The Wild Shore (Three Californias Triptych, #1)
2047: for 60 years America has been quarantined after a devastating nuclear attack. For the small community of San Onofre on the West Coast, life is a matter of survival: living simply on what the sea and land can provide, preserving what knowledge and skills they can in a society without mass communications. Until the men from San Diego arrive, riding the rails on flatbed trucks and bringing news of the new American Resistance. And Hank Fletcher and his friends are drawn into an adventure that marks the end of childhood...

The Wild Shore (Three Californias Triptych, #1) Details

TitleThe Wild Shore (Three Californias Triptych, #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMar 15th, 1995
PublisherOrb Books
ISBN-139780312890360
Rating
GenreScience Fiction, Fiction, Apocalyptic, Post Apocalyptic, Dystopia

The Wild Shore (Three Californias Triptych, #1) Review

  • Chadwick
    January 1, 1970
    I tend to go on binges when I discover a writer I really like, taking down as many of their works as I possibly can voraciously for the first few months of my acquaintanceship with their works. Hell, I read really fast, so it's not like I don't have time. So I'm kind of in that stage with Kim Stanley Robinson.I've read science fiction pretty regularly since I was pretty young, devouring my father's and uncles' collections indiscriminately. When I was about 14, I decided I was more interested in I tend to go on binges when I discover a writer I really like, taking down as many of their works as I possibly can voraciously for the first few months of my acquaintanceship with their works. Hell, I read really fast, so it's not like I don't have time. So I'm kind of in that stage with Kim Stanley Robinson.I've read science fiction pretty regularly since I was pretty young, devouring my father's and uncles' collections indiscriminately. When I was about 14, I decided I was more interested in grown up SF, and read more of the experimental New Wavers, Dick, Delany, Sturgeon and Ellison. Later I discovered the wonder that is Gene Wolfe. They wrote better than the bulk of the hard SF writers that filled the shelves at the used bookstores I frequented, they were more "literary." But in the past year or so, I started rereading some of the authors that I had discarded before high school, and I rediscovered the wonder and joy of great imaginative storytelling. This lead me somehow to the works of Kim Stanley Robinson.I should say first that Robinson is a stylist of the first order, and the texture of his prose is a beautiful thing. The characters he creates are rich and believable. And I think that that is sort of the miracle of the Mars trilogy, as well as the promise of the Three Californias: these are novels of Big Ideas, for sure, but the narrative is never sacrificed for the sake of lumbering speculative exposition. Sure, the Mars books regularly feature capsule lectures about the possible effects of terraforming on Martian weather patterns, or the psychological effects of long interplanetary voyages, but they feel perfectly balanced by the furtherance of the rich tapestry of narrative and character development. Such digressions do not make up the fabric of The Wild Shore. It's a tightly constructed, fairly simple narrative set on the West Coast after the United States has been largely destroyed by a nuclear assault. This is a very well traveled sf conceit, but the simple, narrative-oriented approach makes it much different from Alas, Babylon or A Canticle for Leibowitz. The focus here is not so much survivalist porn or the extrapolation of how society would crawl out of the ruins, although both themes are present. It focuses more on how normal people balance the necessities of survival with the dream of a return to an almost mythical lost civilization. In Robinson's scenario, America was destroyed in a terrorist-style attack by an unknown enemy, and there was no time for retribution. The rest of the world, mediated by the UN has elected to quarantine the United States, rather than escalate into war over who controls the blasted territory. America exists for the postbellum characters in this novel only through fragmented reading and the stories of a handful of survivors, crystallized in the character of Tom Barnard, who is the memory of the fishing village of San Onofre and the teacher to its youth. He has tried to instill a knowledge of the past in the young people of the village so that the ideas of civilization and learning don't vanish in the slide back into primitive subsistence-based existence. This creates a sense of having had something stolen from them from them in the younger characters, and after making a trip south to the relatively-civilized metropolis of San Diego, it ignites the hope that they might be able to strike back at their oppressors. This leads to predictably tragic consequences.The Three Californias is not a trilogy in the traditional SF sense. Rather than each novel moving forward in time, each novel covers the same period in a different possible future, with characters and themes recurring. In The Wild Shore Robinson plays with mirror structures that indicate the approach of the books to come. This is really a minor detail, but I think that it's good to note that with Robinson, the book doesn't end with the pages. His writing is the sort that bleeds into the rest of our realities, and that's really the best kind, isn't it?
