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The Octopus: A Story of California is a novel by Frank Norris and was meant to be the first part of an uncompleted trilogy, The Epic of the Wheat. It describes the wheat industry in California, and the conflicts between wheat growers and a railway company. Norris was inspired to write the novel by the Central Pacific Railroad and the Mussel Slough Tragedy. In the novel he depicts the tensions between the railroad, the ranchers and the ranchers' League. The book emphasized the control of "forces"�such as growing wheat and the power of railroad monopolies�over individuals. Some editions of the work give the subtitle as alternately, A California Story.