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Review: "Prelude" by Kurt Cobb

Novels are good ways to impart information and put it into a social context. This one covers all the basics relating to our current predicament concerning peak oil without getting into an apocalyptic futuristic vision that has tempted so many writers.

In it a smart likable heroine, who is an oil analyst working for a big name company, meets a Russian channeling Dimitri Orlov (without the acerbic commentary). Skeptical at first, she puts his information to the test by breaking into the boss's files, thus risking her job and drawing the attention of an oil exporting entity. Meanwhile her personal life undergoes similar tensions as she sorts her feelings between her relationship with her boyfriend and the compelling information offered by the Russian.

Covers all the bases of tar sand production, oil reserve numbers, industry operations and the grass roots peak-oil movement in Washington D.C. The writing could use a bit of editing with non-important details of scene description, but the author does capture quite nicely the interior landscape of his heroine as she begins to come to terms with the implications of peak oil. And unlike most authors exploiting compelling information, he does not stray into implausible action scenarios to jack up the plot, but provides a nicely constructed realistic unfolding of the peak oil politics, industry policies and characters introduced. It left me satisfied without taxing my sensibilities.

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