Shineanthology’s Weblog

An anthology of optimistic, near future SF

Kindred Spirits, part 3

It’s been quiet a while on this topic, but recently I chanced upon two (or three, depending on your viewpoint; make that five as news develops…;-) kindred spirits:

  • Author Mat Coward has a new website. He has posted the first two chapters of his novel Acts of Destruction on it, and I would especially point writers thinking about submitting a story to the Shine anthology to read them. I most particularly like the world-building Mat is doing in there: a future where a more sustainable kind of living has taken place, purely out of necessity. (Disclaimer: this is just one example of the kind of world-building I think works very well for Shine. But for Pete’s sake don’t copy Mat’s writing style and ideas: do it your own way. This is a good signpost).
  • (Via John Klima): Positively Good Reads, feel-good fiction with substance. Or, as the site has it, an upbeat reading list for people who often find serious novels depressing. OK: this list is about literature. But it seems that — when Marianne Goss has written an article in the Chicago Sun-Times called “Literary fiction doesn’t always have to be downbeat” — they have a similar imbalance between down- and upbeat fiction.
  • Vincent Chong has a new website. OK, while he provided artwork for a broad range of works (not specifically optimistic), Vinny is simply very good and his new site is spiffy. Check it out!
  • UPDATE ONE (via Twitter): the Spring 2009 issue of h+ magazine is out. H+ is definitely a kindred spirit, with articles and features like  “Is the future cancelled or just postponed” — on page 32, Howard Bloom on space-based solar collectors on page 44, “5 paths to unlimited solar energy” on page 48 (even though it echoes a New Scientist article on that of a few months ago), “What do we do about water” on page 52 (Clean H2O will become a sought-after resource), “Nanotechnology, for better or worse” on page 56 (by coincidence — or not — a Prometheus book  Liberation Biology: The Scientific and Moral Case for Biotech Revolution is next on my reading list), “First steps towards postscarcity’ — on page 38 or ‘why the current financial crisis is the end of the world as we know it (and why you should feel fine)’ — and “Five positive science fiction novels’ — on page 67:  — both the latter pieces by Jason Stoddard. Also a Peter Watts interview and pieces featuring Vernor Vinge and John Shirley. Another new magazine venture that  is web-based, free and thus full of ads: I hope it succeeds, even though an article about “Things to do with your body while you wait for immortality” might even be a bit too optimistic;
  • UPDATE TWO (via Edinburgh Whisky Blog — post titled “Whisky and Optimism“: what more do you want? — via Twitter): Compass Box Whisky have made a special whisky called Optimism. Inadvertently mimicking SF, it’s very special and very limited: 170 bottles only, available at Whisky Live London today & yesterday (February 27/28), bottled on location. Get yours while supplies last! The main message of the optimism project is to ‘be brave, be optimistic and envision wild success‘. I stand behind that!



  Joe wrote @

I have just finished ‘Acts of Destruction’ by one Mat Coward.
Set in London a few decades from now, it is a police procedural, involving a police squad investigating a series of crimes on their patch.

He has clearly given a lot of consideration to how society might have reacted to a range of challenges, and describes a consistent social and legal landscape for his characters to live in. This is achieved without tedious ‘info-dumps’ which can be the bane of such stories. Rather, entertaining conversations between older and younger characters provide essential background to why and how things are as they stand.
Laced with gentle humour and excellent characters it is a fun yet thought-provoking set of whodunits/whydunits/howdunits.

Highly recommended.

  shineanthology wrote @

Hi Joe,

I’ve been in contact with Matt about Acts of Destruction, but haven’t found time to read the full novel, and subsequently check if a stand-alone part would be suitable for Shine.

Which is my loss — I really am drowning in work right now — and I sincerely hope Matt and Acts of Destruction get the success they deserve.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s