Five Things I Learned Last Week (about Zombies)

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It’s been a while since I did a Five Things post but to celebrate the launch of Serial Killer Z, I thought I’d go with a zombie themed list. So, here’s five things I learned about zombies last week. Zombies go back as far as the ancient Mesopotamian poem, Epic of Gilgamesh In the poem, the goddess Ishtar claims, “I will knock down the Gates of the Netherworld; I will smash the doorposts and leave the doors flat down, and will let the dead go up to eat the living!” [Thanks to All That is Interesting for that one] Ophiocordyceps, the so-called “zombie ant fungus” hijacks  its victims central nervous system and forces it to do its bidding Then it kills its host and launches new spores to infect more ants. I live in one of the top 10 safest countries during a zombie outbreak  – According to geographic location, topography, armed populace, population density, and military preparedness these are the best places to live when the inevitable outbreak hits – 1) Australia, 2) Canada, 3) United States, 4) Russia, 5) Kazakhstan, 6) Bolivia, 7) Norway, 8) Finland, 9) Argentina, and 10) Sweden. [Thanks to LiveScience for making me feel … Read More

5 Things I Learned Last Week

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I’ve been ill the last week or so, and I’ve managed to catch up on lots of blogs. Here’s five things I learned along the way. What3words Wants To Change The World’s Addressing System Amazon have launched the DashButton – now you can order essentials like washing powder or cat food just by clicking a button. You can treat a bullet wound with processed white sugar Honey works too apparently. Magic is a text based concierge service that will do things for you. And when they say things, they mean pretty much anything that isn’t illegal. I’d be all over this but unfortunately it’s US only. A couple in Japan have created Run-Bell – a handheld bell runners can use to warn pedestrians they are about to pass them. I’ve lost count of the number of pedestrians I’ve scared by calling out that I’m coming up behind them, so this isn’t as bonkers as it might sound.     For a limited time, I’m giving everyone who signs up to my mailing list 5 free books, including a copy of my science fiction novel, Glitch Mitchell and the Unseen Planet when it’s released later this year. Click here to sign up and get your free books. [5 Things I Learned Last Week by Philip … Read More

5 Stories I Read Last Week

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We interrupt our normal programme of links to random nonsense for links to five stories I’ve enjoyed recently. The Rift Cell by Chris Batchelor Chocolate Chip Cookies for the Apocalypse by Claire Spaulding The Sky Didn’t Load Today by Rich Larson The Words on the Walls by Brynn MacNab Wrong Word by Michelle Ann King And a random image from the archive. Normal nonsense will be resumed next week. Get a FREE copy of my short story, Only Friends by subscribing to my newsletter. [5 Stories I Read Last Week by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 11th May 2015]

5 Things I Learned Last Week

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I guess this should have been Star Wars themed but I’m feeling too crappy to be that organised. “Stan” has created some fantastic VHS covers for modern films and TV shows (the original French post is here). The Doubleclicks are coming to Vancouver Cairo is the world’s largest open air chair museum Andy Baio has been experimenting on his son using videogames Three of the Apocalypse Weird novels are on sale for 99c this week – Immunity by E. E. Georgi, Reversal by Jennifer Ellis and Chris Pourteau’s The Serenity Strain. (I’ve linked to the Kindle versions but they’re on all platforms). Get a FREE copy of my short story, Only Friends by subscribing to my newsletter. [5 Things I Learned Last Week by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 4th May 2015]

5 Things I Learned Last Week

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I spent a lot of last week in Boston (my wife was running the marathon). Assuming I can find some time, I’ll post some a few thoughts on the trip later this week. In the meantime, here’s a Boston themed 5 Things… The coloured lights on top of the old Hancock building tell the weather: “Solid blue, clear view,” “Flashing blue, clouds due,” “Solid red, rain ahead,” and “Flashing red, snow instead” (during the summer, flashing red means the Red Sox game is rained out). The Boston Common is the oldest public park in the US and has been around since 1634. Boston was home to the first subway tunnel in the US – Tremont Subway. It opened in 1897. On March 10th, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell made the very first phone call in history from his Boston machine shop. The first state-issued car license plates were issued in Boston, because nosy neighbour Frederick Tudor wanted to know who was driving past his house. He got license plate number 1 (and a relative still owns the registration for that plate). Get a FREE copy of my short story, Only Friends by subscribing to my newsletter. [5 Things I Learned Last Week by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on … Read More

