Welcome to this MAY 2020 edition of Hackwriters. 21 years on-line, 7700+ articles - reviews - stories - travel - share any feature you like and pass them on using the links.
*As of May 29th around 6,000,000 have been infected worldwide, with 363,000 deaths. Take comfort that over 2,593,000 have recovered. (Worldometers.info) ** Covid-19 is definitely slowing. May this trend continue.
MAY EDITORIAL: Scenarios for a new cold war
* Is there something brewing to bring a cold/hot war back into sharp focus?
Seven Days in May a novel by Fletcher Knebel tells the story of a plot to overthrow the US President because he supports a nuclear demilitarization treaty and they fear a Soviet sneak attack. It was later made into one of the best political/military thrillers in 1964, directed by John Frankenheimer with a screenplay by Rod Serling. (Later of 'Twilight Zone' fame.)
Why bring this up now, aside from it being May? I believe there are scenarios developing that could endanger the whole world. These might be as a result of those Covid nightmares that people talk about or just a natural pessimist's reasoning. August 2020 could be a very dangerous time for all of us.
Scenario 1: As Trump ramps up pressure on China to admit to responsibility for Covid-19 and destroying the world economy, they react with ever increasing shrill rhetoric. By August the death toll in the USA from the virus could be nearing the 200,000 mark thanks to the Republican States prematurely breaking lockdown under Trump’s encouragement. The virus is out of control and Trump needs a distraction from his glaring shortcomings. China can see that the US Navy is suffering from the virus, as is the US Army. They take the opportunity to test Trump's resolve and attack Taiwan. What will Trump do as a ‘war president’ to get re-elected? *This is corroborated by The New York Times article 'Can the Democrats Avoid Trump's China Trap' by Rachel Esplin Odell and Stephen Wertheim May 10th: "Going abroad in search of monsters to destroy won't save Americans from pandemics ... but it does risk entangling the United States in a cold war ...'
Meanwhile 'Chinese see chance to take Taiwan back' by Didi Tang in The Times 12.05 says that debates in China about siezing Tailwan has attracted 750 million views on Social Media. 'Reunification by Force' would be a very popular move. The first prong is to remove any freedoms from Hong Kong and abolish the One Nation Two Systems rule. The West will be powerless to do anything about it. This is ramping up right now 'we must prepare for war' is the current Chinese leadership mantra.
* Worth noting that in US War Gaming scenarios the US Navy has stated that it cannot win against China to defend Taiwan - their warships are all vulnerable to Chinese missiles. The Times 16.05.20
**It is also worth noting that China is escalating border tensions with India too at this time. War tempo is rising fast in Bejing.
Scenario 2: As the virus rages out of control in Russia and Putin’s popularity sink ever lower as people die in their thousands in primitive hospitals and are actually starving in the countryside, too sick to harvest – Putin must act by August. He has a choice. Seize Ukraine or Estonia. Easy pickings and he knows he has a puppet in the White House who cares little for NATO. A few native Russians might be encouraged to riot in either country and get killed and he will ride in to save the rest from oppression. He will be a hero again. Europe is reeling from the virus and virtually bankrupt – ditto USA. They might choose to do nothing or risk a war they cannot afford.
Scenario 3: Unemployment in the USA reaches 40 million by June 1st as the economy struggles to come back and the virus sweeps through in a second wave and people refuse to go into a second lockdown. Trump has to act or lose the November election, even if his Democratic rival is quite possibly dead of old age and no one has seen him 'live' since March. He needs a war. China is obvious, he’s been ramping up hatred for months but their armies and navies are healthy and well equipped and his aren’t. However North Korea is ready to test their new nuclear missiles and despite his ‘love’ for Kim the dictator, a pre-emptive strike would be popular with his base. What will China do in response? (Alt scenario is to attack Iran and get the price of oil up again for his friends in 'Big Oil'.)
** Trump’s endorsement of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine is obsessive, with some doctors pointing out that in many cases it causes heart damage and has been exposed as useless in the treatment of Covid-19. Trump is self-treating himself with this drug and await news of his imminent heart attack with keen interest.
*** James Skinner reports from Spain that there is a very negative atmsophere building there in response to the Lockdown extension to June 7th
§ Earlier thoughts.
How’s it going? Got your divorce lawyer on speed dial yet? Filled out any forms to have your kids put up for adoption? Is your dog worn out from too many walks from everyone desperate to get outside?
