‘Ishin’ by Madeline Ashby
Reading the introduction to Shine I remarked that the problems the anthology seeks to solve are primarily economic and political. Perhaps understandably the majority of stories have shied away from this fact and instead treated the symptoms of the problem with a judicious application of magic technology. So it is nice to end the book with a story that sees beneath this.
In medicine, it is well known that prevention is better than cure; in politics, it is well known that punishment is better than prevention. Building another super max prison or aircraft carrier is always more attractive than tackling boring issues like entrenched inequality. Ashby’s story sees a tiny corner of the military industrial complex re-inventing itself to concentrate on prevention, justice and healing. It represents exactly what de Vries intended for this antholgoy: an ineffable flame of hope.