Pacific Edge

Pacific Edge In a world that has rediscovered harmony with nature the village of El Modena California is an ecotopia in the making Kevin Claiborne a young builder who has grown up in this green world now

  • Title: Pacific Edge
  • Author: Kim Stanley Robinson
  • ISBN: 9780312850975
  • Page: 492
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 2065 In a world that has rediscovered harmony with nature, the village of El Modena, California, is an ecotopia in the making Kevin Claiborne, a young builder who has grown up in this green world, now finds himself caught up in the struggle to preserve his community s idyllic way of life from the resurgent forces of greed and exploitation.

    One thought on “Pacific Edge”

    1. This is the second of the "Three Californias" series that I've read and it represents a huge improvement over the dull The Gold Coast, which probably would have put me off KSR forever if it had been the first book I'd read by him.The Three Californias are really Three Orange Counties - three near future visions of what a place beloved to the author could turn out like. Gold Coast is an extrapolation of current trends toward money over everything, particularly environment. This is a "Utopia"; the [...]

    2. Never reviewed this one but you can hear me discuss it on the SFF Audio Podcast. This one is a utopia. What happens when life is good? Well, not a lot. I do like the parallel future idea that KSR had for this triptych, but I haven't read the other two.

    3. I started re-reading Pacific Edge with some trepidation; I worried it wouldn't stand up to my memory, that its utopian ideas would seem naive compared to my experience of the world. Luckily, the world Robinson builds is complex and nuanced, and the characters are so engaging I wouldn't have minded if it wasn't.The main story is set in 2065, a time when many of our big problems – war, income inequality, fossil fuel dependence, corporatism – have been solved, not by technological breakthroughs [...]

    4. Despite being a huge Robinson fan, I've never read two out of three books in his "California" trilogy, written back in the 1980s. This book is full of what clearly became themes in his later works. Lots of detailed descriptions of landscape, hiking, and being out in the open, along with the strange (yet actually normal) interrelationships between normal people. There isn't a lot of overall plot in that it is an utopian novel set in a small town struggling with a legal zoning fight in the city co [...]

    5. I love love love this book. Smart, perceptive and easily the best novel about utopias I've ever read, I recommend it without hesitation.

    6. Of this book my judgment is mixed: the author is exploring something I think we need more of: visualizing a near-future where humanity actually gets its shit together and starts fixing some seriously broken stuff, like our abuse of nature and the out-of-control power of corporate capitalism.But sadly, as with many science-fiction writers, the prose is sort of low-quality. Well, I'll say medium-quality. I started out reading SF exclusively as a kid, but I guess when you get used to reading top-no [...]

    7. Must redefine utopia. It isn’t the perfect end-product of our wishes, define it so and it deserves the scorn of those who sneer when they hear the word. No. Utopia is the process of making a better world, the name for one path history can take, a dynamic, tumultuous, agonizing process, with no end. Struggle forever.Compare it to the present course of history. If you can.Some brilliant moments that rise above, but still a lot of prosaic parts that characterize his early work (my fault for savin [...]

    8. Recommended by dear friend Lee as one of his top-10 fave novels of all time, I was a bit disappointed with it. Certainly unique to imagine a (literal, not negative) utopia with intrusive government, heavy taxation, lots of lawyers and byzantine land-use zoning regulations. And also somewhat rewarding to find repeated characters/themes in the trilogy -- but not overwhelming in the end.A lot more romance/sex/relationships than the first two, which caught me off-guard and seemed to distract from hi [...]

    9. I liked a lot about this book. How many novels do you read where the local Green Party stops developers and engages with local residents in heated political arguments that are fairly sane? But, as sometimes happens with KSR, the characters are not as sharply defined as they could be and it's easy to lose track of who is doing what. Hence I didn't like it as much as the great left activist/teacher/writer Mike Davis did.Of the three books in the "Wild Shore Triptych" I liked The Gold Coast best, I [...]

    10. I liked what KSR was doing with this, but was a bit mixed on a lot of the particulars. I'll be making a video review very soon!

    11. I'm not sure quite how to read this novel (and the entire triptych project) so I'll give an initial review (with spoilers), then some comments on an alternative reading.So: the straight reading.This is a deeply unsatisfying novel, clearly a very early effort. I'm not going to dwell on how it's unsatisfying as "literature", plenty of others have done that, but on how it's unsatisfying as a utopian novel. The basic problem is that such a novel has to explain how and why its society works, somethin [...]

    12. second read - 2009 October 15 - **** I first read all three of Kim Stanley Robinson's Orange County novels as they came out, which was spread out over a few years in the 1980s. In the past two months, I re-read all three of them, and still like them quite a bit. They are related to each other, not sequentially, but as three alternate futures for the same Orange County (extensive suburban area of Los Angeles). The first time I read them, I was not aware of the extent to which subtle geographic re [...]

    13. And the last of the Three Californias. Three variations of a future Orange County. Three different fates. This book describes the best possible fate -- a world that's brought unchecked capitalism under control, a world where we are able to live in harmony with the surroundings, a possible utopia.And yet there's still conflict, there are still people doing bad things and being evil. It's funny that KSR's most recent book dealt with real estate drama, as this one does as well, and it's the main un [...]

    14. This short, unassuming book wormed its way into my imagination and has become one of my favorite books. I can't tell you how many people I've recommended it to and told about its semi-utopian ideal of California. Of what the world could look like if environmental movements "won" and we redefined what efficiency meant, to mirror sustainability. And the fact that regardless of how just and environmental our system is, people are still people and life will still be a tricky maze of broken individua [...]

