Shineanthology’s Weblog

An anthology of optimistic, near future SF

Archive for DayBreak Magazine

SHINE excerpts in January:

Four story excerpts of the Shine anthology have already been put up at DayBreak Magazine:

January 1, 2010:

January 15, 2010:

UPCOMING:

January 29, 2010:

NOTE: correct links for the still-to-be-published excerpts will be added after they’ve actually been published.

NOTE 2: More Shine excerpts coming in February, March & April.

Also, I’ve put up a poll at DayBreak Magazine asking: “What are your favourite DayBreak stories of 2009?” Let me know!

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Kindred Spirits, part 9

In all the kerfuffle I haven’t failed to notice Terry Bison’s interview with Kim Stanley Robinson (regular visitors know I’ve quoted the man several times on this site already). Io9 summarised it as “Dystopian Fiction Is For Slackers“, and while I mostly agree — while acknowledging that there are great dystopias, I think the form itself has become too much of an easy writing mode and a cliché — I think it oversimplifies matters.

As Kim Stanley Robinson said on the New Scientist website earlier this year, science fiction tends to see the pessimism/optimism duality too much as an either/or phenomenon, while in real life things are much more complex: they’re a mix of upbeat and downbeat, with indifference, incomprehensibility and interconnectedness thrown in for good measure, and also strongly subjective; that is dependent on and coloured by one’s personal experience, mindset and perspective.

And indeed, while he calls it ‘utopia’, what he means is not a full-on, happy clappy Pollyanna:

So, the writing of utopia comes down to figuring out ways of talking about just these issues in an interesting way; how tenuous it would be, how fragile, how much a tightrope walk and a work in progress.

This, BTW, describes the majority of the stories in both the Shine anthology and DayBreak Magazine. One clear example that you can already read is David D. Levine’s “horrorhouse“, that perfectly demonstrates ‘how tenuous, fragile’ such a ‘utopia’ (I prefer to call it a ‘better future’, meaning there’s always room for improvement, with ‘utopia’ as the ideal that can never quite be reached) is: both a ‘tightrope walk’ and always a ‘work in progress’.

Finally, I take note that if people thought that I overstated my case with the “Why I Can’t Write a Near-Future, Optimistic SF Story: the Excuses” piece (which keeps consistently getting several dozens of hits each day), well, Kim Stanley Robinson doesn’t exactly pull his punches, either:

The political attacks are interesting to parse. “Utopia would be boring because there would be no conflicts, history would stop, there would be no great art, no drama, no magnificence.” This is always said by white people with a full belly. My feeling is that if they were hungry and sick and living in a cardboard shack they would be more willing to give utopia a try.

Amen to that.

(Or, as I said: “And indeed, that’s what most dystopias are: a comfort zone for unambitious writers”.)

While some do see the opportunities in utopias (and watch this space come March 19, 2010), others immediately feel the need to defend dystopias. As if these, like climate change, need defending.

Anyway, one small blessing has already occurred: new e-zine Bull Spec — whose first short is by Terry Bisson, indeed who did the ‘utopia’ interview: coincidence? — already changed their guidelines to include utopias on the theme:

“utopias are hard, and important, because we need to imagine what it might be like if we did things well enough to say to our kids, we did our best, this is about as good as it was when it was handed to us, take care of it and do better. Some kind of narrative vision of what we’re trying for as a civilization.”

(Which is a straight quote from the Galileo Dreams interview.) So one more market — keep track: such markets are thin on the ground — where to send an optimistic story (when they re-open on February 1 next year).

Apropos David D. Levine’s “horrorhouse“, another interesting ‘coincidence’: a few days ago New Scientist put an article called “How reputation could save the Earth“, where the influence of maintaining a good reputation is wielded to extract good (eco-friendly) behaviour:

If information about each of our environmental footprints was made public, concern for maintaining a good reputation could impact behaviour. Would you want your neighbours, friends, or colleagues to think of you as a free rider, harming the environment while benefiting from the restraint of others?

Compare this to the EcoBadge in David’s story, which was published 17 days before the New Scientist article, demonstrating that near-future SF can both be trend-setting and not age immediately.

DayBreak Magazine Reading at WFC

Borderlands Books Ripley

Hot off the press: Alan Beatts — Borderlands Books owner and this World Fantasy’s man in charge of the program — just confirmed that there is a slot available at the World Fantasy Convention for the DayBreak Magazine reading!

Friday night, October 31, in the Crystal Room, at 9 PM: DayBreak Magazine Reading!

Fairmont Hotel San Jose

Apart from your editor (who won’t be reading…;-), the following DayBreak authors will be there:

In the meantime, I will check if the fickle gods of Schiphol tax free have something interesting on offer to bring along…

Announcing DayBreak Magazine

sunrise_pines_9

With the Shine anthology—next year’s must-have collection of near-future, optimistic SF—now slated for an April 2010 release, and with exuberant SF as thin on the ground as bankers without bonuses, DayBreak Magazine will alleviate the waiting and fill the gap. Simultaneously quenching your thirst for upbeat stories while also whetting your appetite for the main uplifitng dish, DayBreak Magazine ( http://daybreakmagazine.wordpress.com/ ; http://daybreakmagazine2.wordpress.com/ : you get 2 for the price of one, which is free) will feature a positive, forward-looking story every second Friday until the print Shine anthology is released, or possibly even a bit beyond that date.

The launch is on Friday October 16, on the eve of Diwali, with “The Very Difficult Diwali of Sub-Inspector Gurushankar Rajaram” by Jeff Soesbe. The second story will be released on Friday October 30, one the eve of Halloween: “Horrorhouse” by David D. Levine. More to be announced. A new story every two weeks: stories set all over the world, all depicting a future in which you would actually love to live. All for free, and all for your delectation.

Sunrise over Atlas Mountains

Please note that these online stories are different from the ones in the print Shine anthology: It’s just that I liked them so much I’ve decided—after negotiations with the authors—to put them online as a free showcase for upbeat science fiction.

Friday October 16: “The Very Difficult Diwali of Sub-Inspector Gurushankar Rajaram”:

Monkey_1

It is Diwali in Bangalore, but not everyone is partying as Sub-Inspector Gurushankar Rajaram and his colleagues are working overtime to keep certain things from escalating:

  • There will be helicopters, wobbling!
  • There will be children, rebelling!
  • There will be elephants, marauding!
  • There will be monkeys, harassing!
  • There will be the third eye of Shiva, watching from the sky!
  • There will be song!
  • There will be dance!
  • There will be party!
  • There will be the ghost of Dev Kapoor Khan, the Indian Elvis!

Will Sub-Inspector Gurushankar Rajaram overcome the increasing madness around him, or will he become mad, himself? Confused? You won’t be, after reading “The Very Difficult Diwali of Sub-Inspector Gurushankar Rajaram”, an exuberant tale of a near-future India that puts most Bollywood pictures to shame!

Friday October 30: “Horrorhouse”:

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Contrary to popular belief, things will get better in the future, as a change of lifestyle has developed. Not everything is completely rosy, though, as word spreads, like an electronic flash, about a horrorhouse that holds the next generation completely in thrall. Adults not allowed, and the young people who have visited the horrorhouse refuse to talk about it. Ethan Cole—the famed forerunner of the Twitter Revolution—is sent in to investigate…

UPDATE: I’ve added a poll!

UPDATE 2: DayBreak Magazine is getting some love, from SF Scope, Futurismic, Tor.com, 42 Blips and SF Signal, amongst others. And some more love from Big Dumb Object and Charles A. Tan. Keep it coming!