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! Read the rest of this entry »


The rules: I’ll keep it short and sweet.

  1. Everyone from around the world is allowed (and invited!) to enter. However:
  2. Since the top ten prizes are alcoholic drinks, I will ask confirmation of the top ten winners that they are of drinking age in their country of residence. Without that confirmation by email I will not send out the prize, and let number 11 (or 12, or 13, etc.) be the lucky one;
  3. Enter the SHINE competiton by sending your answers (example: 1-A, author Jane Doe; 2-B, author Joe Sixpack; etc.) to . Please put “SHINE COMPETITION” in the header: this makes my life much easier.
  4. Accompany this entry with your postal mail address: an *actual* address. Sorry for families: only one entry per postal mail address. This is to prevent one person from entering multiple times. I will send the prize to the address of the winning entry, and if that is a non-existent postal address, then the next one in line will get the prize;
  5. Entrant with the most correct answers wins: if more than one person has the most correct answers, then the first one (by date of the email) wins. Number 1 gets first choice of the main prizes;
  6. Then the one with the second most correct answers (or who came in later than number 1 while having the same number of answers correct) will have the second choice of the main prizes;
  7. And so forth down the line until all ten main prizes have been selected.
  8. The competition will run from November 30 until December 15: it will close to entries at December 16 midnight, Dutch time. All entries coming after that will be discarded unread;
  9. Winners, together with the answers of the competition, will be announced on Friday December 18;
  10. The editor, the authors and the people working for Solaris Books (in short: anybody with knowledge and access to at least one of the original stories) is excempt from this competition;
  11. I am the judge, jury and executor of the competition, and my judgment is final.

That’s it: good luck!


Today, Monday November 30, I will start the official Shine Competition. The actual rules will be posted in a separate post, and the actual competition, as well.

But to whet your appetite, let’s start with what you actually can win! Well, I’ve decided that the winners get a choice. It works like this: the top twenty will all get either an ‘Optimism’ T-shirt (I’m contacting Compass Box about availability, especially re. different sizes) or a ‘Shine’ T-shirt, which I’ll produce myself on CaféPress; and — of course — a copy of the Shine anthology.

However, those finishing in the top ten, get to select the main prizes, as follows: number 1 gets first choice, number 2 second choice, etcetera until number ten just gets what the others left over.

So, without further ado, here are the main prizes:


Frapin Cigar Blend: the perfect digestif after a heavy Thanksgiving or Christmas meal. A “ Grande Champagne, Premier Grand Cru du Cognac”, which is admittedly a mouthful, but wait until you have an actual mouth ful of this liquor of the gods! Cognacs are — with only some very rare exceptions — blends, and this blend has its separate constituents aged on new French oak casks (a French speciality) for at least 15 to 20 years. Resulting in a tannin-rich, yet surprisingly smooth cognac, with overtones of vanilla, dried fruits, honey, fine herbs and old port. I give this to my brother (who doesn’t like whisky) for our regular Sunday meals, and such a bottle never lasts long!


Highland Park 21 years old: A superb whisky that’s both complex and smooth. Like with the Springbank 18 year old (see below), it has a legendary predecessor: the Bicentenary. It’s been over ten years since I tasted the Bicentenary, so it’s hard to make a comparison. This Highland Park 21 year old is very smooth while having a surprising depth. On the one side you have the signature Highland Park toffee, fudge and dark chocolate, while on the other side you have a heathery smoke, nutmeg and ginger. It’s mellow, yet firm like a loving mother who knows what’s best for you. Kidding aside, a whisky that’s both silk and steel.

Springbank 18 years old: this is one of the most highly anticipated whiskies of 2009. The first Springbank to be following on the footsteps of the legendary 21 year old of a decade ago (I bought those 21 year old Springbanks for 96 guilders — about €40 — at the time. Now it’s become a collector’s item and goes for €400). And they’ve only bottled 7800 of this one, which are going fast. I’ve managed to get one, so grab this opportunity! It’s hard to say how it compares with its legendary predecessor (it’s been over ten years since I tasted that one), but this Springbank 18 years old is everything a whisky should be: smooth & sharp; rich & oily; depth & balance; oranges & pepper; tannins & caramel; cacao & honey: a perplexing paradox of yins & yans zig-zagging through the complete whisky range (I better stop while I’m still ahead…;-).

Read the rest of this entry »