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Welcome to this February 2019 edition of Hackwriters. 20 years on-line, 7550+ articles - reviews - stories - travel - share any feature you like and pass them on using the links.
Once again celebrating Hello travel.com - Hackwriters Best Travel blog 2018

Editorial: The Future

I overheard someone in the coffeeshop the other day. It's the new independent one that probably won't last long but it's nice to see someone making an effort. This person was sighing heavily and she said, 'I don't believe in the future anymore'. I don't think she was expecting a reply and to be honest one glance at her swollen feet in shabby shoes and I wasn't convinced she had much of a future either, but then again my shoes are spattered with paint, so one shouldn't judge.

However it got me thinking. I've been frantically trying to rescue the house I bought and bring it back to life, but every day it gets just a little worse. All the ceilings have been torn down and are now replastered, the damp people have been and gone but you can see the pity in their eyes as they take the money. The electrician actually said 'What on earth made you buy this?'

And it's true I've been thinking about the future for months now and in particular about the fairly rapid drift towards despots and villains running the world as the liberal ideal goes into reverse. Whether it's Trump destroying anything of value, work, the environment, money, ethics or in the UK Brexit, which has morphed into something close to the whole nation being on 'suicide watch', whilst Europe drifts ever rightwards and people lose hard won political gains and human rights. And of course now Trump has his 'Emergency' anything could happen.

The future seems bleak whether you are young or old. The young may be aware that Ai is coming for their future jobs, the old can see that they are vulnerable to pensions being held to ransom or vanishing entirely. The middle-classes are only now waking up to to seeing Ai take over professional jobs, whether in law, medicine, economics or teaching. The GPT-2 system from Open Ai have developed a system that can churn out news stories given any headline offered to it. It has researched a dataset of ten million articles and if you were ever worried about 'fake news' this is the moment when all credibility could disappear. (They say they won't launch it, but how will we know??)

There will be nowhere to hide from future tech and 'Universal Benefit' isn't going to pay out the kind of money professionals are used to. Meanwhile the gap between rich and poor grows ever wider, evidenced by Ferrari raising their prices this week to make them less 'common'.

Right now I'm hiring an excellent 'handyman' called Andy to scrape hard to reach wallpaper on the ceilings and walls and do all the jobs I can no longer do and given his versitility I have an insight into who will survive in this new future. We all need to train to do stuff that Ai and robots can't do (yet). Being handy at everything is a sure fire way to make sure you can pay the rent. Being a plasterer, carpenter, plumber is a good bet. These people will be the new elite. Accountants will be replaced easily by technology, but saving your house from demolition requires someone with hands-on and a lot of common sense. So whereas I may not be able to see my future (As stated above, Ai is already publishing magazines and news and probably writing novels) or indeed the future of the unfortunate creature in the coffeeshop, nevertheless there will be a future and training to be practical and pragmatic is the best way forward. It may be way too late for me to be practical or pragmatic, but I'm becoming skilled in painting rooms and filling holes so I might just get by.

In the wider picture Brexit is now so toxic I don't think there is a soul left in the nation who doesn't have an alternate plan and sixty-five million plans an omlette does not make. I shall refrain from offering my own plan save I'm still hoping to emerge from the shower tomorrow and the referendum never happened, I still have a job and I never bought this house.

Feb 21st : I hope you all survived dry January. I'm sticking to my glass of red every day on Doctor's orders. Seems that people who've had heart attacks live on average seven years after them, but nine years if you drink a glass of red every day. One might also need another glass of red after realising, like me, that statistically I only have three years to go without the wine and five if I'm lucky with it. But to hell with statistics I say. Staying fit is of course the way to go to live forever, however having just listened to a talk on Global Warming and food security, living forever is not going to be an option. Seems that no one believes in the future so much anymore ...
Happy February. Next issue delayed as taking a short break to March 6th to have dental surgery March 1st.
© Sam Hawksmoor. 21.2.19

*As ever Hackwriters is supported by sales of our books - so do buy, print or kindle, we aren't picky.
The Sam North Novels - still available to order on Lulu or Amazon
** The Heaviness, Another Place to Die: Endtime Chronicles are recommended also read
The Repercussions of Tomas D
Rubery Girl with Cat (Blue) - Shortlisted for the Rubery Book Award 2018

'a funny, bloody, colorful narrative that never fails to surprise the reader. Girl with Cat (Blue) provides great entertainment'.
'This book was amazing! I was hooked from the first few pages and couldn't put the book down.'
Judge, 26th Annual Writer’s Digest Self Published Book Awards.
2018 - Honorable Mention
Blue Cat
J&K 4Ever - Love and Devotion in the Wastelands
Sixty years after the end of everything the city of Bluette survives, controlled by a malignant sect.  A place where men rule, girls receive no education and are matched at 16 to the highest bidder.  No one is ever permitted to leave the city and outside is a murderous wasteland of despair. Orphans Kruge and Jeyna have been devoted to each other through all the years of terror in this harsh regime and sworn never to be parted.  But the beautiful Jeyna has been betrayed by the Warden. Kruge has been swiftly banished to the Scraps, under the control of the Keeper. Jeyna is heartbroken; she will not accept her fate and escapes to find Kruge.  She is pursued by ruthless Enforcers on horseback, whose task it is to bring runaways back, dead or alive. 'A genuine romance in a bleak but plausible and terrifying setting'.
Marikka 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

By Sam Hawksmoor & Sam North
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 West - Amazon.co.uk

Another Place To Die

Repercussions 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
'This is Man in the High Castle for teens and scarily plausible with alternative facts '
*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

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. . * Also published as Rüya by Marti Yayincilik - The Turkish publishers of TOZ & Golge
The Heaviness of Genie Magee Ruya

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