so great bits:

Matthew - the character whose point of view we follow - is quite a blank character.

In some ways, this is good, because it allows the reader to react more naturally to the situations Matt finds himself in, and to imagine themselves and their own feelings in that situation. But I personally would've liked just a touch more depth to the character.

The plot was perhaps a little slow in places - but not really to any hugely noticeable degree.

I also found the dénouement (check me out with my fancy words! :P ) a bit less dramatic than I was expecting given the uber-dramatic build-up. 


A thought-provoking book shining light on a subject that needs to be talked about, in a way which is accessible to kids and adults alike.

It's probably suitable for kids around the age of 10+.

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Thursday 17 March 2016

Comics Wrap Up - Put on Your War Paint

Film Trailers

There was Civil War!!!!!!! CIVIL WAR!!!!!!

Basically, there's a new Captain America: Civil War trailer, and all the nerds on the planet are currently having fandom-based meltdowns.

Also, there's a big push to split into Team Captain America or Team Iron Man. I don't want to.

I have decided that I can't choose between my Steve and my Tony, so I choose Bucky. I'm officially on Team Bucky.

And if anything happens to my Bucky Bear, I will track down the people who made the decision. NOTHING better happen to Bucky Bear! My feels can't take it.

You know when you want something so bad that you don't want it to happen? That's me with this film.

Graphic Novels

The Beauty graphic novel

I reviewed the newly-released The Beauty Volume 1 (UK - USA) - a graphic novel about an STI which makes people beautiful (no, really.)

From indie-publisher Image Comics, this is by Jeremy Haun and Jason A Hurley.

It's a really original graphic novel, with an awesome cover (seriously, I can't stop talking about that cover - look at it!) It was pretty compelling and uber-interesting.

To read my full review, click here.

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Tuesday 15 March 2016

Review! (Graphic Novel Edition!) - The Beauty, Vol 1 by Jeremy Haun and Jason A Hurley

The Beauty graphic novelTitle: The Beauty, Volume 1

Author: Jeremy Haun, Jason A Hurley
Contributors: John Rauch, Fonografiks

Genre: Graphic Novels, Dystopian, Horror, Sci-Fi

Series: The Beauty (#1-6)

Release Date: 16 March 2016

Amazon: UK - USA

A few starting notes:

I received a free digital review copy of this book via NetGalley. NetGalley provides review copies from publishers in exchange for fair and honest reviews.
The cover attracted me to this - as I've said before, the cover is a showcase for a graphic novel: if the cover is poor, the general artwork standard will be poor.
And the cover of The Beauty, Volume 1... wow. So striking. So beautifully terrible, and terribly beautiful. I had to read it.


There is a new STI sweeping through the population.
But this disease is one that people are purposely catching.

Why? Because this STI, quickly named 'The Beauty,' makes you slim, toned, and beautiful. Your hair is shiny, your features and skin are flawless.

But it's a disease. And there are always downsides.

Two detectives find themselves investigating the terrible truth of The Beauty - and being caught up in a web of anti-beauty terrorists, shady corporations, and corruption within government agencies.

Things are going to get dangerous.

Best bits:

The plot and the premise are uber-interesting and uber-compelling - I read this in one sitting, because I had to know what happened next.

I also love the kind of critique it casts on our current society - this world is essentially our own. The only difference is The Beauty - and those who are infected, and are known as Beauties.

And, let's face it, if we woke up tomorrow and found out there was a sexually transmitted virus which could make us 'perfect' - could make us look like some airbrushed model? Well, there would be more than a few people lining up to get infected.

People place a huge amount of importance on looks - and if the side-effects weren't yet known? Well, just think about it. Think about how people would act.
The characters here are also well-thought-through, and you actually do care what happens to them - a sign of a good story if ever there was one.

Not so great bits:

This is a graphic novel - it gets very graphic: in terms of sexual content, gore, and violence.

One or two panels actually freaked me out gore-wise - and I'm pretty unfreakable by this point.

I was also slightly disappointed in the artwork - don't get me wrong, it was serviceable, it did its job, it was effective. There was nothing wrong with the artwork... 

It didn't wow me. I rarely thought it truly beautiful.

