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Shine: An Anthology of Optimistic Science Fiction

3.40  ·  Rating details ·  182 ratings  ·  41 reviews
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
Paperback, 464 pages
Published March 30th 2010 by Solaris
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Average rating 3.40  · 
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Apr 02, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Optimists, pessimists, heavy metal dinosaurs
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
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,
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.
Aug 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
At Budokan

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.
Sep 03, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
Fred Warren
Oct 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Johan Haneveld
Jan 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
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. ...more
Oct 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
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 & unb
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
Dec 28, 2010 marked it as to-read
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
Kathryn Daugherty
Aug 20, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: science-fiction
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 ...more
Apr 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
...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 ...more
Philip Hollenback
Feb 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
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.
Cathy Green
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Shine anthology came about because editor Jetse de Vries felt that there was entirely to much pessimistic, dystopian science fiction being published, and he wanted to take science fiction back to its more hopeful roots. The result is an international collection of sixteen near-future, optimistic science fiction stories by writers from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Israel, France and Brazil who have set their stories in a variety of locations including Africa, China, ...more
Dec 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hopeful SF

I have to say that you need to stick with this anthology. Once you get past the twitter story which I really didn't like things get a lot better.

Really reversing the order of the stories would have made this a much better experience.

The last story was solid and would have been a good start. Honestly the first half is 2.5 stars and the second half is 4.5 thus I rated the anthology as a 4 out of a sense of generosity.

The hope in Iran story would have been really powerful in 2010. I laugh
Jeff Greason
Dec 20, 2019 rated it liked it
I really wanted to love this anthology. And I did like it, but I didn't love it. However it might be just what someone else is looking for. The pieces are extremely eclectic in tone, voice, and style, a significant departure from a lot of SF conventions -- and I *like* a lot of those conventions. It is a collection of "optimistic" SF, and I *love* optimistic SF; but I had the feeling reading this that we had different definitions of "optimistic". Dark futures in which nevertheless there is a sil ...more
Jan 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
E.S. Wynn
Dec 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 12, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: weird, scifi
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
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
Sandy Parsons
Sep 20, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
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 ...more
Sep 11, 2012 rated it liked it
I read this because I had listened to the most amazing short story by de Vries on

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
Nov 11, 2010 added it
Shelves: utopias, stories
"...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
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.
Feb 12, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: science-fiction
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.
Oli N
Aug 13, 2010 rated it liked it
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.
Jul 06, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
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. ...more
Patrick Hudson
Feb 19, 2012 rated it liked it
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: ...more
Jun 06, 2011 added it
Shelves: sff, fiction, bookclub, 2011
The stories are, indeed, optimistic. The quality of the stories is uneven. I loved some, found the others a bit meh. I didn't entirely skip any, though. ...more
Terry Grignon
Aug 06, 2011 marked it as to-read
Certainly like the idea.
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Jetse de Vries—@UpbeatFuture—is a technical specialist for a propulsion company by day, and a science fiction reader, editor (part of the Interzone team 2004 — 2008, the groundbreaking optimistic SF anthology SHINE) and writer (Clarkesworld, Michael Moorcock’s New Worlds, Escape Pod, and many more) by night.

He's also an avid bicyclist, total solar eclipse chaser, single malt aficionado, metalhead

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