‘At Budokan’ by Alastair Reynolds
Reynolds is by far the biggest name in this anthology. He is a superb short story writer who is now perhaps best know for his huge novels (and, indeed, his huge ten year contract with Gollancz). But he is not an immediately obvious fit for Shine; his vast space operas often attract the adjective “gothic” and the timescales he routinely deals with are virtually nihilistic.
Well, this story isn’t much like anything else in this book and isn’t much like anything else he’s written. ‘At Budokan’ starts with a nightmare about being “crushed to death by a massive robot version of James Hetfield”. It ends with a tyrannosaurus rex playing a Gibson Flying V. Near future and optimistic don’t really come into it.
Near-future? See above.
Optimistic? See above.