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Energized Mass Market Paperback – 30 Sep 2014


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Amazon.com: 9 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Good technothriller 14 Sept. 2012
By H. Potter - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a cross between traditional hard science fiction and a technothriller. The science and engineering are depicted in much more detail than in more typical technothriller, like Tom Clancy's books, but the plot is more action oriented. It would make a pretty decent James Bond adventure, except it's too complicated. There are some very evil bad guys and a secret plot to wreck the US. The Russians are behind it all. You can imagine how it ends (guess which side wins), but there is some cleverness in how things work out.

I've read two other near future science fiction books by the same author, Probe and Moonstruck. Both were better than this one.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
An exciting futuristic techno thriller 28 Dec. 2012
By Layers of Thought - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
An exciting futuristic techno thriller - how can an asteroid racing towards Earth be used to help solve the world's desperate energy crisis?

About: In the near future a catastrophe has left a large part of the world's remaining oil reserves radioactive and unusable, plunging the Middle East into chaos and wrecking much of the world's economy. Russia is left as the last major power able to export oil and gas, and it's determined to exploit that new-found geopolitical dominance.

When an asteroid appears from deep space headed in the general direction of Earth, the US hatches a bold plan to pull the asteroid into Earth orbit and to mine it to help create a whole new source of energy - raw materials from the asteroid are to be used to build huge solar power satellites, which will then beam energy back to the US. The US sees it as a last chance to fix its ruined economy and to prevent political servitude; others are absolutely determined to see the plan fail.

Things seem to be going well - the asteroid is successfully tugged into orbit; manned stations and factories are built on the asteroid, and the first huge "powersat" is built. But before it can go live, NASA has to convince everyone that the technology is foolproof and safe; after all, if a system beaming huge amounts of power back to Earth goes even a tiny bit astray, the consequences will be horrendous. Even if it works perfectly, what if it were used as a weapon rather than a power source?

Marcus Judson is a NASA contractor playing a key role in the final tests and approval process, though he'd never imagined that might entail having to travel to the asteroid. As the testing comes to a head, so too does a complex and devious plan to prevent the program's success.

John's thoughts: This is an extremely clever idea for a novel - well thought out and well-constructed. Whether or not it would be technically feasible I have no idea, but reading the book you certainly get the sense that it could be. Lerner is clearly someone steeped in technology that loves to create storylines around technical extrapolations and theories that might just work.

There are some wonderful big ideas in here - harnessing the power of asteroids, mining them for raw materials, creative ways of breaking our dependence on oil, and how best to harness the full power of the sun. These ideas are mixed in with a strong plot involving political tensions, personal relationships, career scientists (a strange breed!) and plenty of thrills.

So the book has a lot of positives and I enjoyed the read. For me the thing that held it back a bit where the characters - they sometimes felt a bit two-dimensional and some of their actions and interactions were a bit stretched. But despite the somewhat implausible characters I'd still recommend this book to anyone who likes good somewhat futuristic techno thrillers. It's worth reading for the neat ideas alone! I'd rate the book 3 stars.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Old-fashioned, but in a bad way 20 May 2013
By Clay Kallam - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
"Energized" (Tor, $27.99, 333 pages) is an old-fashioned, hard-science scifi book. Luckily, the science isn't off-the-charts hard (some astronomy, engineering and such), but sadly, the old-fashioned applies to the writing style. In fact, it seems like Edward M. Lerner missed all those writing seminars that emphasized show not tell, because he keeps telling us how cool his main characters are, but neither of them ever really comes to life.

In fact, almost all the characters are pretty bloodless, which makes it difficult to muster up the energy to care about what happens to them. Still, Lerner puts them through their paces, and even in the typical near-future dystopia, manages to put an old-fashioned positive spin on the old-fashioned American, against-all-odds spirit.
Infiltration and Sabotage 19 Nov. 2013
By Arthur W. Jordin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Energized (2012) is a standalone SF Thriller novel. It is set a decade from now after a nuclear explosion in the Middle East oil fields and the capture of Phoebe -- a chondrite asteroid -- as a second moon. Russia is now the largest exporter of crude oil. The USA is in the throes of a stagflation and inflation.

