Category Archives: Incidentals

Raunch Review: Judge Dredd

Raunch Review: Judge Dredd

Raunch Reviews is a series about profanity. Not real profanity, but speculative swearing. Authors often try to incorporate original, innovative forms of profanity into our own fantastical works as a way to expand the worlds we build. Sometimes we’re successful. Often we’re not. In this series, I examine the faux-profanity from various works of sci-fi and fantasy, judge their effectiveness, and rate them on an unscientific and purely subjective scale. This is Raunch Reviews, welcome.


Raunch Review: Judge Dredd
Raunch Review: Judge Dredd
The Author: John Wagner & Carlos Ezquerra
Work in Question: Judge Dredd
The Profanity: “Drokk”

With instances of censor-slips, we usually see creators go the easy route. Spellings or pronunciations are changed just enough to trigger a memory in the audience, so they connect the slip with the profanity it’s replacing. Generally, these sorts of faux-profanity don’t score very high around here. They’re lazy, typically unoriginal, and often hold back worldbuilding rather than enhance it. At first glance, it’s easy to see Judge Dredd’s “drokk” as a slip, but one must view the word in the context of the world it inhabits.

Raunch Review: Judge Dredd
A sample of Dredd’s linguistic drift as applied to faux-profanity

On the streets of Mega-City One, there are plenty of faux-profanities. In most cases, they’re excellent examples of linguistic and cultural drift. That is to be expected in a future setting, since language changes continuously, and Wagner took this into account when writing the series. There are plenty of fantastic examples of plausible drift within a language: “God” becomes “Grud,” “Jesus” becomes “Jovus,” “Elders” are “Eldsters,” “Gasolene” is “Guzzalene,” and “Scavengers” are called “Scavvers.” So it’d make sense to see other words develop as well. While the usage is familiar, there’s a pedigree that points to this being more than just a simple censor-slip. “Drokk” emerges as something wholly its own blending in with the semantic argot of Mega-City One. A solid bit of fictional profanity.

Score: Half Swear (4.0)

🤬 Previous Raunch Reviews


Have a suggestion for Raunch Reviews? It can be any made-up slang word from a book, television show, or movie. You can email me directly with your recommendation or leave a comment below. I’ll need to spend time with the property before I’ll feel confident reviewing it, so give me a little time. I have a lot of books to read.


The Green Knight

The Green Knight

Hey, it’s a random Thursday in February. Let’s all watch the trailer for everyone’s favorite 14th-century Arthurian legend, The Green Knight.

As I said over on Twitter, this looks weird enough I might actually drag myself to a theater to see it. (A rarity these days.) I have to admit I’m a sucker for almost everything A24 releases these days (The Lighthouse, Hereditary, Lady Bird, The Witch, Ex Machina, The Lobster, the list goes on and on), I think Dev Patel is great, and I find David Lowery​ intriguing. Plus, I’m getting Holy Mountain/Tale of Tales vibes from this teaser, which is not a bad thing.

What do you think?

Random Thoughts Regarding Super Bowl LIV

Random Thoughts Regarding Super Bowl LIV

So, the NFL’s big game happened last Sunday, which concluded the 2019 NFL season. I watched it, and I have some thoughts. I’m hard at work on the next novel, which is why things have been quiet around here lately, so I thought it’d be fun to share.


🏈 Football in General

This was the first full game of football this season that I watched in its entirety. Which is A) a bit weird for me and B) served as a reminder of what I gained by not watching. In past years, on a typical week, I’d watch—at the very least—the Seattle Seahawks play, and usually Sunday Night Football. With pregame coverage and post-game reporting that came to about eight hours of football-related stuff per week. Multiply that across the season and being conservative, that’s 17 eight-hour workdays in total not counting playoffs and such. That’s a lot of time to give up. This year, after cutting cable, I spent that time writing Gleam Upon the Waves and working on some of my map projects. Funny enough, I never felt like I missed out on anything. I still followed the Seahawks. I still saw the big plays. I had my best season in my fantasy football league at work. But I never missed watching football. Funny that.


🙆‍♂️ The Game

These weren’t my teams, and I don’t harbor any animosity toward the Niners despite them being one of the Hawks’ rivals. I like Kittle and Sherman a lot and would have loved to see Sherm get a second ring. That said, I also like Andy Reid, Patrick Mahomes, and Travis Kelce, and it was great to see Reid, in particular, finally get his championship. Plus, the game was excellent. Lots of back and forth. Plenty of scoring. Close the whole time. It was the best part of the entire event, which hasn’t been the case for some years.


💃 Halftime

Meh. Kari-Lise and I both were disappointed in the halftime show. It was too long, and it felt incredibly disjointed. The song cuts came so fast one wasn’t allowed time to get into a rhythm before it was cutting to something else. Remember this song? Remember this one? How about this one? Much of the backup dancer costuming was terrible, as was that weird knock-off Pitbull whom I am too lazy to research. (I’m decidedly not a Pitbull fan, but I’m even less of a knock-off Pitbull fan, apparently.)


