Far Alamo - a short film by Fabrice Mathieu

Far Alamo – A Short Film

It will come as no surprise that I was delighted by Fabrice Mathieu’s mashup of John Wayne’s The Alamo and Paul Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers. It’s the combo I never thought I needed and I found it delightful and incredibly well done. I shared it on Twitter earlier today, but it needed to be shared here as well. Someone give Mathieu the funding to make this a feature-length film, please.

You can see more of Mathieu’s work on Vimeo and make sure to follow him over on Twitter.

An Evening With the Maker of Patterns

An Evening With the Maker of Patterns

Freeman Dyson is an academic titan, and it’s hard to fully grasp his impact in the sciences. His work in theoretical physics and mathematics have impacted both fields through much of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first. He’s influenced science and science fiction alike. (We’ve all read accounts of his theorized Dyson Sphere—it’s common in science fiction and has even shown up recently in the news.) He’s a man whose contemporaries included names like Hans BetheRichard Feynman, and Robert Oppenheimer. So when my friend Steve Leroux and I heard Town Hall Seattle was bringing him here to promote his new autobiography Maker of Patterns: An Autobiography Through Letters and have a conversation with Neal Stephenson, we jumped at the chance to see him. Yesterday, I shared that we were attending, and some of my readers requested a recap. This is that recap.

Freeman Dyson and Neal Stephenson at Town Hall Seattle
Freeman Dyson and Neal Stephenson at Town Hall Seattle

Dyson is now ninety-four, and while still very sharp, the conversation felt a bit disjointed. Stephenson came very well prepared and managed to guide the discussion to some interesting bits. But it took a while for Dyson to engage and much of the dialogue was dry. That said, I particularly enjoyed Dyson’s stories about his experiences with British Bomber Command during World War II and how it shaped some of his thoughts in regards to theoretical models and practices.

Maker of Patterns: An Autobiography Through Letters by Freeman Dyson
Maker of Patterns: An Autobiography Through Letters by Freeman Dyson

My biggest takeaway was Dyson explaining how incredible ideas don’t just come while you’re lying on a beach. They’re a product of hard work. You do the work first, and that will eventually spark the idea. I’ve found myself thinking along these lines as well. Spending more time in silence with my own thoughts and less time drowning my brain with music, podcasts, or audiobooks.

Occasionally Stephenson would read from Dyson’s autobiography—a paragraph from a letter, a bit from a note—that sort of thing. I found Dyson’s writing striking, and I’ll probably get around to picking up his autobiography in the future. While I’m no disciple of his, I do appreciate how his mind works. He’s a fascinating character who has lived an incredible life, and he’s worth getting to know. I was glad to spend an hour listening to him.

You can see a video of the conversation on YouTube.

Ghosts of April

Ghosts of April

It’s strange to me that in a few days April 2018 will have come and gone and we’ll be moving towards summer here in Seattle. Time—as ever—ticks forward. I realize that for the last few months, April in particular, things have been rather quiet around here. Damn near ghostly, in fact; so I wanted to take a moment to update everyone on what’s been happening.

I’m still hard at work on rewrites and edits for Coal Belly. That seems to be my usual state of being lately. Edits tend to be difficult for me, namely because my eyes see what my brain wanted and not what should be there. Thank goodness for copy editors. That said, it’s coming along at quite a clip, and I’ll be reaching out to my beta readers this summer. Then, once I get their feedback, I go back through it all over again.

The fourth Bell Forging Cycle novel has been in the works for some time now. While there hasn’t been any prose written, I do have a rough outline, and think I know where I want it to go. Now, whether Wal behaves is another matter. So often we writers create characters and then the characters do something wildly different than what we planned. It’ll be interesting going back to it after having written two very different books in the interim.

So that’s been my spring. It’s odd writing posts like these, because while a lot has been happening, it doesn’t always come across that way when you lay everything out. Once that progress slider is full it seems like everything should be done, but in truth, the first draft is only the beginning.

Okay, back to work.

Virginia Woolf

The Wreckage of Men

“It is the nature of the artist to mind excessively what is said about him. Literature is strewn with the wreckage of men who have minded beyond reason the opinions of others.”

Virginia Woolf


Sorry for the lack of updates. I’ve been quite busy deep in the manuscript mines these past weeks. That said, I have seen progress (yay!), and the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel is shining brighter. I’ll have more to share soon.

My Virtual Nightstand

My Virtual Nightstand

The other day, I was chatting with a few friends, and we were talking about our to-read stack. We all have them, the books you’ve purchased queued up to read in no particular order. For some, it sits on our nightstand. For others, it’s on a shelf. These days it might be a collection of files on your Kindle. Voracious readers all have them—myself included.

As we talked, I realized I didn’t have a good way for me to track my own to-read stack. Afterall, while I do read primarily on my Kindle, I have a lot of physical books as well. My to-read stack was all over the place! Knowing what I have and what I could start next was a tad cumbersome.

But, I think I’ve come up with a solution. I’ve decided to start using Goodreads’ “To-Read” feature to list my collection of owned but unread books. This way, when I finish a book, I have one spot where I can peruse everything I have on hand. Since the list is public, I figured a quick post was necessary to explain how I’m using it. (I track books I intend to purchase with a different method.) These aren’t just books I’m interested in, these are books I’ve committed to reading eventually.

There’s no particular order, but feel free to check it out my list below. Maybe you’ll find something in my to-read stack that’ll pique your interest. Happy Reading!

