Three Californias Trilogy

The Three Californias Trilogy (also known as the Wild Shore Triptych and the Orange County Trilogy) consists of three books by Kim Stanley Robinson, which depict three different possible futures of Orange County, California. The three books that make up the trilogy are The Wild Shore, The Gold Coast and Pacific Edge. Each of these books describes the life of young people in the three very different near-futures. All three novels begin with an excavation which tells the reader about the world they are entering. [1]

Summaries

The Wild Shore

The Wild Shore was Robinson's first published novel. The Wild Shore (1984) is the story of survivors of a nuclear war. The nuclear strike was 2,000 to 3,000 neutron bombs that were detonated in 2,000 of America's biggest cities in 1987. Survivors have started over, forming little villages and living from agriculture and the sea. The theme of the first chapters is that of a quite normal science fiction pastoral, which is deconstructed in the latter chapters, especially when it becomes clear that the post-nuclear war rural life is hindered from developing further by international treaties imposed by the victorious U.S.S.R., with an unwilling Japan charged with patrolling the West Coast. The Wild Shore was nominated for both the Nebula and Philip K. Dick Awards in 1984.[2] Algis Budrys described it as "a frontier novel, with rich threads of Steinbeckian populism woven into its cast of characters." Although faulting the novel's "failure to sustain the weight of its undertakings," he concluded that Wild Shore was "a remarkably powerful piece of work, still a good book, almost without doubt a harbinger of great books to come from Robinson."[3]

The Gold Coast

In The Gold Coast (1988) we learn about the Southern California of 2027, a dystopian extension of today's Los Angeles and car-oriented architecture, mobility and life-style: "an endless sprawl of condos, freeways and malls." The book describes the life of 27-year-old Jim McPherson, who finds himself caught up in literary and academic interests, anti-weapons-industry terrorism, drugs, parties and casual sex. The Gold Coast was nominated for the Campbell, Locus, and British Science Fiction award in 1989.[4]

Pacific Edge

Pacific Edge (1990) can be compared to Ernest Callenbach's Ecotopia, and also to Ursula K. Le Guin's The Dispossessed. This book's Californian future is set in the El Modena neighborhood of Orange in 2065. It depicts a realistic utopia as it describes a possible transformation process from our present status, to a more ecologically-focused future. The book does not assume a blank slate from which ecological utopia can be erected, but assumes the buildings, cities and infrastructures of our past and present. An important aspect of the book is the way these are changed to become "green". Pacific Edge is also realistic insofar as conflicts about diverging interests play a big role. In 2065, these are mainly conflicts between Greens and New Federals as the main political parties that are the A.A.M.T. using small companies to buy the last piece of wilderness in the area and develop it; but also conflicts on the personal scale, for example, Kevin, the main character builds a romantic relationship with the mayor's former lover. From a literary critique point of view the broad descriptions of nature and landscape are of interest, as well as the self-references in regard to writing about utopian futures versus actual political work. Pacific Edge was the winner of the John W. Campbell Memorial Award in 1991.[5]

These books, especially Pacific Edge, can be seen as forerunners to Robinson's Mars trilogy.

Development history

In an interview with UCSD, Robinson said that "this was one of my few original ideas." And he came up with the idea for the novels while still at UCSD on a drive from UCSD to Orange County, California to visit his parents. [6]

References

  1. ^ Potts, Stephen. "UCSD Guestbook: Kim Stanley Robinson". UCTV. University of California Television. Retrieved 5 September 2015.
  2. ^ "2003 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-07-06.
  3. ^ "Books," F&SF, May 1984, p. 39-40
  4. ^ "1989 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-07-06.
  5. ^ "1991 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-07-06.
  6. ^ Potts, Stephen. "UCSD Guestbook: Kim Stanley Robinson". UCTV. University of California Television. Retrieved 5 September 2015.

External links

Kim Stanley Robinson

Kim Stanley Robinson (born March 23, 1952) is an American writer of science fiction. He has published nineteen novels and numerous short stories but is best known for his Mars trilogy. His work has been translated into 24 languages. Many of his novels and stories have ecological, cultural, and political themes running through them and feature scientists as heroes. Robinson has won numerous awards, including the Hugo Award for Best Novel, the Nebula Award for Best Novel and the World Fantasy Award. Robinson's work has been labeled by The Atlantic as "the gold-standard of realistic, and highly literary, science-fiction writing." According to an article in The New Yorker, Robinson is "generally acknowledged as one of the greatest living science-fiction writers."

Orange County, California, in popular culture

Orange County has been the setting for numerous written works and motion pictures, as well as a popular location for shooting motion pictures.

Political ideas in science fiction

The exploration of politics in science fiction is arguably older than the identification of the genre. One of the earliest works of modern science fiction, H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine, is an extrapolation of the class structure of the United Kingdom of his time, an extreme form of Social Darwinism; during tens of thousands of years, human beings have evolved into two different species based on their social class.

Social science fiction

Social science fiction is a subgenre of science fiction, usually (but not necessarily) soft science fiction, concerned less with technology/space opera and more with speculation about society. In other words, it "absorbs and discusses anthropology" and speculates about human behavior and interactions.Exploration of fictional societies is a significant aspect of science fiction, allowing it to perform predictive (The Time Machine (1895); The Final Circle of Paradise, 1965) and precautionary (Brave New World, 1932; Nineteen Eighty-Four, 1949; Childhood's End, Fahrenheit 451, 1953) functions, to criticize the contemporary world (Gulliver's Travels, 1726; the works of Alexander Gromov, 1995 - Present) and to present solutions (Walden Two, Freedom™), to portray alternative societies (World of the Noon) and to examine the implications of ethical principles, as for example in the works of Sergei Lukyanenko.

Soft science fiction

Soft science fiction, or soft SF, is a category of science fiction with two different definitions.

It explores the "soft" sciences, and especially the social sciences (for example, anthropology, sociology, or psychology), rather than engineering or the "hard" sciences (for example, physics, astronomy, or chemistry).

It is not scientifically accurate or plausible; the opposite of hard science fiction.Soft science fiction of either type is often more concerned with character and speculative societies, rather than speculative science or engineering. The term first appeared in the late 1970s and is attributed to Australian literary scholar Peter Nicholls.

Utopian and dystopian fiction

Utopia and dystopia are genres of speculative fiction that explore social and political structures. Utopian fiction portrays the setting that agrees with the author's ethos, having various attributes of another reality intended to appeal to readers. Dystopian fiction (sometimes combined with, but distinct from apocalyptic literature) is the opposite: the portrayal of a setting that completely disagrees with the author's ethos. Many novels combine both, often as a metaphor for the different directions humanity can take, depending on its choices, ending up with one of two possible futures. Both utopias and dystopias are commonly found in science fiction and other speculative fiction genres, and arguably are by definition a type of speculative fiction.

More than 400 utopian works were published prior to the year 1900 in the English language alone, with more than a thousand others during the twentieth century.

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