Artificial Culture by Tama Leaver was sent to me by the author for review. I’m very excited about this one since Dr Leaver is one of my lecturers at Curtin University, and I will hopefully be able to put Artificial Culture to good use over the course of my studies. Thank you very much Tama.
Artificial Culture is an examination of the articulation, construction, and representation of “the artificial” in contemporary popular cultural texts, especially science fiction films and novels. The book argues that today we live in an artificial culture due to the deep and inextricable relationship between people, our bodies, and technology at large. While the artificial is often imagined as outside of the natural order and thus also beyond the realm of humanity, paradoxically, artificial concepts are simultaneously produced and constructed by human ideas and labor. The artificial can thus act as a boundary point against which we as a culture can measure what it means to be human. Science fiction feature films and novels, and other related media, frequently and provocatively deploy ideas of the artificial in ways which the lines between people, our bodies, spaces and culture more broadly blur and, at times, dissolve.
Building on the rich foundational work on the figures of the cyborg and posthuman, this book situates the artificial in similar terms, but from a nevertheless distinctly different viewpoint. After examining ideas of the artificial as deployed in film, novels and other digital contexts, this study concludes that we are now part of an artificial culture entailing a matrix which, rather than separating minds and bodies, or humanity and the digital, reinforces the symbiotic connection between identities, bodies, and technologies.
The King’s Sister by Anne O’Brien was sent to me by Harlequin Books Australia and I won my copy in a giveaway organised by Shelleyrae at https://bookdout.wordpress.com/ Thanks guys. I’m a big historical fiction fan, so I’m really looking forward to it!
1382. Daughter of John of Gaunt, sister to the future King Henry IV, Elizabeth of Lancaster has learned the shrewd tricks of the court from England’s most powerful men. In a time of political turmoil, allegiance to family is everything. A Plantagenet princess should never defy her father’s wishes. Yet headstrong Elizabeth refuses to bow to the fate of a strategic marriage. Rejecting her duty, Elizabeth weds the charming and ruthlessly ambitious Sir John Holland: Duke of Exeter, half-brother to King Richard II and the one man she has always wanted. But defiance can come at a price. 1399. Elizabeth’s brother Henry has seized the throne. Her husband, confident to the usurped Richard, masterminds a secret plot against the new King. Trapped in a dangerous web, Elizabeth must make a choice. Defy the King and betray her family. Or condemn her husband and send him to his death. Sister. Wife. Traitor. She holds the fate of England in her hands.
And last, but not least, I won a copy of Deadly Obsession by Karen M. Davis from Simon & Schuster Australia in a giveaway that was organised by Carol at https://readingwritingandriesling.wordpress.com/ I love discovering new (to me) Australian authors, thank you very much!
A young nurse’s body is found at Clovelly Beach in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. Apart from a puncture wound in her neck, she is in perfect condition. But she’s also clutching a rose in her hands – and there’s an empty packet of prescription drugs in her pocket.
Investigating the scene, Detective Lexie Rogers and her partner Brad Sommers know something is not right. It appears to be a staged suicide. And as they begin to dig deeper, Lexie discovers the case is too close to home.
The dead girl was a work colleague of Lexie’s ex-husband, who is now a paramedic – and she was also a friend of the woman who broke up Lexie’s marriage. Struggling as she is with her breakup with Josh Harrison, who pushed her away after the suicide of his sister, and the numbing flashbacks of the violent attacks she’s suffered in the past, Lexie throws herself into the case. When she’s handed the lead on the investigation, Lexie sets out to solve the murder and prove she’s up to the job.
When Lexie’s ex-husband becomes a suspect, she refuses to believe it. It also becomes startlingly clear there are similarities in the deaths of Josh’s sister and the murder victim. But when Lexie determines a link between the women and a doctor working at the same hospital, he becomes her main suspect, fuelled by her discovery of a prescription drug racket.
Just when Lexie is beginning to make headway on the case, Josh turns up. He’s determined to find out what happened to his sister – and he also wants Lexie back.
Piecing together the identity of the killer with the help of her old bikie friend, Rex Donaldson, Lexie and her colleagues set a trap in an ambitious police operation. But there’s a big difference between naming a suspect and catching a killer, and Lexie’s about to find out just how deep some grudges can go.