    more
  • Beth Cato
    January 1, 1970
    In the year 2047, humanity struggles to survive in the ruins of coastal California. Almost 50 years before, nuclear blasts decimated thousands of cities across the United States. However, this is the only world teenaged Henry knows: a world revolving around harvests, fishing, the howl of the Santa Ana, and the danger of wild-eyed scavengers in Orange County. His ancient mentor, Tom, taught him how to read and of the way things used to be. Henry's world shifts when strangers from the outside arri In the year 2047, humanity struggles to survive in the ruins of coastal California. Almost 50 years before, nuclear blasts decimated thousands of cities across the United States. However, this is the only world teenaged Henry knows: a world revolving around harvests, fishing, the howl of the Santa Ana, and the danger of wild-eyed scavengers in Orange County. His ancient mentor, Tom, taught him how to read and of the way things used to be. Henry's world shifts when strangers from the outside arrive. San Diego seeks to unite the coastal communities by handcar rail, even as outside forces bomb their efforts. Henry must decide where his future lies.[return][return]This was a fascinating coming-of-age tale. It's not a suspenseful read. It builds slowly, and shows how people have scraped by. I loved the details on fishing and harvest time, and all of the characters felt real and complicated. Some people might find the detailed world building to be dull, but in some ways, it reminded me of a childhood favorite, The Other Side of the Mountain, or a pioneer book. Those details made their hardship feel genuine to me.[return][return]This apparently is part of a trilogy called The Three Californas. I'm a little disappointed that the other books cover different interpretations of the future Orange County and won't continue this post-apocalyptic setting. However, as a native Californian, I adore speculative fiction set in the state, and I will read the next books at some point.
    more
  • Glee
    January 1, 1970
    I had already read his Mars trilogy (Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars) and had liked them but had trouble at times with his didactic style/approach, even when I agreed with his point of view (which I don't always). However, this book was his first novel and I really liked it. It has a simplicity but is as powerful as anything else he has done. It is an interesting post-apocalyptic coming of age story about a group of teenagers and an old man who are part of a small fishing community eking out I had already read his Mars trilogy (Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars) and had liked them but had trouble at times with his didactic style/approach, even when I agreed with his point of view (which I don't always). However, this book was his first novel and I really liked it. It has a simplicity but is as powerful as anything else he has done. It is an interesting post-apocalyptic coming of age story about a group of teenagers and an old man who are part of a small fishing community eking out a subsistence living after America has been nuked. It was written in 1984 and has eerie resonance for events to come that have actually happened -- e.g. 9/11 and climate change for a couple of strong examples. If you like science fiction, I believe that you will like this book. Even if you don't as a general rule, his prose is very elegant and even poetic. It compares well with anything Cormac McCarthy has written, and while dark, he doesn't have the unrelenting grimness that overwhelmed me in reading McCarthy's The Road.
    more
  • Masha Toit
    January 1, 1970
    The Wild Shore it one of the best books I've read in years. Fantastic story, compelling characters, interesting issues, vivid writing - I just loved it.It is set in America "after the bombing". The United States is no more. America has suffered a severe nuclear attack. Millions died in the initial attack, and millions more in the aftermath, struggling to survive in the new pre-industrial world. Getting food by growing and hunting it, avoiding the "scavengers" - the people who live from the loote The Wild Shore it one of the best books I've read in years. Fantastic story, compelling characters, interesting issues, vivid writing - I just loved it.It is set in America "after the bombing". The United States is no more. America has suffered a severe nuclear attack. Millions died in the initial attack, and millions more in the aftermath, struggling to survive in the new pre-industrial world. Getting food by growing and hunting it, avoiding the "scavengers" - the people who live from the looted ruins and hunt one another.What is more, the outside world is actively preventing any kind of reconstruction, using their space age technology to destroy any attempts to build up an industrialised civilisation.About sixty years after the bombing seventeen year old Henry is living in a coastal farming community. He has a rather strange view of history, learnt from old Tom, one of the only people who still remember the "old times" before the bombs. This is a combination of truth and tall tales, and in fact, this is a strong theme in the book - the importance of story telling and the need for "lies".Henry has to make some hard choices when he meets outsiders urging him to join the "resistance", a group people who vow to fight the outside worlds attempts to "keep America down". He learns about betrayal and regret, and what it means to be an adult in a harsh world.The setting of this story is just awesome. Trees growing on the abandoned highways, crumbling sky-scrapers, flooded cities. Kim Stanley Robinson always loves to dwell on the detail, and its never just "description". The landscape is as important to the plot as the action.And apparently there are more - a whole series of "Orange County" books. Off to the library to find some more!
    more
  • Carl
    January 1, 1970
    This is so rich and detailed.
