Tell Fonterra: No New Coal

Many people know that Fonterra, and the expansion of the New Zealand dairy industry, have led to massive environmental problems, not least the degradation of water quality and a big increase in agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.

But what’s less well known is that Fonterra burns coal to dry milk powder. Their use of coal has expanded 38% since 2008 and they are planning a further major expansion.

So, in partnership with Action Station, Coal Action Network Aotearoa has launched a campaign calling on Fonterra to commit to building no new coal boilers, and then to progressively phase out existing coal boilers. Please add your voice to the campaign by signing this open letter.

I support this campaign. The hypocrisy of Fonterra trading on New Zealand’s “clean and green” image, while using the world’s dirtiest fuel to power their operations, leaves a bad taste in my mouth – and it’s really bad news for the climate. Next time you drink some Fonterra milk, mentally add the taste of coal dust.

Crime Pays!

Tuesday Poet P. S. Cottier, with whom I co-edited The Stars Like Sand: Australian Speculative Poetry, has been having a very good year with poetry competition entries.

Her poem “Route 9” took third place in the Australian Catholic University Prize for Poetry, and now she has won first place in the New England Thunderbolt Prize for Crime Writing, judged by Les Murray, for her poem Criminals who are no longer criminals. To which I say: many congratulations!

One of the things I like most about Penelope’s writing is the original and unusual slants and angles her poems take, and “Criminals who are no longer criminals” is a very good example of that. There’s also a very interesting interview with Penelope about her poem which has excellent insights into the way she thinks about poetry.

And if all that has whetted your appetite for The Stars Like Sand, check it out at the publisher’s site and on Amazon.

Capricious Issue 1 Is Here

I am really happy to see the launch of Capricious, a new, New Zealand-based science fiction magazine. I’ve just subscribed for two years and am looking forward to reading Issue 1. Find out why you should subscribe below!

Issue 1 of Capricious, a new speculative fiction magazine edited by SpecFicNZ member A.C. Buchanan is now available for free download. The issue includes fiction by A.J. Fitzwater and Sean Monaghan, who are both New Zealand based, alongside work by Sabrina Amaya Hoke and Bogi Takács.

This issue takes you through fairy tales and to other worlds in none of the ways you’d expect. The authors challenge and interrogate genre boundaries, exploring themes of consent, communication, and obligation. Their work is filled with the senses of exploration, danger, and ultimate success that characterise so much of the best speculative fiction.

If you like what you see, and want to support a local publication, please consider subscribing. Subscriptions start at just US$8 for a year (4 issues). If you’re unable to subscribe, don’t worry – all stories and articles from future issues will be archived and freely available on the website from three months after publication.

Reviewing stories, recommending Capricious to friends, and submitting your work are other ways of supporting the publication which are much appreciated.