Friday, March 29, 2024

Six Books with Alma Alexander

Alma Alexander's life so far has prepared her very well for her chosen career. She was born in a country which no longer exists on the maps, has lived and worked in seven countries on four continents (and in cyberspace!), has climbed mountains, dived in coral reefs, flown small planes, swum with dolphins, touched two-thousand-year-old tiles in a gate out of Babylon. She is a novelist, anthologist and short story writer who currently shares her life between the Pacific Northwest of the USA (where she lives with two obligatory writer's cats) and the wonderful fantasy worlds of her own imagination. You can find out more about Alma and her books on her website

Today she tells us about her Six Books

1. What book are you currently reading?

I'm just about to finish Naomi Klein's "Doppelganger" which is... not an easy read... I'm already living through a crazy political and social time and reading about it in a book when it isn't being sprayed at me through a firehose everywhere else in the Real World (TM) is arguably self destructive - but  she does make some salient and fascinating points and on the whole I"m glad I took the time. But I am about to start on something that I've been keeping as a treat - Alix Harrow's "Starling House"... see next question...

2. What upcoming book are you really excited about?

...technically it isn't an "upcoming" book since it's already out but it's recent enough to qualify so there and I really am excited about it. THere are very few writers whose new offerings I will preorder sight unseen as soon as I am aware of the existence of a new book on the horizon and Harrow qualified for that with "Ten Thousand Doors of January" which was an amazing read (and I"ve got everything else she has ever written, by this stage). Her command of story and character, as well of the very language she uses to create these two things, is a rare and amazing thing and I will always be excited for any new book she produces. I can't wait to start the new one.

3. Is there a book you're currently itching to re-read?

"Dune" part II is about to drop in March 2024 and I am really looking forward to that - and I have a feeling as though I should go back and read it again, just to get myself up to speed once more. That was a pretty seminal book and bits of it like grains of its omnipresent sand found their way into the desert parts of my world in a book like "Changer of Days" - it was in "Dune" that I gained my awe of the desert landscape, and it stuck. (well, that, and the opening credits frames of "Lawrence of Arabia" which you REALLY have to see on a big screen in a cinema to get the full impact of...) I do think the "Dune" universe spiralled downward in its evolution, and I have long since stopped reading the spinoffs that Frank Herbert never even touched  - but the original novel, itself, is extraordinary, and I do circle back and re-read it periodically anyway. There is a savagery there that disturbs my soul and I need reminders of that every now and then when I get too complacent about anything.

4. How about a book you've changed your mind about - either positively or negatively?

At some point last year I picked up Asimov's "Foundation" again. It is among the most complex of his works (he was one of my entry points into  science fiction...) - I find a lot of his other stuff annoyingly simplistic now and I lose patience very quickly, but I recalled the Foundation trilogy to be  a little deeper than most of the rest. ANd I just couldn't read it. There was just too much in it that made me stop and throw my hands in the air and say "REALLY?" And I do have to wonder - his reputation in the area aside - whether Asimov ever met a real woman because he sure can't write a believable female character worth her salt. I'm kind of having a gentle distancing from the "golden age" SF - not a divorce, as such, I owe the damn era too much - but it's definitely in the rear view mirror, an "ex" of whom I will sometimes think of with a tinge of pleasure and gratitude but whom I have definitely outgrown...

5a What's one book, which you read as a child or a young adult, that
has had a lasting influence on your writing?/ What's one book, which you read as a child or a young adult, that
holds a special place in your heart?

This kind of answers both those questions, and it's a real cliche - "Lord of the Rings" (and I do mean LOTR - I actually read "The Hobbit" AFTER I read the trilogy...) A lot of people are impatient with it - it's "too slow" or "too wordy" and stuff like that, for the modern reader - but for me, it opened up the UNIVERSE. It gave me worldbuilding on a silver platter - it showed me what could be done with words, that words could be used to paint with. and it was an early lesson that stuck because I've written "lush" ever since. I currently own no less than three copies of a one-volume LOTR trilogy - my tattered paperback reading copy whose spine is so broken that it is in danger of falling apart into its component parts any minute now, a hardcover copy which I have for when the paperback copy does finally disintegrate, and a really nice "collector edition" with Alan Lee illustrations which I keep as a first edition treasure and a jewel on my bookshelf. But it is a building block of my formative years as a human being and as a writer, and I could not live in a home without that book in it...

6. And speaking of that, what's your latest book, and why is it awesome?

In 2023 I reissued the definitive Author's Cut editions of my Worldweavers books (my four-book trilogy, as it were - "Gift of the Unmage", "Spellspam", "Cybermage" and "Dawn of Magic") and in January of 2024 Florida paid me the compliment of BANNING #1 in that series so now I proudly stand shoulder to shoulder with Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, Margaret Attwood, Isabel Allende, Neil Gaiman, Anne Frank, and many other  writers whose works ar seminal in the literary world. I actually really love these books, and I consider them "awesome" inasmuch as an author is permitted to say this, because while I had a great deal of fun writing them (you can tell, by paying close attention to every chapter opening in "Spellspam"...) they ended up being more than just fun, there was depth and heart to it all, and characters like Corey the Trickster (yes, Coyote) and Nikola Tesla (yes, THE Nikola Tesla) were a gift to write about. Both of those come to full flower in the fourth book, "Dawn of Magic" just out in November last year so still relatively hot off the presses as it were. I commend these books to everyone out there. I am currently working on a non-fic, a book about books, as it were, but that isn't due until Fall of 2024 so I can't really reveal much about it at this point. But watch my website ( for more info as soon as I am able to share it...and if you want an early glimpse I will probably be sharing that on my Patreon

Thank you, Alma!

POSTED BY: Paul Weimer. Ubiquitous in Shadow, but I’m just this guy, you know? @princejvstin.