A perfect Sunday with... Alexander Darwin

Manga, the Matrix and a steaming bowl of phở!

A perfect Sunday with... Alexander Darwin

Every week, a top writer, artist or creator reveals how they’d fill their perfect Sunday, sharing their favourite comfort reads, movies, food… anything that would make their weekend great.

Today, it’s the turn of author of The Combat Codes, Alexander Darwin.

Alexander’s perfect Sunday… brunch

I'm Vietnamese, and so I love to grab a steaming bowl of phở or fresh bún chả at a local restaurant with my family. I live outside of Boston and there is some decent Vietnamese food in the city, but nothing close to me, and nothing in comparison to San Francisco where I lived for a decade. But getting together with the family and sharing a great Vietnamese meal really does feel so comforting.

Alexander’s perfect Sunday… read

I've got three little ones, so time to curl up on the couch for a cozy Sunday read is hard to come by nowadays. But a guy can dream, right? And in my dream, I have a few hours to enjoy Moses Ose Utomi's Lies of Ajungo, which I'm really loving right now, but have barely had more than five minutes to immerse myself in so far. Moses' book is about a boy's epic quest to bring water back to his city and save his mother's life.

Alexander’s perfect Sunday… comic

I really am a big fan of the manga Vagabond, which is about the greatest samurai who ever lived, Miyamoto Musashi. In fact, I'm a fan of any sort of comic, novel, show or film about Musashi!

Alexander’s perfect Sunday… movie

I'm a product of the ‘90s, so give me any action flick from that era and I'll happily sit for a few hours to rewatch. The Rock, Armageddon, True Lies, Face Off, Gladiator, the Matrix... oh so good. There was something about that pre-big franchise / comic adaptation era that was really special.

Alexander’s perfect Sunday… TV binge

Another pipe dream currently is to curl up on a lazy Sunday and binge a TV show... someday when the kids are at university, I guess. I love the show Warrior on HBO Max. It's produced by Shannon Lee (Bruce Lee's daughter) and Justin Lin, and has some of the best action / martial arts out there, as well as an incredible plot that takes place in San Francisco's Chinatown during the second half of the 19th century. The third season got renewed a little while ago... so I'm saving up my binge hours for this one!

Alexander’s perfect Sunday… podcast

I've been addicted to author podcasts lately, especially as my trad publishing debut approaches. My favorites are Publishing Rodeo with Scott Drakeford and Sunyi Dean, Page One - The Writer's Podcast and SFF Addicts with Adrian Gibson and MJ Kuhn. There's also a very obscure but incredible podcast which I've been raving about for years called The Hero with a Thousand Holds, where a martial artist / historian named Ruadhán MacFadden travels the world to explore humanity's common grappling heritage by diving into the history, culture, roots, and the ultimate fate of various folk-wrestling styles around the planet. At its surface, it is a podcast about grappling, but the show goes so much deeper (much like Anthony Bourdain explored humanity and culture with food as a vehicle).

Alexander’s perfect Sunday… album

I love lo-fi, especially while I'm grappling / doing jiu jitsu. It really sets the right relaxed mindset and pace. And I've always loved soundtracks of all kinds. My favorite current composer is Michael Giacchino who did the 'Lost' soundtrack along with the Star Trek reboots and the Pixar movie Up. That guy doesn't miss. Most Sundays I'll probably also put on some variation of the Chrono Trigger soundtrack.

Alexander’s perfect Sunday… treat

As much as I complain about not having time for TV / reading because of the kids, I do love spending time with them, especially on a beautiful Sunday where we can get outside for a hike. I also love to practice jiu-jitsu on Sunday mornings. I often have a few guys over to my private studio. I always come out of those sessions feeling relaxed and ready for the next week. I get home and my kids ask me if "I had fun playing with my friends." Adults need to play too!

The Combat Codes by Alexander Darwin is out now from Orbit.

In a world long ago ravaged by war, the nations have sworn an armistice never to use weapons of mass destruction again. Instead, highly-skilled warriors known as Grievar Knights represent their nations’ interests in brutal hand-to-hand combat.

Murray Pearson was once a famed Knight until he suffered a loss that crippled his homeland — but now he’s on the hunt to discover the next champion.

In underground and ruthless combat rings, an orphaned boy called Cego is making a name for himself. Murray believes Cego has what it takes to thrive in the world's most prestigious combat academy – but first, Cego must prove himself in the vicious arenas of the underworld. And survival isn’t guaranteed.

Alexander Darwin is an author living near Boston with his wife and three daughters. Outside of writing, he teaches and trains martial arts (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu). He’s inspired by old-school Hong Kong action flicks, jRPGs, underdog stories and bibimbap bowls.

Outside of writing fiction, Alexander has written for publications such as Rolling Stone Magazine, Jiu Jitsu Style and SF Signal. His latest piece, The Lost Diary of Anthony Bourdain, was a featured piece in Rolling Stone’s January 2022 Issue.