‘Paul Kishosha’s Children’ by Ken Edgett
“Definitely not a plethora of Pollyannas”, it says on the back cover of Shine, but I don’t know how you could describe this lovely little fairytale as anything other than idiotically optimistic. Paul Kishosha single-handedly starts an East African space race with his children’s science programme that culminates with a successful mission to Mars and a space elevator in Tanzania. The details along the way are surprisingly good but this is so far fetched as to make a total mockery of the idea optimistic SF is meant to be about solving problems or engaging with the real world.
Near-future? Half and half.
Optimistic? Impossibly so.