5 Things I Learned Last Week

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[Put an intro here] Mary Robinette Kowal and a number of other people are offering to pay for supporting memberships to WorldCon for people who would like to vote on the Hugos and can’t afford the membership. Assuming the tradition continues, that membership gets you a lot of the nominated works so that you can read them before voting. The Airpnp app helps you find people who will (for a fee) let you use their bathroom. A Tank Only Fears Four Things – thanks Seth Dickinson and Lightspeed. The Five Tibetans exercises are tougher than they look (at least they are for me). There are less than 12 days to go on the Story Stylus Kickstarter. An 8m2 space can be converted into a home.   Get a FREE copy of my short story, Only Friends by subscribing to my newsletter. [5 Things I Learned Last Week by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 13th April 2015]

5 Things I Learned Last Week

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It’s been a while since I did any of these so the “last week” bit of that may be a stretch. John Scalzi has posted some wise words on this year’s (extremely) controversial Hugo nominations. Runbell make a bell for pedestrians. Somewhere in the Alps a small designer cabin is hidden inside of a giant boulder. Marina Malygina has designed a pizza themed condom. A father and daughter team (and their friends) used $100,000 worth of LEGO pieces to recreate Jurassic Park and it’s fantastic   Get a FREE copy of my short story, Only Friends by subscribing to my newsletter. [5 Things I Learned Last Week by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 6th April 2015]  

Six Things I Learned About the Apocalypse

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A couple of weeks ago, I posted a series of interviews with the authors of the first five Apocalypse Weird books. As part of those interviews, I asked each author to tell me something about the Apocalypse Weird project that people might not know. Here’s what I learned. Texocalypse Now (originally Digger) was the original book project that developed into the whole Apocalypse Weird world, and it was originally conceived as a video game.  [Courtesy of Michael Bunker] Amazon through their 47North imprint originally passed on what became the Apocalypse Weird project because it was too big of a concept.  [Courtesy of Michael Bunker] Tim Grahl came up with name of the parent company, Wonderment, after reading a history of Marvel Comics. We wanted Wonderment to become the Marvel Comics digital publishing. [Courtesy of Nick Cole] The stable of Apocalypse Weird writers is not an exclusive club. We want anyone and everyone to come in and write in this world. Hence, the formation of the Apocalypse Weird: Survivors Facebook group. You can invent your own Apocalypse and Boss, or you can write in someone else’s (there’s a Rules document posted for the group). All fanfic will be published on a site … Read More

1 Thing I Learned Last Week

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  A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP — Leonard Nimoy (@TheRealNimoy) February 23, 2015 [“1 Thing I Learned Last Week” by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 2nd March 2015]  

Five Reasons I Built My Own Ebooks

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Over the past three weeks, I’ve released three short stories as Kindle ebooks – a science fiction story called Bottled Lightning, an urban fantasy story called Saviour and Curfew, a supernatural thriller. The three stories are my first dip of a toe into self-publishing waters and I chose them because a) I like them and b) they gave me a playground in which to learn. Coming straight out of the gate with a full length work would have made any mistakes I made more costly. I did most of the work of making the ebooks myself, the exception being the covers. I can put together a cover but it takes time and the quality can be hit and miss. I found some premades for all three of those titles that worked well (from Go On Write for Curfew and Bottled Lightning and from The Cover Collection for Saviour) so I went with those. I handled all the other tasks associated with building the actual ebooks and I did it manually (although I then automated one part of it to avoid making mistakes). And when I say manually, I mean manually. I didn’t use Scrivener or a Word file. I took the raw text … Read More