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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.

326 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1990

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About the author

Kim Stanley Robinson

231 books6,099 followers
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 fascination with Mars, become a member of the Mars Society.

Robinson's work has been labeled by reviewers as "literary science fiction".

Excerpted from Wikipedia.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 149 reviews
Profile Image for Robert.
816 reviews44 followers
March 23, 2013
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 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: Forty Signs of Rain etc. And how depressed he became when that didn't work, either: Galileo's Dream. 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.
Profile Image for Judy.
1,642 reviews267 followers
December 11, 2022
Pacific Edge is the third in Kim Stanley Robinson's trilogy of possible futures for Southern California, specifically Orange County. Each book is set in the earlier years of the 21st century though later than our current present.

In 2065, a medium size community has a strong Green Party and has maintained a sustainable lifestyle for the most part. In contrast, its surrounding towns have constantly expanded the building of structures, financial gain and exploitation of the natural world.

Now the charismatic Mayor of the town wants to develop the one remaining hilltop wilderness and build a complex for his medical company. The fight over this proposal takes place in the town council as well as in the hearts and minds of the town's residents.

As in the earlier two books of the trilogy, The Wild Shore and The Gold Coast, the natural world is front and foremost, existing uneasily next to scientific and economic progress. The viewpoint shifts from book to book: a post-nuclear apocalypse, a dystopia and now an attempt at utopia. Hence the collection is called Three Californias Triptych. In each, Robinson balances action/adventure and human relations with technical and environmental issues.

Though this was my least favorite of the three, it grew on me as I read and as it picked up in tempo and literary excitement. Many brave authors and brave souls have attempted to create utopias on our planet. I surely understand why KSR wanted in on the attempt, at least in his imagination.

Thanksgiving week we drove down Interstate 5 from Los Angeles to San Clemente for a family gathering through the worst traffic I have ever seen on that unavoidable California freeway. As we sat in our car for two hours averaging 15 mph, I thought that Robinson was not that far off in his creation of our current Orange County from his speculative ideas in the 1980s.

I have lived here and driven that freeway for almost three decades but I saw it all with fresh eyes that day, thanks to having read these books.
Profile Image for Tomislav.
946 reviews66 followers
October 31, 2020
second read - 15 October 2009 - ****. In the past two months, I re-read all three Orange County novels, 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 references, a few plot events, and one character, were re-used in different ways in each. But watching for that now just added to my interest. They are - The Wild Shore - a post-apocalypse novel set in a world where the US was nuclear bombed, and then quarantined by the rest of the world for 100 years. A first-person narrative, and coming of age story. The Gold Coast - a future of overdevelopment and overpopulation where some individuals try to find meaning in their lives. A dystopia. Pacific Edge - a future where deliberate population reduction and choice of sustainable lifestyles has led to a technological but low key network of villages in Orange County. A utopia, but still with human drama.

A lot of the themes that Robinson later reworked in his Mars and Capitol Code series are present here - ecological sustainability, social justice, the politics of natural resources, and introspective interpersonal relationships. The descriptions of bicycle commuting, backpacking trips, gardening, and house remodeling are accurate in detail, and clearly something Robinson himself enjoys as much as I do. In fact, it's a little scary how much the quasi-utopia he invented here embodies my own values.

But what really made this novel for me was the characters. It is about some ordinary people who live in this future, whose issues are merely local. But just because this society has progressed somewhat, doesn't mean bad things don't happen. People are still people, each with good and bad in them. It felt so real, like maybe these characters live down the street from me, and some day I might draft behind one of them on my way to the office.

first read - 2 September 1991 - ****. I first read all three of Kim Stanley Robinson's Orange County novels a little after they came out, which was spread out over a few years in the late 1980s.
Profile Image for Enso.
184 reviews34 followers
March 30, 2015
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 council. Our craftsman carpenter protagonist loves the last hill that is going to be developed if he doesn't win but he's also known most of the other characters, including his antagonist, since childhood. There is a love triangle between the woman that they both love and a bit about his grandfather, a depressed hermit, who is one of the architects of the legal framework of their society. In the sense of plot, there is not a lot of "there" there. It is a book about the people and a kind of dream of southern California life. As a resident of California for almost a decade now, I can kind of dig that and, as a utopia, it sounds like a great place to live, really. It isn't tense except on the interpersonal level though.

The book it not too badly dated. The parts from his grandfather's journal, many years in the past in 2012 (!) don't sound too out of place for our world except for the focus on the AIDS epidemic as a plot point (not surprising for writing in 1988). The 2065 "present" is quaint in ways without networking, outside of people using their TVs to videoconference, and no mobile computing or cell phones. All phones are wired and I feel like a relic just reading that.

I enjoyed it and I think Robinson fans would enjoy it. I'm not sure if this is a book, versus just going to the Mars trilogy, that I'd recommend to people that don't know Robinson. It definitely gives you the early stages of things that are very present in the Mars trilogy, his global warming trilogy, and various other later novels.
Profile Image for Chris Radcliff.
1 review1 follower
July 8, 2013
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, but by hard work on social and legal progress. The setting is Southern California, just like the other Three Californias novels, this time in a bucolic town where the residents split their time between work, softball, civic improvements, and communal family life.

The book also weaves in excerpts of a character's journals from 2012, which was the future when the book was written (and when I first read it). That future-present is different from ours in the details, but all too familiar in tone. The journal entries provide balance to the narrative, not just by contrasting Robinson's utopian vision with present reality, but by challenging the idea of a utopian novel itself. This impressed me most, a layer I hadn't remembered from the first reading that gave the book even more depth as a philosophical piece.

