Monday, February 16, 2009

Take your optimistic sf in small doses

Tired of living life after the apocalypse or enduring dystopia? A new wave of optimistic science fiction may be rising or at least forthcoming in the optimistic, near future sf Shine Anthology from Solaris Books, edited by Jetse de Vries. The anthology starts accepting unsolicited submissions May 1 and, meanwhile, the Web site serves as place to discuss the idea of optimistic sf: Can we envision a positive future in fiction and still have plenty of rock 'em sock 'em conflict? The anthology sparked some discussion over at Futurismic: Should sf should be more optimistic?

A good deal of philosophical discussion about optimistic sf
bounced around in 2008. Here were a few contributions:

• Writer and former Interzone co-editor (2004-2008) de Vries asked the question, Optimism in SF: Is it Dead?, in the plane of the ecliptic and included a repost of his Jan. 2007 column, "Let's face the future with a smile," originally written for the British Science Fiction Association magazine, Focus.

• At writer Jason Stoddard introduced his manifesto, Stranger and Happier: A Positive Science Fiction Platform, and wrote about optimistic sf in the posts Strange and Happy and More Strange, More Happy.

• Writer Paolo Bacigalupi added to the discussion at his in a post on Optimistic CO2 Sci-Fi.

But what about the books? De Vries gives some examples of optimistic sf in an an interview for The BookSpot Beat. They include Bruce Sterling’s Holy Fire, Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy, and Jason Stoddard’s Winning Mars. An Asimov's forum compiles more suggestions in a call to create a canon of optimistic sf.

Not sure you are optimistic? It does take awhile to adjust to the light. Acclimate in micro doses at the Twitterzine Outshine in 140 characters or less. Like the Tweets, but drawn to the dark side? You can also get blips on sf, fantasy and horror from Nathan E. Lilly's, Thaumatrope.

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