The Fireman by Joe Hill – A Review

Philip HarrisBooks, Reviews0 Comments

Read this book.   Sign up for my newsletter and get a year of stories, completely free. CLICK HERE to get started. [The Fireman by Joe Hill – A Review by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 7th July 2016]

Super by Ernie Lindsey

Philip HarrisBooks, Reviews0 Comments

I’m not really a superhero guy. Growing up in a small market town in the UK, American comics were not readily accessible. One local newsagent did stock a random selection but there was no rhyme or reason to the issues available and certainly no consistency. Which meant that if I did buy one I got the middle of a story arc with no possibility of reading the rest. With two notable exceptions, the comics I bought were quickly forgotten. Only the one issue of Sandman and the one issue of Hellblazer I found stuck with me. I think I still have them somewhere. It wasn’t until a good friend of mine opened a comic book shop – Comic Connections – that I actually got any real exposure to comics. By that time I was firmly entrenched in the goth sub culture and it was the Vertigo titles that caught my attention. I was the guy in black reading Preacher and Sandman and Hellblazer. The superheroes just passed me by. More recently, I’ve added Locke & Key, a bit of manga and one or two Batman one shots to my shelves but that’s about it. I’ve dabbled with superhero movies and enjoyed some (Batman) and been bored by others (Superman … Read More

Only Lovers Left Alive

Philip HarrisMovies, Reviews0 Comments

My wife and I almost went to see Only Lovers Left Alive during a trip to Calgary last year but the showtimes didn’t quite work out, and we didn’t know anything about the movie beyond the fact it had a cool poster and starred Tilda Swinton. She can usually be relied on to put in a memorable performance and her films often hit the style and substance sweet spot, at least for us. We Need To Talk About Kevin was one of my favourite films from the 92 we watched in 2013. We finally got around to watching Only Lovers Left Alive last night and it didn’t disappoint. In fact, I kind of wish we’d made time to watch it on the big screen. Although it’s ostensibly a vampire film, it’s really a fantastically stylish and subtle romance that positively drips cool. Everything from the characters to the music to the set design and wardrobe is perfectly pitched. Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston are superb in their roles but the whole cast is excellent. The soundtrack is great as well, I’m just about to head over to iTunes and check out the album. It’s a slow burn of a movie that really reminded me of The Hunger with David Bowie, Catherine Deneuve and … Read More

Darknet by Matthew Mather

Philip HarrisBooks, Reviews0 Comments

Just a quick post to highlight the fact that Matthew Mather’s new book Darknet is now available. I read an ARC of this and really enjoyed it.   Here’s the description: One minute Jake O’Connell is on top of the world with a beautiful family and bright future as a stock broker in New York. The next minute it’s all ripped away when he’s embroiled in a fraud investigation, his childhood friend is murdered and he finds himself on the run. Dodging the FBI and targeted by the mob, Jake is thrown into a Wall Street underworld of cryptocurrencies and autonomous corporations where he discovers a dark secret setting the world on a path to destruction. He must evade the shadowy forces hunting him and find a way to redemption–but the faster he runs, the deeper he becomes entangled. In the end, his only path forward is to return to the ghosts of his past. And here’s the thoughts I posted a couple of months ago: Although I haven’t read any of Mather’s other books, I will be in the future. I really enjoyed Darknet. It’s fast paced with plenty of twists and I kept finding myself picking it up to read when I should be … Read More

A Couple of Books

Philip HarrisBooks, Reviews0 Comments

I finished a couple of books this week. Both were kindly sent to me by the authors for review prior to their release, and both of them are worth a look. First up was Chris Pourteau’s short story, Unconditional: A Tale of the Zombie Apocalypse. Here’s the description: The Walking Dead meets The Incredible Journey in this thrilling short story of trial and tragedy. The peaceful cool of a fall day is shattered when the Storm of Teeth consumes the world. A dog watches, terrified, as his human family battles a herd of walking corpses. Forced to leave their pet behind, the family flees for their lives. The dog begins his odyssey through the zombie apocalypse to find them. But what will he find? Experience this dark adventure from the perspective of man’s best friend as he strives to reunite with the boy he loves more than life itself. Unconditional is a short story, but it packs a punch, particularly if you’re a dog person. I lean more towards the feline side of that equation but I had dogs growing up, and I’ve got a soft spot for them as well, so I was looking forward to this one. I wasn’t disappointed. … Read More