Everyone keeps saying everything will look different after the virus has gone. Well it’s quite possible democracy will be the major casualty as populist figures rise up to blame the politicians in charge right now – no matter that there was very little they could do about it. Sadly the current crop of populist leaders in the USA and Brazil for example take pride in making things worse for all. A little bleach will solve everything right? Some countries’ lockdowns, like India’s for example, were unnecessarily cruel and unplanned and did not allow people to stock up on food. The only positive is that the virus seems not to affect younger populations. This might be true or simply the fact the virus hasn't reached there yet. Time will tell.
I guess we must congratulate New Zealand for containing and beating the virus but how will they open up to tourism again without quarantining every soul who finds a way to get there? Hope will they survive without tourism? Will we be even be able to take any holidays this year? The risk of catching the virus on Ryanair or the ferry seem very high right now and for months ahead. Never mind getting adequate treatment once abroad. Travel will be the major casualty from all this. British Airways already wants to fire 12,000 staff. (Let’s hope it’s all the grumpy, snarky ones).
I wonder how many airlines will be in business post Covid–19 and what the fares will be and who will be able to afford them or tolerate 4 Hour check-ins and 14 day quarantine when you get to where you're going? I note in The Times 28/4 that they expect between 1000 to 2400 airliners will be repossessed in the next two/three months. Doesn’t augur well for Boeing or Airbus selling new planes, or Rolls Royce/G.E. jet engines. I note Warren Buffet has sold out of everything to do with airlines. No doubt we shall all shed tears for Richard Branson and Virgin. What no tears? Me either. Sorry. There will be so many familiar stores and venues that will have gone bust by the time lockdown ends; all we will have is Amazon. Empty Malls will become ghost towns for tomorrow’s kids to wonder at. Although I read they are opening up in the USA already. Lets all rush to GAP and the tatto parlours. You first.
I guess we shall be studying all those places that open up and go back to work and see if the virus expands again. I think it’s wise in the UK to wait and see. Meanwhile the first of my lettuces is ready to eat and the broccoli is showing signs of life too, as are the potatoes. Hope you planted something too.
I'll end this with remembering all those who had died and the brave souls who treated them at great risk to themselves. Spare a thought too for those who died at home, too scared to leave or struck down with a heart attack (one of the curious symptoms of the virus). If you didn’t appreciate your doctors, nurses, cleaners, and sundry service workers before this – I hope the hell you do now. And here's a shout out for Dentists. We all need them and soon and we need a scheme to see them safely even sooner!
© Sam Hawksmoor May 29th 2020
Meanwhile – do take time to read or download our Pandemic novel set in Canada and Mexico.
a quick taster here The Last Ferry
from ‘Another Place to Die: The Endtime Chronicles’. Print or Kindle.
Or try the classic plague novel whilst incarcerated on the sofa 'La Peste' by Albert Camus. They won’t cure you but might just help you survive and help pass the time.
Read Girl with Cat (Blue) - 'funny, scary and full of surprises - a must read' LD
*Keeping Hackwriters archived is supported by sales of our books - so do buy, print or kindle, we aren't picky.
Magenta - A chilling story of kidnapping, burning and strangeness set in the wilds of Lincolnshire
The Sam North Novels - still available to order Amazon * Sadly Lulu deleted all Sam's others this month
** The Heaviness, also recommended & The Repercussions of Tomas D -'best time travel WW2 story in a long while'
The new edition of 'ANOTHER PLACE TO DIE: ENDTIME CHRONICLES
By Sam Hawksmoor & Sam North
There's no place to hide from the pandemic
Print & Kindle
Q&A interview with the authors here
A city gripped by fear. 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. Can you get ahead of the virus?
Review from the First Edition:
'Beautiful, plausible, and sickeningly addictive, Another Place to Die: Endtime will terrify you, thrill you, and make you petrified of anyone who comes near you...'
Roxy West - Amazon.co.uk
||Girl with Cat (Blue) - Shortlisted for the Rubery Book Award
'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.'
26th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards. - Honorable Mention
|J&K 4Ever - A post-apocalypse love story
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.
'A genuine romance in a bleak but plausible and terrifying setting'.
||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
||Spy/Romance thriller set during the Blitz in WW2 - Kindle download
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
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