January 13, 2011

Prelude back up again on Amazon site

After brief hiatus for some minor corrections, the Prelude softcover version is back up and available for sale on the Amazon site. A Kindle version of Prelude is also available.

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January 11, 2011

Prelude temporarily unavailable

The softcover version of Prelude is undergoing some minor corrections and will be available again within a few days.  The Kindle version remains available for purchase.

January 3, 2011

Prelude listed in top 10 peak oil books of 2010

Transition Voice, an online magazine covering peak oil, climate change, economic crisis and the Transition movement has put Prelude on its list of the Top 10 Peak Oil Books of 2010.  The magazine reviewed the book earlier in the year saying, “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.”

December 17, 2010

NPR interview

An interview I did earlier this week with my local NPR station, WMUK, was broadcast this morning. Click here to listen to the interview.

December 1, 2010

First review of Prelude

Transition Voice is the first publication to review Prelude. The new online magazine covers peak oil, climate change, economic crisis and the Transition movement response. Editor Erik Curren wrote this in his review entitled Sex, Lies and Peak Oil:

…the story-with-a-message has to find just the right balance of sugar and pill. Too much pill, and it’s not much of page turner. But too much sugar, and the message isn’t very strong. Though Cobb is an experienced peak oil blogger and speaker… he resists the temptation to put in too much pill…The story is able to develop suspense, tension and intrigue because Cobb keeps information about oil depletion and its possible consequences to a minimum.

Curren has picked up on exactly my method. The story comes first and the information about peak oil must fit into the story, not the other way round. I expect several other reviews in the coming weeks and will feature them here when they appear.

November 21, 2010

Prelude now available on Kindle in U.S. and U.K.

Prelude is now available on Kindle. To download from the U. S. Amazon site, click here. To download from the U. K. Amazon site, click here. If you’d like the softcover version, you may order it by clicking here.

November 15, 2010

Why I wrote Prelude, a peak oil novel

Cross-posted on Resource Insights and Energy Bulletin

Every culture lives by its narratives. And, these narratives come to us not just in the form of novels, plays, movies and television shows. They also come in the form of news stories, ideology, religious doctrine, theories that are social, political and scientific, and myriad other works which fall under the category of nonfiction. Over time these narratives become outmoded, and new ones emerge, or at least, the old ones are reworked in light of new circumstances.

Prelude, my peak oil novel, is part of a broader, ongoing process that is developing a counternarrative to the dominant one which is driving our global society toward the brink of social, economic and environmental collapse. At first, counternarratives are voiced by the few who perceive changed realities and try to articulate those new realities in ways that will allow a broader group of people to see them. There is an action plan implied by these counternarratives, but their effect on the actual functioning of society is small at this point. Widespread organized and concerted action for change still lies in the future.

In many ways that’s where we are in the peak oil story. As concern about peak oil spreads through more and more communities and to the highest circles in industry and government, we are approaching a critical threshold. But will we as a global society choose to pass through it?

As of now the story of peak oil has yet to reach the broad public, most of whom have never even heard the term, let alone contemplated its significance. Without broad public awareness it will be difficult for politicians and policymakers at all levels to find support for initiatives aimed at addressing peak oil.

When I conceived of Prelude three years ago, it was based on the notion that ideas only become widely dispersed in the public mind when they are infused in the arts. Since then several peak oil-themed novels have found their way to the bookstore shelves. Most of these, it turns out, are based either on an apocalyptic vision of a post-peak oil world or on the device of a sudden, catastrophic loss of oil, often through means that have little to do with peak oil production as it is commonly conceived.

I decided to create a narrative set firmly in contemporary society. I wanted a story that would reframe the way people read the daily news and the way they interpret their everyday experience. My premise was that readers would more readily identify with a world familiar to them than one set in the distant future or transfigured by an imaginary crisis.

During the three years it took to write the book, there has been a small, but steady proliferation of peak oil-related art, cartoons, stand-up comedy, theater, songs (here, here, and here), and even some peak oil poetry (here and here). The infusion of peak oil themes into the arts has now begun and appears to be spreading. This development is both a reflection of growing public awareness and a tool to create more awareness. Many more literary, performance, and graphic works of art will have to be married with the peak oil theme before they produce a self-reinforcing spiral that will blanket the public with the peak oil message.

My goal in writing Prelude was to help to create that self-reinforcing spiral of awareness, to break out beyond the peak oil community, beyond even the broader sustainability community, and to reach people who know little or nothing about such issues, but have chosen to read Prelude because they find it a compelling story in its own right. This implies a very broad audience, and my goal is an ambitious one. But success could mean nothing less than a large new group of people open to participating in national, regional and local initiatives related to peak oil and other sustainability issues.

Naturally, I will be gratified if this book finds broad acceptance among those in the peak oil community. Even if it does, it will fall far short of my goal. That’s why I’m hoping that those who read it and like it will recommend it especially to those who previously have had little association with peak oil or sustainability. The book was written with such people in mind.

No single work of art can express all the needs of an era. But through the efforts of activists and the continued creative work of artists, performers and writers, I believe we can achieve a much broader awareness of peak oil and other sustainability issues, an awareness that will lay the groundwork for a much more effective response to the daunting challenges that lay before us.

October 19, 2010

Former CIA Analyst Adds His Endorsement

Tom Whipple, editor of the Peak Oil Review and a former CIA analyst, has provided an endorsement for Prelude. Tom has been a longtime fixture in the peak oil community and has been a valuable source of information for those interested in peak oil and related issues.  To read his endorsement click here or on the “Praise & Reviews” tab.

October 18, 2010

More Endorsements

Sharon Astyk, fellow blogger, farmer, and author of Depletion and Abundance: Life on the New Home Front today provided a very nice endorsement of Prelude as did Debbie Cook, board president of the Post Carbon Institute and former mayor of Huntington Beach, CA. To see what they said, click here or on the “Praise & Reviews” tab.

October 4, 2010

Attending Peak Oil Conference This Week

I’ll be attending the annual conference of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas-USA in Washington, D.C. this week. If you are coming, I hope you’ll approach me and introduce yourself. If you want to come to the conference, it is still possible to register either online or at the door. The conference not only has superb presentations by top experts and activists, but it’s also a great place to network with people in the peak oil and sustainability communities.

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