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Shine: An Anthology of Optimistic Science Fiction

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Some of the world's most talented SF writers collected to throw light on a brighter future. Shine: a collection of gems that throw light on a brighter future. Some of the world's most talented SF writers (including Alastair Reynolds, Kay Keyon and Jason Stoddard) show how things can change for the better. From gritty polyannas to workable futures, from hard-fought progress Some of the world's most talented SF writers collected to throw light on a brighter future. Shine: a collection of gems that throw light on a brighter future. Some of the world's most talented SF writers (including Alastair Reynolds, Kay Keyon and Jason Stoddard) show how things can change for the better. From gritty polyannas to workable futures, from hard-fought progress to a better tomorrow; heart-warming and mind-expanding stories that will (re-) awaken the optimist in you!


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Some of the world's most talented SF writers collected to throw light on a brighter future. Shine: a collection of gems that throw light on a brighter future. Some of the world's most talented SF writers (including Alastair Reynolds, Kay Keyon and Jason Stoddard) show how things can change for the better. From gritty polyannas to workable futures, from hard-fought progress Some of the world's most talented SF writers collected to throw light on a brighter future. Shine: a collection of gems that throw light on a brighter future. Some of the world's most talented SF writers (including Alastair Reynolds, Kay Keyon and Jason Stoddard) show how things can change for the better. From gritty polyannas to workable futures, from hard-fought progress to a better tomorrow; heart-warming and mind-expanding stories that will (re-) awaken the optimist in you!

30 review for Shine: An Anthology of Optimistic Science Fiction

  1. 5 out of 5

    Peter Tillman

    Meh anthology. Too bad, I was looking forward to it. I like optimistic stories, but they need to be good stories. Marked DNF, and will likely recycle. Oh, well. David has a detailed review, https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... So far, he's spot on. The Alastair Reynolds and Kay Kenyon stories are decent, but not worth seeking out. Everything else I've tried has been filler. And the editor's introductions are pretentious and annoying.

  2. 5 out of 5

    David

    So you're tired of grimdark sci-fi, dystopias and alien invasions and guns'n'guts military SF. You'd like to read something where the future is actually a better place. Well, that's the premise behind this anthology of optimistic science fiction put together by Jetse de Vries. It consists of sixteen short stories by a fairly eclectic and international batch of authors, ranging from first-timers to genre heavyweights like Alastair Reynolds and Kay Kenyon. I found the premise intriguing, with my fi So you're tired of grimdark sci-fi, dystopias and alien invasions and guns'n'guts military SF. You'd like to read something where the future is actually a better place. Well, that's the premise behind this anthology of optimistic science fiction put together by Jetse de Vries. It consists of sixteen short stories by a fairly eclectic and international batch of authors, ranging from first-timers to genre heavyweights like Alastair Reynolds and Kay Kenyon. I found the premise intriguing, with my first thought being: "If the future is so great, what will the stories be about?" Since of course a world where there are no problems isn't a very interesting one to tell stories in. But this collection is optimistic, not utopian; in almost all of the stories, the world still has plenty of problems, often worse than the ones we have today. But each story posits science and technology as a solution, though there's a bit of granola and woo mixed into a few of them. All of them are set in the near future on an Earth recognizably like ours, so there are no aliens or super-advanced technology or interstellar colonies (with one exception). I wish I could say I loved it, but unfortunately I was lukewarm about most of the stories, and while some were pretty good, I was not excited about any of them and Shine certainly isn't a "must-read" anthology; I can't see any of these stories becoming genre classics. Given the constraints set by the editor, there was a certain degree of sameness to most of the stories; cosmopolitan, heavily wired futures with varying degrees of economic, environmental, and social collapse wearing down the old superpowers and clearing the way for smaller nations to rise up with innovative, usually greenish solutions. This is all fine and I can see the appeal of an alternative to some global Federation of Earth which is basically a futuristic extrapolation of Western dominance, so Shine adds a bit of diversity to the science fiction genre. I just didn't see anything radically new or mind-blowing about any of the ideas, and the writing for the most part was competent but nothing exceptional, as to be expected from a group of mostly journeyman writers who with few exceptions have only published one novel, if that. Among those stories in this collection that stood out for me were, unsurprisingly, those by Alastair Reynolds and Kay Kenyon (though I'm not a particular fan of either of them). Reynolds's At the Budokan features dinosaurs playing heavy metal, and that alone should make you want to read it. Kenyon's Castoff World is a bittersweet tale of a young girl who lives on an artificial, robotic island created to sweep garbage out of the ocean before the collapse of industrial society. Some of the other stand-out tales were The Earth of Yunhe, by Eric Gregory, set on a world settled by colonists from a defunct Chinese state; Twittering the Stars, by Mari Ness, a short story told in @tweets; Overhead, by Jason Stoddard, about a lunar colony forgotten by Earth; Sarging Rasmussen: A Report (by Organic), by Gord Sellar, about a pick-up artist who figures out how to use PUA tricks for socially-conscious purposes; and Russian Roulette 2020, by Eva Maria Chapman, about a holistic Russian enclave trying to pry a bunch of overprivileged Western kids away from their immersive online worlds. If you'd like a bit of light sci-fi, this is a book worth reading; I just can't be more than moderately enthusiastic about it; individual stories were mostly 3 to 4 stars with a couple of '5's, but I give the anthology 3.5 stars overall because I found it somewhat lacking in scope and there just wasn't a single story so exceptional that it made the collection worth reading for that story alone.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Claudia

