Shineanthology’s Weblog

An anthology of optimistic, near future SF

Blueprint for a Better World

Which is literally what New Scientist is saying in their weekly newletter to me (and I’m a longtime subscriber), here.

Blueprint for a better worldI know I’ve said this before (a lot of times, maybe to the point of ad nauseam), but I’m afraid it needs to be repeated, especially for a lot of thick-headed people in SF: people around the world want more than just the next doomsday scenario telling them what happens of we carry on doing the *stupid* things: what they really want (and need) is a pointer to solutions.

I really need to refrain from quoting the whole piece (“Blueprint for a Better World“) verbatim. But it’s what I’ve been saying on this very blog from the get-go. Like:

We live in an imperfect world. Poverty, disease, lack of education, environmental destruction – the problems are all too obvious. Many people don’t have clean water, let alone enough food, and the unsustainable lifestyle of the wealthy few is storing up catastrophic climate change.

Can we do anything about it? You bet we can. Technology is a double-edged sword, but science and reason have made our lives immeasurably better overall – and only through science and reason can we hope to make a real difference in the future. So here and over the next three weeks, New Scientist will explore diverse ideas for making the world a better place, and the evidence backing them.

Almost exactly as in some stories in Shine, [in part 1 this week] “we look at some radical ideas for transforming society and changing the way countries are run”.

[Next week in part 2] “We’ll report on what you as an individual can do to make a difference.” I can point to a few other stories in Shine.

[In part 3]  “We’ll explore what many see as the fundamental problem: overpopulation.” Kill me, shoot me and throw me to the wolves, but please check out The Elephant in the Room: a Foreshadowing (from December 1, last year) first.

[In part 4] “We’ll ponder the profound and long-lasting changes we are making to our home planet.” Again, I can point to several Shine stories.

Yes, I’ve delivered the final MS (manuscript) to Solaris Books. The people at Solaris are now very busy with the owner transition I mentioned in the previous post. So while I’m awaiting more info from them (release date, for one), I am confident that they will publish Shine (as per contract, and—more importantly—per intent). Apologies for the lack of replies in the past week, as I am working on several other things, which will become clear as they happen.

And no apologies as I need to ram home the really important thing: the majority of SF, and the majority of written SF in particular, sees no need in portraying a future ‘where people might actually like to live in’ (as Gardner Dozois has it in the July 2009 Locus). On the other hand, the most popular weekly scientific journal in the world DEDICATES FOUR ISSUES TO DEPICT “A BLUEPRINT FOR A BETTER WORLD”.

20090912Now who is out of touch here?

I’m very, very happy with what New Scientist is doing right now. I would be completely ecstatic if Shine would appear right after that, but it seems it’ll be early 2010. Compared by how fast written SF moves, though, it’ll still be bleeding edge.


  LaShawn wrote @

This is sounding more and more a great project. Still on pins and needles as to what stories are in the anthology (and crossing fingers that mine will be among them), but this sounds like something I’d pick up regardless. Optimistic SF is hard to come by, and that shouldn’t be.

  Eva Maria Chapman wrote @

Fantastic Jetse!
You are so ahead of the New Scientist wavelength and on the cutting edge. Any chance of Shine Antholgy getting a mention in New Scientist?

  karen wester newton wrote @

So, if we submitted a story and heard nothing back, then that means it has been rejected, correct? I would like to know so I can try to sell the story elsewhere.

  Tom Wright wrote @

Having heard nothing back myself, I am guessing I didn’t make the cut either. But to be safe, I’d rather be sure before submitting elsewhere.

  Adam wrote @

Ditto on karen’s comment.

  Erin wrote @

Hi Jetse. Echoing what Karen and Adam are saying above — I came by the website to see if there were any announcements after seeing that you’d picked up on twitter again. We all lead busy lives, but after having thought very well and appreciated both your work in general and this anthology specifically, after initially submitting and then querying two weeks ago regarding the status of the story I submitted, it’s very disappointing to receive no reply and hear word of the anthology’s completion via this public method of announcement on your blog. Bad form, man.

  shineanthology wrote @

Apologies again for the lack of replies: I have been trying to catch up with many things (not just submissions) and had several important things on my mind (some of which involved the day job, which has nothing to do with publishing whatsoever, but does pay the bills).

I appreciate your patience as I have begun to send out replies. Unfortunately only a few dozen as I was sick as a dog all weekend

Barring my untimely (or not) death, all replies will be sent of next week.

