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Paperback The Gold Coast Book

ISBN: 0812552393

ISBN13: 9780812552393

The Gold Coast

(Book #2 in the Three Californias Triptych Series)

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Good

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Book Overview

This description may be from another edition of this product. 2027: Southern California is a developer's dream gone mad, an endless sprawl of condos, freeways, and malls. Jim McPherson, the affluent son of a defense contractor, is a young man lost in a world of...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

A Thoughtful Potrait of Suburbia Gone Riot

To judge from some of the other reviews of this book, many read The Gold Coast expecting more of Robinson's excellent adventure-SF, like the magnificent Mars Trilogy or Antarctica. Those expectations are understandable but do this great book a disservice.The setting is Orange County in the middle of the 21st Century, with the USSR and the Cold War alive and well. Orange County has largely disappeared into a maze of highways and strip malls. The protagonist, Jim, is a twenty-something still dependent on his parents, who dabbles in Zen, post-modern poetry, works at an insurance agency and teaches night classes at a local community college. He cannot concentrate on anything for too long and tends to see other people as characters in a novel who come and go at random: when Jim's dad taught him about engine mechanics, Jim is interested and sees how the thermodynamics involved can be a metaphor for society, but then he promptly forgets it. When he visits his uncle Tom in a massive retirement home, he is fascinated by the lonely old man's storys of how Orange County used to be and resolves to spend more time with him, but as soon as the visit ends, he gets the heeby-jeebies about the retirement complex and ignores his uncle until he's obligated to visit again. He is in a relationship showing signs of becoming serious, but betrays his girlfriend for a random hook-up with a girl at a party. When Jim's friends tell him that his ex's heart was broken by the betray, he is surprised and rather indifferent.Eventually Jim realizes how hollow he is and his first attempt to find meaning is to get involved with some saboteurs trying to end America's huge military-industrial complex. Eventually, we see him grow up and develop a mature relationship with an art teacher, and even become reconciled with his parents. He also finds his voice as a history writer who seeks to find out what Orange County used to be like, and how it came to be a suburban nightmare.Jim is the main character, but Robinson also looks at Jim's parents, friends, and intersperses the fiction with prose meditations on the stages of Orange County's history. The result is a rich journey to a world that is hauntingly like our own. For instance, nobody has a boyfriend or girlfriend, they have "allies", much like the modern term "partner", and while the Cold War may be dead in our world, Robinson does a good job of making our consumer culture take a look in the mirror. Many people talked about "American Beauty"'s indictment of American suburbia, but ten years before that movie came out, Robinson created a much better examination of suburban culture, without the blatant polemics of American Beauty. It's different from much of Robinson's other work, but it still has his unique style and is well worth your time.

Can a person gain control in an out of control world?

Robinson's THE GOLD COAST is a wonderful commentary of a father's and son's individual quests to gain control of their lives and destinies in an insane, out of control world. Orange County is a nightmarish dystopia of over development. In addition, the defense industry is depicted in this manner, as well. Robinson deftly manages to depict these forces as if they're almost alive with an independent will. The world is completely out of control. How does a person gain control over their life? Simply beautiful.

KSR has done it again!

I've read most of KSR's books and I've got to say that I think Gold Coast is the best yet. A magnificently written piece with an honest and believable main character. A SF masterpiece, Robinson knows his stuff but doesn't waste space showing off his knowledge, choosing instead to add information subtlely and cleverly.A must read for any SF fan, or anyone who wants to read a great novel.

Yet another great book by KSR

I'm not sure I've appreciated the full meaning of the California trilogy - I can't help but feel I'm missing something deep. Nonetheless the series is highly enjoyable. KSR has a magnificent ability to convincingly portray near future scenarios. The Gold Coast is brash and packed with technology and science, yet manages to be sensitive and politically aware. I think I prefer Pacific Edge but this is definitely better than The Wild Shore.

Robinson's best novel

I have been reading Robinson for years and "The Gold Coast" is definitely my favorite of his novels (with Red Mars as a close second). "The Gold Coast" is wonderfully free of jargon (or maybe I just have more patience with military jargon). Some of the plot seems a bit dated since the end of the Cold War and the end of the Reagan years, but the novel is an interesting extrapulation of a plausible 'what if' future. The plot build-up was believable and the conclusion was unavoidable.
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