    At Budokan by ALASTAIR REYNOLDS Nice one, lol. I found this little treasure on Lightspeed magazine and it amused me terribly. Can't exactly tell if it's a tribute to Metallica or to Metallica tribute bands or a mock on both ;)) But I choose to see it as an ode to Metallica as monsters of heavy metal as they really are and love AR even more: I’m glad not only to be alive, but to be alive in a universe that has room in it for beautiful monsters. And heavy metal, of course. Can be read here: http://www. At Budokan by ALASTAIR REYNOLDS Nice one, lol. I found this little treasure on Lightspeed magazine and it amused me terribly. Can't exactly tell if it's a tribute to Metallica or to Metallica tribute bands or a mock on both ;)) But I choose to see it as an ode to Metallica as monsters of heavy metal as they really are and love AR even more: I’m glad not only to be alive, but to be alive in a universe that has room in it for beautiful monsters. And heavy metal, of course. Can be read here: http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fic... Later edit: This is how this story was born and what's behind it: http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/non...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Fred Warren

    Science fiction is not a cheerful genre. You might think that people preoccupied with the future would be purveyors of all that is happy and uplifting–flying cars, wonder cures, brave new worlds, friendly aliens, robot maids–a merry universe filled with optimistic geekery. You’d be wrong, mostly. Oh, the happy-sappy stuff is out there, but it’s dominated by gloomy, grimy, horrific tales of Humanity Gone Wrong. Stories that wake you in the wee hours to whisper in your ear, You will all die–or you Science fiction is not a cheerful genre. You might think that people preoccupied with the future would be purveyors of all that is happy and uplifting–flying cars, wonder cures, brave new worlds, friendly aliens, robot maids–a merry universe filled with optimistic geekery. You’d be wrong, mostly. Oh, the happy-sappy stuff is out there, but it’s dominated by gloomy, grimy, horrific tales of Humanity Gone Wrong. Stories that wake you in the wee hours to whisper in your ear, You will all die–or you will desperately wish you had. Enter Shine , “an anthology of near-future optimistic science fiction.” Editor Jan de Vries has collected 16 stories with a common theme: There is hope for the future. Is he peddling naive visions of rainbows and lollipops? Hardly. de Vries is convinced that getting to the future is going to be an uphill climb. It will require blood, sweat, and ingenuity. We will fall along the way, and we will pick ourselves up and keep going. We will never surrender, and we will win through. Lofty sentiments–more worthy, I think, than your run-of-the-mill apocalyptic death cult dystopias, though I expect it will take something more than a stiff upper lip to set things right on ‘ol Terra del Sol, and I consider myself an optimist. At any rate, these are some thoughtful, well-written stories that don’t settle for easy answers. Like all speculative fiction, they are children of the times that spawned them. There’s a preoccupation with Green issues and technology. Transhumanism, the melding of mind and machine, pops up quite a bit. There are fewer space travel/colonization stories than I expected, but Shine focuses on the near future, wrestling with problems we experience now or expect soon. The authors are multinational, offering some fresh perspectives set in unusual locales. An exhaustive review of all the stories would be too time-consuming, and I’ve rambled enough. It’s a good anthology. If you’re hankering for optimistic, sophisticated sci-fi, it’s here. Buy, read, enjoy, and prepare to be challenged a little. A few of the stories include rough language and adult situations, so if you’re sensitive to that, be forewarned. Here’s a quick roll call: Eric Gregory, “The Earth of Yunhe” – An exiled son returns to his dying village in China with technology that offers hope of renewal, but old ways of thinking prove difficult to change. Jacques Barcia, “The Greenman Watches the Black Bar Go Up, Up, Up” – A Brazilian eco-warrior stumbles onto a conspiracy that could save the world–or destroy it. Jason Stoddard, “Overhead” – The true danger of winning the eco-wars might be declaring victory too soon. A moon colony sponsored by a Randian entrepreneur must decide where their loyalties