  • Bart
    January 1, 1970
    (...)Information is key in the novel. Just like the readers, the characters are in the dark about what happened. They are also in the dark about what is happening, for Robinson shows glimpses of a bigger narrative in world politics in the aftermath of the attack – but characters nor readers get to know its true extent. It is a clever narrative device, maximizing the reader’s empathy with the characters: we share uncertainty and frustration about it. It is especially clever because – like the rea (...)Information is key in the novel. Just like the readers, the characters are in the dark about what happened. They are also in the dark about what is happening, for Robinson shows glimpses of a bigger narrative in world politics in the aftermath of the attack – but characters nor readers get to know its true extent. It is a clever narrative device, maximizing the reader’s empathy with the characters: we share uncertainty and frustration about it. It is especially clever because – like the readers – the characters do know about what once was: trains, electricity, hospitals, national pride, and general literacy.Robinson isn’t showy, and he doses the post-apocalyptic horror extremely sparsely, at the right times, with supreme command – so much that most of the time you even forget you’re reading a post-apocalyptic story at all.Just as Hank doesn’t have a grip on what happens, he doesn’t have a grip on what he himself is doing. He doesn’t know whether his actions are the right ones, and moral information doesn’t come cheap. The obligatory old man in the story – Tom – seems to have a better grip on things. He’s the only character that survived from the olden days, but ultimately confesses to be a fool too, like anyone. Robinson leaves it to the reader: how much in control are we really, and how is history formed?(...)Full review on Weighing A Pig Doesn't Fatten It
    more
  • Rob
    January 1, 1970
    A good book, engagingly written though a bit too YA for my tastes. A book in the fine American tradition of 'Huckleberry Finn'; the innocent who wises up but at a terrible cost.A very convincing post apocalyptic world is created by Kim Stanley Robinson. It is also a very ironically prescient world (it was written in 1984) where America is defeated in some sort of conflict and severely crippled. The world imposes a quarantine which is something like the no fly zone imposed on Iraq after the first A good book, engagingly written though a bit too YA for my tastes. A book in the fine American tradition of 'Huckleberry Finn'; the innocent who wises up but at a terrible cost.A very convincing post apocalyptic world is created by Kim Stanley Robinson. It is also a very ironically prescient world (it was written in 1984) where America is defeated in some sort of conflict and severely crippled. The world imposes a quarantine which is something like the no fly zone imposed on Iraq after the first Iraq war. In this case any sign of more than nineteenth century advances politically or economically result in laser beam attacks. Not collective punishments but precise blasting of new bridges and railway tracks etc.. After the nuclear apocalypse a sort of basic, near the edge communities start to emerge along the Californian coast. The book is the story of a teenage boy in one such community. KSR does what he does best and plays with ideas in this book. The characters with moral force in the story are against "The American Resistance". Was that terrible movie 'Red Dawn ' around about 1984? The resistance are shown as chauvinists or innocents being used by chauvinists. Many people believe that America's arrogance and pride were the cause of the WHOLE world turning against it. Many in the community simply believe the time of empty, violent gestures are past.Is it better to live in the ruins of a magnificent hubristic civilization with dignity and peace or pine for for the past with revenge (against for whom and for what you are not sure but someone has to pay) in your heart? One thing is for sure all civilizations fall and sometimes we are not even sure if they have fallen. Sometimes we just 'feel' something has changed sometimes an apocalypse just sweeps them away. KSR poses the real questions and gives realistic answers as to what our responses would and could be.
