When thinking about a title for this post, I was thinking along the lines of “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”, but I haven’t seen an ugly review (yet). Then I thought “The Bold and the Beautiful” works better this time around. Anyway, the first reviews of SHINE have been put online, and here they are (at least, the ones I’m aware of, so far. Do feel free to point me towards others!):
- Bibliophile Stalker Charles A. Tan boldly assumes that my own story “Transcendence Express” is, more or less, the template or the ‘perfect example’ for a SHINE story. I would like to emphasize that this was not my intention: as an editor I know that an author is too close to her/his own story to judge it objectively, so taking my own story as the ‘mother copy’ for SHINE would be folly. I’ve put up several posts explaining what I was looking for (not to mention a few crazy story ideas), and none of them mentions my on story, very deliberately. Having gotten that off my chest, Charles gives an honest assessment of the anthology, coloured — like that of any reviewer — by his own viewpoints. He calls it a ‘mixed success’, where ‘the good stuff outweighs the bad’.
- Nihilistic Kid Nick Mamatas — the boldest reviewer at SciFi Wire — boldly proclaims: ‘Sick of the Apocalypse? Check out 16 futures worth living in!’ He takes me to task for being too obtrusively present (while noting that my intros can be easily skipped), he takes some of the stories to task for too much naïveté, and while praising Mari Ness’s story remarks that it has ‘an uninspired little fart of a title: “Twittering in Space” (the actual title is “Twittering the Stars”). But all in all he is positive: “Overall, Shine is utterly worth reading”.
- Maurizio Del Santo of Fantascienza (warning: Italian language review) is, like Charles and Nick — if the Babelfish translation is any help — both praising and critical, while some of his remarks seem to echo some of Nick’s;
- Paul Goat Allen — the established reviewer of Explorations: the Barnes & Noble SciFi and Fantasy blog — waxes lyrical about SHINE: ‘The Future’s So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades (Finally)‘. To quote:
That’s why Shine is such a significant – dare I say, historic – anthology. And with a rich diversity of settings and thematic speculation, this is a collection most science fiction fans will undoubtedly embrace.
- Liz de Jager — who admits to not being a core SF fan — on SFRevu takes the time and trouble to discuss each and every story. She only dislikes two (a score I’m very happy to take), and concludes with:
I’m not the biggest SF fan in the world, but I’ll happily promote this to others who, like me, feel the same way. Here are authors with stories and characters I could relate to. But then, I suspect hardened SF readers out there will devour this with gusto. Jetse de Vries has done a truly remarkable job putting Shine together and I’d like to be signed up to read any follow-up anthology because this one has genuinely broken down some preconceived ideas I’ve had about the genre.
Outreach, people: one of the (many) things I’m aiming for with SHINE is to reach an as wide audience as possible, and it is encouraging that both a very well-read SF reviewer and one whose main preferences lie outside SF both enjoyed SHINE.
STOP PRESSES: Damien G. Walter at the Guardian Booksblog just posted an article on ‘The Bright Side of Science Fiction‘, where SHINE gets mentioned in a long paragraph. A bit too short to be an actual review, but it does tie in with the outreach I mentioned above, to quote:
But if we are to have some some influence over how that change unfolds, isn’t it important that our stories, whether they be in the news, on television screens or in the pages of science fiction novels, fully explore the optimistic possibilities that technology represents?
Amen to that!