Tusk Equalizing

Philip HarrisMovies, Reviews0 Comments

Monday was a holiday here in Canada so my wife and I decided to spend the afternoon watching a couple of films. First up, Kevin Smith’s Tusk. This one is tricky to recommend. It’s a mix of comedy and cringe inducing horror and it’s a very odd film. For me, the early comedic elements fell a bit flat. Wallace Bryton, played by Justin Long, is co-host of an all too believable podcast called the Not See Party Show (say it out loud a couple of times). That’s about the level of humour you get in that part of the film. But as things progress the humour gets just a little bit smarter (or at least more subtle) and the creepiness ratchets up until the film transitions into some quite effective horror. Michael Parks is superb as the deliciously creepy Howard Howe and Guy Lapointe gives a suitably over the top performance. We enjoyed it but it’s not going to be everyone’s idea of a good time and I can certainly see why it’s not getting a good reception. I love the poster though. Next we headed up the road to see The Equalizer. I don’t remember much of the original TV series starring Edward Woodward (other than that it … Read More

Maplecroft by Cherie Priest

Philip HarrisBooks, Reviews0 Comments

I took advantage of my pre-Blerch rest day to finish off Cherie Priest’s Maplecroft. Although I’ve been following Priest’s blog for some time, and have a couple of her books, I’ve never actually read any of them. Her steampunk series sounds very interesting, and I certainly like the idea of reading them but for some reason they’ve never climbed to the top of my to be read pile. The same can be said of most steampunk actually. Not sure why. But Maplecroft isn’t steampunk and I made a point of buying it as soon as it came out and, more importantly, putting on the top of my reading list. Here’s the description from Amazon. Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother forty whacks; and when she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one…. The people of Fall River, Massachusetts, fear me. Perhaps rightfully so. I remain a suspect in the brutal deaths of my father and his second wife despite the verdict of innocence at my trial. With our inheritance, my sister, Emma, and I have taken up residence in Maplecroft, a mansion near the sea and far from gossip and scrutiny. But it is not far enough from … Read More

Gettysburg by Chris Pourteau

Philip HarrisBooks, Reviews0 Comments

I’ve mentioned Michael Bunker’s Amish science fiction novel, Pennsylvania, here before and it’s been doing very well. Most recently, it cracked the top 100 on Amazon and hit number one in the cyberpunk category. Not too shabby. Now, Pennsylvania fan fiction is beginning to hit the shelves. First up is Gettysburg: A Tale of the Second War for Pennsylvanian Independence by Chris Pourteau. Here’s the blurb. In Michael Bunker’s Pennsylvania, Jedidiah Troyer becomes the hero of TRACE’s fight against the Transport Authority. But even before Jed’s adventure begins, the Second War for Pennsylvanian Independence has raged for a generation. Gettysburg is one tale of that long and bitter struggle. When we join them in their fight, the forces of TRACE are running out of time. Severely outmanned and outgunned, they know that if they can’t find a way to level the playing field with Transport—and soon—defeat is inevitable. Fate presents them a chance to turn the tide of war. A large supply of Transport’s okcillium—the all-important material powering laser weapons and other military technology—sits largely unguarded in a small town between the AZ and the City. That town’s name is Gettysburg. But fortune rarely allows history to be made so easily. Tactics, heroics, and … Read More

Guardians of the Galaxy

Philip HarrisMovies, Reviews0 Comments

We really are living in a golden age of science fiction and fantasy movies and TV. The (relatively) low cost of computer generated imagery coupled with the suitability of genre blockbusters for 3D conversion (and the associated additional income) have created an evironment where it’s finally feasible to create pretty much any ridiculous scenario authors and screenwriters can come up with. And…It’s wearing me out. I can only take so many explosion laden blockbusters before I retreat to the subtle charm of an indie character piece. I pick and choose which of the big films I go to see (no Transformers or Turtles for a start) and this year I’ve seen three – Lucy (which I talked about here), Edge of Tomorrow (which I thought was surprisingly good but neglected to mention at the time) and now Guardians of the Galaxy which we watched in 2D. I have to say, I’m happy with my choices so far. Guardians is quite different to both Lucy and Edge of Tomorrow but I enjoyed it just as much. It’s fast paced and doesn’t take itself at all seriously. The 80s vibe worked really well for me and I was reminded of The Last Starfighter (although I … Read More

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Philip HarrisMovies, Reviews0 Comments

Every now and again, I read about a movie or see a trailer or even just a poster and something clicks and I’m suddenly completely confident I’m going to enjoy that film. Moonrise Kingdom was one of those and so was The Perks of Being a Wallflower, the Stephen Chbosky film based on his novel of the same name. We finally watched it Saturday night and I was not disappointed. Perks is a classic coming of age story, the modern equivalent of those John Hughes movies from the 80s, and I’m a sucker for films about misfits trying to find their place in the world. This one has some dark corners to it as well which only served to make me like it even more. And it has a fantastic soundtrack. We’re not watching a lot of films at the moment so arguably there isn’t a lot of competition but The Perks of Being a Wallflower is the best film we’ve seen this year. A great script, great characters and great acting. My only regret is waiting two years to watch it and if you haven’t seen it yet, it’s well worth a look. [The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 30th June … Read More