and their future lie. Holly Phillips, “Summer Ice” – Through the eyes of a young artist, we watch as a city evolves Greenward, and discover something small but meaningful has been sacrificed in the process. Paula R. Stiles, “Sustainable Development” – A tale of enterprise, technology, tradition, and feminism set in Africa. This one didn’t work for me, perhaps because I figured out right away where it was going. Gareth L. Powell & Aliette de Bodard, “The Church of Accelerated Redemption” – Confession time: I’ve yet to meet an Aliette de Bodard story I didn’t like, and this collaboration with Mr. Powell is no exception. A network tech has a chance meeting with a mysterious activist and finds herself entangled in a very unconventional war of liberation. Lavie Tidner, “The Solnet Ascendency” – A tiny island nation tiptoes into the Information Age, with unexpected results. Something like “The Mouse That Roared” for the 21st Century, but not absurd at all. I liked it. Mari Ness, “Twittering the Stars” – It was bound to happen. An updated version of the classic postal correspondence story, told in a Twitter stream of 140-character “tweets.” It’s a fascinating, heartrending story of a long, lonely mission to the Asteroid Belt. It has the added charm of demanding to be read both beginning-to-end and end-to-beginning. Silvia Moreno-Garcia, “Seeds” – Nature still gets the last word in the world of genetic engineering, a truth an ambitious agribusiness executive discovers in the land that invented corn. Alistair Reynolds, “At Budokan” – A future without rock and roll? Unthinkable. A jaded producer discovers the ultimate rock star. Sometimes you’ve got to step into the past to find the next big thing. The next really big thing. Gord Sellar, “Sarging Rasmussen: A Report (by Organic)” – In which life, innovation, and societal evolution prove to be simply one huge, intricate game of influence and emotional manipulation. Not what I’d call a hopeful future, but perhaps not a completely fanciful narrative of how business gets done, both now and tomorrow. Jason Andrew, “Scherazade Cast in Starlight” – A vignette of revolution in the Muslim Ummah, as told by a contemporary Scherazade. Brief and thought-provoking. Eva Marie Chapman, “Russian Roulette 2020″ – Cultures clash to the benefit of both sides as plugged-in teens encounter an off-the-grid community in Russia. Too many stereotypes all around for my taste as geeks and Greens find common cause and unlikely romance, once the geeks figure out that real human contact is cool, and lust isn’t the same thing as love. Kay Kenyon, “Castoff World” – A little girl ponders life on a semi-sentient raft of garbage, adrift in the North Pacific. Does she have a future in this polluted world? Maybe. Just maybe. Sad, sweet, and, ultimately, hopeful. Ken Edgett, “Paul Kishosha’s Children” – If you’re a writer, a dreamer, or a little of both, this story of a young African man who finds something in his life worth sharing will steal your heart. My recommendation: save this one for last. It’s worth the wait. Madeline Ashby, “Ishin” – This story is hard to classify. It’s about friendship under fire, and a logical extension of current military and robotics technology, and what happens when advanced technology is employed in a primitive society in an attempt to solve ancient problems. It’s a good read.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kalin

    Although I hunger for this kind of SF (as opposed to the ever-popular dystopias), the stories here left me starved. I wish I could say more, but it's been a couple of years since I read it, and nothing has stuck to my memory. Except for one story. I really enjoyed "Russian Roulette 2020" by Eva Maria Chapman. We may eventually translate it and include it in one of our own "bright future" anthologies. (And I keep wondering how US readers took it ....) Now I keep my fingers crossed for Hieroglyph: St Although I hunger for this kind of SF (as opposed to the ever-popular dystopias), the stories here left me starved. I wish I could say more, but it's been a couple of years since I read it, and nothing has stuck to my memory. Except for one story. I really enjoyed "Russian Roulette 2020" by Eva Maria Chapman. We may eventually translate it and include it in one of our own "bright future" anthologies. (And I keep wondering how US readers took it ....) Now I keep my fingers crossed for Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Leilani

