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Welcome to this AUTUMN edition of Hackwriters and hope you'll stay to look around. Read us and review the amazing archives too. 14 years on-line and 7413 articles - reviews - stories - destinations. Find something you like - share it on Twitter or Facebook or Linked In or.... *New Editorial due when I get over jetlag


The Repossession & The Hunting by Sam Hawksmoor released across Canada Flag
Smart, dark and graceful, this story is sure to send chills down your spine…’ Evie Seo

Saoirse How It Ends:
Caught ‘How I live Now’ Directed by Kevin Macdonald from a Meg Rosoff novel of the same name.  It stars the wonderfully enigmatic Saoirse Roman as the brittle teen from the States forced to go visit her wild and eccentric cousins in the UK countryside, just as terrorists explode a nuclear bomb in London killing hundreds of thousands…

The film is good, a tad under budgeted, but that adds to its charm as a survival story and the blossoming of a first love against all odds.  It’s hard working with children and dogs they say, but this is an accomplished outing.

But this isn’t why I am writing this.  I too write bleak stories of survival in a post-affluent world and read plenty on the subject.  Hunger Games is the obvious one, but add Divergent, Blood Red Road, Ship Breaker, Things We Didn’t See Coming, The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Droughtlanders, Uglies, Delirium  - all reviewed here on Hacks at one time or another and there’s many more.  We are endlessly fascinated by dystopian visions. Add The Road, Mad Max, Twelve Monkeys…  every twist in the world that ends up with the power down and the bullets flying or mass oblivion.

But survival probably belongs to the dreamworld.  In dreams you can be brave, find that magic source of clean water or a cache of edible food and enough bullets to defend it.  In your dreams you already know how to handle an AK 47 or Mac10.

In your dreams you never twist your ankle or break your leg or urgently needs drugs to survive.  In reality most of us would die off pretty darn quickly  - even without a nuclear bomb going off.

I was thinking this as I got home from the movies and there was Jeff Randall on Sky going on about how all the lights are going to go off in 2017 when the UK runs out of electricity.  Of course we could ask EDF or others to invest in new power stations or nuclear plants now, but sadly with the possible incoming socialist Milliband government of 2015 taking over and threatening to nationalise power and land and ‘look at everything else’ comrade. No one is going to invest a dime in the UK until the election is over and never if Milliband wins. 

So you see, you don’t need a nuclear strike to blow up London and turn off all the lights, merely a Marxist influenced politician with huge media coverage that will doom the UK to chaos and rationing. Gosh just like the seventies when they were in power and trade unions ruled the roost. So boring that history repeats itself.

When plotting dystopias it’s too easy to think of a virus that kills everyone.  One: it never does, as a short study of history will tell (see the Black Plague for starters) and two: it’s the unexpected things that throw us off course and down a blind alley.

For years now Iran has been the bogeyman – will it blow up the Middle East?  Will it destroy all the oil?  My guess it that most rational Iranians can look at a map and realise that any regional conflict that involves nuclear will obliterate everyone from Syria to Turkey – Israel, Saudi Arabia and on down.  There couldn’t possibly be any winners – even if a sneak attack happens – retaliation would be total.  So then all the oil is off the menu, not to mention the liquid gas and it would cause such a refugee crisis it would overwhelm Europe entirely. 

Yet the military budget of the USA is almost entirely dependent on this particular scenario happening.  Funny isn’t it? Makes Homeland seem plausible...

When China finally overthrew the shackles of Mao  (although there are very bad signs the revolution is about to happen again) did we think that within just thirty years they’d become the world’s greatest economy and begin to threaten stability, not only in their own region but Africa and elsewhere?  But again – militarism isn’t the real threat.  Plain consumerism and power consumption by 1.5 billion people is eating the world.  You can’t deny it is their right to live as well or better than anyone else, after all they went through after 1949 onwards, but equally your competing for food supplies and energy resources with China everyday, whether you know it or not, and they are winning!  By rights we should be seeing a lot of dystopian fiction coming out of China signalling the societal changes and stresses, but imagination is censored on a vast scale and getting worse.  Ask artists, satirists, and writers… if you can get past the guards.

Dystopian fiction thrives because we all secretly know we are living on the edge day to day.  Turn off the power and food rots in three days.  Turn off the power and social media and everything associated with communications dies with it. Turn off the power and nothing gets distributed.  Millions live because their meds permit it.  No meds, no life.  It’s a precarious life this modern world.  People used to die of old age at sixty.  Not anymore.  Life extension is a goal of modern science, but no one seems to have given much thought to ‘quality of living’.  There are millions in every Western country just sitting in a chair or lying in a bed day after day for YEARS on end bored out of their minds. (Yes I have one right here in this house - although she ignores all the wonderful Euthanesia holiday brochures on offer in Belgium and Switzerland).

Life extension is pointless unless you stop ageing.  There’s a book for that too  ‘The Declaration’ by Gemma Malley where when they finally find the pill to stop ageing - kids instantly become redundant...

There’s a billion combinations of things that can bring us to our knees.  Tiny little things. Microbes for example as the current antibiotics reach their end of life usefulness.  Quality of water, food, the disposal of waste as we hurtle towards 10 Billion souls.  Dystopian writers think ‘where can I go to be safe?’  But is anywhere safe during the apocalypse?  And what use is surviving to scavenge for twenty odd years if you are lucky.  Yes, Yes, you say the duty of mankind is to survive and the fittest will do just that.   But that’s the fantasy isn’t it.  Most of us aren't Bear Grylls. The conceit is that you will survive the plague, nuclear fallout, war, Milliband…  I’m pretty sure I want to go out with a big bang not a whimper.

I’m just sowing seeds of doubt… reap the whirlwind my friends...

Sam Hawksmoor New Editorial Nov 4th

*And now for a very positive view and thinkpiece about the future and how the internet is changing everything read Peter Day's article at the BBC

The Repossession

The Repossession by Sam Hawksmoor.
View the Trailer here - a fast paced edgy romantic thriller
'The Repossession... will blow your mind and keep you guessing until the very end'.
A Dream of Books (SJH)
'Smart, dark and graceful, this story is sure to send chills down your spine...one of the best, and most fascinating, debut novels I've ever read'. Evie-bookish.blogspot

Out Now - The Hunting - the thrilling sequel - order yours from Amazon, Waterstones or Chapters or you indie bookshop
'Without a doubt, one of the best YA Sci Fi series out there.' Evie Seo Bookish
See Sam's previous guest editorial here about THE HUNTING: Hawksmoor

If you're looking for an exciting YA book set in WW2 - Kindle download 'The Repercussions of Tomas D' or buy the paperback - All proceeds go to keeping Hackwriters going - (e-book only in Canada it seems)
The Repercussions of Tomas D
A Hero? Or Englands Greatest Traitor? USA Paperback here

Sam North- joint editor of Hackwriters is the author of
Diamonds – The Rush of 72 (Print & ebook))
The Great Californian Diamond Rush of 1872 - a grand American West true life story that made many rich and ruined the lives of almost everyone it touched.
ipad (iTunes version) *e-book now only £1.99

Buy these books - they go towards keeping Hackwriters going.

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