Philip HarrisBooks, Chatter, MoviesLeave a Comment

We’re well into the second week of November, it’s a dreary day here in Vancouver, and I’m supposed to be getting ready for a trip to Sweden so now seems like a perfect time to post a quick October update.

The big writing news was the release of Serial Killer Z (finally). I was about to write a long piece about the launch strategy for the series, but then I realised this is supposed to be short so I’ll save that for another day. I’ll just say that I went with a soft-ish launch (a limp launch?) for the first book. I told my newsletter subscribers over the course of a few days, and posted here on the blog and social media, experimented with some ads, but that was it. No big promos, no concerted marketing. That will come later, when book three is released in a couple of weeks. But even without any real marketing the book has been doing pretty well. People seem to like it and it’s already at the number four slot in my personal sales chart. That bodes well for the future.

The launch took up a good chunk of my free time in October, but there was still writing. I hit day 1,585 of my writing streak and wrote 24,576 words. Pretty much all of that was on my new Urban Fantasy series and it’s been really fun creating a new world and a new cast of characters. Stylistically, this one is about half way between Serial Killer Z and Glitch Mitchell and the Unseen Planet. There’s serious supernatural shenanigans and magic, but it’s got the same geeky sense of humour as Unseen Planet which makes it a lot of fun to write.

No idea on release dates for this one yet, especially as I’d planned it to be a prequel novella but it’s already broken into novel territory and there’s a good chunk of the plot to go. That means I’ll need to write the prequel and a different second before I start releasing them.

It was a quiet month for books, mostly because I was wrapping up Clive Barker’s Coldheart Canyon and it took me a while. It was actually a re-read which is rare for me, but Coldheart Canyon is one of my favourite Barker books. It stood up pretty well even though it’s been a long time since I originally read it. The chapter with the dog at the beginning still makes the world all shimmery.

Coldheart Canyon is a fairly long book, so once it was done, I wanted something shorter. Kealan Patrick Burke’s Sour Candy fit the bill perfectly. I’d heard his writing was good, and listened to an excellent interview with him on Story Studio so I dug out my copy (read: searched for it on my Kindle) and dived in. I wasn’t disappointed. Sour Candy is a very well written, very creepy book and scratched my short horror itch very nicely.

My movie watching time has been limited this year, but I did pretty well in October. The big one was Blade Runner 2049. My wife and I had tickets for the first Saturday showing, so we spent Friday night rewatching the original. We went for the “Final Cut” and it was excellent as ever. One thing that did stick out though, was the “seduction” scene between Deckard and Rachel. It may have seemed fine back in 1982 but times have changed and in 2017 Deckard just comes across as abusive. Maybe I’m missing something and should be giving Ridley Scott more credit. It doesn’t really change my feelings about the film, but it does highlight how attitudes have changed, including mine. Perhaps there’s time for a “Really Final Cut” with some tweaks to that scene (and no, I’m not serious about that. We don’t need more versions of Blade Runner).

As for the sequel, it’s long, I was tired, and it doesn’t need to be in 3D but I really enjoyed it. I suspect that I’ll rewatch it in the near future, maybe even on the big screen. Like Mad Max: Fury Road, it felt true to the original without simply rehashing the same ideas, and it’s another good example of how to remake a film the right way. Of course, also true to the original, it hasn’t done very well in the box office. I’m not sure that’s a surprise, it’s not an action packed popcorn movie. Most of the fans of the original that I know enjoyed it though.

Next up was another sequel – Trainspotting 2. Again, we watched the original first, and again I enjoyed the sequel although in a lot of ways it was quite a different film. The first is a very bleak look at drugs and addiction. The second film felt much more like a straightforward drama and wasn’t as hard hitting. Still good though.

Finally, we watch Colossal starring Anne Hathaway. I grabbed this as a 99c rental on iTunes and it was not at all what I was expecting. In a good way. I won’t go into any details because I don’t want to spoil anything, but if you like quirky independent films then give it a try.


Well, that was longer than I planned and I need to go and pack. See you next time.


[Octoberish by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 11th November 2017]

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