  Adam wrote @

I can certainly understand the sickness problem; a good chunk of my sophomore English class is out with flu and has been all last week. It’s tough to teach when you’ve got something very like the H1N1 going around. I feel like holding my breath whenever that vector of a class comes into my room, but, being the blowhard that I am, this never works out…

Here’s to hoping you feel better, sir.

  Neil wrote @

Hey, Jetse.

I think the confusion is over the fact that you’ve stated in the post that you’ve submitted a ‘manuscript’ to Solaris, leading most people to assume the stories that are being included in Shine have already been selected and the authors of them notified, ergo, everyone else awaiting a response is rejected.


  sfmurphy1971 wrote @

Chiming in with Neil, that was sort of what I thought.

“Gosh, no respone. Manuscript has been submitted. I must not have made the cut.”

S. F. Murphy

  Adam wrote @

Alas, that does make sense, Neil. You would want to obtain permission from authors before sending the manuscript, hence those of us still awaiting a reply may assume that we must look for other markets.

Oh well – I look forward to reading the anthology, at least!

  Tom Wright wrote @

>You would want to obtain permission from
>authors before sending the manuscript,

Having never published in an anthology, let alone put one together, I have no idea how the process works, so this is speculative fiction, but…

I suppose it’s also possible that he might want to get the story selection approved by the publisher BEFORE sending rejection letters, especially if he has some that are on the fence, so to speak.

Anyway, I’ve waited longer for responses, it goes with the craft we’re in.

  Michael wrote @

Well, if Duotrope is to be trusted, LaShawn (who posted the first comment above on Sept. 9) received an acceptance on Sept. 11. In any case, it’s clear that acceptance came after August 31, when the manuscript was turned in. So there may very well be more acceptances to come. Who knows?

I submitted on June 11, got an auto-reply, queried on Aug. 31, got nothing. I have no idea what’s going on, but I’m not going to consider my story released until I hear something. Everything else I have submitted to Jetse has come back on time or before. I have my fingers crossed that I’ll get something soon…

  Scott wrote @

He had mentioned that other editors were interested in optimistic stories, so it would be nice to know the markets that want the overflow.

It is easier to put a submission out of mind when sent to a market that is less transparent than this one (which is nearly all of them). With all the updates here and twitter, it frequently calls attention to itself. It is still good writerly discipline to concentrate solely on the craft. Stories out to market only deserve attention when they are accepted, released to new markets, or have been out long past a reasonable response time.

Jetse and Shine aren’t in that last category (yet!), so, I’ve queried. I’ll wait.

Here’s hoping optimistic SF takes hold!


  Antonino wrote @

I agree with Michael: I’m not going to consider my story rejected until I hear something. Be optimistic!

  SixString wrote @

If Solaris was for sale, it makes sense Jetse couldn’t mention it (assuming he knew). It also follows that if Shine pays on acceptance, he couldn’t send out acceptance letters (the original owners wouldn’t want to pay for an anthology from which they wouldn’t benefit). Even after it was announced, it might be awhile for the paperwork to settle and money to appear in the “Shine account,” so again, I’m not surprised at the lack of acceptance letters.

That said, I don’t see why rejections couldn’t have been sent all along, to give those writers the chance to submit elsewhere. After all, suppose an author got tired of waiting and withdrew his submission, not knowing his story had made it into the submitted manuscript? Not a good situation for anyone concerned.

I’d like to think those who haven’t heard are in, but I suspect that rejections are still going out as well.

  Adam wrote @

I do suppose that pessimism is unwarranted from an author who submitted to an anthology of optimistic sci-fi!

  Antonino wrote @

You are absolutely right, Adam!

  Antonino wrote @

SixString conclusion is shareable. It would be better those who haven’t heard be in, but maybe that rejections are still going out as well as acceptances.

  Michael wrote @

Well, SixString, since I am waiting for a response, I like the way you think. 🙂

However, two acceptances have been reported to Duotrope, and I’m not sure how that would fit in… why those two (and who knows how many more), and not the rest? I’m afraid you’re right, and rejectionss are still going out as well.

If money is the only hold-up, I would certainly rather know I was accepted now, and be paid later. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

The guidelines originally said that most rejections would come quickly, with those the editor liked being held over for final decisions. I submitted early in hopes of getting a second swing at it if my story was rejected, but I have found no evidence that anyone was rejected from May 31-July 31. Doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened, of course.

