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Petroplague by Amy Rogers


by Amy Rogers

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"Amy Rogers is the crisp, haunting new voice of science thrillers. If you think global warming is scary, wait till you read Petroplague." Norb Vonnegut, author of The Gods of Greenwich

"Petroplague has earned a spot in the top five on my best of 2011 list." ThrillersRockTwitter

"A terrific thriller debut...Amy Rogers is one to watch." Paul McEuen, author of Spiral

"It's wonderful to read a thriller whose author knows her subject backwards and forwards, and demonstrates it on every page. As someone who lives in the LA area, I always look for signs that someone doesn't know this area or how it operates. Amy Rogers nails every aspect of LA, from neighborhoods to our isolation in the event of a disaster like this one." PopcornReads.com

"A great example of lab lit in the Crichtonesque school of epic science disaster writing...Amy Rogers has done an excellent job of not only crafting an exciting and thrilling piece of lab lit fiction, but also of offering an education in the science behind the scenes and a glimpse of a future we might face." LabLit.com

"Rogers goes out of her way to actually talk about a scientist and the way science is done as more than just caricatures..." Kevin Bonham, ScienceBlogs.com
  diversionbooks | Nov 27, 2012 |
I enjoy Crichton, and I enjoyed Petroplague for many of the same reasons. I thought the author did a terrific job bending real science to create a catastrophe when an experiment aimed at extracting oil from heavy sand tar was sabotaged (ironically by eco-terrorists) and the bugs got loose below the city. The science was believable, and although I'm certain the author could have dazzled us with microbiology, she managed to pitch the scenario so it was understandable for a lay person (me!).

Choosing LA as the target area for rampant gasoline eating micro-bugs seems obvious to anyone who has ever travelled on the I5, but the author used LA's unique smog-catching topography and underlying tar sands to complicate attempts to escape the city and to control the plague. This upped the anti for her heroine, making the scenes and consequences more vivid.

The story could have been a one-sided eco-rant, but it wasn't. Both sides of the story were told; indeed, in some cases the eco-friendlies ended up on the wrong side of the ecological equation.

Perhaps the latter part of the story could have been more evenly paced, a complex scenario of traveling on roads blocked with 'dead' vehicle went on a little long, and the final solution seemed to happen rather too easily. But this is fiction. It's supposed to entertain, and it did. Overall, if you like Crichton, I believe you'll enjoy Petroplague. ( )
  PeteBarber | Jun 19, 2012 |
On the basis of having read two books by Michael Crichton, I will tell you that if you like his books, you’ll like PETROPLAGUE by Amy Rogers, M.D., Ph.D. Except, in some ways, PETROPLAGUE is better.

The book begins with an environmentalist who wishes he could do something really big. From there, we move to the main character, Christine, a biologist and Ph.D. candidate, working the La Brea Tar Pits. There’s an accident. Then there are further accidents in and around Los Angeles. All are the result of oil gone bad.

An eco-terrorist blew up an underground storage tank at an abandoned gas station, and now genetically modified bacteria is in the Los Angeles fuel supply. It’s eating up the fuel, causing accidents and halting the area transportation systems. And the environmentalist who wanted to do something really big now knows the really big thing he can do: spread the bacteria to other parts of the world so that no one can use oil, the root of all evil.

This idea of unintended consequences of environmentalists sounds so much like a Michael Crichton idea, I’d have sworn that Rogers cowrote this book with him if he were alive. But, even though I almost never think a movie based on a book is better than the book, I did feel that way with Crichton books. I don’t think that about PETROPLAGUE.

It’s not that this book wouldn’t make a great movie. I’m sure it would, and I’d love to see it.

But PETROPLAGUE is based on science, and probably because of Rogers’ credentials in microbiology and immunology, all of her book sounds possible. It’s not science fiction. When the accidents happen and cars and airplanes stop working, these really don’t sound like a stretch.

This is compared with a Crichton book I read, STATE OF FEAR. Although this book, too, has to do with ill-informed environmentalists, its action scenes seemed to me to be quite a stretch. How could some of his characters go so many places and endure so much in one day?

Christine tries to stop the petroplague in believable scenes. They are all based on real science.

I don’t normally read this type of book because I expect it to be corny. Honestly, though, this one isn’t. If you, like me, prefer what I call “intelligent, thoughtful fiction,” you should try this. I enjoyed it, and I’m not easy to please. ( )
  techeditor | Dec 12, 2011 |
After seeing a review we had done for a science-based thriller a few months ago, Amy Rogers approached us about looking at her novel Petroplague. It sounded like a very interesting concept, so I read it. Not only was it interesting but it was also a very believable thriller, a la Michael Crichton, thanks in part to Amy’s background in microbiology and biochemistry. And she’s sponsoring an international giveaway for us to host!

For some reason, Los Angeles is the city people love to destroy. We’re used to being disaster central by now and it makes for great entertainment. One of the things that makes it such a good location for disaster scenarios is that Los Angeles is surrounded by mountains, dessert and the ocean on three sides, making it a tough place to escape from on foot. Petroplague is an entirely new way to bring LA to its knees. Enjoy! Read the rest of my review and enter our international giveaway at http://popcornreads.com/?p=2159 ( )
  PopcornReads | Nov 1, 2011 |
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Book description
UCLA graduate student Christina Gonzalez wanted to use biotechnology to free America from its dependence on Middle Eastern oil. Instead, an act of eco-terrorism unleashes her genetically-modified bacteria into the fuel supply of Los Angeles, making petroleum useless. 

With the city paralyzed and slipping toward anarchy, Christina must find a way to rein in the microscopic monster she created. But not everyone wants to cure the petroplague--and some will do whatever it takes to spread it. From the La Brea Tar Pits to university laboratories to the wilds of the Angeles National Forest, Christina and her cousin River struggle against enemies seen and unseen to stop the infection before it's too late. 

Set in the mountain-ringed Los Angeles basin, this terrifyingly plausible science thriller about good intentions, unexpected consequences, Peak Oil, climate change, experimental biofuels, and the astonishing power of microorganisms will give you pause every time you fill up your car.
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UCLA graduate student Christina Gonzalez wanted to use biotechnology to free America from its dependence on Middle Eastern oil. Instead, an act of eco-terrorism unleashes her genetically-modified bacteria into the fuel supply of Los Angeles, making petroleum useless. With the city paralyzed and slipping toward anarchy, Christina must find a way to rein in the microscopic monster she created.… (more)

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