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Welcome to this December edition of Hackwriters. Read us and the amazing archives too. 16 years on-line, 7657 articles - reviews - stories - travel - share any feature you like and pass them on using the share link.

From the Editors: DECEMBER

Happy Holidays. Hope you can take the strain of all that good cheer and booze and remember those who are working over Christmas. Say thanks to them and make them feel appreciated.

OK. I have seen 'The Interview' movie trailer and finally I can see what the fuss is all about. Aesthetics and Seth Rogen do not go well together and since the movie shows the Glorious Leader of North Korea in a good light it does does rather beg the question as to what all the fuss was about. If hackers really want to shut down Hollywood and Comedy in particular, attack Dumber and Dumber To on the grounds of bad taste at least. But for Sony to cave in over a rather weak comedy does not bode well for any serious exporation of any political film in the future. But kind of hoping that the 300 cinemas brave enough to show The Interview are full. Sadly any screeenwriters planning to write anything about Putin, or anything at all about China, they might as well get a job as a barrista now. It never happened, ok?

Another twelve months just whizzed by. Some 400 odd postings by writers from across the globe this year. We have reached our sixteenth year on-line, which makes us one of the oldest web creatures still going – (our antique design proof of it). We might stagger on a little longer.

Spare a thought this December for the army of carers stuck at home having to care for elderly parents or other relatives. There is an estimated six million of them in the UK stuck at home waiting for nurses or doctors that never come, to be endlessly going to the pharmacy to pick up more drugs, dressings or scented candles to mask the smells. Feeding and caring is relentless and gratitude is not one of the characteristics of the old. So if you know someone trapped in that situation, spare a moment from the many office parties and Christmas menus to pop by with a bottle of wine and some time to let them talk and be human for a glass or two.

*If you are a politician have the courage to introduce an Euthanasia bill, because with the baby boomers coming along in their millions needing billions of nappies and life prolonging drugs - someone will have to grasp this nettle before long. The Right To Die should be a huge political issue - one day it will be. Meanwhile think of that army of carers up to their eyes in soiled nappies longing for that happy day of release. We wonder how many carers drink themselves to death just to get out of the situation?
Here in the office we have being toying with the idea of buying a new iMac. The eight-year-old iMac works fine, in fact has never given a problem, but we can’t upgrade it at all. Makes little sense to me. All this built-in obsolescence is the exact opposite of what society should be doing.  Same with the car. The Fiat has done 80,000 miles. You should replace it, the garage insists, it will start costing you soon. Your duty is to consume they say.  But it’s a diesel; the engine could last 200,000 miles. What’s the point of making things that last and then preventing you from using it.  See  - we are definitely of a different time.

Wind-Tree On the point of things that last, on a clear day I can see many wind turbines across the estuary from my office window. But it turns out that it may be costing more to run them than the energy they produce, because on 'no wind' days you have to run ageing coal or oil plants to substitute. How was that allowed to happen? When Green Energy isn't the answer, what is the question? My neighbour who is involved in building a new power station in Brigg says that the likelihood of the UK electricity supply going down this winter is 70% or more. Worried? Got the candles stored? The camping stove organised?

John from Colchester alerted me to New-Wind, a French company developing tree sized turbines that will work in low breezes. Sounds like a winner to me. As tall as my house but should make me energy free when they come on the market next year. Perhaps every home should have one.
*More reliable than solar around here anyway.

Of course you might well be celebrating the fact that the oil price is about to go below $63 a barrel and thinking that this will make life easier with oil at $60 (or way less). But we're thinking a whole lot of people have borrowed billions against oil at $100 or more and are about to go bust, taking our banks down with them. Let's hope we're just a darn pessimists. However deflation is well underway in Europe and it could cause disruption all over the world as oil producing nations start to default and post-Christmas, people will hold back from spending, awaiting prices to fall for everything. It might make us all feel good for a while, but then again investment might collapse in oil exploration and other industries (as profits fall) and jobs will disappear worldwide. Spirals go down as well as up.

Tolerance is something that seems to have vanished from society in 2014. We live in a twitterish environment where everyone’s hatred can spew forth unchecked. When did we reach the point when everyone thinks their narrow bigoted point of view mattered – to the point of trolling anyone they don’t like, or whose opinions differ to theirs? I guess that’s the attraction of new right-wing parties in the US and in the UK. It panders to narrow minds and mean spirits, or those who want destruction of the status quo. (Just as Podemos appeals to the extreme left in Spain as detailed by James Skinner this month in Hacks). By chance I remarked to a friend that I really hope that Nigel Farage of Ukip would be revealed to be under the pay of Russia’s Putin, to prevent a Conservative victory in May next year.  Lo and behold, turns out Putin is paying Le Front National in France (or at least providing soft loans up to 30 Million Euros) because Marie Le Pen worships Putin and thinks him annexing Ukraine and the Crimea is a good thing, not to mention his plans for taking back Latvia and stripping gays of all human rights.  By chance Ukip is a big fan of Putin too and so expect some revelations about that soon. 

What is it about people who are so impressed by dictators who use force and terror to get what they want?  Ask yourself why so many educated young people are attracted to Islamic State or Boko Haram, whose main weapon is beheadings, rape and hatred of other Muslims (as well as all other religions).  Why would anyone be attracted to such cruelty, to volunteer to dig mass graves and kill innocent people across the Middle-East or Africa. It is worrying too that Turkey is resolutely drifiting towards IS - as they are hoping that IS will destroy the Kurds for them. It is also a worrying time for the women of Turkey as their President downgrades their status in Turkish society to be more in tune with those in Iran.

The future is uncertain and so of course is Hackwriters. We remain a well–kept secret to most people and resolutely don’t interact. Clearly we will be left behind, largely irrelevant as ever – gathering dust in a lost corner of cyberspace.  At some point Sam North's heart will give out and he and and the magazine, will keel over – most likely in the next year. Hawksmoor quite likes that idea really. We shall be the digital magazine in the attic, lift the lid and it shall be a cache of surprises, like discovering your Granddad was a rocket scientist and never breathed a word.  As long as we pay the premium it will be archived.  And if we don’t, well – dust unto digital dust.

We have forwarded six of our best features this year to the Pushcart Prize, a journal of the best of the independent presses. Worth buying their annual compendium by the by. Good to know several of our writers have gained some recognition this year and or started new writing projects.

It is December, we send our greetings and best wishes to all our readers and writers and hope you will find it in your heart to buy one of our books to give as a gift. (Yep this is how we support the magazine).  Whether our new one – the all new edition of the pandemic novel ‘Another Place to Die’ or ‘Magenta’ – a runaway teen discovers a gruesome kidnap plot. Or The Repercussions of Tomas D - set in the present day and the Blitz - it shows just how easily WW2 could have gone the other way with horrifying results. All make good reading gifts for the season for yourself or someone you don’t like very much (only joking).

Happy Holidays – have fun - drive safe.
© Sam North and Sam Hawksmoor December 2014

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'Life begins somewhere between the fish and the stars’
A mysterious, tragic tale from the wilds of the Lincolnshire coast – a haunting story about a girl who fled the fire into a whole world of trouble. A story about father and daughter and the girl who can read objects...

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Now read the final thrilling conclusion to the series 'The Heaviness' suitable for any reader who likes to think about such things as betrayal, revenge, relationships and the laws of gravity

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The Repercussions of Tomas D
A Hero? Or Englands Greatest Traitor? USA Paperback here

'Disturbing and very poignant YA novel that presents a chilling alternate future for an England that lost the war.'
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