Monday, November 07, 2011

Pacific Edge
by Kim Stanley Robinson

This is a guest post
by Fraser Hannah
Why do so many people love science fiction so passionately? I read it more than every other kind of book combined, and this may be the first time I've wondered why. I think it's because I like looking at different worlds and societies, and seeing how we still bring out our eternal themes and stories. Even in the dark empty reaches of hyperspace, I like to think, there will still be evil to fight, people to fall in love with, and personal quests to follow. And Pacific Edge is a science fiction novel, in just this sense.

It's a novel about an admirable future Earth (well, California, anyway) where huge global corporations have been painfully eliminated, and humanity has once again realised the importance of building ecological, healthy homes in towns that respect and support the environment. A new social structure has emerged (well, obviously) and technology has been repurposed to reclaim the environment, a little at a time.

Except it's not about that. That's just the setting—the ideas of the novel. Those ideas are good, but they're not enough to make a readable novel. Pacific Edge is about a young man who's dealing with the cutthroat politics of a town council, while simultaneously fallling in love with the mayor's ex-wife and learning about the truth of his own shy heart. Plus he's trying to maintain his softball hitting streak, which is, I think, a really nice human touch. I won't give it away except to say that his perfect hitting streak comes down to just one final game. Against the mayor's team. And that game isn't a tie.

No matter what the future, we will remain human: that's the message that underlies all science fiction, and that's why I read it so much more than any other type of fiction.

Pacific Edge reminds us of the joys and struggles of being human, like falling in love while sailing across the Pacific on a computerized freight windjammer built from high-tech fabric and GPS receivers. Oh, yeah, I forgot about the windjammers. They were just cooool. I guess that's another reason.

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Copy source: unknown
Genre: science fiction
Format: unkown

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Fraser Hannah lives in Victoria, within spitting distance of the Pacific Ocean. Not literally, though he has tried. His favorite stories have been about Mal Reynolds, Bren Cameron, Luke Skywalker, Lawrence Pritchard Waterhouse, Buckaroo Banzai, Ellen Ripley, Ari Emory, and Wyoming Knott. He works days as a technical writer for a huge anonymous Crown Corporation, and nights as a freelance editor. Fraser lives with three girls of varying sizes and a vintage MacBook.

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