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Welcome - The International Writers Magazine - November Editorial 2009
writing from across the globe.

Nov 20th: Ten years of Hacks passes into digital history. So much of what has taken place in the last decade has vanished without trace - a vast canyon of dead URLS. Hackwriters survives to claim a dusty corner of the web of its own. We shall be the Steam Car of Wonders to generations of the 22nd Century. (If they still read anything.)

Actually I do wonder if anyone will read anything at all in 100 years. I used to think I could see the future and trends and understand what will happen. All I really know now is that so much will change that I will not like the future. Of that I am certain.

I made our students read a book called The Declaration this term, about a time when they discover a drug that will prolong life indefinitely. The only problem was what to do with the children. Who needs children if you can live forever. That's the nature of change I think, the unexpected side effects. Everyone lives too long in the West anyway. My Ma is still alive at 90 this Jan and showing absolutely no signs of kicking the bucket. The doctors give her copious amounts of drugs to keep her alive and she can just press the remote 300 times a day and say 'There's nothing on'. All I know is that I don't want that future.

I try to imagine what it will be like to be old in 2040-2050. What kind of world will that be? Probably the opposite of what we think. In 1910 it was the height of the Edwardian age in the UK, England ruled two-thirds of the globe, it was propserous, embracing the new technologies that electricy and the petrol engine was giving us and the only serious rival was Germany... look how that turned out.
In 2010 the UK is broke, Germany rules Europe, America lives in fear of social progress and the rise of militant Islam, climate change, population growth and a shift in political and economic power to China. You think this will all end peacefully? I don't really have to worry about getting old I think, that much I predict.
*Write your own prediction why don't you and I'll publish some extracts on Hacks at the years end.

There was a slight hicup with Hacks last week. The laptop finally died and I am wrestling with a new version of Dreamweaver that leaves huge gaps at the bottom of some pages which I haven't quite work out how to fix yet. I had to buy a new computer, new software and lost tons of stuff. So much is lost because digital software is so fragile and things break down. I lost three chapters of my new book on Saturday when the wind blew so hard, the power went out just as I hit save. In addition I lost everything that is on the laptop. Of course I have backed up but not everything, I am sure. Mea Culpa, but darn it, we live in an age when almost everything we do can be snuffed out and lost forever. We shall regret this one day when we try to remember what the last ten or fifteen digital years was like.

Two weeks ago we remembered the fallen of the 1st World War. Especially today 11.11. It's absurd to think how many died for so little gain. Then again in WW2 another 50 million worldwide died in the conflict and now, in increasing numbers American, British and Canadian soliders are dying in Afghanistan (and on American soil) and few can say what for. They try to claim it is to protect us at home, but does this wash? Surely the answer is that if we want to be protected from extremism and terror at home, then we must address the problems at home and confront the issues here. I don't pretend to be a military expert but history teaches us that time after time we abandon Afghanistan as a lost cause, sooner or later.
Let it be sooner.

I was discussing 'ethical' travel with my students this week. We decided we couldn't afford it. Sad isn't it. They have debts, few have prospect of immediate employment and don't feel that going by ship or train to Europe is affordable. Yet they should be able to afford it. There is clearly something wrong with the economics of air travel that it is so cheap to fly, despite all the taxes heaped on it. If we are serious about climate change then air travel - a serious polluter - should be much more expensive, especially for short journeys. I no longer will use Ryanair - simply because it is such a pain to fly with them and because the airport experience is so horrendous. Train is good, but not cheap and it is annoying that you have to change stations in Paris to go onward. I wonder that there should be a way of going south without going to Paris. (Yes I know Lille is there but try buying that ticket). The Ferry is slow but on the other hand, is surely part of the journey and in summer a very pleasant part. I think we forget that the journey is often the more interesting part of a 'vacation' and I am trying to encourage my students to reconsider and go green.

I'd like to thank Will Atkins from Macmillan New Writing for coming down to speak to our students. They enjoyed it and got a great deal out of it. I hope they will submit work to him in the near future.
It is especially good when publishers share their time with new writers. It is of course in their interest to meet them because new writers have to come from somewhere. Why not here? Gill Haigh reviews one of Macmillan's latest titles in Hacks this week : Acts of Violence
This coming week we have Myriad Editions coming, new fiction publishers from Brighton.

I hope your 'fall' is a good one and let's hope that we get a turnaround in the economy soon - or else we will all be looking for jobs in China.

Read this months Hackwriters. It's quite a bumper issue with contributions from all over the world.

Sam North November 20th 2009

You probably need cheering up, especially as headlines now say that by 250,000 people in the UK have Swine Flu and two billion will have it by next year in the world. Ok, only 6000 or so have died from it so far worldwide, but what if it gets worse? In the Ukraine right now they are going crazy with fear over this threat, but this again may well be Government manipulation to distract them from a lack of jobs, and money to pay for Russian gas this year. I have said before but say again, download my book Another Place to Die if you want to be ready for when the flu pandemic goes critical and mutates. They have announced that this variant of Swine Flu is resistant to Tamiflu, who is to say this vaccine they are now giving us will work on the next variant? Latest figures from the World Health Organization show the virus has now spread to more than 199 countries. There is plenty of milage in this virus yet. For most it is mild, for some it is a very painful assault on the respiritory system indeed and hospital beds are getting blocked with very sick patients.
*Many thanks to those hwo have ordered my book recently. It is selling well now. Spread the word but wash your hands after!

If you want to help Hackwriters keep going, buy my children's novel Mean Tide. A young adult ghost story set in Greenwhich, London.
All profits go into the magazine.
Mean Tide by Sam North
'Extraordinary novel about a child's psychic awakening'

Lulu Press - ISBN: 978-1-4092-0354-4
Review: 'An engaging, unusual and completely engrossing read'
- Beverly Birch author of 'Rift'

Sent 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.
Age range 12-16 and adult

The Curse of the Nibelung - A Sherlock Holmes Mystery
by Sam North

ISBN: 13: 978-1-4116-3748-1
ISBN 1-4116-3748-8
302 pages - Lulu Press USA

'Chocolate will never be the same again' - Sunday Express
Buy from your favourite on-line retailer

Amazon UK
Amazon USA
Barnes and Noble
& Waterstones
Book also available from The Nineveh Gallery, 11 The Pallant Havant, PO9 1BE. UK

Diamonds - The Rush of '72
By Sam North
ISBN: 13: 978-1-4116-1088-0
ISBN: 1-4116-1088-1

Buy now from
'a terrific piece of storytelling' Historical Novel Society Review

Also printed in the UK and available from
& Waterstones

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