Welcome - The International Writers Magazine
- November 2008
writing from across the globe.
to the NOVEMBER Edition of Hackwriters.
The arc of history has spoken. We can all feel a little happier and
safer now. It's a good moment in world history.
thoughts now are really about the post-election period.
Of course we have that odd transition period, the two excruciating
months when Obama chooses his team and Bush still runs the show
(if he ever did) and so much more could go wrong. I dont envy
Barack Obama. The process must be totally exhausting. The expectations
huge but here's a man who knows how to build a good team around
him and with a majority in Congress and the Senate - he can get
Better yet, as we
saw in Germany in July, the world has been impatiently waiting for him
to bring a healing effect to it. You knew then when 200,000 people came
to see him in Berlin and give a stirring lucid speech that this was
going to be something special.
It has been all about winning for so long, from 2006 onwards Obama has
thought of nothing else but Change and winning and here
we are. But the USA of 2006 was almost a completely different country,
seemingly prosperous, with house values almost 70% higher than they
are now and employment at a ten year high and all the banks were rich
and busy making loans
Starting work in January hell be running Depression America, the
Republican's gift to him. It is a poisoned chalice and there is still
time for more things to go wrong, but on Nov 3d when the stock market
rose on anticipation of a Obama victory, we know that with hope, a hell
of a lot can be accomplished. It will be hard to be patient till January.
GM has been refused
loans this week, sales are 45% down; Chrysler may have even given up
by then (it is cash rich but orders poor). The oil price will still
be low as demand falls, but they may not be of any comfort to an administration
wondering how to stimulate an economy that is dead in the water. Not
just the American economy either, but the European one too and Australia,
all of Africa (which is also dependent on selling raw materials). We
look to China and the oil-rich Arab states but theres only so
many Cadillacs and Bentleys they can absorb.
China has many huge infrastructure and quality control problems that
will be exposed in a big way by a worldwide downturn. They may well
be building one new coal fired power station a week but no one can breath
the air and long term health problems will manifest themselves over
time. The purity of their food is a huge problem, it has now discovered
that melamine is routinely added to animal feed and essentially the
Chinese have been eating plastic for years now
They may have trillions
of US dollars but they dont know how to lead and if they did would
be like it or follow? The US remains the worlds policeman.
WIll Russia calm down. It does not look like it, even today on the day
of his election they have placed an anti-missle system on Poland's border
to counter American missiles planted there. What will Obama do? What
can he do but just try and bring calm back to the world.
Obama faces a world in crisis and none of it his making. How he deals
with home-grown poverty, ambitious trouble making countries like Iran
and others will be the measure of him. Luckily, unlike the previous
incumbent, he has a brain.
One thing he can do is scale down the Iraq war at a much faster pace
and not, please god, get bogged down in Afghanistan. Theres nothing
there but trouble and youd have to seal the border with Pakistan
to stop it and theres no amount of money or manpower to do that.
Walk away and save America first. That should be his motto.
Getting the US economy on its feet is his BIG priority, everything else
is a luxury.
Sure he needs to change the tax system. Your average Joe on the assembly
line at Ford probably pays more tax that Cindy McCain and that cant
be fair or sensible.
In the UK everyone pays 40% tax on anything over $70,000 per annum.
It hurts. But we get free medical and schooling for that. Obama is only
proposing that people who earn $200,000 per year should pay a higher
tax and just how many middle-class hard-working Americans actually make
that after all their deductions? If they do, the very least they could
do is contribute to a better and fairer country. Lawyers, bankers, brokers,
hedge-fund schemers, foreclosure specialists
they can afford
to pay more. You really think is disincentivises them to pay a fair
rate of tax on income? People who want to get rich will always get rich.
Its something they have to do. However, in the end it is better
to live in a place where all are uplifted than just a few with gunsbehind
Of course GM, Ford and Chrysler could have been better run and be actually
making vehicles that people want to drive. They clearly dont teach
history to the management or else they would have remembered the last
time oil spiked and Japanese cars took a grip on the US car market.
Now they have South Korea and China to worry about and the quality is
good too. In the UK ( according the the Nov 1st Daily Mail) Chrysler
have been offering two for the price of one things are so bad!