    more
  • Joe Stamber
    January 1, 1970
    Not so much a Sci-Fi or Post Apocalyptic novel as a coming of age adventure, the story of a young man Hank in a small community struggling to survive years after the bombs went off. Life has regressed to fishing and farming, with limited contact with other communities to trade the few things any of them have to offer. Hank and his buddies dream of better times but when opportunities present themselves are they all what they seem? Written in an easy, fairly old-fashioned style (it is over 30 year Not so much a Sci-Fi or Post Apocalyptic novel as a coming of age adventure, the story of a young man Hank in a small community struggling to survive years after the bombs went off. Life has regressed to fishing and farming, with limited contact with other communities to trade the few things any of them have to offer. Hank and his buddies dream of better times but when opportunities present themselves are they all what they seem? Written in an easy, fairly old-fashioned style (it is over 30 years old), The Wild Shore is a pleasant read that ambles along but never drags. Kim Stanley Robinson has created a complete and credible world for this tale that anyone interested in a good yarn should enjoy.
    more
  • Bryan Cebulski
    January 1, 1970
    This book wasn't what I wanted it to be, but I think I would have found it lacking anyway. I loved Aurora and wanted another that follows the same basic template, ie a slow moving, broad-scoped hard sci-fi novel that is more about process than plot. The Wild Shore had the added bonus of loosely falling into the solarpunk genre, which I've been trying to read more of. Instead though, The Wild Shore is a relatively basic dystopia. The post-apocalyptic pastoral scenes were probably my favorite part This book wasn't what I wanted it to be, but I think I would have found it lacking anyway. I loved Aurora and wanted another that follows the same basic template, ie a slow moving, broad-scoped hard sci-fi novel that is more about process than plot. The Wild Shore had the added bonus of loosely falling into the solarpunk genre, which I've been trying to read more of. Instead though, The Wild Shore is a relatively basic dystopia. The post-apocalyptic pastoral scenes were probably my favorite parts, but they were relatively brief and didn't get too into the nitty-gritty of life in this cataclysmic future California like Robinson did aboard the ship in Aurora.What's more, I didn't find the dystopic vision that compelling. It was naive at best and xenophobic at worst. Perhaps it's due to the fluctuating nature of dystopia--in the 80s I'd guess the US was back in "duck and cover" mode after anti-detente Reagan came to power--but I found the idea of America as a passive agent bombed to hell without any instigation on our part to be way out of touch with the contemporary American political climate. The remembrances of America as this great and idyllic land weren't particularly nuanced either (a protagonist actually says "make America great again", which was, uh, troubling), though to be fair this is part of a larger thematic point at the end of the novel. Still, if you are going to pay as much attention to the Before Time (TM) and the Event (TM) in a dystopia as much as this one does, it better be believable, and I just didn't really buy it here. And beyond that, I just didn't find these ruminations on the past in this novel that meaningful.I think this novel didn't really know what themes it wanted to commit to. It feels like a YA coming-of-age story in places, like a more traditionally pointed dystopia in others (almost like the narrator is about to turn to the audience and ask "What will YOU do to prevent this from happening?"). Sometimes it's about the nature and power of storytelling, the uses of facts vs fiction. Sometimes it's about rebellion, class, patriotism, survivalism. Sometimes it's about really, really hating Japanese people (and, for a brief passage, Native Americans). Sometimes it just meanders. I'm still enjoying Kim Stanley Robinson as an author, but I definitely see that this is his first book. Might have to continue to pursue his later work instead, as it seems to be more of what I'm looking for.
    more
  • Lisa Eckstein
    January 1, 1970
    Henry is a teenager living in a small fishing community on the southern California coast. At least, Onofre is part of a place once called California, but that name has been fairly meaningless for sixty years, since a large-scale disaster decimated the population and isolated the small groups of survivors. Henry is fascinated by the stories of his teacher Tom, still spry at over 100 years old, though he's never quite sure whether to believe the tales. When strangers arrive from San Diego, Henry a Henry is a teenager living in a small fishing community on the southern California coast. At least, Onofre is part of a place once called California, but that name has been fairly meaningless for sixty years, since a large-scale disaster decimated the population and isolated the small groups of survivors. Henry is fascinated by the stories of his teacher Tom, still spry at over 100 years old, though he's never quite sure whether to believe the tales. When strangers arrive from San Diego, Henry and Tom have the chance to learn more about what happened to the old America and what's going on in the wider world. It's information that may change their whole way of life.I was excited when I realized Kim Stanley Robinson had written a novel in my beloved post-apocalyptic genre, since I was blown away by his Mars trilogy. THE WILD SHORE was his first published novel, and it turns out to be a rather less accomplished work. While many aspects of the book are interesting and entertaining (there's an especially exciting action sequence near the middle), the story meanders, and a lot of things are set up that didn't really go anywhere.This is the first book of the Three Californias trilogy, which speculates on three different possible futures, so the other installments feature entirely separate stories and characters. I do plan to read the rest, and I'll be curious to see how they compare and whether this book works better as a part of the whole.