    I enjoy a dark 'n gritty dystopian tale as much as the next SF fan, but after a while they get a bit repetitive. And after following real-life news for a while, it gets hard to imagine any future in which the human species isn't doomed and taking everything else on the planet with it. So I was in the market for this anthology's brand of cautious hopefulness. De Vries has assembled quite a mix. The short-short stories didn't do much for me personally, and the Gord Sellar story was so tedious & I enjoy a dark 'n gritty dystopian tale as much as the next SF fan, but after a while they get a bit repetitive. And after following real-life news for a while, it gets hard to imagine any future in which the human species isn't doomed and taking everything else on the planet with it. So I was in the market for this anthology's brand of cautious hopefulness. De Vries has assembled quite a mix. The short-short stories didn't do much for me personally, and the Gord Sellar story was so tedious & unbearable, IMO, I put the book down for months & didn't get back to it until I gave myself permission to skip it. That said, there were a number of gems. I most enjoyed Jason Stoddard's Overhead, featuring lunar colonists; Holly Phillips' Summer Ice, a day in the life of a greener sort of neighborhood; Kay Kenyon's Castoff World, set on the sea; and Ken Edgett's Paul Kishosha's Children, which is a quietly unfolding pleasure. The Alastair Reynolds story was a bit disappointing - perhaps I like him best at epic novel length. Overall, the book presented a wide variety of believably optimistic futures, and I'm glad someone had the vision to put it together.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Julie Capell

    I loved the whole idea of this short story collection, in many ways it reminded me of Hieroglyph, another collection of stories attempting to harness scifi writers’ imaginations for positive ideas of what the future might hold. What I particularly liked about Shine was the inclusion of so many women authors and so many non-US authors. I find these folks often shine (pun intended) a new light on the same old issues, and that is what makes me want to keep on reading. The Earth of Yunhe (Eric Gregor I loved the whole idea of this short story collection, in many ways it reminded me of Hieroglyph, another collection of stories attempting to harness scifi writers’ imaginations for positive ideas of what the future might hold. What I particularly liked about Shine was the inclusion of so many women authors and so many non-US authors. I find these folks often shine (pun intended) a new light on the same old issues, and that is what makes me want to keep on reading. The Earth of Yunhe (Eric Gregory) – wonderful story that combines concept of using nanites to reclaim toxic waste and the difficulty of getting society to accept radical solutions. The author did a marvelous job of creating characters I really cared about in just a few pages. I would read more by this author but all I can find is one other short story from a 2011 issue of Lightspeed. The Greenman Watches the Black Bar Go Up, Up, Up (Jacques Barcia) – This Brazilian author packed a lot of cool tech ideas into his story. The tech referred to in the title, and which was new to me, was the idea that everyone would have a carbon tracker (made me think of a fitbit) that calculates how much carbon you emit throughout the day and tells you to go home when you have overspent your limit. The story concentrates on carbon emissions and the market for them, something a lot of Americans are unaware of, but I know many U.S. companies, including We Energies right here in Milwaukee, buy forests in other countries to offset their carbon footprint. Overhead (Jason Stoddard) – utopians on the moon, this story didn’t grab me Summer Ice (Holly Phillips) – seemed to be more about the difficulties of the creative process than about any scifi concepts, but it featured some beautiful writing. Sustainable Development (Paula R. Stiles) – With my background in international development work, I loved this story about tech solutions that don’t match the needs of the community, and that help one gender more than the other. The Church of Accelerated Redemption (Gareth L. Powell & Aliette de Bodard) – AIs becoming sentient…not much new here. The Solnet Ascendancy (Lavie Tidhar) – Again, I appreciated the overseas point-of-view on this story, and the NGO (non-governmental organizations) tilt. Tidhar has obviously had experience with the process of seeking grants for projects. “What is the nature of your project? What benefit does it have for the community? What is the amount of community buy-in? Please specify expected outcome and sustainability.” The whole story is basically a grant application for bringing the internet to an isolated community. Twittering the Stars (Mari Ness) –the best story in the collection, told via Tweets. Seeds (Silvia Moreno-Garcia) – Another very good culture clash story, where the well-meaning (US) corporation has no idea what is really going on in the country it is trying to sell its tech to. At Budokan (Alastair Reynolds) – Great story because the visual is so compelling. Jurassic Park meets Transformers meets Metallica. Would recommend even for people (like me) who do not like heavy metal music. Sarging Rasmussen: A Report (Gord Sellar) – My second-most-favorite story in the collection. Truly unique social engineering concepts, game theory applied to climbing the corporate ladder, and some truly funny bits. “Bro-ing” needs to be a verb we use everyday. Scheherazade Cast in Starlight (Jason Andrew) – Moving, all-too-true tale of governments using social media to oppress, but also social media’s ability to shine light on oppression. Russian Roulette 2020 (Eva Maria Chapman) – had a Y.A. vibe, story seemed kind of obvious tale of using tech for good rather than mindlessly for fun. Castoff World (Kay Kenyon) – Kenyon does an excellent job telling a post-apocalypse story from the point of view of a young child who never knew the world “before.” Paul Kishosha’s Children (Ken Edgett) – The tech “solution” in this story struck me as a bit simplistic. Ishin (Madeline Ashby) – Cool tech but I really didn’t understand what the protagonists were trying to accomplish, so this story fell flat for me.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Shinynickel

