Saturday, November 17, 2007

07.13 The Gold Coast by Kim Stanley Robinson


The Gold Coast (Three Californias: Book 2) by Kim Stanley Robinson
Orb, Trade, 389 p.

I reviewed the first novel in this trilogy, The Wild Shore, last year. It was a post apocalyptic story set in southern California focusing on a group of young people trying to find their way in a new world. The Gold Coast again features one possible future for Orange County but this time the future is far different and much bleaker in many ways.

Jim McPherson is a young slacker who swirls through his life of friends, drugs, sex and work. Jim's father is a defense industries worker caught up in the intensely political world of government contracts. The setting is 21st century Los Angles taken to a crazy urban extreme; "an endless sprawl of condos, freeways and malls."

Jim's life is out of focus, living like a teenager, well into his adult life. His parents don't understand him and Jim's one sole focus is his passion for history; the past Orange County, with which he feel a fundamental connection and longing.

In a unfocused attempt to bring some sanity and direction to his life, Jim joins up with a distant friend, Arthur, on a domestic terrorism plan, sabotaging the multiple aerospace companies and the "war machine" they feed. Via portable missile attacks on unmanned manufacturing plants the duo wrecks havoc and chaos over the defense industry, shaking the very foundation of Jim's life to the core. But when Jim finds out the true nature of Arthur and his missions, everything falls apart...

All in all this was a fun book to read. The themes are perhaps getting a little overtaken by contemporary times. I guess you could say that reality is catching up with fiction. I enjoyed the non-judgmental descriptions of drug use in the book and the anti-capitalist ethos refreshing.


c-dog said...

Nice review. The Gold Coast is one of my favorite KSR novels -- Pacific Edge, Antarctica, The Years of Rice and Salt being the others, not that I dislike any of them, those are just the ones I've reread and found even more to love the second time around.

Olman Feelyus said...

Sounds pretty cool. I've got to check out some Kim Stanley Robinson. I see his books a lot in the sci-fi section (though never any of the California trilogy). I'll pick one up next time.