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

(Three Californias Triptych #3)

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  1,264 ratings  ·  89 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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Mary Hey, Stian! This isn't a trilogy in the typical sense - rather, three books each set in three different futuristic Orange Counties. You can read them…moreHey, Stian! This isn't a trilogy in the typical sense - rather, three books each set in three different futuristic Orange Counties. You can read them in any order, or read only the "third" one if you like, as they are unrelated in story.(less)

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Robert
Feb 04, 2013 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
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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
Jun 26, 2013 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
...more
Enso
Mar 26, 2015 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
...more
Adam  McPhee
May 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Kars
Nov 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, fiction
"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 th
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Steev Hise
Mar 09, 2010 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
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Brian
Jul 25, 2008 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
...more
Ben
Apr 06, 2008 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
...more
Candace
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 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Athena
Apr 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
3.5 stars

Utopia means 'no place' or 'nowhere'. You can't ignore this irony reading K.S.Robinson' s concluding book of Three Californias series about alternate futures seen from the perspective of Orange County, California. Pacific Edge (first published in 1990) is an ecofiction, it portrays a near-future utopian dreaming scenario that it is only slightly shifted from our own reality.

Most of the region has undergone hyper-development but citizen action has limited growth and the expansion of bi
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Tomislav
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Katherine
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
...more
Phillip
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Kim Clarke
Mar 02, 2018 rated it liked it
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
...more
Erik
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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.
Stefanie
Feb 22, 2017 rated it liked it
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.
Georgi Nikolaev
May 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
I am not really sure if this book deserves a rating so high. But I am giving it because it is such a big improvement compared to the second one. Although there are some parts I read diagonally the characters really touched me. I should give at least one star for them. Another star goes for the interesting writing style at some places, although I think I see more potential in there than it was actually used in the end.

Andre Chiasson
Apr 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kim Stanley Robinson is at or near the top of my list of favourite authors. This trilogy is his early work and it is not at the quality of his current writing but still excellent. He loves California and would love to see it reach its potential in the future. Still (or always) a master of character development, this book kept me reading and enjoying.
Mike
May 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
The best of the Three Californias series. It's a little looser than KSR's later work, but it's an enjoyable read. I was glad to have a little utopian reading given the distopian leanings real life has had of late. Recommended!
Mitchell
Aug 09, 2018 rated it liked it
When it's good it's very, very good and when it's bad it boring. Needed a strict editor who would have cut the thing by at least a third. Only recommend to those who have nostalgia for the old Orange County landscape -- I do and it kept me going all the way to the end.
Cameron
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is by far my favorite of the trilogy. A really cool economic and political system, and I never thought I would read a whole book about a future scifi zoning dispute and be so engrossed by it.
Paul
Dec 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Future Orange County utopia. Or not.
Steen Ledet
Nov 26, 2016 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.
Jose  Seco Sanz
May 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
As the rest of the series. There are some interesting ideas, but I think they could have been delivered in another way.
Adam Norman
Jan 30, 2018 rated it liked it
This was okay. Not something I would normally search out. I will likely steer clear of KSR in the future.
Zach
Jul 10, 2016 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
Charlie
Feb 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bjorn Larsen
Mar 08, 2015 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
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3,457 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
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Other books in the series

Three Californias Triptych (3 books)
  • The Wild Shore (Three Californias Triptych, #1)
  • The Gold Coast (Three Californias Triptych, #2)
“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.” 15 likes
“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
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