    Off this review: One of the best anthologies of recent vintage is Jetse de Vries' "Shine." Its virtues are easy to enumerate. It offers a clear-eyed theme and unique remit: optimistic, near-future SF. It features a wide range of voices and styles. Its editor is young, knowledgeable, energetic and hip (the anthology was assembled with heavy reliance on social media sites). On all counts, it's a rousing success, the very model of a modern project, and points the way toward a healthy future for SF Off this review: One of the best anthologies of recent vintage is Jetse de Vries' "Shine." Its virtues are easy to enumerate. It offers a clear-eyed theme and unique remit: optimistic, near-future SF. It features a wide range of voices and styles. Its editor is young, knowledgeable, energetic and hip (the anthology was assembled with heavy reliance on social media sites). On all counts, it's a rousing success, the very model of a modern project, and points the way toward a healthy future for SF short stories. All that remains is for the book to rack up some deservedly healthy sales. Not every story in the volume achieves unqualified greatness: A number favor earnestness over entertainment. They work so seriously to illustrate that there is hope for humanity that they seem to forget that the reader has to want to imagine herself enjoying life in the future, even while facing challenges. That was always the secret of Heinlein-era SF. This joie de vivre deficit becomes apparent only when you come to a contrary story such as Gord Sellar's knockout "Sarging Rasmussen: A Report (by Organic)." Its high-octane characters and language and devil-may-care attitude cloak serious issues just as vital as those embedded elsewhere in the book. But it's also a slavering whirlwind of manic energy, in the mode of the Looney Tunes cartoon Tasmanian Devil. Others in this admirable vein include Eva Maria Chapman's "Russian Roulette 2020" and Kay Kenyon's "Castoff World."

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rob

    ...I wonder if de Vries knew what he was getting into with this project. It's not as if others hadn't tried before and it is certainly a lot easier to let a negative view of the future get the best of you. The stories in this anthology don't always depict shiny, bright futures but to do all posses a sense of profound positive change, ranging from a very personal level to things that will shift the balance in a nation or even worldwide. The diversity of the stories and the consistently high quali ...I wonder if de Vries knew what he was getting into with this project. It's not as if others hadn't tried before and it is certainly a lot easier to let a negative view of the future get the best of you. The stories in this anthology don't always depict shiny, bright futures but to do all posses a sense of profound positive change, ranging from a very personal level to things that will shift the balance in a nation or even worldwide. The diversity of the stories and the consistently high quality of this collection is testament to his passion for this project... Full Random Comments review

  10. 4 out of 5

    Philip Hollenback

    This was a somewhat uneven but generally solid sci-fi anthology. I give it 4 stars instead of 3 because of it's unique angle: all the stories take place in the near future and ultimately end up with the world being a better place. I found this book an excellent palate cleanser after all the dsytopian sci-fi I've been reading lately.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    Weak and preachy.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Johan Haneveld

    A bit more than 4 stars. I really enjoyed this collection of 'optimistic science fiction'. I had read about it online a couple of years back, and applauded the idea: to oppose the plethora of pessimistic stories about disaster and collapse, with stories that celebrate hope, human ingenuity and above all the power of people working together for a common good. Now I finally decided to read the collection and I was surprised by the quality of the stories. Also that these are not 'happy clappy' stor A bit more than 4 stars. I really enjoyed this collection of 'optimistic science fiction'. I had read about it online a couple of years back, and applauded the idea: to oppose the plethora of pessimistic stories about disaster and collapse, with stories that celebrate hope, human ingenuity and above all the power of people working together for a common good. Now I finally decided to read the collection and I was surprised by the quality of the stories. Also that these are not 'happy clappy' stories about unrealistic dystopias - the problems we face as a worldwide society are taken very serious here, and there are futures here one would not want to live in. And they are also not easily or completely solved at the end of the story. Progress comes slowly, and sometimes is a matter of two steps forward, one step backwards. Something I appreciate looking at the world around me and the new president of the United States ... Some of the protagonists from these stories also have to deal with people with short term materialistic motivations. Most of these stories are near future SF. The downside of that is that even in a couple of years some stories feel dated, or are made obsolete by reality. And my own preference is for far future SF, other worlds, other life forms, weird concepts. Luckily a couple of stories here played with that, like Jason Stoddards 'Overhead', and Kay Kenyons excellent 'Castoff World'. Also Alastair Reynolds has a story featuring dinosaurs, so that one was to my taste. I liked that the stories managed to not be too preachy (it's easy to be preachy when spreading 'good news'). Really only 'Russian Roulette 2020' -despite a good idea- contained to many lectures and preachy dialogues to my taste. The story told in tweets was a fun experiment but for me it didn't really work. Despite the fact that I depise the Pick up artist-worldview, I loved the story by Gord Sellar. I missed more stories about 3D-printing, shared energy on the grid, and free information (The 'Zero marginal cost society'-idea of Rifkin). But I think those ideas became more commonplace after this collection was published, and some stories manage to come close at least. The message of this collection seems to be that we need to work together, despite our differences, and a lot of small changes will eventually create another future. I heartily recommend this collection for SF-fans, and for readers looking for a more hopeful future (in light of current events).