    more
  • Tomislav
    January 1, 1970
    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 r 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 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 can be read stand-alone, or in any order. 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 Cost - 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.first read - 1984 May 2
    more
  • Michael
    January 1, 1970
    (Spoilers alert!) Here is the premise: in 2047, America is gone. Having suffered a sneak attack at the hands of the Russians forty years earlier, America no long exists as a political entity, and has been isolated by the United Nations. On the West Coast, in a small village in what was once Orange County, a young man writes down a narrative history of his life during an eventful summer when survivors in nearby San Diego try to begin knitting California, and the United States, back together again (Spoilers alert!) Here is the premise: in 2047, America is gone. Having suffered a sneak attack at the hands of the Russians forty years earlier, America no long exists as a political entity, and has been isolated by the United Nations. On the West Coast, in a small village in what was once Orange County, a young man writes down a narrative history of his life during an eventful summer when survivors in nearby San Diego try to begin knitting California, and the United States, back together again. I can't say that this book was depressing so much as it was resigned. By the end you realize that the dreams of this young man and his fellow teenage friends are simply not going to come true: America is finished, and the narrator realizes it. What was once will never be again. Mr. Robinson writes imaginative and thoughtful realistic science fiction. There is a haunting quality to his work; he writes well, and you end up actually caring about what happens to his characters. In this instance, the narrator learns a very hard lesson about what war is, and about being thankful for what you have. Well done.
    more
  • Tim
    January 1, 1970
    Another post apocalyptic story set on the coast of California. Well done - a small village of interesting characters pulling themselves together over the course of several decades after a nuclear war.America's population has been decimated by fusion bombs, so radioactivity is not the major legacy, just ruin by explosions, death, and a strange coalition of nations charged to keep America from rebuilding. (Apparently Russia or some nation was able to pin the blame on the US for the conflict and ot Another post apocalyptic story set on the coast of California. Well done - a small village of interesting characters pulling themselves together over the course of several decades after a nuclear war.America's population has been decimated by fusion bombs, so radioactivity is not the major legacy, just ruin by explosions, death, and a strange coalition of nations charged to keep America from rebuilding. (Apparently Russia or some nation was able to pin the blame on the US for the conflict and other nations are coerced into keeping "her down.")But that is all just backdrop for the flow of characters living simple hard lives, and grasping at memories and ruins of a wealthy civilization to goad them into small acts of resistance.No flaws, interesting tale. Kim Stanley Robinson is a favorite of mine
    more
  • Rob
    January 1, 1970
    This is the first in the post apocalyptic "Three Californias" trilogy. This first book is a decent story about survivors of a devastated United States living off the land in a community of "Onofre" along the southern California Coast. The story is told first person through a young man torn between the pleasant and familiar farming and trading community he is part of, and the exciting unknown of a distant and growing movement by other communities to bring back the "old America". The author speaks This is the first in the post apocalyptic "Three Californias" trilogy. This first book is a decent story about survivors of a devastated United States living off the land in a community of "Onofre" along the southern California Coast. The story is told first person through a young man torn between the pleasant and familiar farming and trading community he is part of, and the exciting unknown of a distant and growing movement by other communities to bring back the "old America". The author speaks to the reasons behind the disaster and the nature of the characters present situation, through character memories and books in this story, but never really provides a satisfactory explanation as to the reasons for what happened. This was a bit disappointing but character development is good and the premise is intriguing. I have not decided if I will read either of the other books.
