February 26th, 2010

book

Reading Punktown - Shades of Grey

This is a collection of short stories from Jeff and Scott Thomas set in Jeff' SF world of Punktown, an Earth colony that has been described as "part Ambergris, part Arkham" (although perhaps more Veniss Underground) There are no obvious Lovecraftian allusions in these stories, as there have been in others, although some of the creatures in "The Unbearable Being of Light" might qualify.

On the whole I prefer Jeff's stories to Scott's, neither particularly holds back when describing the visceral nastiness of the dumping ground that is Paxton (aka Punktown), but Scott's seem more gratuitous sometimes.

That said, this is a quality anthology and a fine addition to the series. My favourite stories were the previously mentioned UBoL about things which float in from other dimensions and Perfectly Beastly about cops investigating an illegal animal dealer.
Tea-drinker par excellence

Palm Oil in everything

Panorama recently rang round to ask about the use of Palm Oil and it appears that there isn't anyone who isn't using it. Some justify the use saying they get sustainable palm oil as defined by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). The trouble is that most palm oil is all mixed together so it's impossible to define what's sustainable and what isn't, and moreover two of the members of the RSPO, two of the largest, have been engaged in illegal forest clearance in Indonesia.

Not only does this threaten habitat and species such as the Orang Utan but Indonesia is the third largest producer of green house gases, much of which comes from burning the cleared wood. It's not much fun for the locals either when their topsoil, no longer anchored by trees, slips down the hill.