  13. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    Good enough collection. Nothing particularly grabbed me.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Liviu

    Shine is an anthology that comes with a lot of hype and an introduction that is utterly misleading imho - or maybe it's me and Mr. DeVries having quite different definitions of the terms sf and optimistic - since what Shine is about is mostly *mundane sf* extrapolated from current headlines, or sometimes even yesterday headlines like carbon trading and such which look more and more like the green version of the Jetsons and which will be dated very soon if not already so - and by optimistic, Mr. Shine is an anthology that comes with a lot of hype and an introduction that is utterly misleading imho - or maybe it's me and Mr. DeVries having quite different definitions of the terms sf and optimistic - since what Shine is about is mostly *mundane sf* extrapolated from current headlines, or sometimes even yesterday headlines like carbon trading and such which look more and more like the green version of the Jetsons and which will be dated very soon if not already so - and by optimistic, Mr. DeVries means something that to me is almost Utopian considering what human history teaches us - it's almost like that for the editor human history starts with the glimmers of the computer age so optimism is judged against the expectation of the tech bubble and not against thousands of years of history in which most women died in childbirth or aged prematurely due to such, most children died in infancy, most people were illiterate and never traveled more than a little beyond their surroundings and so on... This being so, the anthology has two A++ stories that are as good as anything I've read (Stoddard and Powell/de Bodard), two A+ stories which are excellent (Gregory and Barcia - note that J. Barcia has been a very occasional contributor to Fantasy Book Critic but I did not really have many online encounters with him, so I feel I am impartial in a way I could not be were I to talk about say Fabio Fernandes' fiction which I also like ), one A story (H. Phillips) and two very short stories that are amusing and good (Paula Stiles and S. Moreno-Garcia) with another one by Jason Andrew that is also short and has some good stuff though it's too headline based for my taste, but somehow the other eight stories including one from favorite A. Reynolds and one from L.Tidhar of Bookman fame just did not connect with me that much - I guess my total indifference towards heavy metal and the fact that Vanuatu is just a name on a map for me and the authors did not convince me otherwise in their respective stories is the reason in the above named two cases. So a good anthology and worth reading for the stories mentioned above, especially those four rated A+ and A++ where each can have a novel I would get asap in their universe, but not on par with the Solaris SF anthology line. All in all Shine rates a B for me though again the editorial comments were a big minus imho

  15. 5 out of 5

    Joy

    I've had this book in paper form for a few months now, as part of a box that a friend gave me when moving house. With all the dystopian books I've read in the past year or two (or some series even longer), I love the premise of this book which is "an anthology of near-future optimistic science fiction" and felt it was a great book to read in January. I'm not familiar with the editor or any of the authors in the anthology, so came into this totally blank, which is a rarity for me. The editor, Jets I've had this book in paper form for a few months now, as part of a box that a friend gave me when moving house. With all the dystopian books I've read in the past year or two (or some series even longer), I love the premise of this book which is "an anthology of near-future optimistic science fiction" and felt it was a great book to read in January. I'm not familiar with the editor or any of the authors in the anthology, so came into this totally blank, which is a rarity for me. The editor, Jetse De Vries, has an extensive introduction section and has an introduction for each of the stories, noting details or anecdotes about the story submission and how it worked for the overall anthology. The stories start off with uneven quality, IMO, but get much better after about halfway through, and I appreciated and enjoyed almost every one in the back half of the book. My favorite stories were "Paul Kishosha's Children" by Ken Edgett, "Ishin" by Madeline Ashby, "Castoff World" by Kay Kenyon, "The Solnet Ascendancy" by Lavie Tidhar, and "Twittering the Stars" by Marie Ness. There were a few stories I didn't care for at all, whether due to writing style or subject matter, but even those generally had something that I appreciated or learned from. Overall, this was a solid anthology that illustrated and developed its theme well, and I enjoyed reading it. I recommend it if you are interested in the subject and theme, and feel it's a solid four stars.

