The Wild Shore by Kim Stanley Robinson
The Wild ShoreIt is 2047 and the United States of America is under siege. In 1984 the country had been decimated by neutron bombs planted around the country. Since then the citizens that survived the following inner battles and fights for survival have learned to live in an underdeveloped country fighting to stay alive.
Henry is an older teen living in Onofre, California. His community consists of around 60 people. He lives with his father. His mother had died soon after his birth. One of the leading citizens in Onofre is Tom, purportedly over 100 years old. He remember America before The Day. Steve Nicolin is Tom’s best friend and Steve’s father runs the fishing business that sustains Onofre.
The United States appears to have been quarantined from the rest of the world. There is no question the country is constantly under surveillance, both human and satellite. If there are signs of isolated communities trying to unite for anything more than bartering commerce there are consequences. Tom takes Henry down to San Diego. The San Diegans have started a Resistance and are recruiting northern members.
The book evokes desolate images. I once worked in the Mission Valley area of San Diego that is described as mostly underwater except for the freeway bridges in this possible future. I could picture what Robinson was describing. The weather patterns over Southern California have totally changed in The Wild Shore due to the bombing. Torrey pines and snow storms do not go together in my mind, but do here.
This is a book that kept pulling me back into it. All too often it seemed to wander aimlessly, although that is probably done on purpose. This is a first person narrative by Henry so follows his perceptions and thoughts. I was not able to get involved with the character. It still is readable and gives an interesting picture of a country that tries to control the world and instead is controlled. (OK, I have to say this – this is definitely much more a guy’s book. A male co-worker recommended it to me as one of his science fiction favorites.)