*Sigh* I guess since it is Sunday, and still no response, that means that we have to mourn Jetse’s untimely death? Alas, alas.

  shineanthology wrote @

I am now Schrödinger’s editor: in a superposition of states. The observation of a superior (or at least conscious) mind will decide my fate.

I’ve worked throughout the weekend, and responded to about half of the submissions, but a bicycle repair (I don’t have a car, and really need it to get to the day job) and other matters took up more time than expected.

So kill me, by observing my state from just the right angle.

I am getting there, it’s just taking longer than I wished and expected. Maybe I should just quit the day job…;-)

  Tom Wright wrote @

Ahh, it’s not so much that you are Schrödinger’s editor, as much as we are Schrödinger’s authors. We exist in a superposition of states, being either accepted or rejected, and until we open the e-mailbox we won’t know which universe we live in.

So the question is, just how long IS the half-life of the radioactive editor…?

  Frank Gilbert wrote @

So have all the acceptances already gone out or what? Just saying that one line would do a lot to clear up the confusion without having everyone wait on their personal rejection.

  karen wester newton wrote @

If I might weigh in yet again, I can’t speak for anyone else, but I would rather wait for personalized feedback than receive a mass email that just said “no, thank you.” So, if that’s the hold-up, no problem from my POV.

  Solar Panel wrote @

Hello, good post. I just found your blog and am already a fan. 🙂

  SixString wrote @

Jetse, could you drop a post to inform us if the responses you’re sending are acceptances, rejections, or both? That would ease some people’s minds, I think. (One, at least.) Thanks.

  Antonino wrote @

SixString inquiry is legitimate, but it collides with Jetse statement he is now Schrödinger’s editor, in a superposition of states: he simply is unaware of his condition. According to Tom, we all don’t know which universe we live in. But I think the wave function is about to collapse… 🙂

  Brian Ted Jones wrote @

Didn’t Fox Mulder tell Deep Throat something like ‘cut the Obi-Wan Kenobi crap’ when DT, rather than answer Mulder’s legitimate questions, persisted in offering vague, wink-wink responses?

Maybe I’m alone here, but does this Editor’s behavior strike anyone else as unnaturally bizarre? Handing in the manuscript, and only then sending out rejections and acceptances? Writing blurbs, apparently, for SHINE–if Jetse’s recent Twitter post is any indication of how he’s spending his days–rather than finishing up the business of responding to people who submitted, in good faith, to his anthology; people who are still waiting for responses, and who have let it be known, through email queries AND this message board (which Jetse obviously reads) that they would really be satisfied with an answer to one, simple question: are acceptances still forthcoming? I don’t think that’s too much to ask, and I think the kind of ‘hide the ball’ nonsense this Editor is playing is too much, finally, to put up with.

Maybe I’m uptight, but I’ve got better things to do than read the tea leaves a day longer. I’ve sent Jetse a notice withdrawing my story. I’ve also mailed it to Asimov’s. They’ll probably reject it, but at least I’ll get a response.


  Antonino wrote @

As Jetse said all replies will be sent of next week, I suppose we can wait for it until tomorrow. At least, I can (as Jetse knows, I’m not an anxious fellow…)

  SixString wrote @

Well, I suspect Brian’s frustration stems from the fact that Jetse’s been saying “end of the week” for quite a while now. If Brian’s story was in, he has now withdrawn it and Jetse has a hole in his ToC. As I suggested earlier, not a good situation for anyone.

I understand the time pressures Jetse has mentioned: cons (part of his job), weather (not so much), bicycles, illness, etc. But as someone who gave up a weekend vacation with his family to finish pounding out his story, I too am a bit impatient with some of the delays.

  Brian Ted Jones wrote @


One of the weirdest things for me about this whole situation is how transparent Jetse’s editorial process has been. Anyone who’s followed the Shineanthology Twitter account has found a lot of information about what he’s been doing, what he’s liked in the submissions, etc. And that’s also where a lot of the excuses you mention have been found.

The thing about that, though, and I hate to bring this up because it’s borderline tacky, is that we’ve also heard a lot about just how much fun Jetse’s been having, and it’s getting kind of absurd. He’ll write a post about all the good beer, wine, and scotch he’s enjoyed, and then the next day it’s, ‘oh, can’t get work done on Shine, bike’s broken’, and then ‘replies by the end of this week’, and then nothing.