Overall: still wonderful, a worthwhile read. I'm inspired to find the other two novels and reread them as well.
Profile Image for Lena.
1,136 reviews238 followers
May 3, 2019
B1793E07-AEF7-4679-BC82-A10AAF610B9A.jpg
“One of the worst signs of our danger is we can’t imagine the route from here to utopia. No way to get there.

Take the first step and you’re there.”


This book had many interesting things to say about utopias and you can feel the author’s desire to bring us forward to a better tomorrow.

I enjoy that sincerity in KSRs work.

Unlike his previous work I found myself caring deeply for the main character, Kevin. KSR pulled me into this emotionally rich young man who bravely follows his conscious and his passion.

Unfortunately that meant when Kevin was devastated I was beside myself with grief.

I almost had to quit this book but I’m glad I saw it through.

Thank you Solarpunk friends!

*audible note: the narrator was too baritone. Overall, a basic bitch of an audiobook.
Profile Image for Luke Burrage.
Author 5 books640 followers
June 22, 2021
Too much softball, but otherwise a really good novel about the mostly-trivial-seeming problems someone experiences living in a utopia.

Full review on my podcast, SFBRP episode #459.

After 12 years, Luke finally reads the third book of Kim Stanley Robinson’s Three Californias Triptych: Pacific Edge.



https://www.sfbrp.com/archives/1865
Profile Image for Bart.
364 reviews82 followers
February 2, 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.
Profile Image for Jeff.
521 reviews31 followers
April 16, 2021
Pacific Edge is Robinson's utopian novel in the triptych. Set in 2065, in Orange County (again, of course), our protagonist Kevin Clairborne is in a battle to save an undeveloped hilltop in the town of El Modena from development. The antagonist in this book is Alfredo Blair, the town mayor, who wants to re-zone the hilltop. The elder character Tom, who also appears in the first two books of the triptych, is Kevin's grandfather and (again) a former lawyer. Tom is writing a book (also a recurring activity) and has a personal connection to the hilltop.

What is a utopian society like? It seems that a progressive tax rate is in place along with limits to personal income levels. Society is governed by strong environmental regulations and some of the old buildings and existing roads are being razed and recycled as they are no longer needed. Energy, water, and land are nationalized. There is more of a sense of community in that citizens are expected to volunteer time regularly to perform tasks such as watch children (not my idea of a utopia). Technology is more in the background than in The Gold Coast. People communicate via video chats on TV screens. The first human landing on Mars takes place during the novel, but we don't learn much else about what's going on in the rest of the world as far as technological advancements.

The chapters are told mostly from Kevin's point of view, with a few from Tom's, and a few from town attorney Oscar's point of view. Kevin and his nemesis Alfredo are on the City Council so there is plenty of political drama surrounding city decisions and who supports who in the council. What else went on? There is the ever-present relationship drama between four of the characters. There are some glider flights, a lot of hiking in the woods, and a lot of softball as it seemed like the whole town played in the town league. Kevin's softball exploits took me out of the story. He never made an out and had this impossible hitting streak which is highly unlikely with ten fielders and only two strikes as well. I mean you are going to pop one up or hit one at someone eventually. I played a lot of baseball back in the day and this felt ridiculous to me. Another thing that I thought was goofy was that two of the characters were professional wrestlers. Professional wrestling in 2065? I hope not.

Anyway, I rather liked this overall. There was little in the way of action but the conflict in the story became increasingly interesting as the story went on. Unlike the first two books, I felt that it did drag in places but I never lost interest. It was slower than the other two books but still really well written with well developed characters.

All three books in the triptych were narrated by Stefan Rudnicki who had a really deep voice but did a great job with all the voices. I picked up all three books free on Audible. What a great membership perk! I initially felt this was a three star book but the more I dwell on it the better I feel about it so I'm giving it a fourth. I'm looking forward to reading more by KSR.
Profile Image for Adam .
1,231 reviews157 followers
May 21, 2017
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 saving this to near the end). There's a fantastic bit set on a futuristic cargo ship, and you think about a similar one in Aurora and about how he could write a whole book set on one, but it's one chapter that's just disconnected from the rest.

There's too much baseball. The water management stuff and Californian history is boring, and while I think we need to protect wilderness and biodiversity, etc, I can't really get in to this level of deep ecology. I just don't care about them saving the hill from a development. If they'd been fighting it to fight money laundering, sure, I guess. But I suppose that's part of the point: he's setting out to prove there are still underdogs and uphill struggles and chaos in utopia. As a prototype for his future work, it's a fine book.

My only other complaint is how he uses a lot of plain jane names that all run together (Kevin, Tom, Hank, etc). I get that it's a motif in his triptych, but it's a problem in a lot of his novels. Eventually the names just start running together.

I liked the near future elements, of course. And the predictions he gets wrong (the Soviet Union still being a concern, mostly consumer technology stuff like still using VHS tapes) are as interesting as the things he gets right (submarine lifeboats, sort of predicts Skype, solar panel ubiquity, etc). Really weird to think that the first book in the series was written only three years before I was born, and we've already surpassed much of his future stuff in some ways.

In his utopian elements he has an interesting maximum wage law. People top out at a certain point (they're referred to as hundreds, because they're making one hundred percent of what they're allowed, but it's unclear how much wealth they have, and I think the amount a hundred can receive varies regionally). The money they would have been making is (I think) paid to the government as tax, and they can decide how up to 20% of it is spent (one character thinks cynically that a hundred is directing his tax money into the military and biomedical industry, so his related businesses can continue to profit through government contracts). I prefer Jeremy Corbyn's simpler maximum wage proposal: legislate that companies can only pay their highest earning employee X times more than the amount their lowest worker is paid.