    more
  • Katherine
    January 1, 1970
    I was very pleased to finally get a copy of this book, now that it's been published in ebook format, because even my local library didn't have a copy. I have been a big fan of KSR, ever since the Mars series, and when I like an author, I try to read all of their work.I think this is KSR's earliest published work, and it's definitely much more raw than his later stuff. It's the improbable story of a US post nuclear attack, that's been quarantined from the rest of the world. Overall it's pretty go I was very pleased to finally get a copy of this book, now that it's been published in ebook format, because even my local library didn't have a copy. I have been a big fan of KSR, ever since the Mars series, and when I like an author, I try to read all of their work.I think this is KSR's earliest published work, and it's definitely much more raw than his later stuff. It's the improbable story of a US post nuclear attack, that's been quarantined from the rest of the world. Overall it's pretty good, one of those post-apoc spec fiction pieces that was popular in the 80s and is now again popular, although the premise is dated. I'd recommend it if you're a big KSR fan like I am.
    more
  • Gregg Kellogg
    January 1, 1970
    Interesting, if dated, examination of an alternate Orange County. As a kid, I used to go to San Onofre with my family when my dad was a member of the surf club. Hard to imagine n ding snow-shoes to get about in the winter.
  • Tom Rowe
    January 1, 1970
    Nuclear war. People survive. Stuff happens. Parts interesting. Parts uninteresting. Parts meandering.
  • Jen
    January 1, 1970
    I finally got through a book by Kim Stanley Robinson! I really wanted to read and enjoy his Mars trilogy, but I got bogged down in the characters and their politics, which I had no interest in. I wanted to read about Mars, of course! This book feels like it's by a different author. The California coast itself plays a central role: it shapes the characters' lives. That's what I wanted to get out of Red Mars. Maybe that happens later in the book and I'll try it again one day.With well-developed ch I finally got through a book by Kim Stanley Robinson! I really wanted to read and enjoy his Mars trilogy, but I got bogged down in the characters and their politics, which I had no interest in. I wanted to read about Mars, of course! This book feels like it's by a different author. The California coast itself plays a central role: it shapes the characters' lives. That's what I wanted to get out of Red Mars. Maybe that happens later in the book and I'll try it again one day.With well-developed characters and gorgeous descriptions of the natural environment, this book was just what I wanted, and I've already picked up the next one in the series. My only complaint is that the plot drags a bit and not too much happens, but that just made the story feel more real.
    more
  • Christopher
    January 1, 1970
    A glimpse into the mind of SF great Kim Stanley Robinson BEFORE he hit his stride in the Mars Trilogy. Everything that makes him great, descriptive prose, hard technology-based sci-fi, a near-mythic regard for the environment, are all present on the proto level. The first of three books in the series that looks at possible futures. In The Wild Shore the reader is taken into a mid-twenty first century future in which the US lost a limited nuclear war and faces an world dominated by weather extrem A glimpse into the mind of SF great Kim Stanley Robinson BEFORE he hit his stride in the Mars Trilogy. Everything that makes him great, descriptive prose, hard technology-based sci-fi, a near-mythic regard for the environment, are all present on the proto level. The first of three books in the series that looks at possible futures. In The Wild Shore the reader is taken into a mid-twenty first century future in which the US lost a limited nuclear war and faces an world dominated by weather extremes, agriculture and is decidedly low tech.
    more
  • Chelsea
    January 1, 1970
    2.5 STARSDNF @ Page 135I was really excited about this book, but it was just a little too slow for me. The pace picked up a bit when Hank and Tom went with the “resistance” to meet the Mayor of San Diego. I ended up giving in to temptation and decided to read the last few pages. I’m happy with my choice of stopping about a third of the way through the book.
    more
  • Daniel
    January 1, 1970
    A more sedate book than I expected, interesting and sad. The idea of what comes after the end of the United States was a good but not exciting read.
  • Gary
    January 1, 1970
    This is a trilogy. I'm going to read #2. It's very good. (Great review isn't it?)