K. M. Alexander’s To-Read List →

💀 📖 💀


Dead Drop: Missives from the desk of K. M. AlexanderWant to stay in touch with me? Sign up for Dead Drop, my rare and elusive newsletter. Subscribers get news, previews, and notices on my books before anyone else delivered directly to their inbox. I work hard to make sure it’s not spammy and full of interesting and relevant information.  SIGN UP TODAY →

An Emerald City Comic Con 2018 Debriefing

An ECCC 2018 Debriefing

At the beginning of March (a few weekends ago, now) I joined ninety-five thousand others in attending Emerald City Comic Con in my hometown of Seattle, Washington. This year the convention was extended to four days—I skipped Thursday but visited Friday, Saturday, and most of Sunday. As is the tradition around here, it’s time for a convention debriefing.


🌤 Friday

I had to get a picture of, Android Cosplay's amazing take on classic Nightcrawler
Android Cosplay’s classic take on Nightcrawler

Friday started oddly but finished great. I learned a valuable lesson about con-attendee me—I need to have things to do. The one panel I wanted to attend was full, so I spent a good portion of the day poking around the show floor and getting the lay of the land. I swung by the tables of a few author friends, Lee French had a table, as did Matt Youngmark (Go buy their books!) and I managed to get a few pictures of some great cosplayers. (Including Android Cosplay’s classic take on Nightcrawler in the image on the left.)

Around 2 PM, I took a break and went home to get some writing done. Later, I returned met up with Lars Brown. Lars is a talented comic creator. (His Penultimate Quest series was one of my favorite graphic novels from 2016. You should buy them.) Together, we stuck around the con for a bit, then went to dinner. All in all, it was a relaxing—if not somewhat quiet—first day.


☀ Saturday

On Saturday I was joined by my friend and fellow author Steve Toutonghi (his new book Side Life is coming out in April, you should preorder it.) Together we hit up a bunch of panels. My favorite was probably Books as Flint: Using Graphic Novels to Spark Political Activism. It was a discussion on the power of stories and how graphic novels (this was a comic convention after all) can often bridge the gap and open conversations on topics such as politics, race, religion, misogyny, and bigotry. The panelists were passionate and knowledgeable, and everyone had great thoughts about inclusion and activism in the comic space. Lessons that could easily be applied to novels as well.

My friend (and very talented woodworker) Steve Leroux and his daughter as the Weighted Companion Cube and Chell from Valve's Portal series
My friend (and very talented woodworker) Steve Leroux and his daughter as the Weighted Companion Cube and Chell from Valve’s Portal series

Steve and I also attended Family-friendly Fantasy: Keeping It PG in the Age of Grimdark & Game of Thrones and another on called 10 Points to Slytherin: Why Good Fans Love Evil Characters. Both were excellent and much better than I expected and both sparked some good conversation.

Oh! While waiting for one panel, we randomly slipped into a conversation with Shannon Purser (Barb from Stranger Things, y’all)—it was fun. Lots of kids with questions and Purser was kind, articulate, open, and honest. I’m generally not one for celebrity panels like that, but I found myself enjoying it.


🌧 Sunday

Writing the Future Panel - [Left to Right] Sylvain Neuvel, Michael Miller, AdriAnne Strickland, Annalee Newitz, Chuck Wendig, Jason Hough
Writing the Future Panel – [Left to Right] Sylvain Neuvel, Michael Miller, AdriAnne Strickland, Annalee Newitz, Chuck Wendig, Jason Hough
I had only two panels Sunday, and once again Steve Toutonghi joined me. Our first panel was What Do I Read Now (and Where Do I Start)? hosted by a group of local librarians, and the premise was they’d recommended books based on other properties people liked. It was fun. I did take issue when one of the panelists mentioned recommending only finished series. I bring this up because I feel it’s an important topic. The best way you can support a series as a fan is to read it as its published. Waiting until it’s finished can often kill a series. Publishers make decisions based on sales. So even if you want to wait until you have them all, buy the books (or check them out from your library) as they come out. It’ll make a big difference.

Our final panel of the weekend was Writing the Future (pictured above), and it was interesting. The room filled up fast, there was loads of audience participation. Afterward, a friend asked me if I had any new takeaways. My honest answer was no—I didn’t hear anything new or revelatory. If anything it was nice to see veteran writers reaffirm my choices.


Leaving ECCC—for now.
Leaving ECCC

So, that was my ECCC! There was so much I missed, and I felt like I had my schedule pretty well planned. Overall ECCC is excellently run and well managed—I appreciated all the hard work keeping the crowds organized. It’s not simple with that many people, and the staff and volunteers excelled at keeping everything under control. It’ll be interesting to see how it changes as the Seattle Convention Center expands.

I was thrilled I spent the time I did—next year I’m hoping to go longer and actually sit on a few panels and making do some gaming. (Gaming was sorely missing from my ECCC 2018 experience. Would have liked to play Mansions of Madness or jumped into a Call of Cthulhu session.) I also want to extend a big thank you to my friends Steve and Lars for hanging out with me, having friends willing to pal around made a big difference.

Thanks for a great convention Emerald City—it was a lot of fun.


Have a convention you’d like me to attend? Let me know by leaving a comment or sending me an email. Remember, You can keep track of where I’ll be and read previous convention debriefing over on my Upcoming Appearances page.


Dead Drop: Missives from the desk of K. M. AlexanderWant to stay in touch with me? Sign up for Dead Drop, my rare and elusive newsletter. Subscribers get news, previews, and notices on my books before anyone else delivered directly to their inbox. I work hard to make sure it’s not spammy and full of interesting and relevant information.  SIGN UP TODAY →