Good lines:

Really liked this paragraph on teachers, brought a new perspective:
Living life versus telling your story:
On diplomacy:
On first loves:
On near-term AI:
Profile Image for Frederick Gault.
812 reviews8 followers
June 5, 2020
Excellent character development, the third in a trilogy of imagined futures for Orange County CA. This is the utopian vision where world-wide conglomerates and capital flight to tax havens are illegal. What do people do in a Utopia? They drink, surf, play softball, have love affairs and have broken hearts just like now, however things are more fair and easier on the ecosystem.
Profile Image for Gendou.
574 reviews255 followers
September 4, 2020
This book is about a contested zoning issue in town government. It wants to be something more, and it's pages are full of Kim Stanley Robinson's wonderful characters, poetry, love triangles, and even personal tragedy.

But it's not about anything interesting. And it doesn't have a satisfying ending.
Profile Image for Kars.
343 reviews42 followers
November 22, 2018
"One of the worst signs of our danger is we can’t imagine the route from here to utopia."

In a review for Tor.com, Jo Walton writes: "Pacific Edge is the only utopian novel that works, that shows you the world, that feels like a nice place to live, and that works as a story."

And that is all you really need to know. It was a pleasure dipping back into KSR after last reading something by him, which must have been the Mars trilogy. This shares some of the ideas later explored at a larger scale in that book, but it's about people making a home for themselves in Orange County.

KSR still stands apart as one of the few writers who convincingly explore leftist ideas on political economy in sci-fi. For example, here we get a future in which harsh laws have been enacted that limit the size of companies. But there's much more in here and it really is a treat to have it all vividly imagined.

If it was just a description of a near future where green politics have become dominant, the book would be pretty boring. It is propelled however by small scale relationship drama and political struggles. It's almost The Wire-esque in its preoccupation with the workings of local politics.

If you can stomach the extended softball sequences, this is quite the treat, elevated all the more by the interstitials which meditate on the apparent insurmountable challenges of getting to a sustainable future from our current day predicaments.
43 reviews
February 28, 2019
Pretty good. There are many bittersweet moments in utopia. Life will not stop being life no matter where we go. These are lessons I am not sure I was ready for, but I sure got them here.
Profile Image for Jasen.
239 reviews
July 9, 2022
My least favorite of the triptych but the ending solidified my four star rating. Interesting to see the writer’s love for the ocean, SoCal, beaches, utopia, growing up, softball, and community ebb back and forth the the tides of time throughout this universe.

“In the field he settled down at third base to sharp attention on every pitch. Third base like a razors edge, third base like a mongoose among snakes: this was how the announcer in his head and always put it, ever since childhood. Occasionally there was a sudden chance to act, but mostly it was settling down, paying attention, the same phrase it said over and over. Playing as a kind of praying.” P.10

“A relationship had feedback loops, like any other ecology – that’s what Hank used to say. A movement in one direction or another could quickly spiral out of control. Kind of like a tailspin, now that Kevin thought about it. Harder than hell to re-stabilize after you fell into one of those.” P.19

“God existed in every atom, as Hank was always saying, and every molecule, and every particulate jot of the material world, so that he was breathing God deep into himself with every fragrant breath. And sometimes it really felt that way, hammering nails into new framing, soaring in the sky, biking through night air, the black hills bulking around him....He knew the configuration of every dark tree he passed, every turn in the path, and for a long moment rushing along he felt spread out in it all, interpenetrated, the smell of the plants part of him, his body a piece of the hills, and all of it cool with a holy tingling.” P.32

“We are the aristocracy of the world. This time the revolution will bring down more than the aristocracy. Could be everything. Crumpled newspaper, compartmentalized of disaster. Catastrophe by percentage points.” P.61

“Tom grunted. He hadn’t seen Jill in a year, his daughter in five. People moved around too much, and thought that TV phones made up for it. He looked up at the sun, blinking through leaves. So she had had two husbands die on her. And here she was laughing in the sunlight, making patterns with dead leaves and twigs, like a girl. Life was strange.” P.70-71

“So the utopias in books are pocket utopias too. Ahistorical, static, why should we read them? They don’t speak to us trapped in this world as we are, we look at them in the same way we look at the pretty inside of a paperweight, still drifting down, so what? It may be nice but we’re stuck here and no one‘s going to give us a fresh start, we have to deal with history as it stands, no freer than a wedge in a crack.

Stuck in history like a wedge in a crack
With no way out and no way back – Split the world!” P.95

“Anyway, you have to imagine this underground saturation, this underground movement.” She stretched her arms forward and reached with her fingers, in a sort of unconscious groundwater dance. “The shapes of the basin bottoms sometimes bring the water closer to the surface – if there’s an underground ridge of impermeable bedrock, and the ground water is flowing downhill over this ridge, water gets pushed to the surface, and the very top of a giant slow-motion waterfall. That’s how you get artesian wells.” P.104

“Kevin felt a stirring in him, the full-lunged breathlessness that marked his love for El Modena’s hills, extending outward to these great peaks. Interpenetration with the rock. He was melting like the snow, seeping into it. And every particulate jot of matter, spirit, dancing...” P.107

“What do you talk about when you’re falling in love? It doesn’t matter. All the questions are, Who are you? How do you think? Are you like me? Will you love me? And all the answers are, I am like this, like this, like this. I am like you. I like you.” P.134

“They sat down again, leaned back against the warm rock side-by-side, arms touching. A thick rain of light poured down on them, knitting tightly with the onshore winds. Photon by photon, striking and flaking off, filling the air so that everything--the sea, the tall ships, the stone of the jetty, the green light tower at the other jetty‘s and, the buoys clinging on the ground swell, the long sand reach of the beach, the lifeguard stands and their streaming flags, the pastel wrack of apartments, the palm fronds swaying over it all-- everything floated in a white light, an aura of salt mist, ethereal in the photon rain. In every particulate jot of being... Kevin settled back like a sleeping cat. What a day..” P.137

