SHINE – Jetse de Vries and Solaris Books to produce a positive science fiction anthology

Paul Raven @ 29-10-2008

Well, it looks like all those who’ve been so negative about the positive science fiction manifesto will get a chance to see whether or not it can work in the real world. Jetse de Vries, former Interzone fiction co-editor (and a writer in his own right) has pitched and sold an anthology of positive sf to Solaris Books. Here’s the press blurb:

Shine is a collection of near-future, optimistic SF stories where some of the genre’s brightest stars and some of its most exciting new talents portray the possible roads to a better tomorrow. Definitely not a plethora of Pollyannas (but neither a barrage of dystopias), Shine will show that positive change is far from being a foregone conclusion, but needs to be hardfought, innovative, robust and imaginative. Most importantly, it aims to demonstrate that while times are tough and outcomes are uncertain, we can still bend the future in benevolent ways if we embrace change and steer its momentum in the right direction.

There’s a separate Shine anthology blog/website which Jetse intends to become “an open platform for optimistic sf”, and there are guidelines for those interested in submitting stories for consideration – the reading period isn’t until late spring next year, so there’s plenty of time to polish up your piece before sending it off.

I’m happy to say that, while we’re not involved in any material way, Futurismic is proud to stand behind Jetse and Solaris on this project, and we’ll be giving it whatever support we can; I hope some other science fiction venues will see the merit in supporting people who are trying something new, even if it doesn’t necessarily line up with their own personal tastes.

That said, it seems even the strident ladies of io9 are divided on the merits of dystopian science fiction… maybe Shine will win over the hardcore? We’ll just have to wait and see… 🙂


It’s easier to knock the optimists if you ignore what they’re actually saying

Paul Raven @ 30-09-2008

If nothing else, Damien Walter’s post about positivity in sf has poked up the embers and got some debate crackling. But when I say “debate”, I may actually mean “knee-jerk reactions to someone suggesting that change wouldn’t be a bad thing”…

Jason Stoddard decided to codify his ideas in a Positive Science Fiction Manifesto, and Jetse de Vries chipped in again as well. Jason’s manifesto made the error of mentioning capitalism in a positive light, however, causing David Moles to mis-paraphrase him as saying the problem with contemporary science fiction is that it doesn’t love capitalism enough, and for io9 to do an unusually sloppy job of yeah-what-he-said bandwagoneering. Both posts address half a point out of the five that Jason lists… is it overly capitalistic of me to be keeping score?

Just for the record, I’m very fond of dystopic fiction but I’d quite like to see some more optimistic pieces as well; I don’t see why both can’t coexist, given the number of specialist niche venues in the market. What I find grimly amusing is to see the same knee-jerk reactions that the Mundane SF manifesto caused happening all over again… so much for sf readers being open to change, huh?