📺 The Commercials

Eesh. These were awful. Almost all of them. Outside of a few gems that seemed to bring something new—namely Amazon’s Alexa ad—everything came across as awkward and forced. They were brands trying to be genuine while decidedly being the opposite of that. This isn’t surprising in an era when marketing strategy runs along the lines of “Sunny-D is depressed” and “Steak-umm reflects on society.” These were focused grouped into oblivion, and it showed. Most had an incredible lack of self-awareness and a misunderstanding of whatever culture they were targeting. To paraphrase my pal, Peter, most came across as the dying gasp of an industry format that wants to move towards the organic viral-ness of TikTok but doesn’t understand how to get there. He’s not wrong. (Also, now that I have seen celebrities and brands infiltrate TikTok, TikTok is dead to me. The fun weirdness is gone. Like Instagram, it’s becoming a wasteland of ads.)


🥨 The Snacks

I made a decent spread of food that is terrible for you (Frito Pie! Pigs-in-a-blanket! Jalapeño Poppers!) but are a joy to eat. So the snacks were great. A+ snacks. Will snack on again, just not on the reg.


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 →

Because Conscience Tells Him

Because Conscience Tells Him

“On some positions, Cowardice asks the question, “Is it safe?” Expediency asks the question, “Is it politic?” And Vanity comes along and asks the question, “Is it popular?” But Conscience asks the question “Is it right?” And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right.”

Martin Luther King Jr.
Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution
(31 March 1968)

Free Wonderdraft Symbol Sets Now Available

Free Wonderdraft Symbol Set Now Available

Occasionally I get emails from people asking about my brush sets and the map-making software Wonderdraft. It’s a great piece of software with a vibrant community of creators, one I’ve always wanted to support. But converting ABR files into individual objects has always been daunting, so I haven’t been able to support it like I wanted.

Until today. Thanks to the efforts of Richard Moyer, ten of my sets (nearly 4000 objects) are now available for Wonderdraft users! Like my Photoshop and GIMP sets, these are free to use for personal or commercial projects. No attribution required. You can download them and start using them immediately. The button below links to the set on Cartography Assets, a fantastic online resource for Wonderdraft addons. It includes details and advice on how to use these sets, so be sure to read the Overview.


K. M. ALEXANDER WONDERDRAFT MEGAPACK


Huge thank you to Richard for putting in this work. It’s a monumental endeavor and one that should be recognized. He even when the extra mile by including versions of the objects with opaque backgrounds to allow for easy layering. It cannot be said enough; this is a generous undertaking. So if you like these sets, don’t just thank me, thank Richard as well.

Happy map making!


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 →

Raunch Review: Blade Runner

Raunch Review: Blade Runner

Raunch Reviews is a series about profanity. Not real profanity, but speculative swearing. Authors often try to incorporate original, innovative forms of profanity into our own fantastical works as a way to expand the worlds we build. Sometimes we’re successful. Often we’re not. In this series, I examine the faux-profanity from various works of sci-fi and fantasy, judge their effectiveness, and rate them on an unscientific and purely subjective scale. This is Raunch Reviews, welcome.


Raunch Review: Blade Runner
Raunch Review: Blade Runner
The Author: Hampton Fancher & David Peoples
Work in Question: Blade Runner
The Profanity: “Skin job”

Dehumanizing or bigoted slurs have been prevalent throughout history. And they’re still with us today. Even in recent dialog, we’ve seen the powerful employing precise language in a manner to strip away someone’s value. It’s not a new phenomenon. I believe the best fiction serves as a mirror forcing those engaging with it to confront some of the uglier sides of humankind.

Blade Runner’s existential questions surrounding life and humanity and its fundamental question of “what makes us human” is why the faux-profanity “skin job” works so well. In concept, it combines that existentialist question with the bigoted language and aims it at the android replicants in the story.

Like “prawn” from District 9, “skin job” is born from fear and designed to dehumanize. This is why we see it wielded by the powerful to imply that replicants are less than human. Language is a powerful factor in creating “the other.” It allows our brains to trigger differently. It’s why we nickname enemies; it’s easier to kill a nickname than it is to kill a human with thoughts, dreams, and desires. By calling replicants “skin jobs,” one can logically make the leap that they’re disposable and easily replaceable.

Abusive language quickly leads to dehumanization, and dehumanization leads to atrocities. We see that in Blade Runner as much as we do in the world at large. It’s why “skin job” works so well, and it’s why it stings to hear it spoken out loud.

Score: Half Swear (4.5)

🤬 Previous Raunch Reviews


Have a suggestion for Raunch Reviews? It can be any made-up slang word from a book, television show, or movie. You can email me directly with your recommendation or leave a comment below. I’ll need to spend time with the property before I’ll feel confident reviewing it, so give me a little time. I have a lot of books to read.