“The sycamore overhead had a fractal pattern of such complexity that it made him dizzy. So many branches, all of them waving against the stars, not in concert but each in a rhythm of its own, depending on how far from the trunk it was...another drink of tequila, sure. Looking down he saw the trail that’s clear as the yellow brick road. He lumbered off along it, and the forest.” P.158

“To be really beautiful a body has to have a bit more to it. Their skin is too smooth. Beautiful skin has to have some pattern to it. She pinched together the skin of his upper arm. “Like that.”
He laughed. “Yeah, they need some wrinkles, show some character!” P.160

“He stood there in the moony dark, stunned by the dislike in her voice. His heart tocked in his ears, seemed to pound in the earth beneath them. Intense hurt, mood plummeting like a bird hit by shot. Thump thump, thump thump, thump thump. Not fair. Really. A lifetime defense’s went into action. No schoolmates taunt could touch him.” P.173

“Furry warmth, the tickle of a tail flicking against his ankle. Contentment spilled through him, he was an artisan well of contentment. The down under the feathers of the geese; nothing softer. They buzzed through their bills when they were happy. He lay on his side, feeling a warm exhaustion washdown through him, groundwater, muscles melting. One night when he was five years old, the shadow of the tree outside his window and waved on the floor, and he had felt something like this – felt how big the world was, and how charged everything was with meaning. It made you breathe so deep, made your chest fill so full! In an out, in and out, in the rhythm of the sand underneath them. Geese slept with their heads under one wing.” P.177

Most adults forget this in the flood ID events that the rest of life pours over them, it perhaps they’re disinclined to remember those years at all, filled as they were with foolishness, awkwardness, inappropriately directed, poorly expressed, seldom reciprocated... we prefer not to remember. But remember with courage and you will feel again its biting power; few things since will have made you as joyfully, painfully alive.” P.182

“Just how does moderation in all things explosion pounding twenty-five bottles of atrocious tequila?”
“We’ll, you know-if you say moderation in all things you gotta include moderation itself, see what I mean? So you gotta go crazy once in a while, if you all me.” P.184

I won’t forget! Kevin said. No. You never forget. But you change. You change even if you try not to.”
Tom laughed, tugged at the white hair over one ear. “It’s true. Time change it up changes us in more ways than we could ever imagine. What happens in time...you become somebody else, do you understand?”
His voice shook. “You don’t forget, but Joe you feel about what you remember, that changes.” P. 256

“By nationalizing energy, water and land! What is that but socialism? Yeah, sure. I mean, you’re right. But we used it as a way to give everyone the opportunity to get ahead! Basic resources were made common property, but in the service of a more long distance self interest--“ P.284

“Young sailors laughed as they worked, excited. Immersion in the world‘s violence, Tom thought, the primal thrill with being out in the wind. In the tempest of the world‘s great spin through space.” P.287

“Done for. Relax. Concentrate. He cast his mind deliberately back to his wife, her face, his baby held easily in his hands, and then the images tumbled, a forested cliff over ocean, a window with blue sky and clouds, swirling like bubbles of nothing in the rich blue field of the life he had lived, every day of it husband Pamela’s, and the crying out of his cells for oxygen felt like the pain of all that love given and lost, nothing of it saved, nothing it the implosion of drowning, the euphoria of release--and all the blue world and it’s blue beauty tumbled around him, flashed white and he snapped alert, wanting to speak, pregnant with a though that would never be born.” P.297

300

“Suddenly he realized that what they were saying now wouldn’t really matter. That years would pass and they works drift apart, inevitably. No matter what they said. The futility of talk.” P.306

“It’s not stoned, Kevin thought, we write these things and something both more fragile and more durable. Hank made him see it. You could believe in both because both were true. These were vows, sure enough. But vows were only vows. Intentions double – and no matter how serious, public, heartville, they were still only vows. Promises. The future still them and before them, able to take them anywhere at all. That was their great and terrible freedom. The weird emptiness of the future! How long to fill it in, now, in the present; and how completely we are denied.” P.316

“Ain’t nothing written in stone, bro – but death is written in stone, written in ceramic and bronze to outlive the generations of bodies, minds, spirits, souls – all gone, and gone for good. Lives like leaves. He needed to talk to him, needed his advice and his jokes and his stories and his weirdness.” P.322

“They had walked out here many times, he used to scare Tom with his leaps. He tried one, hurt his arch. Only kids could do it. His moods rushed up and down on the wild tide of their own, heading new ebb records, the curious floods of euphoria. How he loved his grandpa, what friends they had been. It was only by feeling that love that he could do justice to what had happened since. So he had to feel this good, and this bad. He stepped get a big gap between stones, landed perfectly. It was coming back, the art of it. You had to dance over them, keep committing yourself to something more than a normal step. Like life: like that, and that, and that.” P.324

Profile Image for François Vigneault.
Author 23 books39 followers
March 28, 2022
Slim but satisfying, this book feels like Kim Stanley Robinson working out ideas that he would further flesh out in subsequent works, from the general (the focus on using legal change to create a revolution in the way global society is structured, as seen in The Ministry for the Future) to the extremely specific (after Aurora I don't think I thought I would ever read another book that ends with a life-affirming scene of body surfing!). Pacific Edge is a palimpsest, in communication with Robinson's own work both past and future, other author's creations like Samuel Delaney's The Einstein Intersection, and the real history of utopian thought in California and beyond. As someone raised in Southern California this book was often very familiar and often moving to me, but also felt like it elided many of the steps we would need to take to get from the world I grew up in to the frankly idyllic scene here. But Robinson has done great work in this book and elsewhere in taking up the chalenge of imagining a better and more just future.
Profile Image for Steev Hise.
265 reviews35 followers
May 12, 2010
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-notch contemporary literature like Lethem, Bolaño, Eggers, Vonnegut, etc, and then come back to SF, it can be disappointing. SF addresses some important subject matter but really skilled authors in the genre are few and far between... and the thing about that is that Robinson is considered one of the betters ones!