Anyway, SS, sorry you missed out on vacation time with your family. Them’s the shakes though, right? Good luck.


  SixString wrote @

Thanks, BTJ. Part and parcel of being a writer.

Anyone trying to make a living at this knows you aren’t making money when your manuscript is sitting–whether on your desk or an editor’s. We all understand the slush pile, but it’s worse if your manuscript is rejected but *still* sitting on an editor’s desk (or disk) because you haven’t been informed, collecting dust rather than out collecting a paycheck.

  Frank Gilbert wrote @

I’m with you BTJ,

Jetse’s behavior is bizarre to put it lightly. I was going to buy the antho regardless of whether I got in or not, but now he’s lost me as a customer.

Announcing he’s got a ToC completed without sending out rejects first is a slap in the face to writers who submitted in good faith. Then while continuing to delight in his completed ToC, he makes apologies for not having enough time to reject the rest?

It’s great to see how professionally he handles his anthology’s twitter. Yes, use a marketing tool to twit about being sick, drinking whiskey, and going for jogs. I’m sorry but he’s done nearly everything possible to make himself look like a joke rather than a professional editor trying to shake up the industry.

Jetse, good riddance to you, your insults towards the SF genre, and your childish self-indulgence. Maybe next time, just save the personal info for your private friends and put a more professional face on your work. I’d have been much happier if you had said nothing about what was going on and I got the reject 3 months from now.

  Antonino wrote @

As Karen supposed, Jetse replies (including rejections) are very personalized feedbacks. I received one yesterday, and I was quite satisfied with it.

  SixString wrote @

Personalized feedback is great, and I look forward to seeing it.

I finished an optimistic SF novel a couple months back. Since this is my first novel, I’m looking to find an agent. Piggybacking that I have a story in the upcoming Shine anthology would be good, so I’ve been holding the manuscript for the last month or two since our notifications were coming “by the end of the week.” Had I known it would be this long, I would have submitted the manuscript long ago. Instead, it’s been languishing while I await “the end of the week.”

I also have other stories ready to go, but again, my submission strategy kinda depends on what happens with Shine. I don’t mind waiting a week; I don’t mind waiting 2 months. I do mind waiting a week eight times. I can’t plan effectively around that.

I only wanted to know if my story was still under consideration. If so, I don’t mind waiting. But if we were rejected 6 weeks ago, we should have been informed. We understand it can take a couple months for an editor to get to a manuscript. We don’t understand why telling us should take another several weeks after it’s been accepted/rejected. The personalized feedback could always come later, after the notification.

If I haven’t heard by tomorrow, I might pull my story as well. You gotta wonder if payment will be just as problematic.

  shineanthology wrote @

Children, children, children.

(NOTE: this obviously doesn’t apply to the people on this thread who behave like adults: you know who you are!)

Your overworked editor takes more time than expected to get the replies out (also caused by the fact that the submission deadline was extended with a month, which some of you are conveniently forgetting), and when he makes a wry remark about that you get your knickers in a twist. You poor, tormented souls.

Whatever happened to “Write the next story while you wait for the reply on the previous one?” It was one of the things I was taught as a writer – as patience really is a virtue in the publishing industry – but I guess in these overclocked, modern times it is considered old-fashioned.

Oh well: I have been getting out over two hunderd replies so far, each with *personalised* comments. About a hundred more to go, and your horrible suffering will be over.

In the meantime, why don’t you watch this beautiful King’s X video? It’s very illuminating…;-)

  SixString wrote @

I find Jetse’s condescension inappropriate. People have asked legitimate questions and he could have used his response to answer them rather than talk down to us. Us–the writers–the ones who enable him to have that job. We are not children, and asking for more information isn’t childish.

Yes, we know the deadline was extended and he got a lot more entries. We appreciate (yes, we really do) personalized responses. But why, in his 200 words or so, did he still not answer the basic question: ARE YOU STILL SENDING OUT ACCEPTANCES? If not, we can move on. Keeping us in the dark on that simple, basic issue makes this relationship seems less collegial and more like a power trip. The tone of his response only reinforced that image. At least to me.

  Vaslov wrote @

Some of these comments are making me feel less optimistic about the future of humanity.

[…] an article about positive developments in the world (I’ve already posted plenty of those). Here’s one development that particularly caught my attention, because it is a […]

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