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Prelude Paperback – November 10, 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Cobb does a good job of the writing with snappy pacing and plotting; his descriptions giving immediacy to places and people. --The Huffington Post, Kelpie Wilson, February 11, 2011

A Grisham-esque tale of suspense and intrigue...I highly recommend Prelude for its engaging story and richly developed portrait of the peak oil issue. --Energy Bulletin, Frank Kaminski, January 9, 2011

Kept me unable to put the book down till finished. Read Prelude because it's a good read. The message is a bonus.... --Dry Dipstick, Mick Winter, December 31, 2010

If you know someone -- a friend or family member -- who enjoys political thrillers but doesn't yet know about peak oil, then Prelude is the book for them. --Transition Voice, Erik Curren, December 1, 2010

About the Author

When he's not bicycling, baking pies and acting as a masseuse and doorman for his cat, Kurt Cobb writes about energy and the environment on his blog, Resource Insights, and as a columnist for the Paris-based science news site, Scitizen. He's a former newspaper reporter and ad man and a sometimes media consultant to political campaigns. He cooks Indian food himself and goes out for Thai. His specialty is pesto. All of which explains why the characters in his novel, Prelude, spend a lot of time at nice restaurants.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Public Interest Communications (November 10, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0983108900
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983108900
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,111,588 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Dr. James V. Blowers on December 7, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I learned about peak oil in 1997 when I read an article in Futurist magazine. I started reading the literature, including non-fiction by Kenneth Deffeyes, Jim Kunstler, Richard Heinberg, and others. One would think that with cheap oil starting to run out someone would be out there doiong something. Instead, most analysts, economists, and politicians are saying we have plenty of oil for the next few decades. This annoyed me because I was seeing oil slack dwindling and oil prices rising during the Double-Zero decade. Apparently these authors were having no effect on public attitudes, although politicians and the media were going haywire over the issue of global warming.

People read a lot of novels, so maybe a novel is a better way of doing it. Jim Kunstler tried it first with "World Made by Hand". However, he described a post-apocalypse world in which Route NY 29 was a dirt road, electricity was on only 30 minutes each day, and so forth. People can't relate to this because such a doomsday world is not their world. I couldn't. So far I have read only two chapters.

Now comes Kurt Cobb with his novel "Prelude". The world he describes is pretty much as we were living it, in the year 2008. There were Metros, limos, cars, and all the comforts of modern life, including fancy restaurants. The story is about an oil analyst named, probably alludingly, Cassandra. As she lives her life, I can see many things in common with my life - working in a cubicle doing analysis, having dates with the opposite sex, enjoying summer evenings, and so forth. It is something we can relate to. I can relate to it; I have already read the complete book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I just finished "Prelude" - a book which I was not prepared to like as well as I did. It is not the kind of book that I would normally read, but just having heard the author speak at a conference, I decided to read it. And I am so glad that I did. It is a spine-chilling, page-turner of a story with lots of intrigue, good guys and bad guys, a bit of sex, evil corporations - all the components necessary to make an intriguing current novel set in our nation's capital. I highly recommend reading this book -- not only a good story, but also a throrough education about the implications of peak oil.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Not a bad read. An enjoyable way to learn about peak oil. I would have really liked some more insight into motives of primary characters - some hint that they had conflicts, doubts, concerns about future. I thought the growing realization of one character as to how heavily dependent we are on oil was well done and thought provoking.

I thought it curious that there was zero attempt at connecting any of this to atmospheric CO2 build up from our use of oil (and other fossil fuels) and resulting climate change(CC) and how each affects the other. My understanding is peak oil will come too late to help avoid catastrophic CC but just in time to help CC crash civilization. The author, based on reading posts by him elsewhere, seems to be informed in this area - why I expected subject to be addressed.
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Before I'd even opened the cover of Prelude, the novel about peak oil by Kurt Cobb, I knew this was going to be a good read--and an unnerving one. After all, I had heard the author speak before; we live in the same Michigan city of Kalamazoo. I knew him to be a mesmerizing speaker about all things energy and global resources, something of our local Al Gore, and I also knew that every time I heard him speak, I went home feeling shaky about our planet's future. Shaky, but also resigned to do my part to make things better.

I've also been a long time reader of Cobb's intelligent and meticulously researched blog, Resource Insights. Every time I log on, I learn something new and find myself yet again rethinking how I use energy. Now, Cobb has put his research and insights into a novel, calling it fiction, yet this story of intrigue and espionage is based on what he has learned about how we use energy.

Prelude is a story about Cassie Young during 2008, employed at an important Washington D.C. energy consulting firm. Her firm is forever making announcements about how deep go our energy reserves, but then Cassie discovers a report hidden from public scrutiny. The report reveals a looming energy crisis based on manipulated figures by major world oil exporters, and the crisis is not at all at a comfortable distance. Peak oil is a reality to which society is turning a willfully blind eye. After all, we live in a world where oil is our lifeblood, and if we should run out of this limited resource, the world as we know it would come to a screeching halt.

The fast-paced story takes Cassie to Canada to take a closer look at tar sands, about which we are hearing today as another resource for oil. She meets Victor Chernov, a former oil trader, who reveals yet more damaging data to her.
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Format: Paperback
Cassie Young, the central character of Kurt Cobb's novel, reached her job as an oil analyst for a big DC consulting firm with all the regular assumptions about how the world of energy works, and she's the rising star. (Don't worry - you don't spend any time watching people write high-priced reports on arcane topics. That would be a boring book!) She knows that there's lots of oil remaining to be produced, big companies know how to get it out of the ground efficiently, and consulting firms give their clients the benefit of their wisdom. As the book moves along, she discovers that all of the comfortable assumptions are wrong, but there's a good reason why she (and we) have been told these calming lies. As the book moves through a cat-and-mouse game with higher stakes than Cassie realized, another level of suspense begins to appear: what are the rest of us going to do with the information that Cassie's discovered? That's the story that is still evolving. Kurt Cobb has given a good introduction to this challenge, in a much more accessable format than reading the peak oil books and blogs. If you're at all curious about this "energy crisis" talk but don't want to deal with technical jargon, Prelude is a good place to start instead.
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