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Editorial: Math: It's a Numbers Game
Proposals to make kids in England study math until age 18 fills me with dread. One can sort of understand the reason for it. Education here is falling behind other countries. We need more coders, more scientists and engineers. All comparisons are now with China who is churning them out by the million.
But speaking as one who consistently struggled with math and science subjects and all the stigma that went with that – I would hate to see similar kids to myself consigned to the dustbin so early in life. My parents wrote me off as a failure by age ten. It did not matter I was good at English or history or geography; I was condemned to the scrap heap.
‘Look Dad I came top in history’.
'You can’t earn a living with history.’
Well, as usual parents know nothing. Avoiding math altogether (except at the racecourse where suddenly ‘odds’ mattered) I forged a career as an editor, writer, teacher and all because I used a tool no longer required in education – IMAGINATION.
Putting an emphasis on math or science or biology is necessary, but put creatives at a disadvantage (except polymaths of course). I go into school to talk about my books (in general science-fiction) and talk about the art of the possible. It’s all about imagination and they are currently starved of it (A pathetic literacy hour means nothing – they don’t even read whole books anymore). Kids want to believe impossible things. Without imagination you can’t see what’s possible. We imagineers might not know how to build a teleportal – but we can see what’s on the other side. Mathematicians can only see the impossibility of the whole project. *We creatives can however sympathise with Schrodinger's Cat somewhat more clearly than a mathematician I venture.
I fear for a generation starved of art, literature and enthusiastic (often eccentric) teachers. It’s all Professor Gradgrind now and no talking in the classroom. The joy of learning is fast disappearing in the process of 'education'. Math education often bears no relation to their lives. 'If you have 64 Oranges - how many cats can you fit into this triangle.'
History, not math, is the subject that should be taught up to 18 (and beyond). Especially economic history. The causations of war, famine, inflation, recessions, the consequences of conflict, the ramifications of peace (the carving up of territories without regard to religion or ethnicity that come back to haunt subsequent generations for example: See Syria…) Read Heyday by Ben Wilson to gain a brilliant perspective of the 19th Century.
In depth studies of key inventions allow history to come alive (cross borders with math and science on the way) and give us insights into modern living. At some point students will realise the pointlessness of separate subjects and they discover the amazing confluence of events, geography, economics, politics and climate change at key points in history.
I shall never be a child again held prisoner in a math class, but I feel for this generation of potential writers and artists trapped by numbers and staff that cannot teach them. As their will to live expires, so might their imagination wither and then we will truly be as dull as all those we compare ourselves to.
**We now stand ready for the Brexit campaign in the UK. Better take a look at the TTIP proposal that threatens jobs, the NHS, the environment and the purity of the food you will eat in future (forcing us to eat GM foods). This is a very worrying and very secretive agreement that would apply if we stay in the EU.
© Sam North - Joint Editor April 2016
*As ever Hackwriters is supported by sales of our books - so do buy, print or kindle we aren't picky.
**And thanks for those who do. The Heaviness, Another Place to Die: The Endtime Chronicles are recommended. The spy/romance Repercussions of Tomas D set in the Blitz has a small following now. Spread the word.
Also check out Marikka published by Hammer & Tong
|Sam Hawksmoor's The Reposession is now available in Turkish as TOZ (which means dust). Just published in hardback. We wish it good luck and hope YA readers there want more! Our best to the publishers Marti Yayincilik and the editor/cover designer Gamze Tuncel Demir who did a very nice job on Genie Magee.
(Available from Pandora Books Istanbul)
||MARIKKA- exclusively on Amazon Print and kindle 2
Based on a tragic real life event, Marikka flees from an arson attack on her home to the sea, where she meets Starfish boy – a runaway working for Jackson, a scarred man hiding a sinister secret from the world. Meanwhile her real father searches for her with the aide of Anya, ‘the girl who can read objects’. More about the writing of this book
‘Long after my tears dried, my heart stayed with Marikka, Starfish Boy and the strange girl who reads objects.’ CT
You will smile, you will gasp with shock, and you will struggle to read the words through your tears. Gemma Williams - Amazon.co.uk 2015
The all new 2nd Edition of 'ANOTHER PLACE TO DIE: ENDTIME CHRONICLES
By Sam Hawksmoor and Sam North (2015 version)
Could you live in a world where antibiotics no longer work?
Print & Kindle
Q&A interview with the authors here
A city gripped by fear as a lethal virus approaches from the East. No one knows how many are dying. People are petrified of being thrown into quarantine. Best friends Kira and Liz once parted are scared they will never see each other again. Teen lovers, Chris and Rachel, prepare to escape to the islands. Do you stay and hide, or do you flee?
Review from the First Edition:
'Beautiful, plausible, and sickeningly addictive, Another Place to Die will terrify you, thrill you, and make you petrified of anyone who comes near you...' Roxy Williams - Amazon.co.uk
||Spy/Romance thriller set during the Blitz in WW2 - Kindle download
All proceeds go to keeping Hackwriters going
The Repercussions of Tomas D
A Hero? Or Englands Greatest Traitor? USA Paperback here
'Disturbing and very poignant YA love story that presents a chilling alternate future for an England that lost the war.' Marcel d'Agneau
'A brilliant imagining of living in the Blitz, well researched.' Amazon UK
*download the Kindle version or buy the paperback from Hammer & Tong
|'The Heaviness' for any reader who likes to think about such things as betrayal, revenge, relationships and the laws of gravity.
An original Genie Magee story
The Heaviness published by Hammer and Tong
Genie & Renée have just 36 hours to save Rian or he dies
'Without a doubt, one of the best YA Sci Fi series out there.' Evie Seo Bookish
Kindle & print
Thanks to readers who have been buying this title this year. If you enjoyed it, please post a remark on Amazon or Goodreads. It all helps.
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