Robinson began his career with a bang: a trilogy, known as Three Californias, that extrapolated several potential futures for the Golden State. This, the second book in the sequence, is the most dystopian, taking place in an Orange County that has been overdeveloped and overpopulated, in a world that looks very much like the one we occupy. At the center of the action is a conflict between characters: Jim McPherson, young and disenchanted, and his father, who works for a defense contractor that creates government weapons. Yet more to the point, Robinson insists, is that if the future is unwritten, anything is possible, for good or for ill. This, then, is a novel that asks us necessary questions about who we are and who we want to be.
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