    15. Having finally finished the third book I can give a more complete review.It is hard to say that these books are 'about' anything specific. We are shown three alternate futures for one particular area of California. One after a nuclear war, one a future which looks more like what we could actually get and a third with something of a utopian town.There is one character is each story, an Elder man by the name of 'Uncle' Tom, who may or may not be supposed to be the same person. What you do have is [...]

    16. There's a sort of interstitial bit that I quoted earlier:"Utopia is the process of making a better world, the name for one path history can take, a dynamic, tumultuous, agonizing process, with no end. Struggle forever."That message, and the way that the continual process is demonstrated in this book, despite the pains that accompany that process, is why I'll remember this book for a long time, and recommend it to others.

    17. Robinson is one of the few writers who could make an exciting book about land development. However, there are some obvious plot points that were eye roll worthy and some style choices that amounted to shortcut story summaries that were annoying. And everyone in the book seems to be fit and active with no disabilities or other health issues even when the character is well into their 80s. In spite of this, I still enjoyed the book.

    18. Utopia is not a state but a struggle. And a struggle located in the everyday. Small, not big. Robinson's book convinces us of all this.

    19. As the rest of the series. There are some interesting ideas, but I think they could have been delivered in another way.

    20. This was okay. Not something I would normally search out. I will likely steer clear of KSR in the future.

    21. The final book in the Three Californias triptych is at once the most hopeful and the saddest. Like Aurora, Pacific Edge is a beautifully sad story, made all the sadder by the sense of hope carefully nurtured throughout most of its length. The characters just don't get what they want most, any of them, but at the same time Robinson manages to convey the awe-inspiring grandeur and majesty of their lives, making their personal tragedies seem at once trivial and somehow keener. It's a wonderful, awe [...]

    22. This book is an interesting contrast between a somewhat-utopian world and the disappointment in one of the main characters due to a failed romance and death of a loved one. I liked the contrast of how we can hope for more as a civilization/species, and also that certain things like death and lost love will always be universally sad. I like Kim Stanley Robinson's sort of wandering, character drive plots and laid out universes (some others disliked the lack of more plot). The book is fairly presci [...]

    23. Back when I felt a little closer to writing rather than just reading, I always thought to myself: "I love speculative fiction. I love Jane Austen. Why couldn't characters in 'sci-fi' novels have rich and important emotional lives as well?" Since then, I've read a lot of talented "sci-fi" authors that do just that: Ursula Le Guin, Robert Charles Wilson and one of my favourites, Kim Stanley Robinson. Mr. Robinson wrote the seminal Mars trilogy - THE BEST, hands down, "hard sci-fi" account of the [...]

    24. This is billed as science fiction. I'd hesitate to call it that. Yes, it's set in 2065, and yes, it's set on Earth with radical changes in place, but these things seem to take a back seat to the main story. All good science fiction is character- and plot-driven, of course, but much of it still seems to have that obsessive fascination with technology; Robinson muses on the properties of a new thing or two, but ultimately, the story is about something we've all likely seen over the last twenty yea [...]

    25. A 4.5I have read about 10 of KSR’s books. I always feel he pours a lot of himself into his stories, but never more so than in this book. It seemed the most revealing, like a look into his thoughts and hopes. He wrote in detail how he wants to see mankind change and culture evolve. He forged a way forward, asking humanity to follow. It was inspiring. KSR’s writing resonates with me on a deep level. His characters seem so real, so genuine. He plunks you down into the middle a group of people, [...]

    26. The best of Kim Stanley Robinson's Three Californias series, Pacific Edge deals with utopia realized. Orange County is a natural wonderland, with voluntary controls on population growth and over building and land use. Everyone is conscious of the ecology in which they live, eating out of their own gardens, biking everywhere, preserving wilderness areas.The drama comes when, Alfredo, the town's mayor wants to build an office complex on the last vacant, ocean-facing hill in Orange County, which ju [...]

    27. In my own private mental library this is a sort of reply to Heinlein’s The Moon is Harsh Mistress. Both are set at about the same time (the year 2065 in Robinson’s case); both have a strong political agenda, are episodic rather than plot-driven and centre on a rather isolated community facing a threat with both internal and external elements--a threat recognised by only a few members of the community. In each there is an elder male source of guidance, while the male lead is something of a ge [...]

    28. Finally able to finish up this trilogy from the excellent Robinson. The Three Californias Trilogy is a re imagining of what different futures would be for an area that is loosely based around Orange County. The first novel, The Wild Shore, is post-apocalyptic. The second, The Gold Coast, is hyper technological and this novel I would call Utopian or ecotopian.I would say that this is the least sf of all the novels; it's almost a straight fiction or even a romance set in a re imagined future. Kevi [...]

    29. Oh, what a bittersweet piece of speculative fiction.This is the third and final book in KSR's Three Californias trilogy. Unlike so many trilogies that are really just one book in three volumes, Three Californias really is a trilogy: it is three different visions of what Southern California might be like. All three are set between 2047 and 2065, but one is post-apocolyptic, the second is of a California wrapped in narcissistic materialism, and the third is utopian. Pacific Edge is a rich foray in [...]

    30. This is the third of Robinson's Three Californias. In this, the set in a future where most of the issues have been sort of resolved by social progress, or at least that is the impression that is given. Reading between the lines, it is clear that this state of affairs represents something of a hiatus progress of society. In the town of El Modena the one remaining undeveloped hill is being is coming under pressure for a change in its status sop that it can be used for commercial purposes. It is th [...]

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