I actually found myself skimming and flipping through big stretches of this novel because they were so bad and uninteresting to me. A lot of the story revolves around a love triangle between the main character, Kevin, Ramona, and the man Ramona's been partners with for many years, Alfredo. Alfredo and Ramona break up and then Kevin moves in, and the author blows many many words describing the bliss Kevin feels when he's successful at getting it on with Ramona, and how it's his first real love ever, etc etc. It's so bad that it reads like a Harlequin Romance! I don't mind a little character driven storyline, but I'm mostly interested in the future vision here, Kim, please spare us!

Sadly, I also find his sort of overexplanatory omniscient style to be a little annoying. The viewpoint switches from one character (always one of the "good" ones) to another fluidly, which is good, but you have to sit and watch each person think through all the back story and personal history that they know in order to get up to speed. I guess the other thing is that maybe as a filmmaker and someone who's been reading s lot of scripts and thinking about "show don't tell" I am less and less interested in that kind of story. And if you're going to stick us inside somebody's head, make that head unique and interesting, maybe a little unreliable, maybe profoundly different from the last head we were just in! ok? Also, most of Robinson's male characters are thinly-veiled horndogs who spend a lot of time noticing the shiny skin and muscled legs of the women they're crushing out on in this way that the author thinks is subtle but isn't really. "Insert gradually rising romantic tension here"... sigh.

Finally, even the future vision that drew me to this book was ultimately disappointing. Part of this can be forgiven by the fact that the book was published way back in 1988, before the dire situation with climate change and peak oil was really understood. Robinson actually alludes to these issues but for the most part the change he posits has mostly to do with limiting the size of corporations and limiting the incomes of individuals. These legal changes were made sometime about a generation before the events of the book take place, but there are still some rogue companies that are trying to grow bigger than they're supposed to, and some people trying to get richer than is legal.

The environment is nodded to, and there's plenty of bike riding. But there are still cars, mostly used via car-share type arrangements, and there are still genetic engineering companies, and high-tech materials companies, and they're getting ready to divert water down a huge aquaduct from the Columbia River in order to provide for the entire West now that the Colorado River isn't enough. It's typical sci-fi crap where horrid technological solutions are posited to solve the horrid problems created by the last round of technology, and people's lifestyles are somewhat more "green" but everyone still talks comfortably over video phones and travels the world in computerized super sailing ships and re-roofs their hip homes with wacky wonder-substances like "cloud gel"...

I just don't buy it anymore. The future won't look like that, not in 2065 as this book says, and not even in 2025. If we're to save the planet and humanity, the change must be much more profound. Maybe, if we're lucky, we'll still have books and bikes, but we won't be diverting the Columbia or designing heart valves. Hopefully.
Profile Image for Marion Hill.
Author 8 books77 followers
July 21, 2020
3.5 Stars

Kim Stanley Robinson is one of the science fiction writers I have read throughout my reading life. He joins Octavia Butler, Greg Bear, and Robert Silverberg as the science fiction writers I have found interesting and thought provoking to read.

Pacific Edge is the third book of The Three Californias Trilogy and a book that can read as a standalone novel. I have read the Kim stanley robinson mars trilogy 3 books collection set and Aurora by Robinson. This novel is my second favorite Robinson novel behind Aurora.

It is the story of El Modena, California, a minor city in 2065 trying to create an ecotopia. Kevin Claiborne has lived his entire in El Modena and wants to preserve the way of life that has been established for all of its citizens. However, the forces of hypercapitialism want to transform the city’s idyllic way of life.

Robinson has a strong liberal viewpoint that comes through the novel. But I found his storytelling trumps the political and social agenda transparent in the novel. Utopian fiction gets a bad rap for not having much conflict. He makes sure that conflict exists despite the attempts of making El Modena a model city in California that has been changed by the outside forces of politics.

I have read all three novels of the California Trilogy and liked them. Pacific Edge is the one book of the trilogy that I would re-read again and have kept on my bookshelf along with Aurora. This novel is more character driven than the usual hard science fiction novel.

I believe that Pacific Edge is a book that should be read in book clubs for those who don’t like science fiction. Robinson creates solid characters in the story and presents a worldview that deserves further examination.
Profile Image for Brian.
21 reviews1 follower
July 25, 2008
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 his broader points, whatever they might be. And while nice to imagine, it seems pretty naive to suggest a USA in which -- through representative democracy -- multinational corporations have been disintegrated, earnings over $100,000 are taxed at 100% and redirected to community dividends, and everyone grows their own vegetables and rides a bike.

Also, an unexpectedly heavy (nigh brutal) dose of action sequences from adult co-ed softball community-rec league play. Out of left field, as it were.

Lee adores this author, and is advising me to tackle yet another trilogy, but I'd only reluctantly, with caveats, recommend this series to anyone without a reasonable amount of free time to read middlebrow fluff.
Profile Image for Joshua.
190 reviews
March 2, 2020
When I read the first book in the triptych, I thought, "Not spectacular, but not bad, either." The second book wasn't as good as the first. This one was almost like watching paint dry.

So I enjoy Robinson for the most part, but I'm not sure I understand his mindset... All three books definitely have a Green/environmentalist angle. But if you are going to write about three alternate futures from the 1980s, I don't know why the third one was about a town's struggle to keep its last hilltop green and not succumb to development.

First book: Soviets nuked us back to the iron age! Japanese are keeping us from coming back!

Second book: Cold War is still going on in the 2060s! Arms development! Anti-war sabotage!

Third book: Don't develop this hill! Play softball!

