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Reviews by Contributor: Robinson, Kim Stanley (2)

Plant a Little Garden

The Wild Shore  (California triptych, volume 1)

By Kim Stanley Robinson  

12 Apr, 2022

Terry Carr's Third Ace Science Fiction Specials

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1984’s The Wild Shore is the first volume in Kim Stanley Robinson’s California triptych. The Wild Shore was also the first volume published in the Third Ace Science Fiction Specials series. 

In the America of tomorrow, traffic jams, the military-industrial complex, and taxes are all things of the past. Lifelong friends Steve, Gabby, Kristen and Mando, Del and protagonist Henry need not concern themselves with such matters. This is because about fifty years earlier, someone unknowndetonated neutron bombs in the centers of the United States’ two to three thousand largest cities. Fifty years after America’s annihilation, the quintet’s home town (San) Onofre is doing well to have assembled a functional village and regional market.

Nevertheless, there are common elements that run through American societies of all varieties. In particular, young people are quite creative about finding stupid ways to waste time and risk their lives.

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“(…) there was one yurt community that brought up their children as if they were Inuit or Sami, or for that matter Neanderthals.”

Aurora

By Kim Stanley Robinson  

8 Dec, 2015

Miscellaneous Reviews

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There’s a sub-genre I call premature interstellarism”, stories about unfortunate explorers and colonists whose toolkits are, alas, not up to the challenge of exploring or settling other planets. Given the long history of failed colonization efforts on Earth, the planet on which we actually evolved, the idea that some colonization efforts would fail seems like a no-brainer. 2015’s Aurora is an example of such a book, standing next to such works as Poul Anderson’s The Alien Enemy,” Joanna Russ’ We Who Are About To…, and Brian Stableford’s Daedalus series.

It’s a rare book that fits into just one possible sub-genre. There is a far larger, more important sub-genre to which Aurora belongs and that’s Books with Idiot Plots.

Trigger warning for physicists and biologists: this is supposedly hard SF, which is to say SF that provides enough technical detail that the reader can be certain that various mechanisms and events couldn’t work the way the author has them working. Also, spoiler warning.


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