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Pacific Edge (Three Californias Triptych, #3)
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Pacific Edge (Three Californias Triptych #3)

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  1,022 Ratings  ·  71 Reviews
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.
Paperback, 336 pages
Published May 15th 1995 by Orb Books (first published 1990)
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Mar 23, 2013 Robert rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf
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
Jenny (Reading Envy)
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.
Chris Radcliff
Jul 08, 2013 Chris Radcliff rated it really liked it
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, bu
Mar 30, 2015 Enso rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jonathan Strahan
Feb 14, 2010 Jonathan Strahan rated it it was amazing
I love love love this book. Smart, perceptive and easily the best novel about utopias I've ever read, I recommend it without hesitation.
Steev Hise
May 11, 2010 Steev Hise rated it it was ok
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
Jul 25, 2008 Brian rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Kevin, Bryan, Jill, Melisa
Recommended to Brian by: Lee Hendricks
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
Jun 09, 2008 Ben rated it liked it
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
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!
Maynard Handley
Feb 07, 2016 Maynard Handley rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 19, 2016 Donna rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book of a utopian town in 2065. Rather than seeming futuristic, it painted a homey vision of living in a community where people live a life incorporating warm friendships and green living in ways that sometimes seemed old fashioned, but using high technology where it is helpful. Yet a group of people still must organize in an effort to stop greed and development from changing their town forever.
Steen Ledet
Nov 26, 2016 Steen Ledet rated it it was amazing
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.
Jul 10, 2016 Zach rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Bjorn Larsen
Mar 08, 2015 Bjorn Larsen rated it really liked it
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 t ...more
Robert Beveridge
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 ...more
Jul 25, 2014 John rated it really liked it
A 4.5

I 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, and
Aug 25, 2010 Mark rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
John Park
Jul 14, 2013 John Park rated it really liked it
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 genera ...more
Aug 22, 2008 Jason rated it liked it
Shelves: 50books2008
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
Nov 18, 2009 Michael rated it really liked it
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
Jul 17, 2015 Dave rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
This book fairly effectively portrays how communities make decisions--with a small group of people on either side caring about the decision passionately, while the majority of the people may fall on one side or the other or may simply not care. The society described in the book is a sort of utopia, where poverty has been limited (or eliminated?), and environmental destruction addressed (though perhaps not eliminated either). The characters experience the stakes of their decision as being high, b ...more
Dec 20, 2014 Mike rated it liked it
Pacific Edge is the third book in Kim Stanley Robinson’s Three Californias series, a series in which each book describes a different vision of the future of Southern California. The first two books, which I haven’t read, are dystopian and, judging from the synopses, pretty grim reading. Pacific Edge, however, is Robinson’s vision of a Californian utopia, of a society that has managed to rein in and diminish corporations, legislating a system that imposes checks and balances on economic power. Ca ...more
Apr 24, 2015 Kyle rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
This was a quick read for me: I finished it in the course of two TGV segments while traveling in France, probably over the course of five hours or so.

I first got into KSR (like many others I assume) through his Mars trilogy, and I can see the similarities both in the writing and opinions here, although perhaps less developed at this point.

I really enjoyed this book—my only complaint might be that it was too short! The plot consist of two major interconnected threads: one a fight by the main ch
Jun 19, 2016 Mike rated it really liked it
The third of Robinson's three California novels, Pacific Edge is set in an ecological utopia where the economy and exploitation has been curbed in order to protect the environment and natural spaces. In many ways it reads like a love letter from the author to Southern California. There are a number of digressions from the plot to describe the nautral beauty of region. He somehow manages to get away with that without being self-indulgent or boring.

For an environmental science fiction novel, ther
Dec 16, 2008 Chadwick rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People who need a little optimism for a change already
Shelves: sf, utopian-anarchist
I'm getting close to the saturation point with Kim Stanley Robinson, but I gotta say that this is an amazing novel: a utopian science fiction story that doesn't feel cheap. The world that he creates in Pacific Edge is hard-won, and the struggle to keep the gains that have been secured is ongoing. And, despite the fact that the residents of this world have started to figure out how to do it right, they still must cope with the crushing small tragedies of individual life. This quote sums up the b ...more
John Maxwell
Jun 20, 2015 John Maxwell rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Fantasy Literature
Mar 15, 2015 Fantasy Literature rated it really liked it
Where The Wild Shore shows us a post-apocalyptic California and The Gold Coast deals with future where urbanisation is out of control, in Pacific Edge Kim Stanley Robinson explores a utopian future: a California where people have learned to listen to the land and to pursue more sustainable population levels and economic activity. Together, these three books make up the THREE CALIFORNIAS TRIPTYCH.

In 2065 the world looks quite different from what we are used to. The unsustainable economic practice
Patrick Justo
Apr 04, 2015 Patrick Justo rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
It's the mid-2060s. Civilization has not come to an end, but it was a close thing.

Since the 2020s, dedicated people from all over the world had been fighting to pass laws to limit corporate power and increase the power of local municipalities. The result, by 2060, is a kind of ecotopia -- stakeholder (not shareholder) businesses, obliged to pay for _all_ the resources they use, and overseen by the communities in which they are located. For a great many people, the world seems _right_.

But people
Mar 21, 2010 Rob rated it really liked it
...Pacific Edge is probably a love it or hate it book. Politically it is a lot more provocative than either of the previous books. I guess a die hard supporter of neo-liberal economic policy wouldn't make it past page fifty. That's a shame, this vision of California's future may not be the most likely but it certainly offers some interesting thoughts on the current environmental crisis the world is in. To me this utopia doesn't sound so bad...

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Kim Stanley Robinson is an American science fiction writer, probably best known for his award-winning Mars trilogy.

His work delves into ecological and sociological themes regularly, and many of his novels appear to be the direct result of his own scientific fascinations, such as the 15 years of research and lifelong fascination with Mars which culminated in his most famous work. He has, due to his
More about Kim Stanley Robinson...

Other Books in the Series

Three Californias Triptych (3 books)
  • The Wild Shore (Three Californias Triptych, #1)
  • The Gold Coast (Three Californias Triptych, #2)

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“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.” 14 likes
“I grew up in a utopia, I did. California when I was a child was a child's paradise, I was healthy, well fed, well clothed, well housed. I went to school and there were libraries with all the world in them and after school I played in orange groves and in Little League and in the band and down at the beach and every day was an adventure. . . . I grew up in utopia.” 10 likes
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