Energized – Edward M. Lerner

About the book

No one expected the oil to last forever. How right they were….

A geopolitical miscalculation tainted the world’s major oil fields with radioactivity and plunged the Middle East into chaos. Any oil that remains usable is more prized than ever. No one can build solar farms, wind farms, and electric cars quickly enough to cope. The few countries still able to export oil and natural gas—Russia chief among them—have a stranglehold on the world economy.

And then, from the darkness of space, came Phoebe. Rather than divert the onrushing asteroid, America captured it in Earth orbit.

Solar power satellites—cheaply mass-produced in orbit with resources mined from the new moon to beam vast amounts of power to the ground—offer America its last, best hope of avoiding servitude and economic ruin.

As though building miles-across structures in space isn’t challenging enough, special interests, from technophobes to eco-extremists to radio astronomers, want to stop the project. And the remaining petro powers will do anything to protect their newfound dominance of world affairs.

NASA engineer Marcus Judson is determined to make the powersat demonstration project a success. And he will—even though nothing in his job description mentions combating an international cabal, or going into space to do it.

336 pages (hardcover)
Published on July 17, 2012
Published by Tor
Author’s webpage

This book was sent for me to review by the publisher.

You may purchase this book by clicking on the following link: Energized


Energized is based on an incredibly captivating premise. In fact, the idea the novel is based on is brilliant, purely because I doubt many people in the world today haven’t thought of the possibility of the world running out of oil, or oil becoming unusable (as the case is here). It’s fascinating to read a book about what could happen in the near future if we couldn’t use oil anymore. Added to this is technology that, whether or not it could ever actually happen, actually reads in such a manner that many individuals might be tempted to believe that much of this could actually happen. This tantalizing blend of future possibilities and believable technology really works hand in hand to pull the reader into the book.

Readers are introduced to a tumultuous world. Due to a serious miscalculation and a major incident regarding oil, any oil is too dangerous to use and any left is prized. This is causing people to switch to solar and electric power, but the world can’t cope with the switch from oil to electric and solar fast enough. Coupled with this is chaos in the Middle East and Russia becoming a primary power in the world. In order to cope with all of these issues, a branch of NASA engineers work together to find new ways to get power to the people who dearly need it. Of course all of their methods come with political and social backlash.

Energized switches between the perspectives of a few characters, some of them a bit more well realized than others. This is the problem with the book. Some of the characters seem a little two-dimensional. Perhaps due to that their dialogue and some of their actions can come across a bit awkward and unbelievable. No matter how fascinating the book and technology is, these small problems with characters really can impact how the book is received and enjoyed by readers. It’s hard to fully appreciate a book when such an important part of it is a little flat.

Characters aside, Lerner has developed a fascinating future scenario which is shockingly believable, as is the near-future technology he inserts into his plot. The research he must have done to make this vision of the future so believable must have been extensive and painstaking. Lerner really leaves no details out, and that is, perhaps, where this book shines. Yes, this is science fiction and yes, it does deal with technology that we don’t currently have, but this isn’t a far off future. This could be tomorrow’s world, and Lerner’s research and attention to detail really drives that home and turns Energized into a book that will make people wonder, “what if?”

It should be noted that the first half of Energized can be a little slow as Lerner takes his time making sure the readers are clear on all the details regarding complex politics and near-future technology. However, in the second half the slow pace really pays off. The plot takes off and starts moving fairly quickly and tension keeps building and building until the very end. The details and slow pace at the start really pay off here, as readers won’t need to stop and wonder about any of the technology, new words, or the political climate. Here is where readers will get to sit back and enjoy the thrilling ride.

When it’s all said and done, Energized is a wonderful example of incredibly well researched hard science fiction. However, the science fiction genre label shouldn’t put you off. Energized is a book about what could be, and the possibilities Lerner shows in his realistic and engaging of the near future are sure to tantalize you.


4/5 stars

3 Responses

  • Hi!
    I just came across your site and it is really lovely! I happily followed you and will enjoy reading your updates. You can find me over at Rainy Day Reads, http://www.rainydayreads.com It would be great if you could stop by and I would love to have a fellow book lover as a new follower.
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    Rainy Day Reads

  • I really enjoyed the Ringworld prequels Lerner wrote with Niven, and i always enjoy a good scifi near-future thriller, so I’ll definitely be looking out for this one!

    • BookwormBlues

      I hope you enjoy it!!

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