  16. 4 out of 5

    E.S. Wynn

    First of all, this anthology rocks. It's worth reading, and it's quite substantial (as far as sci-fi anthologies go.) I love the concept (optimistic, near-future sci-fi,) and the writers within definitely deliver stories more positive than dystopian, which is very refreshing. So why give this book only four stars? A couple of reasons. First of all, the editing on some of the stories is absolutely atrocious. Think "I could have fixed this with spell check" level of atrocious. Second of all, I'm not First of all, this anthology rocks. It's worth reading, and it's quite substantial (as far as sci-fi anthologies go.) I love the concept (optimistic, near-future sci-fi,) and the writers within definitely deliver stories more positive than dystopian, which is very refreshing. So why give this book only four stars? A couple of reasons. First of all, the editing on some of the stories is absolutely atrocious. Think "I could have fixed this with spell check" level of atrocious. Second of all, I'm not sure how I feel about the editor's admitted selection bias for stories based on race and nationality. I understand the importance of representation in the media, and all of the stories are decent (or better) in quality, but if an editor is (potentially) rejecting or accepting stories based on the race or nationality of their writers, then I feel that that editor is acting in a rather hypocritical fashion (in regards to the "better future" angle of the entire anthology.) But, all that being said, it was an enjoyable read. Definitely worth the money.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jared Millet

    This was a pretty enjoyable anthology. There were stories by a few authors whose novels I've read, but not their short fiction. And as always, I discovered authors who I'll now have to hunt down and read more of (Holly Phillips, in particular). The premise is catchy: optimistic (not dystopian, but not utopian) near-future SF. "Optimistic" in this case usually implies getting through a dystopia and coming out the other side. "Near-future" means that a couple of the stories already seem dated, and This was a pretty enjoyable anthology. There were stories by a few authors whose novels I've read, but not their short fiction. And as always, I discovered authors who I'll now have to hunt down and read more of (Holly Phillips, in particular). The premise is catchy: optimistic (not dystopian, but not utopian) near-future SF. "Optimistic" in this case usually implies getting through a dystopia and coming out the other side. "Near-future" means that a couple of the stories already seem dated, and nearly all of them deal with coping with climate change and economic upheavals. Like it or not, that's the future we're charging into. Science Fiction is there to tell us that there's always a way through if we're clever enough.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Logan

    Eh...well, this took a while to get through. Very few true SF stories, largely speculative fiction. The best were "Castoff World" by Kay Kenyon and "Sarging Rasmussen: A Report (by Organic)" by Gord Sellar and "The Earth of Yunhe" by Eric Gregory -those are 5 star stories. The rest were all varying levels of good to ok, bland and unmemorable mostly. Conceptually, I really like what "Shine" was aiming for. Imagining a future where everything has worked out for the best. A collection of post-utopi Eh...well, this took a while to get through. Very few true SF stories, largely speculative fiction. The best were "Castoff World" by Kay Kenyon and "Sarging Rasmussen: A Report (by Organic)" by Gord Sellar and "The Earth of Yunhe" by Eric Gregory -those are 5 star stories. The rest were all varying levels of good to ok, bland and unmemorable mostly. Conceptually, I really like what "Shine" was aiming for. Imagining a future where everything has worked out for the best. A collection of post-utopia instead of postapocalyptica. And de Vries came close to hitting the mark. Overall, there's just too much that doesn't make a real, lasting impression on the reader. In the end, I'd recommend that people read the individual stories I mentioned rather than seeking out this collection specifically.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn Daugherty

    If these are optimistic futures, I would rather live in a Peter Hamilton Dystrophy. Every story starts would with the grimmest of visions; drastic weather, starvation, unemployment, and despair. And ends up with just a possible glimmer of hope...only if all past human behaviors are forgotten and we enter a world of drug addled fantasy land. None of these stories are helped by the editor's call for "diversity". Possibly a call for better writers would have made this a better anthology, but only w If these are optimistic futures, I would rather live in a Peter Hamilton Dystrophy. Every story starts would with the grimmest of visions; drastic weather, starvation, unemployment, and despair. And ends up with just a possible glimmer of hope...only if all past human behaviors are forgotten and we enter a world of drug addled fantasy land. None of these stories are helped by the editor's call for "diversity". Possibly a call for better writers would have made this a better anthology, but only without the story structures that were already laid down. The only halfway decent story is about a T. Rex who learns to play heavy metal guitar. But somehow I don't feel exactly optimistic about a world where increasingly intelligent carnivores are let loose on a planet of easily eaten homo sapiens.

