Welcome to this January/ February 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.
PS we are mainly in archive mode now with sporadic updates.
EDITORIAL: Happy New Year of the Rat
We all love 'When Harry Met Sally'. Turns out the sequel 'When Harry Met Meghan' is a bit of a problem. Needs a re-edit and laugh track most likely. The mean spirited among us are taking bets on a divorce about 18 months from now, and that includes her ex and her own family. Lawyers line up here I guess. Personally I hope they get their wish and completely disappear from the headlines. Wonder what the odds are on that?
Meanwhile here in the UK we're about to depart the EU and sail on a whim and a prayer, just like Jack Sparrow in hopes that something will turn up and our compass really does point to whatever you desire the most. Since the ‘Year of the Rat’ seems to about getting and spending - let us hope that the stars align for a prosperous future as the chlorinated chicken mounts up and we're exposed to the extreme capriciousness on The Donald in trade talks.
We’re headed for non-alignment with European standards in everything. Cars, planes, food and medicines. Just in case you think this might be a good thing, it will mean the further we deviate from European safety laws in manufacturing, the less likely we will be able to sell anything to Europe. (Our main customer). Did you vote this? Didn’t think so. So when you get laid off – do remember this about ‘progress’ and not personal.
This doesn’t mean that every rule and regulation is perfect or necessary. But I’d quite like the brakes in my car for example to be every bit as good as the brakes in a European car. So I’ll hang on to my Citroen until we’re forced out of them and into a G-Wiz Mk2.
Oh, and I’ll only fly in an Airbus, rather than a Boeing, now we know how indifferent Boeing is to air safety. You might want to check what plane you’re on next time you’re flying anywhere yourself. Just to be safe.
This being the start of the Year of the (Metal) Rat, which is supposed to be about prosperity – leaving Europe on the 31st is perhaps taking quite a chance with our nations future. On the other hand, at least it’s a positive year in the Chinese calendar, so here’s crossing fingers it turns out ok. Seems it’s also the kind of year wars break out and more weather extremes happen. So time to refurbish that bomb shelter in the garden.
I’m still adapting Girl with Cat (Blue) and planning episode 6 at the moment. The further you go into a story the harder it gets. Let’s hope I can find people to interest in the project. Naturally being a writer my brain immediately can think of something easier to do and a new story has popped into my head. I have taken the precaution of writing it up in case I forget. I find that it is pretty essential to do that or like dreams, those ‘brilliant’ ideas vanish into thin air.
Anyway I’m off to see a script consultant in London, then Kit’s birthday in Bath. A few days away from adapting a book can’t hurt. Perspective is everything.
By now you will have read a lot of predictions about the future. I'm guessing a great many will be wrong. There is only one certainty and that's Death and Taxes. (Although that memo about tax never reached the White House apparently.) The year starts with Trump, as ever, and Iran. Gold and Oil prices are up. One General dead by the USA and 176 Jet passengers murdered by Iran. Although it may not seem it when you see hundreds of thousands chanting 'Death to America' in Tehran - there are also hundreds of thousands intelligent reasonable people in Iran who woud love to live a normal life without being under the tyranny of the Republican Guard and the Mullahs. One day I hope they get that chance. There is so much wonderful history in Iran that the outside world never sees.
We have no idea what the next decade will look like. Remember nobody expects the unexpected and I suspect there will be a lot of that going on. Greta Thunberg is still very young and her influence on how we think about climate and the environment will only increase. (Or she will wait until she graduates school). Nanotech will ‘infect’ everything that might provide great medical breakthroughs but inevitably increase the world population, which is already going to rise by two billion by 2040. Meat will be the great casualty - say goodbye to Cows and Sheep as technology gives us planet friendly meat substitutes that are better than the real thing. But heed the warnings of writer Paulo Bacigalupi (Wind-Up Girl/ Shipbreaker) of how we deal with ever-rising water levels, the need for clean energy and post-industrialisation, nutrition-free food and the rise of AI all at once. We are only at the beginning of realisation that Antarctica is melting faster than predicted. Visit Florida before it’s gone and takes any occupants of Mar-A Largo with it. Today's Times (14.1.20) questions this goal to electrify all our vehicles in the UK. To replace the petrol and diesel in use every day would require at a minimum 10 brand new nuclear power stations by 2030. Just building one (Hinkley Point by EDF) will take 12 years and not a one of this design has actually worked yet. You do the math.
Although Trump has done his level best to destroy faith in science and nature in the USA - it lives on elsewhere in the world. Kids born in 2000 are only now beginning to think of ways to make the word better and fairer - their impact will be felt ever more keenly as the decade progresses. You might not like all of their decisions. More on this I suspect later.
It’s exactly 21 years since Hackwriters was born January 1999 (it’s first year as Bloc) back in Cornwall with a select group of young post-graduate writers and 20 years since we became Hackwriters (because IT staff at Falmouth wiped the server the day after Bloc won ‘student website of the year’ from the Guardian). But lesson learned, we moved on and we became a space for emerging writers to build an on-line portfolio. To say things have changed much since 2000 is to rather understate things. Everything has changed, including the way we think, eat, communicate and shop and vote. The Web went from ‘Do No Harm’ to on-line hate swarming and a place for scammers, abuse, and the Far-Right to re-energise as well as Caliphates to form and propagate extreme violence. All this has been commentated on during our journey and some of the early writers stuck with us through thick and thin. James Campion taking the measure of America week-by-week and documenting all the times Trump is 'Making American Hate Again'. James Skinner continued charting the volatile politics of Spain and many fiction writers such as Abigail George have gone on to write books and make their own niche on-line. Others such as Martin Green. just turned 90 in San Francisco documents what it is like to grow ever older.
All this is archived and with luck will remain so, all 7,700 articles.
With luck we shall continue putting up the monthly 'Welcome' page till the Mac or I keel over.
May 2020 be less interesting that I think it will be.
© Sam Hawksmoor February 2020
*Keeping Hackwriters archived is supported by sales of our books - so do buy, print or kindle, we aren't picky.
Read Girl with Cat (Blue) - 'funny, scary and full of surprises - a must read' LD
Magenta - A chilling story of kidnapping, burning and strangeness set in the wilds of Lincolnshire
The Sam North Novels - still available to order on Lulu or Amazon
** The Heaviness, also recommended & The Repercussions of Tomas D
-'best time travel WW2 story in a long while'
||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 - 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- 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
The new edition of 'ANOTHER PLACE TO DIE: ENDTIME CHRONICLES
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
||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
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