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Pacific Edge

by Kim Stanley Robinson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Three Californias (3)

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6721534,783 (3.83)22
North America, 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.The final volume in Kim Stanley Robinson's Three Californias triptych, Pacific Edge is a brilliant work of science fiction and an outstanding literary achievement.… (more)
  1. 00
    Always Coming Home by Ursula K. Le Guin (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: Two Pacific Coast ecotopia's
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» See also 22 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
I'm not sure I'd recommend this book widely, but I connected with it in some surprising, jolting ways. The vision of a more just future, the abundant nature, Kevin's struggle with his emotions and sadness, Tom's life... A lot to chew on here, moreso than the first two books of the triptych. This feels like a true KSR novel at last (and that makes clear to me how much Le Guin influenced him). ( )
  mmparker | Oct 24, 2023 |
As the rest of the series. There are some interesting ideas, but I think they could have been delivered in another way. ( )
  NachoSeco | Oct 10, 2022 |
A good book, the sort of book that only a well established author could write. I don't think this works as a debut book. But as the 3rd of the 3 californias, it does work. I understand it's no fun to make the utopia one too idyllic, although I think Kim went somewhat far the other way. I also understand that utopia isn't something you just have, but something you have to constantly fight for, and I enjoyed the slice-of-life aspect of it a lot (I've had a hard time finding this type of novel in traditional printed books)

I also found the love story one of the best I've read. I really felt his love for Ramona and so many words I thought 'yes, it felt just like that'. But I'm unsure what to make of the rattle-snake hill part. All the work they did was largely from his grandfather being famous (which, if the point is that these battles are being fought constantly in small towns' boads, defeats the purpose for me). And in the end, only the grandfather dying made it happen. Uninspiring and depressing. It is interesting to read this and compare to Ministry of the Future, and see how he fleshed out the ideas.

Finally, I just found it a lot the way that Kim's (and the grandfather's) version of utopia is just california in the 70's/80's. It's not that those are bad times, but biking everywhere with no gasoline usage is easier when it's not freezing (or really most places not CA) ( )
  Lorem | May 15, 2022 |
(...)

For the most part Pacific Edge does feel realistic – even if Robinson fails to show the exact path how we would get to a world where the scourge of global capital is restricted. The fact that he doesn’t even speak of the tipping point(s) that would set us on a more wholesome path might be the book’s biggest shortcoming. Either way, it is remarkable that the story retains its realism, even if the society KSR portrays seems farther away today, in 2022, than it might have seemed in 1990 – and as such is unrealistic.

It’s hard to wrap my head around those two conflicting notions of realism, but the fact that it retains a degree of realism is due to two things. Robinson draws his characters clearly, and as such his portrayals of love and friendship hit the mark. And maybe even more importantly for a novel that is about ideas as well: he identifies real problems standing in the way of utopia, most notably the way our market society is structured – problems that are still relevant today.

(...)

As such, it was very interesting to read Pacific Edge with The Ministry of the Future fresh in mind. It is as if Ministry is the book one of the characters in Pacific Edge had wanted to write. Not only do they have a sharp focus on finance & law in common, but also because Ministry does try and chronicle the way we get to a better world, in much more detail.

(...)

Full review on Weighing A Pig Doesn't Fatten It. ( )
  bormgans | Feb 2, 2022 |
This is the second of the "Three Californias" series that I've read and it represents a huge improvement over the dull [b:The Gold Coast|41125|The Gold Coast (Three Californias Triptych)|Kim Stanley Robinson|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1312020876s/41125.jpg|3269850], 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 one I haven't read is post-nuclear holocaust. But "Three Orange Counties" is probably not as internationally marketable a title as "Three Californias"... This was back in the days of KSR's optimism, when he thought presenting a choice of futures to people might help. Look at how strident he became when he realised that wasn't going to work: [b:Forty Signs of Rain|41129|Forty Signs of Rain (Science in the Capit0l, #1)|Kim Stanley Robinson|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1320445817s/41129.jpg|962345] etc. And how depressed he became when that didn't work, either: [b:Galileo's Dream|6391377|Galileo's Dream|Kim Stanley Robinson|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1303142224s/6391377.jpg|6579805]. Gold Coast, here we come.

"Utopia" is in quotes because the point is that whilst this is KSR's optimistic view of how things could turn out, where corporate power is severely limited, the environment is a paramount concern and nobody owns a car as an individual, KSR recognises the will to power within humanity and that the fight against it would have to never stop. That struggle, in microcosm, is the plot of the story - to save an undeveloped hill from organised powers intent on re-asserting control illegally.

It's also a love-story. This aspect of the novel was particularly well done; I don't off-hand remember relating so directly to the descriptions of the emotional state of the protagonist during his love-pangs in any other novel.

There is one flaw, though; KSR's obsession with baseball (strictly soft-ball, in this case) is over-indulged. Indulging it at all being an over-indulgement in my view because the only thing I find more boring in sport than watching baseball is reading about it. ( )
  Arbieroo | Jul 17, 2020 |
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kim Stanley Robinsonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Elson, PeterCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rudnicki, StefanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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for my parents
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Despair could never touch a morning like this.
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North America, 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.The final volume in Kim Stanley Robinson's Three Californias triptych, Pacific Edge is a brilliant work of science fiction and an outstanding literary achievement.

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