From an epic standpoint, this one has the lowest stakes. And the only other plot piece is a love triangle. There are some anti-corporate tropes thrown in, but not in any way nearly as interesting or blatant as in book 2...
Profile Image for Ben.
178 reviews13 followers
June 9, 2008
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 found the crazed lives of the drug-abusing central characters to be especially convincing. Er, based on other reading of course.

Profile Image for else fine.
277 reviews103 followers
January 1, 2009
Pacific Edge has its problems - it's hard to construct a plausible ecotopia that's not both annoying and boring. There's a lot of softball and jogging involved, and a lot of irritatingly long-winded town-planning discussions. However, the ending, which is discordant, disturbing, and lovely, goes far to redeem it. His ideas about sustainable technology are interesting as well. Worth reading, though not as strong as the other two.
Profile Image for Candace.
183 reviews84 followers
September 20, 2015
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!
Profile Image for Julie.
202 reviews18 followers
October 17, 2019
I'm all about utopian stories set in the near future that explore how we got from here to there. “Pacific Edge” is set in 2065 and was published in 1990. In this story, 2012 is the date at which countries around the world began to change things for the better. Hmmm. We seem to have missed that deadline by about seven years. Maybe it's 2020?

This book is part of an inventive trilogy that explores three possible futures with the same characters in the same place, Southern California. It’s fundamentally an issue book, not only the world-building of a utopia, but how people designed it and brought it about. I’m impressed by the research into economics, politics, law, philosophy, and science that must have gone into it.

The story begins with the setting, which is developed as lovingly and with as much realistic detail as the characters.

“Despair could never touch a morning like this.
The air was cool, and smelled of sage. It had the clarity that comes to southern California only after a Santa Ana wind has blown all haze and history out to sea—air like telescopic glass, so that the snowtopped San Gabriels seems near enough to touch, though they were forty miles away. The flanks of the blue foothills revealed the etching of every ravine, and beneath the foothills, stretching to the sea, the broad coastal plain seemed nothing but treetops: groves of orange, avocado, lemon, olive; windbreaks of eucalyptus and palm; ornamentals of a thousand different varieties, both natural and genetically engineered. It was as if the whole plain were a garden run riot, with the dawn sun flushing the landscape every shade of green.”


It’s a fitting way to open, as this very hilltop will be the focus of the story’s conflict. Yes, even in a utopia, there’s conflict.

The themes are rich enough for any novel: love of place, belonging, friendship, family, politics, striving. The utopian aspects are care of land, wonder for nature, engaged citizenry, and low-impact / conscious living. The action takes place in town council meetings, an ultralight airplane, softball games, house renovations, discussions of legal strategies and history, drunken debauchery, hiking and camping in the mountains, cooperatively fighting a wildfire, even drag racing and pro wrestling.

Robinson uses occasional passages from a journal being written in 2012 by a mysterious character (remember, this is set in 2065) to frame the idea of a “pocket utopia.” It’s penned by a young man with a scientist wife and young child, dreaming of a better world. We eventually meet him as a wise elder in the present-day of the story. These journal entries are a sort of alter-ego to speak the author’s thoughts about how to create a tidal wave of change world-wide. The young man asks into his own ability to influence such a massive shift as an activist and environmental lawyer. I recognized both his questions and his vision. It’s a bit disheartening that this book was written thirty years ago! That’s thirty years we could have been working towards this future, instead of wrangling about inequality, instability, and injustice in the present.

Robinson’s world-building is masterful. Staring around 2012, there was worldwide cooperation to rein in corporate size, power and wealth-hoarding. To return democratic rule for people and municipalities, they set limits on how much money any one individual can make. In this world, cars are rare. People bike everywhere. Ships are high-tech and powered by sail. Airplanes are pedal-driven gliders. People see themselves as part of an ecosystem. They live communally, in tribes of extended family units, groups of friends, intergenerational. Everyone has their privacy as well. They caretake the present and plan for the future. They interact with the natural world in appreciative ways. They experience themselves as the animals they are, playing and reveling in the beauty and abundance of nature.

The storytelling is well-crafted with poetic language. The descriptions of natural phenomena in particular are stunning—the light at the ocean on a summer day or a mountain trail by starlight. It’s plotted with love triangles and political scheming and activist pushbacks. It’s enough of a page-turner that I wanted to know what would happen next.

The main character, Kevin, is a designer-builder, which means he lives this question: How, then, shall we live? His work explores his answers. We would do well to follow his lead.
Profile Image for Zach Fricke.
Author 3 books11 followers
February 7, 2020
COUCH FACTOR (1-5): 🛋️🛋️🛋️🛋️

I bought Pacific Edge at Gene's Books on Sanibel Island. I put this on my to-read list on Goodreads when an old acquaintance of mine marked it as 4-stars. I had never heard of Kim Stanley Robinson before but knew the friend's tastes titled toward mine in the science fiction world.

Gene's Books is an amazing place. Books are piled everywhere from the floor to mid-chest. Just stacks and stacks of books that are in a slight resemblance of order. When I walked in I could only wander in wonder at all the books. It was a book lover's dream. As I looked around, I decided that I didn't want to get just any book, but an author I had never read before. A book that would truly be memorable - one way or another. That is when I decided to buy Kim Stanley Robinson's Pacific Edge.

I packed the book in my suitcase, telling myself that I would read it as soon as I finished whatever novel I was on at the time. Well, Pacific Edge sat in my TBR pile for nearly a year as I read around it, got pulled into a series, or just overlooked it. Then last week, I pulled it from the pile and set it out on my desk, away from the dusty confines of the TBR shelf.

What I thought was going to be a dystopian science fiction tour de force, turned out to be a utopian realistic fiction narrative that closely resembled our every day lives - except with much softball.