  • Glen Engel-Cox
    January 1, 1970
    This was the overwhelming pick by my correspondents for the next book to read, and I was quite happy to comply. I picked up a paperback copy of The Wild Shore in 1985, then a hardback in 1990, and both copies had been hanging around my to be read shelf since then, possibly leading many another volume in their bad ways (how else to explain the sheer number of books not read?). It was quite rewarding to be able to remove it from its place of honor as the book that I have owned the longest but had This was the overwhelming pick by my correspondents for the next book to read, and I was quite happy to comply. I picked up a paperback copy of The Wild Shore in 1985, then a hardback in 1990, and both copies had been hanging around my to be read shelf since then, possibly leading many another volume in their bad ways (how else to explain the sheer number of books not read?). It was quite rewarding to be able to remove it from its place of honor as the book that I have owned the longest but had not yet read.Why is it that every post-apocalyptic book must have the same old tired plot: a youth, hearing about the grand old past, investigates and discovers the "truth" of the past? Of course, the fact is that these books, like most "non-adventure" SF, are about the present using this simplified vision of the future as a looking-glass to it. My problem with the sub-genre is that I don't hold with the simplification--most of these books imply that our present life is "out of balance" and that, in a antediluvian world, the balance will be restored. I can hold with the former, but I disagree with the latter.So too may Stan Robinson, if I understand the theme behind his Orange County trilogy, of which this is the first book. Taking a common starting point, Robinson looks at the world through three different fun-house mirrors, the first of which is a back-to-nature, return to the "simpler" life. This is pure conjecture on my part, not having read the other two volumes as of yet, however.The Wild Shore was an Ace SF original, published in the same line edited by the late Terry Carr as William Gibson's Neuromancer. While it did not set the genre on its ear as Gibson's novel, the seeds of Robinson's later career and his interests can be seen here. While post-apocalyptic, this novel is not a rehash of Walter M. Miller, Jr.'s A Canticle of Leibowitz--rather than concentrating on the tragedy of the apocalypse and how it might happen again and again, Robinson celebrates the enduring human spirit by attempting to show that life goes on much the same as it ever did. Parents will continue to be parents, both supporting and domineering, and children will continue to be children, full of rash actions and the naive belief that they can live forever. Like his short story, "Down and Out in the Year 2000," The Wild Shore can be read as an answer to the cyberpunk belief that technology will reinvent the world. Robinson says, the world may change, but people will not.As a final aside to this incoherent rambling, I was surprised early on in the novel to find another coincidental relationship between this book and Neuromancer. Much has been made of Neuromancer's first line, which, to paraphrase, goes "The sky was the color of a television, tuned to a dead channel." On page 34 of The Wild Shore, Robinson depicts the same color by saying, "On the coast the sky was the color of sour milk...." The two similes are one of the best indications of the different milieu depicted, and the underlying themes of both books.
    more
  • Jack Atherton
    January 1, 1970
    In this story, young people make a terrible mistake and learn the error of their ways. They spend soooooo long doing things that are a bad idea leading up to the mistake. There is not much wisdom to be gained from their perspective. I was mostly cringing and wishing they would stop doing stupid things.This is some of Robinson's earliest work and I guess it shows. I miss the philosophy that was present in the Mars Trilogy, which he wrote right after this one. I'll probably read the other two book In this story, young people make a terrible mistake and learn the error of their ways. They spend soooooo long doing things that are a bad idea leading up to the mistake. There is not much wisdom to be gained from their perspective. I was mostly cringing and wishing they would stop doing stupid things.This is some of Robinson's earliest work and I guess it shows. I miss the philosophy that was present in the Mars Trilogy, which he wrote right after this one. I'll probably read the other two books in this series, but not right away.
    more
  • Stephen Hergest
    January 1, 1970
    Kim Stanley Robinson is one of the few SF writers whose new works I still read. Works such as Antarctica, his Mars trilogy, and his “Science in the Capital” trilogy regularly stress world-building and ecologically-based themes. So it was interesting to read this, his first published novel, an “Ace Special” edited by the legendary Terry Carr.The Wild Shore is a coming-of-age tale set in Onofre, an isolated village on the California coast south of San Clemente, 60 years after nuclear war has decim Kim Stanley Robinson is one of the few SF writers whose new works I still read. Works such as Antarctica, his Mars trilogy, and his “Science in the Capital” trilogy regularly stress world-building and ecologically-based themes. So it was interesting to read this, his first published novel, an “Ace Special” edited by the legendary Terry Carr.The Wild Shore is a coming-of-age tale set in Onofre, an isolated village on the California coast south of San Clemente, 60 years after nuclear war has decimated the United States. The President at the time chose not to retaliate, and now the country is being monitored by a coalition of other countries, particularly the Japanese from Catalina. Part of a restless group of teens, seventeen year-old Henry Fletcher is approached by men from San Diego, representing an American Resistance in the hopes that Onofre will help make America great again. So much of this is background, however. The story focuses on life in the valley, and what this discovery of the bigger picture means for Henry and those around him, and what they choose to do about it. Henry is torn between his elderly mentor, Tom, who remembers the time before the bombs fell, and his friend Steve, a troubled teen with big ambitions. In true coming-of-age style, Henry makes decisions he comes to regret, and learns about life and love in the process.The Wild Shore is the first of his “Three Californias Triptych”, with loose prequels The Gold Coast and Pacific Edge. It would be interesting for Robinson to revisit Onofre at this stage in his career and look at it a generation later.
