Shineanthology’s Weblog

An anthology of optimistic, near future SF


In previous posts, I’ve put up the prizes, and I’ve put up the rules of the SHINE competition. Now here’s the competition itself.

Below are fragments from all the stories that will appear in the Shine anthology. Each fragment has an ending sentence, for which four possibilities are given. Three are false (made up by me, or—in same cases—by the author), one is correct. Guess the correct answer. One point for each correct answer: so one can earn a maximum of 16 points with this.

Bonus points are given if one guesses the name of the author of the fragment correct. This way, one can earn another 16 points. So the maximum possible points one can earn is 32.

Example (this is from “Araby” by James Joyce):

North Richmond Street, being blind, was a quiet street except at the hour when the Christian Brothers’ School set the boys free. An uninhabited house of two storeys stood at the blind end, detached from its neighbours in a square ground. The other houses of the street, conscious of decent lives within them,

A) gazed at one another with brown imperturbable faces.

B) turned a blind eye to the boys’ noise.

C) kept on as usual, refusing to be distracted.

D) shuddered at the vibrant energy disturbing the quiet afternoon.

In this example, the correct answer is 1-A, and the author is James Joyce. So a competition entry would look like this: 1-A, Jane Doe; 2-B, Joe Sixpack, 3-C, Captain Nemo, etcetera until number 16.

Below are the actual entries: good luck!

—“Story 1”—

I hissed a curse and made to leave, then stopped short. The smart-fans squeaked, surprised by my sudden stillness. On my eyelid, the prompt flashed: Link to device “XiXi” for data transfer? The same prompt I’d gotten every day for the past week. I wasn’t sure where Papa had hidden Xiaohao’s wi-mo, but that didn’t matter, did it? I was in range. I agreed to link, and Xiao’s unit asked me for a password.

A) “Garden,” I said. The cache opened.

B) “Garden,” I said. The Earth turned.

C) “Garden,” I said. The world changed.

D) “Garden,” I said. The ground trembled.

—“ Story 2”—

The kid under the digital cloak nodded, and wrapping up Inácio’s report turned to close the connection. “Thank you, Mr. Lima. It was a pleasure doing business with you.” The next moment he was gone.

When Inácio was about to leave, he noticed the hard drive sill standing on the parapet, where he forgot it. He walked towards the sea, grabbed the box and quickly got back to the escalator, where Lúcio waited for him.

A) He wondered what the carbon footprint for love is.

B) He wondered what it would take to make the world believe.

C) He wondered what would make the black bar go down again.

D) He wondered what the ecotax of stupidity should be.

—“ Story 3”—

Roy sighed. I’m going to do my job, he almost said. I’m going to get old and gray and sit on everything I have, and when I die hopefully I can give it to someone who deserves it.

And then, a sudden thought: Of course, I could do something different.

After all, I do need to show good faith effort on the FOLR.

It was an insane idea, a monument of idiocy. There was no way it would work. Even with the resources of Intelligent Risk.


Goddamn it.

A) It was time to let the shit hit the windmill.

B) It was time to take a leap of faith.

C) It was time to take the needle off the record.

D) It was time to put all that money where their mouths should be.

—“ Story 4”—

Life drawing is about volume and line. She tells her students to be hasty. “Throw down the lines, capture some space, and move on. Be quick,” she says. “Quick!” And then watches them frown earnestly over painstaking pencils while the model sits, naked and patient, and reads her book.

“Look,” Manon tells them. She takes her pad and a pencil and sweeps her hand, throwing down the lines. “Here, here, here. Fast! A hint, a boundary, a shape. Fast!” Her hand sweeps and the figure appears. It’s so easy! See the line and throw it down.

They don’t get it. They look at her sketch with admiration and dismay, and are more discouraged than before.

“Start again,” she says.

They start again, painstaking and frowning.

After class she goes back to her studio and takes apart the pathetic bundle of wired twigs.

A) Pathetic! She’s been taking too much time already.

B) Weak! Where is the power of her expression?

C) Clumsy! Think too much, create too little.

D) Meager! She doesn’t get it either.


—“ Story 5”—

Puffing and hot in the face, I handed the pole back to Aisatu ten minutes later. “Don’t worry,” she said. “You will get it eventually. It is woman’s work, so all women can do it. Not the men.” She and Fadi began to pound again, singing along in Fulfulde, the local patois.

“I don’t know how you do it,” I said.

A) “Persistence and a certain way with the pole,” Fadi said.

B) “Someone has to do it,” Fadi said, “How else would we eat?”

C) “Don’t forget to sing,” Fadi said, “There’s strength in the rhythm.”

D) “We are women,” Fadi said. “Who else would do it?”