I am not sure what Obama can do about the arrogance that certain CEOs
have from bankers to auto-makers or whatever, but certainly what America
needs is better forecasting. Its not just the climate changing,
but the demographics and there is a huge birth explosion from the incomers
that will need schools, jobs, and I hope that all those delayed big
infrastructure schemes that have been put on hold get started. New roads,
bridges, fast rail
fiber-optics, it all needs building fast and
there are people hungry for jobs so the costs should be contained.
Obama arrives at a moment of political opportunism. Trouble has already
flared Africa in the Congo and South Africa's political elite is splitting.
Middle East and elsewhere are calm today but Iran is still itching for
trouble. Its all as a kind of test and with the American economy
flat or broke and militarily stretched, you really wouldnt want
his job next year. Of course youd be glad it isnt McCain,
a lame duck who has already promised his job to Palin in 2012, whos
solution to all world problems would be to shoot or press the button,
or hell, both.
So, we will be thankful Obama is there, calm, collected, willing to
consult and listen and not over react and youll be glad it isnt
you who has to deal with the steaming pile of garbage that Bush has
left on his doorstep. Just dont expect to enjoy 2009; its
going to be tough for all of us.
As for the
gets real interesting now. We have just about survived the most tumultuous
October since 1929 and as I write this, although we are at the cliff
edge in the world economy, we are not, as the media would have it, ready
I know this because the shopping malls are full, the high streets
are choked with people buying and none of my students have actually
cut back on drinking. Today I went to Westfield Mall, West London
- the newest and biggest Mall in the UK, probably Europe and it
was packed. But I am not sure people were buying, just looking at
it and the amazing glass atrium roof and upscale shops. It's either
a triumph of hope or last gasp of the boom years but it is well
worth getting off at Shepherd Bush Tube and taking a look. Even
if from Texas, you will be impressed.
November edition of Hackwriters is here. Explore new fiction from our
new Masters students and reviews from our undergrads as well as travel,
fiction, lifestyle features from writers right across the globe. It's
already a great issue and there's more to come.
*We have a guest writer this month coming to visit, Patrick Ness the
author of the brilliant Knife
of Never Letting Go. If you haven't read it, you are missing one
of the best books of the year. Order it now. **The visit was great,
we learned a great deal and can't wait to read the next one inthe series
out in May.
Sam North - Editor November 4th 2008 -
want to help us keep going, buy my new book Mean
Tide. A young adult ghost
story set in Greenwhich, London.
Summer 2008 - Mean Tide by
'Extraordinary novel about a child's psychic
Lulu Press - ISBN: 978-1-4092-0354-4
Review: 'An engaging, unusual and
completely engrossing read'
- Beverly Birch author of 'Rift'
to live with his spooky Grandma by the river in Greenwich, Oliver
(12) discovers a whole world of disturbed people who are probably
even crazier than the ones he left behind. When he finds a dog with
its throat cut on the beach, everything changes.
range 12-16 and adult
Vol 2 A Literary Spark -
University of Portsmouth publication from the School of Creative
Arts, Film and Media- Buy
now - available from Lulu Press & Blackwells, Amazon
Borderlines Vol 2 - A literary Anthology of new fiction, travel
writing and poetry from the Creative Writing Programme and invited
writers at the University of Portsmouth, UK under the editorship
of Freya Scott, Ryan Sirmons, Aby Davis and Sam North
'An exciting insight into the amazing talent and diversity of
new writers out there today' Stuart
Olesker - Playwright
for Borderlines 09 now
are you worried about your health? Read my book 'Another
. If you have the slightest worry about how to survive the coming flu
pandemic, you need this book and all the proceeds go to keep Hackwriters
the review from Calvin
Diamonds - The Rush of '72
now from Amazon.com
terrific piece of storytelling' Historical Novel Society Review
Also printed in the UK and available from
at Hacks are self-supporting and if you want to support us, buy Sam's
books - All the funds from the sale of the books go back into the site.
If you live in New York they can be ordered at the Mysterious
Bookshop at 58 Warren Street. These titles are able to be ordered
who keep stock see below and can be ordered from Waterstones
all over the UK and Hatchards
in London and for less cost direct from Lulu.com
in the UK and USA
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