    more
  • Sebastian Sajda
    January 1, 1970
    I didn't know what to expect from a KSR post-apocalyptic story (especially as it is an early work for him), but after finishing it I thought "yes, this is exactly a KSR post-apocalyptic story."Can't wait to read the other two in the triptych.
  • Julie Duffy
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book! I wasn't sure I was going to, on the first couple of pages but I'm glad I stuck with it past the first scene. Set after a nuclear event has devastated America. The second generation post-apocalypse is reaching adulthood and we follow a group of them, centered on Henry.The writing is lush, but not overdone, as Robinson depicts a hard, pastoral life in a small coastal community. To add to the tensions of adolescence in a small town, strangers arrive from a larger town, the first I loved this book! I wasn't sure I was going to, on the first couple of pages but I'm glad I stuck with it past the first scene. Set after a nuclear event has devastated America. The second generation post-apocalypse is reaching adulthood and we follow a group of them, centered on Henry.The writing is lush, but not overdone, as Robinson depicts a hard, pastoral life in a small coastal community. To add to the tensions of adolescence in a small town, strangers arrive from a larger town, the first contact from the outside in years. The future is suddenly uncertain as Henry heads off on an adventure with his almost-magical mentor Old Tom.This reminded me a lot of Neville Shute, whose books I love: exciting events but grounded in the everyday life of a community of real, close friends that we come to care about. We experience life through Hank's perspective and by the end I was fully immersed, rooting for him as I would for myself. Buying the next two in the trilogy now!
    more
  • Mark
    January 1, 1970
    A young boy grows up in a coastal village of a U.S.A that has undergone some catastrophe.There are no raiders or giant scorpions, just the odd spell of bad weather.This is an interesting post apocalyptic novel with a very gentle slant.The young people want to try and get the U.S.A back to the state of power it once was, as some of the older people try to explain in a lot of ways the "new" U.S.A is a much nicer place. When the the catastrophe is explained I was both surprised and disappointed at A young boy grows up in a coastal village of a U.S.A that has undergone some catastrophe.There are no raiders or giant scorpions, just the odd spell of bad weather.This is an interesting post apocalyptic novel with a very gentle slant.The young people want to try and get the U.S.A back to the state of power it once was, as some of the older people try to explain in a lot of ways the "new" U.S.A is a much nicer place. When the the catastrophe is explained I was both surprised and disappointed at the same time.The characters are interesting, not a whole lot happens but the book is so well written that you can share the excitement the kids get from quite mundane relics of a gone by time.Not much action, very gentle.
    more
  • Dayton
    January 1, 1970
    Notable in part for the use of the phrase "Make America Great Again" in a novel written in 1984. It's no Red Mars, but there's a lot to like in this story of a coastal community making a life for itself decades after nuclear catastrophe. The narrator and his friends have sort of this "gee whiz isn't this an adventure" tone throughout that's mostly fun but occasionally rings false; despite some writing foibles, there are some really beautiful and impactful sections (Henry's swim, Tom's story of m Notable in part for the use of the phrase "Make America Great Again" in a novel written in 1984. It's no Red Mars, but there's a lot to like in this story of a coastal community making a life for itself decades after nuclear catastrophe. The narrator and his friends have sort of this "gee whiz isn't this an adventure" tone throughout that's mostly fun but occasionally rings false; despite some writing foibles, there are some really beautiful and impactful sections (Henry's swim, Tom's story of meeting his double).
    more
  • Amber
    January 1, 1970
    This book kept me holding on, not because it is so fantastically interesting, more because of the tiny bits of story that were somewhat interesting. His interpretation of what the changed environment would be like and how the "end" would come about via a well coordinated terrorist attack were fascinating. The human side of the story - most of the plot was slow, but I'll probably read the rest of the series soon.
    more
Write a review