—“ Story 6”—

She sat looking at the screen as it shut down, thinking of the Bedouin man. She wondered what he was like without the scarf obscuring his face. She imagined him as lithe and brown-skinned, his composure as cool and composed as his stance, his rough grip as unsettling and electrifying as she’d found the brief glimpse of his eyes to be…

She yawned. The aspirin were kicking in and her headache had sunk to a dull pain behind her eyes.

She took off her clothes, folded them on a chair, and fell into bed. Sunday morning. Nation. She’d be there. And so would he.

A) He’d better be, or face her wrath.

B) He’d have to be, with such a big event happening.

C) He couldn’t not show up, after their intense exchange.

D) He’d turn around after he got to know her better.

—“ Story 7”—

“So what next?” Mike says, after they toast each other.

“Interconnectedness,” Freddie says. “and self-sustainability. No more waetman/blakman, no more aelan/mainland, no more binary division. I’m talking probability diffusion, I’m talking nano-cloud mini-formations, I’m talking multiple singularities. No more food/fuel imports, no more volunteer dependency/first world handouts, no more monocrops/soil depletion. I’m talking solar/wind/biofuel/wave generators, I’m talking biodiversity farming and reforestation, I’m talking sustainable fishing and coral reef renewal. I’m talking—”

“Whoa!” Mike Rowe says. “Where did you get all this stuff?”

A) “Information,” Freddie says, “wants to be free. And used.”

B) “Information,” Freddie says, “wants to be free. And independent.”

C) “Information,” Freddie says, “wants to be free. And self-sustainable.”

D) “Information,” Freddie says, “wants to be free. And accelerated.”

—“ Story 8”—

@frogheart29 We made the top of Google News? AWESOME!

9:08 am April 7th, 2054 from distweet in reply to frogheart29

@the25thkarenbear Not related to archaea, bacteria, cyanobacteria or eukaryotes. Completely new lifeform.

7:04 am April 7th, 2054 from distweet in reply to the25thkarenbear

And, shit. Also confirmed: whatever these are, they are now in T’s skin and blood. Probably elsewhere.

1:25 am April 7th, 2054 from distweet

A) OMG, a pathogen one of us carried has evolved into the SPACE FLU!!!

B) Cosmic rays have turned one of my mushrooms into the bacteria-destroying-funghi-from-hell…:-(

C) Confirmation from NSU and company: Totally new lifeform. TOTALLY.

D) Extended lack of Earth-like gravity has made our immune system turned against ourselves: space heebie-jeebies, anyone?

3:06 pm April 6th, 2054 from distweet


—“ Story 9”—

“What the hell are you talking about?”

The man opened his knapsack. He took out a grey ear of corn with the kernels swollen ten times its normal size. It looked like the corn had a tumor. In truth, it was covered in fungus.

“Dear God!” James yelled and he began to pound frantically on his multi-text device, photos and words plopping from the little pad until it was there in red capital letters: ustilago maydis.

A) “Named after the god of war,” said Mr. Totol.

B) “It’s very good in a quesadilla,” Mr. Totol said nonchalantly.

C) “Superb base for a tortilla,” said Mr. Totol, “with tequila.”

D) “Better than magic mushrooms,” Mr. Totol enthused, “and more nourishing.”

—“ Story 10”—

And then Derek started playing. His hands were on that guitar, and they were making—well, you couldn’t call it music, in the abolutely strict sense of the word. It was noise, basically. Squealing, agonising bursts of sheet-metal sound, none of which bore any kind of harmonic relationship to what had gone before. But the one thing I couldn’t deny was that it worked. With the backing tape, and the light show, and the fact that this was an actual […] playing a Gibson Flying V guitar, it was possible to make certain allowances.

Hell, I didn’t even have to try. I was smitten. And that was before Derek opened his mouth and started singing. Actually it would be best described as—

A) a sustained, blood-curdling roar—

B) a growl rising from subsonic to supersonic—

C) a flamethrower combined with an explosion—

D) a Motörbreath raising Lemmy’s ghost—

—“ Story 11”—

“I don’t!” Hunter screamed, tears trailing down his cheeks, lit by the trendy piezoelectric floor-powered club lights pulsing to the fashionable heart-attack thump of Malaybeat techno. “I let Bagheera amog me and fuck it all up! I don’t got shit!”

I managed to fight my urge to start calling him by his real name—Wilfred Chan—but I made the mistake of reasoning with him. “What? Listen, you do. You got game. Trust me. I’ve seen your work, Hunter, ever since you first came to Den Haag. I watched you amog Marko Rechschild, and co-bro Park and Almeira into signing that Pacific RI treaty, all in three hours!

A) You even got Almeira to put the complete bar bill on his expense account!

B) You even talked Inés Sanchez into reporting it on BBC/CNN as ‘the great eco breakthru’!

