Read After Oil: SF Visions Of A Post-Petroleum World by John Michael Greer Free Online
Book Title: After Oil: SF Visions Of A Post-Petroleum World|
The author of the book: John Michael Greer
Edition: Founders House Publishing LLC
Date of issue: November 6th 2012
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 7.35 MB
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Reader ratings: 7.7
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This book is a collection of short stories by 11 authors (D.Trammel, K.O'Neill, S.Harelson, E.A.Freeman, C.McGuire, H.J.Lerwill, A.Morrow, R.S.Ellis, T.Goverde, P.Steiner, and J.D.Smith,) carefully selected by John Michael Greer to match the common theme: the post-oil apocalyptic decline.
So, about the theme. Our "modern way of life," fed by seemingly inexhaustible supply of cheap oil, is lost forever. The deal is simple enough: there is no more supply of cheap oil (the expensive oil still exists, here and there.) As the Kubler-Ross model suggests, there are five stages of loss and grief: denial/isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. The heroes of the short stories are all pictured at various stages of their psychological adjustment process. Let say, for the denial/isolation, there is a story about some local reading club: a bunch of bibliophiles who get together every day to drink ersatz-coffee and discuss their favorite books. The books are getting scarce, as the people use the paper to heat their homes. The latter theme is pressed in few more stories: how people struggle to preserve the knowledge, including anything printed. In one story they salvage old hard disks loaded with e-books, in another - a group of teenagers tries to get a password to an old laptop, in another – mother saves a Calculus book for her son, in hope that he may have brighter future.
The story genres range from the melancholic descriptive narration to an outright Steampunk. Yes, Steampunk! How else would you classify a bunch of people in semi-military uniforms and Victorian dresses, traversing the United States at 40 miles per hour on a solar-powered Zeppelin? There is a dystopian story, like a much shortened version of the Orwell's 1984. Imagine a government bureaucrat working in the Energy Control Agency and making sure that everybody in the USA get just enough electricity and gas to survive, and not a single watt above it (once in a while, he cannot manage it too well and few hundred people die; pity, but inevitable.) There is an Utopia legend, as it would be told in Africa 100 years after the civilization. There are a couple of folk stories, placed in the countryside and featuring movie shows administered from horse-pulled wagons, similar to J.H.Kunstler novels. There is a barefoot boy who wants to drop off from school and become a 'savager.' This is how they call scavengers (rag-pickers) in the post-oil world, same as in McKay's Houston, 2030. And there is even a mockery of the Silmarillion, the poetic world made of garbage!
Taking the psychological side of the stories, it is probably less important that the physics and logic are sometimes violated. If there is no running water in the tap, the sewers will not flow for too long. If the laptop battery has not been charged for ten years, it is only good as a source of Lithium, and not much else. If there is no pharmaceutical industry and no refrigerated vans around, highly unstable Insulin will be available only to the super-rich, or, perhaps, will not be available at all. But, in the short stories, the authors do have their artistic license!
I enjoyed every single bit of it. Five stars.
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Read information about the authorJohn Michael Greer is an author of over thirty books and the blogger behind The Archdruid Report. He also serves as Grand Archdruid of the Ancient Order of Druids in America. His work addresses a range of subjects, including climate change, peak oil and the future of industrial society. He lives in Rhode Island with his wife.
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