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An anthology of optimistic, near future SF

Archive for April 16, 2010

SHINE excerpt: “Sustainable Development”

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While most story excerpts from the Shine anthology have appeared already at DayBreak Magazine, I decided to post them here, as well (after all, this *is* the Shine website). This is the fifth one: “Sustainable Development” by Paula R. Stiles:

Normally, selling peanuts in Boubara is a job mothers send their children to do in the marché. As the spider heads up the steps into the bar, I try the usual way of calling a child—crooking my fingers at the robot. “Tsst! Petit! Viens ici!

The robot approaches me. Someone has left a carefully scrawled sign on the tray, “10 CFA par tas—10 Francs per pile.” Village prices. I pull out a 50 CFA coin for all five tas and toss it onto the tray.

The robot tilts the tray forward until the tas begin to slip. It probably has a weight measurement control inside that calculates the coin.

Prenez tous, grand merci—Take everything, thank you,” it says in a flat, metallic voice. I scoop up the tas and dump them on the dusty cement of the bar. After I empty the tray, the robot hurries off through the empty marché.

Talk about tech dumping. Who got the bright idea to dump intelligent robots in a small African village? My predecessor, that’s who. He got them to help the men grow cash crops. Scooping up my peanuts, I stand and follow it.

Excerpt from “Sustainable Development” by Paula R. Stiles. Copyright © 2010 by Paula R. Stiles.

Picture credits:

Possessing a quixotic fondness for difficult careers, Paula R Stiles has driven ambulances, taught fish farming for the Peace Corps in West Africa and earned a Scottish PhD in medieval history, studying Templars and non-Christians in Spain. She has also sold fiction to Strange Horizons, Writers of the Future, Jim Baen’s Universe, Futures, @outshine and other markets. She is Editor in Chief of the Lovecraft/Mythos ‘zine Innsmouth Free Press. You can find her at: http://www.geocities.com/rpcv.geo/other.html or on Twitter (@thesnowleopard).

Also, check out the exclusive interview Charles A. Tan did with her at SF Signal.

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Review Quotes:

Sustainable Development by Paula R Stiles brought a huge smile to my face; in her future vision it is still the women who do all the hard work!

Catherine Hughes;

Sustainable Development by Paula R Stiles had me smiling. Very tongue-in-cheek and very clever, Stiles plays with stereotypes in a small, impoverished, African village where the men are seen never to be doing any of the hard work, but the women are constantly working and seemingly working themselves into the ground. It’s a very small story, but again it’s well edited and cleverly written, so that the final scene makes you smile that slow steady smile of happiness.

SF Revu;

Paula R. Stiles’ Sustainable Development envisions robots in unlikely roles in West Africa.

Explorations: the Barnes & Noble SciFi and Fantasy Blog;

A short and funny story with a twist about African women using considerable ingenuity to help with their backbreaking work.

Fantasy Book Critic;

Sustainable Development by Paula Stiles is a charming short tale of ‘appropriate’ technology in a less-developed nation.

Concatenation;

Sustainable Development by Paula Stiles, about robots taking over the “women’s work” of a West African village, is rather too much of a happily-ever-after story, especially given the social dislocations that often accompany sudden technological changes.

SciFi Wire;

An interactive map of SHINE story locations:

US:Buy SHINE at Amazon.com! Buy SHINE at Barnes & Noble! Buy SHINE at Borders!Buy SHINE at Powell's Books!

UK:Buy SHINE at Amazon UK! Buy SHINE at WH Smith!Buy SHINE at Waterstone's! Buy SHINE at the Book Depository!

Independents:Buy SHINE at the IndieBound!Buy SHINE at Books-A-Million!Order SHINE via Goodreads!

Canada:Buy SHINE at Amazon Canada!

Germany:Buy SHINE at Amazon Deutschland!

India: Order SHINE at Flipkart!

The Week in Tweet, Week 45

Inside of me, is a man that I knew
Who could rattle these chains — who could shake these cages
Inside of you, is a dream that I see
And the echoes of @outshine are calling…

Monday November 2:

[Quote for the Monday] “If necessity is the mother of invention, then resourcefulness is the father.”

[Source] Beulah Louise Henry / U.S. inventor / Feminine Ingenuity (Anne L. MacDonald).

Tuesday November 3:

Third album from this Motor City two/three piece pushes post-metal to new limits of subtlety, depth and scale. Listen with the lights off.

[#SoundBytes] GENEVA by Russian Circles –http://www.russiancircles.net/ / Suicide Squeeze Records –http://www.suicidesqueeze.net/.

Wednesday November 4:

The immigrants come, weary, uncertain of their welcome
people make room for them
the immigrants’ culture infuses their own with new spice.

[Bio] Daniel Ausema’s a stay-at-home dad whose stories and poems have appeared in many places. Find him athttp://danielausema.blogspot.com/.

Thursday November 5:

Absolute truth or BS, you’ve got to wonder what kind of bet Milly Jovovich lost that made her accept the lead role in this godawful mess.

[#Spitballs] The Fourth Kind / Directed by Olatunde Osunsanmi /http://www.thefourthkind.net/.

Friday November 6:

[Quote for the Friday] “A man is happy so long as he chooses to be happy and nothing can stop him.”

[Source] Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1918 – 2008) / Russian novelist / Cancer Ward.

Saturday November 7:

It was spring and his basement was drying up. Last night, just two feet of water on the floor. A man can’t even stay wet in his own home…

[Bio] Marlo Dianne is a writer/artist of more than fifty published works. This wondergeek is found @http://www.forbiddendragon.blogspot.com.

Sunday November 8:

Fast, violent, and blessed with a great voice cast, this is still a rather rote SF take on movies about corrupt cops and the plucky rookie.

[#ShineComics Extra] GREEN LANTERN: FIRST FLIGHT by Alan Burnett (script), Lauren Montgomery (dir.); Warner Premiere, 2009, $19.98/$24.98.