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Publisher's Summary

North America, 2065. In a world that has rediscovered harmony with nature, the village of El Modena, California, is an ecotopia in the making. Kevin Claiborne, a young builder who has grown up in this "green" world, now finds himself caught up in the struggle to preserve his community's idyllic way of life from the resurgent forces of greed and exploitation.

The final volume in Kim Stanley Robinson's Three Californias triptych, Pacific Edge is a brilliant work of science fiction and an outstanding literary achievement.

©2013 Kim Stanley Robinson (P)2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc. and Skyboat Media, Inc.

What listeners say about Pacific Edge

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

No escapism here

Because this book is set only 50 years in the future (2065), it doesn't offer a strong feeling of escape and otherworldliness, as science fiction might. Rather, we are trapped in a realistic near future in which the effects of climate change are starting to be felt, and the lines between governments and corporations are blurred. So it's not a particularly easy listen, nor is it particularly up-lifting.

There was one aspect to the story that I found fascinating, however, and that was the discussion of "green" architecture--how architecture had to change because of the warming climate. One of the main characters is an architect, and there's much discussion of the mechanics of tearing down 20th-Century buildings and re-making them.

As to the narrator, I sometimes had a hard time telling the different characters apart. It was also hard to tell when the point of view shifted between different characters, so perhaps this book would be more easily digested in print.

6 people found this helpful

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best in series

for me this was by far the best of the three californias books. the story was very thoughtful, well developed, provocative. i personally identified with kevin, the protagonist, although he is straight and white, unlike me. i wonder if this was the narrator's favorite, too, since the narration was far superior to the other books in the series.

3 people found this helpful

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California Tryptich

This is the third in a futuristic series of Orange County .. OC .. in S CA .. three possibilities. .. This last one is as if conservation and Green concerns had taken hold ..

2 people found this helpful

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Not his best work

I enjoyed the full Mars trilogy, I loved New York 20whatever, and I liked how the first tap California books played off each other. There were certainly aspects of the shared time thread I found in this third book from the trilogy, but the feeling was so different. Perhaps the time between writing? Perhaps this one was aimed at a younger audience? Where the previous two books functioned as commentary on our political, meteorological, social current abs future, this book was a coming of age story with a whiner of a main character and a strong male-dominated romance center. This book should be filed under romance rather than science fiction.

1 person found this helpful

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The Utopian of the Three

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

1 person found this helpful

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oh ma gosh

I absolutely love Stefan Rudnicki. In other stories he makes it come alive and the people can be real and believable.

But in my opinion there was no hope for this story. Kim Stanley Robinson has a an agenda. And that agenda is to prove there is room for a utopian society. In every book we are bashed with how badly we have wrecked our natural habitats. we have killed the planet. He even went to Mars so government beurocracy would not impede scientific exploration. It really is just to much.

So I tried I really really tried to finish. It just went on with the dialog and not much plot. sorry Kim I am not a writer and I am not qualified to say your books are bad . But they are just not for me.

1 person found this helpful

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Need some Geoscience understanding

I found the book interesting and a good testimony to the issues surrounding water in the western United States. I would suggest this book to anyone that has been studying Geoscience.

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  • 02-17-22

one of the great stories

I read this in print years ago and fell in love with the story and the author. thus narrator brings it to life with amazing veracity. Travel to a future California utopia/dystopia, populated by a group of diverse characters who struggle through the age-old themes of life and love in many ways.
this novella series was likely an embryonic version of the author's development of his current marvelously long tales of our struggle to survive the devastating effects of climate change and capitalist greed. It is an engaging mix of perspectives from young and old. It was well worth the time to listen.

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Coyote and Hiroko

The story is ok. Not the best, by itself, but then The Red characters from the Mars trilogy show up. I realized I was hearing the origin stories of the mysterious Coyote, friends, relatives, etc, and I was entranced. Even someone who I'm betting was Jackie's real mother (Ramona). Really enjoyed it.

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The narrator sounds exactly like Negan from TWD

I wanted to like this but I couldn’t get past the narrator. Personal thing nothing against the book I’ll have to try the print version to see if I can get into the story.