The world Robinson paints is so real, so mundane that I constantly overlooked that this was a science fiction story. We come to understand through bits and pieces interwoven narrative that there was a fall out of some sort in the world that made nations all across the world disallow capitalism and force people to live in near socialist communities, where people were given town shares and asked to ride bikes everywhere and grow most of their vegetables. Their houses were reconstructed to be a part of the landscape, not stand in contrast to it. And instead of everyone living in their own little homes, families lived with other families in order to connect with more lives, more humanity.

This reminded me of a Ted Talk I listened to once where the speaker described the main culprit of divorce as one person not being enough for another or too much for one another. The world, he said, needed more connection, so when your partner just wasn't enough at that moment you had a friend that could shoulder the burden for a bit. I think we all need real tangible others to rely on a little bit.

And this idea of sharing the burden of living with everyone is at the crux of Pacific Edge. The town shares the burden of supporting each other, the families share the burden of supporting each other, and the entire community shares the burden of supporting the environment. Written in 1988, the idea of the entire world taking care of our planet was not necessarily new, but we have much more to go before we are out of the woods.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
QUOTE:

I don't want to set-up this quote or try to summarize the plot leading up to it. I just want to lay it down for everyone to read, everyone has memories, good and bad, so everyone should understand this idea.

"Tom laughed ... "Time changes us in more ways than we can ever imagine. What happens in time . . . you become somebody else, do you understand?" His voice shook. "You don't forget, but how you feel about what you remember . . . that changes." . . . . "But it could be worse! You could forget! And that would be worse." "
155 reviews8 followers
February 8, 2016
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, something of a theory of human relations that allows the setup to work; even the most (literally) juvenile utopias, something like The Twenty-One Balloons, understand that this is an essential convention of the genre.

But KSR omits these details, making the story, what, an uninteresting soap opera? The mental model he seems to be working with is that "evil developers destroyed Orange County in the early 21st C because of the evil evilness of their hearts and the greedy greediness of their desires". There's no discussion, for example, of the issue of population pressures. In the real world, as opposed to his fantasy, if every couple wants four kids, then where are those kids going to live? It is THAT growth in population that leads to things like massive development of OC, and yet in his utopia he says nothing about what happened to the excess population, and what restrains it from again growing out of bounds.

There's a similar lack of interest in thinking about issues that actually matter vs issues of minor importance. The central focus of the book is some minor hill in an area that already has plenty of undeveloped land. What does it matter if it gets developed? OK, it's supposed to be a symbol of a slippery slope or whatever, but it's only a slippery slope if that development is not replaced by another empty hill. If the population is stable and small (as it has to be if the whole system is going to work) then there is no slippery slope; there's simply not going to be any indefinitely increasing demand for ever-more development. Once again we see a refusal to actually confront root issues.

The impression I got, I'm sorry to say, is not of someone who wants to take ecology seriously, but of, in fact, the worst sort of obsession with property right --- "I got mine, and tough for everyone else". There seems to be an expectation that if Kevin is enjoying "his" hill, it's thereby his and no-one else deserves to consider alternative ways to use it. We see a more striking version of this in the constant re-iteration of the Owens Valley/LA water business, with the implication that it is reasonable for a tiny number of people in the Owens Valley to use (or not use) as they wish, a resource that could otherwise benefit millions of people in Los Angeles. My point is not to choose sides, it is to point out the utterly muddled thinking throughout the book. Half the time KSR is complaining that property rights are too strong, that we should all be communal, should share, should look at the big picture; the other half of the time he is complaining that "the system" is taking stuff away from its "natural owners" to benefit other people who "don't deserve it".
(By the way, an obsession with Owens Valley, IMHO, shows too much time spent watching Chinatown and not enough time spent studying actual California water. The flows from the Colorado [to LA and the Imperial Valley irrigation], and from the Sacramento area to the Central Valley are just as interesting, and far larger and more important --- but they can't as easily be cast into some sort of moralizing mold.)

We see this same sort of muddled thinking throughout the triptych. The Gold Coast is supposed to show out of control development, but, what's actually so bad about it? Look at the whole LA/OC area in Apple Maps. You'll see plenty of mountain land that is not developed today, and seems unlikely to be developed in the next twenty years for very practical reasons. Even in the novel, the Sierra Nevada is still there, undeveloped. So what exactly is the complaint? There are real ecological complaints about development, to do with carrying capacity, with destroying species, with using up resources. But those are not the arguments of the book. The arguments of the book appear to be "I personally find a certain type of development ugly and I wish it would go away". OK, but other people disagree with you, they like living in this type of built environment -- and by the way, it's a big country. If you want to live a rural life, what's stopping you? Go move to the very north of CA, or central Oregon, or into the desert, or to Iowa? Once again, a muddled argument that seems to boil down to the worst sort of "Everyone must want what I want, and those who don't are evil".

OK, so that's reading it straight. There is an alternative reading, which is to say that the whole thing is a kind of elaborate, not joke exactly, but mockery of the idea of utopia, and in particular the sort of eco-utopia portrayed in Pacific Edge. Arguments you could make for this reading include the way in which there is (really!) not much difference between the first and third novels. One is supposed to be post-nuclear apocalypse, the other eco-utopia, but what the hell is the difference? They are both based on small farming communities, local is beautiful and all that. They both show that hell is other people, that we are most hurt by irreconcilable human differences (boy wants A, girl wants B) regardless of our environment.
Likewise the small arguments between engineer-father and impractical (and ignorant) author-son in The Gold Coast suggest that there's *some* sort of considering of the big picture by KSR; and these sorts of nods to the knowledgeable reader become more striking in Pacific Edge in the form of the weird short "diary entries" from 2012 that talk about things like the futility of writing about utopia, or showing how Oscar, the large lumbering lawyer, wants to achieve flourishing via means and in a direction very different from the priorities of the (let's face it) eternal teenagers of El Modena.
And of course there are the obvious literary flourishes like the openings of all three novels that are variations on a theme, or the old-timer named Tom in each novel.