C) You even banged that hot little attaché from the IECWP before the committee went into session!

D) You even made Park reconsider his sexual orientation after your brilliant innuendos!

—“ Story 12”—

The Qur’an says that all people are a single nation.

It has always been the will of man to separate us in thought, in clothing, in language. Separate, we can be controlled. Separate, we can be killed in the quiet of the night and disappear into myth.

A) Separate, we bow to the powers that be.

B) Separate, we stand alone. Together, we stand as one.

C) Separate, we forget that in the end we have the power.

D) Separate, we are but lambs to the slaughter.


—“ Story 13”—

Rada took MV to a large dark cellar. The shelves were stacked with produce in bottles. Strings of garlic and bunches of dried herbs hung from hooks. Intoxicating odours enveloped him. She took a jar of cherries and opened it. The smell hit him.

“Close your eyes!” She slid something wet, round and squelchy into his mouth.

The taste of the cherry was just divine—he opened his eyes to see her licking sticky red liquid off her fingers.

“Wow, that’s amazing”. It was even more delicious than—

A) anything he tasted when he had the munchies after smoking weed.

B) a cold beer while frantically playing WoW.

C) a fresh pizza after a night of wild, bonking sex.

D) the chocolate cake only his mother could make.

—“ Story 14”—

Sleep tugged on her, but she wanted to prove she knew what derm was: “De-graded Rewoven Refuse Matters.”

Materials. Degraded Rewoven Refuse Materials. And the Noras got big, some of them. This Nora swirls in a big vortex, vacuuming up one of the North Pacific gyres, just a never-ending clockwise rotation. Whole thing’s kept in place by a mountain of high pressure.”

“Like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.”

“Except that one, that’s as big as Texas.”

Texas was a place so big you could walk for months and you’d still be there. Whenever they wanted to say how big something was—like the tuna that defeated Dad—she and Grappa would say, “big as Texas.”

She fought against sleep, because Grappa was talking even past lights out. But the great ocean gyre had her in its arms. The gyre was a huge ocean creature that danced in a big soft circle, carrying turtles, volley balls, tunas, ghost nets, and—

A) enough plastic to cover the whole of Japan with.

B) their island around and around and around and into dreams.

C) so many toys you could play forever and ever and a bit.

D) all the whales, dolphins and seals in a gentle embrace.

—“ Story 15”—

“And this is Beauty the Leopard. He is a male leopard.”

The kids began to buzz.

“Joe the Martian found Beauty on Pluto. He was frozen solid.”

“Miss Pak! Miss Pak!” I turned around and one girl was waving her right hand in the air.

“Yes, Husna-Beth?”

“Why is the leopard frozen? Why is he on Pluto?”


“Uh—people—Basukuma—brought him there but left him behind. By accident.”

“Why?” A boy asked.

A) “He slipped right off Saturn’s rings when Pluto passed by.”

B) “The Basukuma were in a hurry for the interstellar football cup.”

C) “Pluto was a wildlife sanctuary before it slipped out of orbit.”

D) “The Basukuma were on their way to the stars.”

—“ Story 16”—

“It’s very delicate,” the technician said, his voice ragged with jet-lag and worry and mild exasperation, the sort of things that Brandon now recognized as love.

“I know.” Singer brought out his reader with his other hand and thumbed open an app; Brandon recognized the corporate logo from the technician’s soaked-through polo shirt. Singer tapped something, and the UAS hummed to life. LEDs lit up along the ridges of her body, and her wings prepped themselves for flight. Something on Singer’s reader chirped, and he smiled. “She just texted me,” he said. “We’re good to go.”

He keyed in a command, and the UAS rose straight upward—

A) for three seconds, then fell down. “I told you it wasn’t charged yet,” the technician said, exasperated.

B) hesitantly, as if testing the air. “What about enemy fire?” Singer didn’t sound particularly happy.

C) and into a ceiling fan. Her pieces sheared away from one another, scattering across the room.

D) like a dragonfly on crack: yawing, rolling and pitching nonstop. “Inherent instability,” Singer said, “shorter turns.”


(And a few hints: I have told all the Shine authors to report their sales last week, so Google is your friend in finding who the authors are. Actually, one of them has even set up a page on Twitter with the Shine authors who are on Twitter [not all of them are]. Check via @shineanthology. And one of them has posted the sale, but the link she made is borked. Anyway, she is one of the authors mentioned on the cover. There are actually 17 authors – for 16 stories – as one story is a collaboration. But Google should tell you quite easily who they are. Good luck!)


  uberVU – social comments wrote @

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This post was mentioned on Twitter by Outshine: And the madness spreads: the SHINE competition is now also live at the SHINE site: . Don’t miss it!…

  Twitted by silviamg wrote @

[…] This post was Twitted by silviamg […]

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