In this novel, Marcus Judson is a support contractor on the powersat project. He is a system engineer and technical assistant to Ellen.

Ellen Tanaka is the program manager for the powersat project. She works for NASA.

Gabriel Campbell is a geologist. Gabe works on Phoebe.

Tina Landgren is the deputy station chief on Phoebe. She commands the second shift.

Thaddeus Stankiewicz is an aerospace engineer in the powersat project. Thad works for Kendricks Aerospace on Phoebe.

Valerie Clayburn is a radio astronomer. She works at the Green Bank Observatory. Val is a widow with a son, Simon.

In this story, Gabe is exercising hard to keep his muscle tone and bone calcium level from deteriorating. Phoebe has only a micro gravity field, so the exercise is mandatory. He is on his third hour of exercise when Tina notifies him that a bot is in trouble.

Gabe picks Thad as his assistant on the robot rescue. Thad is a newbie and the task will help him learn to maneuver on the asteroid. Gabe finds him working in the machine shop.

They both suit up and climb though the airlock. As they pull themselves along the cables attached to the outer surface, Gabe asks the engineer what he was working on. Thad says that he is building a still, but Gabe doesn't understand how it would work in microgravity. Thad yanks off his battery packs and Gabe freezes to death.

Three years later, Marcus is late for a town meeting on the powersat project. He had plugged in his electric car the previous evening, but the breaker had blown. So the car didn't get charged during the night.

Marcus had to find a station with gas for sale. And there was a long wait in the line for an available pump. Of course, it had cost him a bundle of money and a lot of ration points.

Marcus tells Ellen that he had car problems after slipping into his seat. The people at the meeting are upset with the project for many reasons. The loss of the oil fields has driven up the cost of gas drastically. Yet the public is still against developing new sources of energy. Marcus enjoys answering the questions of an engineering student, but Ellen soon cuts off his technical exposition.

Afterward, Ellen sends Marcus to attend an interagency meeting at DOE. His car has only got a tenth of a full charge during the meeting. Such is the life of a SETA.

Then Marcus gets a call from Val. She has a problem with the powersat project. She doesn't tell him details, but invites him to the observatory to explain the project. He drives out to the National Radio Astronomy Observatory the following Monday.

He soon finds that the whole area is a radio-free zone. Only diesel powered cars and trucks are used near the radio telescopes because of static problems. Then Val takes him to the cafeteria for lunch and an explanation of the powersat project.

Marcus learn that the radio astronomers have a problem with the powersats. Though they are aimed at antenna farms, frequency drifts, misaligned transmitters and sidelobe issues can cause major interference problems for the radio telescopes. Moving the powersats could also ruin return data.

Since radio astronomers are very familiar with the technology, the issues are not political, but technical. At first, Marcus is angry with Val for setting him up for an ambush meeting. But he soon starts dealing with the problems as technical issues and comes up with several solutions.

Val invites him back for another meeting and dinner afterward. This time Marcus has some answers for the problem, but the resulting brainstorming goes on for hours. At the end of the meeting, Val takes him to a nearby restaurant.

Since his girlfriend broke up their relationship for a west coast job, Marcus has been married to his job. He is attracted to Val and she returns the interest. Yet her deceased husband keeps getting in the way of her interests.

Simon appears to like Marcus. He also listens to Marcus' warnings more than his mothers. Val keeps inviting Marcus over, but also keeps asking for more time to make up her mind.

This tale takes Marcus into orbit to visit PS-1, the prototype powersat. He is thorough enjoying the experience. Everything looks on-schedule at the project.

Then Resetter terrorists go into orbit. This novel does not seem to have a sequel, although there are plenty of loose threads in the project and the world situation.

Highly recommended for Lerner fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of technological issues, political intrigue, and a bit of romance. Read and enjoy!

-Arthur W. Jordin
Great read. Lerner has a quick 5 Aug. 2014
By Ben - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great read. Lerner has a quick, concise style that leads the plot along nicely. "Energized" is a very well executed hard sci-fi set in the near future, and I found it hits a little closer to home than we might like.

I enjoyed this more, and found it easier to read, than the books in the "Known Space" series with Larry Niven.
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