  20. 4 out of 5

    M

    I read this because I had listened to the most amazing short story by de Vries on escapepod.org: http://escapepod.org/2012/08/09/ep357... I personally felt it was an interesting idea of compiling short stories with a positive outlook, rather than with a distopyan view. I must also say that it somehow didnt work for me. Nothing really wrong, but most short stories I just couldnt get into. Then again, I am not a friend of short stories in general... So I think this is one which I wouldnt recommend as I read this because I had listened to the most amazing short story by de Vries on escapepod.org: http://escapepod.org/2012/08/09/ep357... I personally felt it was an interesting idea of compiling short stories with a positive outlook, rather than with a distopyan view. I must also say that it somehow didnt work for me. Nothing really wrong, but most short stories I just couldnt get into. Then again, I am not a friend of short stories in general... So I think this is one which I wouldnt recommend as must read, but wouldt be surprised if people told me they thought it was brilliant... matter of taste, I guess

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sandy Parsons

    I really wanted to like this book. I agree wholeheartedly with the dismal nature of scifi's infrastructure. But I don't think this mediocre collection is the antidote. Some of the stories were good, while I was reading them. But none of them, save the twitter story, really stuck with me, and I think that one did mostly due to the novelty. There was one about the rediscovery of books as lost sacred relics which was kind of cool and the idea that pickup lines can virally impact society, and a garb I really wanted to like this book. I agree wholeheartedly with the dismal nature of scifi's infrastructure. But I don't think this mediocre collection is the antidote. Some of the stories were good, while I was reading them. But none of them, save the twitter story, really stuck with me, and I think that one did mostly due to the novelty. There was one about the rediscovery of books as lost sacred relics which was kind of cool and the idea that pickup lines can virally impact society, and a garbage barge that converts the ocean's trash to harmless organics. Those are all interesting elements, and the stories they inhabit weren't bad, maybe even 4-star level.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Dave Versace

    An uneven collection of optimistic science fiction stories. While a number of the stories are outstanding, too many present a collection of bland or underdeveloped characters coming up with an ingenious technical solution to an environmental or social problem. Worthy, even inspiring, but not necessarily compelling to read. But Alastair Reynold's "At Budokan" has a tyrannosaurus that plays heavy metal guitar, in a completely serious story, so you know what? I heartily recommend this collection.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Shel

    "...this world is a place that is both beautiful and scary, inspiring and frightening, full of wonder and full or danger; and that we can make it work." - editor Jetse de Vries I am passionate about the idea of optimistic sf and also wish to write stories that envision a positive future so I've been very interested in this fantastic project (following its progress online) and was pleased to be able to purchase the book on Kindle. Alas, however, as of this time, I have not been hooked by the stori "...this world is a place that is both beautiful and scary, inspiring and frightening, full of wonder and full or danger; and that we can make it work." - editor Jetse de Vries I am passionate about the idea of optimistic sf and also wish to write stories that envision a positive future so I've been very interested in this fantastic project (following its progress online) and was pleased to be able to purchase the book on Kindle. Alas, however, as of this time, I have not been hooked by the stories I've tried. Perhaps, the Kindle is not ideal for browsing this anthology.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    This is a very disappointing anthology. It is misleading to classify many of these stories as science fiction. One story stands out: Twittering the Stars by Mari Ness. Following closely in the honorable mention category are: At Budokan by Alastair Reynolds and Castoff World by Kay Kenyon. Sarging Rasmussen by Gord Sellar is not really SF but is well written and fun to read. The other stories are either poorly written, not SF, boring, or all of the above.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Abby

    Maybe I just don't care for optimism, but I could not get into this anthology. It could be that when you're expecting an upbeat ending, it's harder to invest in the characters and conflicts, or just that it doesn't fit the genre very well. Most of the stories were forgettable, and only a few were actually optimistic (with the rest going for ambiguous endings). I don't recommend it.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Oli N

    This book has such a variety of themes, styles and ideas that half way through a story you just can't wait for the next one. De Vries has made it a misson to have authors of diverse backgrounds and nationalities, as he introduces each ones at the beginning of their work you get a sort of story of stories feeling that ties each adventures together reinforcing the anthologie as a whole.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Hudson

    This was an interesting idea, but it didn't quite come together. Despite a handful of goodies, too many of the stories were quite poor. I reviewed this for the SF fanzine The Zone: http://www.zone-sf.com/wordworks/shin...

  28. 4 out of 5

    AsatorPrime

    Only Read "At Budokan" by Alastair Reynolds. Not one of his best works.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Very collection of short stories that are positive scifi. Not that there are not problems in these alternative futures, but they show hope, beneficial development of tech and renewables and more.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Terry Grignon

    Certainly like the idea.

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