So which of these is the correct reading? I honestly don't know. I lean towards the second because KSR (in his later work) seems to be a fairly self- and other-aware guy, and because it's the sort of thing you could imagine someone wanting to write SF (but with a degree in literature) might want to do: "I'm going to write what looks like a standard, somewhat cliched, set of SF novels; but there's going to be a second level to them that the rubes will miss but which I and my colleagues will know are there". But this sort of thing is a dangerous game to play --- I've read a number of reviews of the triptych, and they all seem to read them straight, to rave about how, for example, "Pacific Edge shows us such an idyllic world that could be, blah blah". You can't really change the world (and get it to think more sensibly about the big picture) if the message encoded in your writing is so deep that no-one can see it!
And i can't deny the fact that in the (few) interviews I'v seen with KSR on these three novels, I have to admit he hews to the straight reading all the way, without so much as a hint that there's anything deeper there.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jenny Chase.
Author 1 book10 followers
August 9, 2019
This book is worthwhile - I went looking for this specifically because I was after the genre of plausible low-energy futures, and this fits the bill. The main plot, of a carpenter called Kevin being disappointed in love and trying to stop development in his backyard, is deliberately low-stakes; can't have a utopia with too much tension. I'm not sure how this could be overcome, in a plot sense, but it's a good stab at having a genuine utopia with a real plot.

I didn't really warm to protagonist Kevin, it has to be said. He behaved well but most of his motivation was very selfish - perfectly realistic and sometimes nicely written, but meh. A few of the arc words, like "you can't have a pocket utopia" stayed with me.

Not sure how realistic this world really is - the author deliberately avoids going into much detail of how it works, but people do still drive (apparently internal combustion?) cars though they do not own them and mostly travel by bicycle, they eat meat, there isn't really anyone with a knowledgeable perspective on ecology to comment on the effect all this low-energy living is having. The sailing ships are cool, slightly ruined by their actual effect, and the idea of each communal living unit being linked by regular videocall to a number of others around the world is interesting but seems inessential. I suppose the idea is that mass media has disappeared and person-to-person connection is all the rage, but it seems like the technology level should support some good TV or films. (Possibly their disappearance is a result of the laws on how large corporations are allowed to be? Is mass media really incompatible with a low-carbon lifestyle? I guess I might have to read the rest of the triptych to find out the author's views on that, though I would have thought no).

There seemed to be interesting worldbuilding going on out of the frame, like the space programme beaming solar to earth. This looks increasingly implausible as ground-based solar gets cheaper, but I suppose this was written in 1995 so I should cut it slack there!

Also the softball is confusing, boring and meaningless.
Profile Image for Carl Mucho.
20 reviews
September 19, 2020
Third in a trilogy about the author's different visions of the future, Pacific Edge hits the mark on its myriad speculations on how the world will be like in 2065 which eerily resembles what it is now in 2020. It gives a nod, though briefly and in spurts, to current problems that beset humanity: an out of control pandemic (HIV), climate change, corporate greed and its hijacking of government, social injustices and partisanship.

The story is set in an ecotopia (ecological utopia) where Green Party (pro-environment) policies have largely become zeitgeist. Other political and economic ideologies still remain but do not hold as much sway as in the past. Given how radical the transformations of the whole-world-as-we-know-it is proposed in the book, it is easy to imagine how the premise of the book may alternatively be seen as a dystopia by far-right extremists.

Most parts of the book are filled with snapshots of mundane human affairs to the point that it appears a deliberate attempt by the author to present his idea of an ecotopia as familiar and boring to the readers as possible. This is a clever way to charm the reader to accept a fundamental revolution in our social and political paradigm as normal and as taken for granted as a competitive softball game, a scenic hike in the mountains, a feud between friends, and slow and passionate lovemaking.

One may be tempted to skim over a few chapters and that is not a bad thing. The act of skipping past pages and pages of character development adds to the experience of absorbing an extreme view of the future by accepting all the rest of the story as a common occurrence. Assuming to have a firm grasp of and connection with the outcomes of the story arcs of the main characters reinforces a sense of having an equally firm grasp and familiarity with the foundations of an ecotopia envisioned in the book no matter the leaps and bounds in imagination required to accept it fully.
Profile Image for Kimberly Mitchell.
3 reviews2 followers
January 16, 2023
Previous reviewers have put in entire synopses of the book, so I won’t go into that. I think someone else already said it, but the author could have put in a lot less detail about the game of baseball and I think the readers would’ve been better off for it. Particularly having so much description of the game in the beginning of the book, it made it hard to want to continue reading the book.

Some of the italicized portions, where they covered past events leading up to the current timeline in the book, were a little confusing. Honestly, some of that I didn’t feel added anything to the story or gave me any better insight or understanding into a character, and it just seemed like filler.

Once the story hit chapter 6, I would say it started getting more interesting. But that’s pretty late considering the book is only 11 chapters. I bring up this point, particularly for people who are reading this for a book club, and who feel that they need to finish it if they are having a hard time getting through it. Things start looking up as far as the reading experience goes from that point.

I like how he didn’t end the romance portion of the story like a fairytale. It was more realistic and I appreciated that part, being someone who has not found love themselves and knows the sting of dating/failed relationships.

I have not read the previous two books in the series because this was suggested for a book club already at the third of the series. In fact, I didn’t even realize it was a series until I did some digging online when I was trying to pump myself up to keep reading it. Parts of me wonder if certain aspects of the book would’ve made more sense had I read the previous two books. However, realistically, I’ll probably never know because I didn’t enjoy the book enough to want to read the first two books.





This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
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