As my main reason for reading this book was the striking beauty of the cover, the fact that it didn't achieve that... wow... again, was a little bit of a let-down.

This was slightly alleviated by the cover gallery at the back - but these were thumbnails, not full-page prints - which would've been more awesome.


A really interesting and gripping book. I had some issues with it (ha, issues - comics... ok, I'll be quiet,) but those problems don't change the fact that I wanted to know what happened - and would like to read future instalments too.

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Monday 1 February 2016

The Month in Review(s) - January 2016

From now on I'm going to provide a brief 'Month in Review(s)' post.

This is literally a re-cap of all the reviews that I've written this month, collated in one post.

So now you can take a shufty at the books (and the odd film) that I've reviewed in the month, and catch up on any you may have missed.

Enjoy! :)


Hetty Feather by Jacqueline Wilson - Historical Fiction

Young Adult

Dark Hope by Monica McGurkAngels, Paranormal.
The Invisibles by Francis Gideon - Romance (M/M), LGBTQ+.


Dead Ice by Laurell K Hamilton - Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Zombies, Vampires, Crime, LGBTQIAP+
Poetry From the Lady of the Pier by Effrosyni Moschoudi - Poetry, Short Stories, Chick Lit

Graphic Novels

STARVE Vol 1 - dystopian


Death, Disability, and the Superhero: The Silver Age and Beyond by Jose Alaniz

Popcorn Reviews (Film)

Batman (1989)
Constantine (2005)

I'll do a Charity Reading Challenge 2016 update when I've actually read something towards it. (Note to self: remember to read stuff for that challenge.)

Tuesday 19 January 2016

Review! (Graphic Novel Edition!) - Starve Vol 1 by Brian Wood

Title: STARVE Vol 1.

Author: Brian Wood.
Contributors: Danijel Zezelj (artist,) Dave Stewart (colourist.)

Genre: Graphic Novel, Dystopian.

Series: Starve (#1-5.)

starve graphic novel coverRelease Date: 26 Jan 2016.

Amazon: UK - USA.

A few starting notes:

I received a free digital review copy of this book via NetGalley. NetGalley provides review copies from publishers in exchange for fair and honest reviews.
The cover here grabbed me. 'Don't judge a book by its cover' doesn't really count for graphic novels - the cover is the place where the artwork is showcased, after all.
It seemed different. And you know me, I like different.


OK - my description probably isn't going to do this justice, because this book takes its premise and beats the living sh** out of it, but I'll give it a shot:
Gavin Cruikshank was the TV chef. Then he dropped off the grid. His TV show, STARVE, is now a huge hit without him - and has undergone some changes along the way.
Now the network wants him to compete as a contestant on STARVE. Gavin Cruikshank is back, bitter, and fed up of the network's sh**.

Best bits:

The artwork here is amazing. Every single panel is like a painting - and a beautifully grim one at that. Honestly, this book is... it's something that's incredibly difficult to explain.
The artwork has this grit and realism, while at the same time being beautifully stylised and slightly surreal. Partly, this is down to the colours: earthy and almost touchable (look at me, waxing lyrical and all that!) with slashes of crimson where required.

This is dystopian. What with all the fighting and inequality and everything. But it's so close to what we have now that it's actually hard to tell whether this is set in the future, or just a slightly exaggerated version of what we have now. Which is kind of unnerving.
I also liked the inclusion of Gavin's family - his struggles to re-connect with his daughter, and the bitterness of his ex-wife who feels he used her as a cover for his homosexuality. I like when there's very human feelings at the heart of things.

Not so great bits:

I could've done without the images of butchery and bloody meat etc. (and before you start with the 'you'll eat sausage but...' bit, I'm a vegetarian.) Doubtless there are some people who it won't bother - but it bothered me.

There's a lot of swearing and a fair amount of violence, as well as references to drugs. Not for everyone, but not done simply for shock-value either.


I hope I've given you some idea of just how fresh, original, and downright good this graphic novel is, but it's really a difficult one to convey.

It's just so different - in a good way, of course - and I truly loved it. Though I sincerely doubt I will ever be able to look at either chefs or reality TV in the same way - particularly chefs.

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