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Ausgebrannt by Andreas Eschbach
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Ausgebrannt (2007)

by Andreas Eschbach

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Warning: may cause nightmares or fears. You could even say it's one of Escbach's best books to date. For this tome of 750 pages he went through a great deal of research, also thanks to friends of his.

What's the story about? About oil, fuel and its derivatives. Eschbach mixes fiction with facts. What if there was no more oil or the reserves were nearly depleted? If you think oil is only used for fuel, then guess again. Oil is used in a wide variety of products: fuel, plastics, clothing, machinery, technology, engines, candy, medication, even roads (asphalt) and so much more. And if only you'd realize what it takes to bring up that oil... how much other resources are wasted.

Eschbach constructed a story around finding new oil sources (through a new method), which would lead to great financial gains, when you've got investment companies backing you. But of course, everyone wants a piece of the action, or better, the know-how, oil and money. Even the Arabs. Yet, things don't work out as planned and there's a lot of distrust going on, too. It brings up the eternal discussion of: what's the alternative? Nuclear energy? Wind/solar/... energy? Fuel cells? ...

It gets bad, after an explosion in the Saudi Arabia area, and a so-called drying up of a large oil field in the area. Meaning prices go up, reserves are barely used, unless for military/police/etc... as these services are vital in a society.

So, plane companies go bankrupt, there's no more (or far less) transport of goods, the roads cannot be repaired, certain products cannot be made anymore as the part for the machinery aren't made anymore, there's no more fuel for your car, people have to take the train, take a longer while to get to and from work, etc.. Yet, local shops, thanks to e.g. local farmers, do tend to profit from the global problems. But since, on a global scale, the system falls apart, people are forced to give up their jobs (or get fired) and start growing their own vegetables and stuff. Back to basics, you could say.

I could go on, because there's so much to tell about this subject. Eschbach writes a beautiful story on how people's lives change, how they have to adapt to a less luxury life and manage to find new joy in life, in a less fast life. Or how someone goes from seeking huge amounts of money and through a heap of troubles finds a different kind of happiness. And so on. But still, there's an economic crisis, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. At least, if the errors of the past are not repeated. What that light is, is not clear. Here it's up to the reader to derive it from what he/she read or come up with own ideas.

Ausgebrannt is a book that makes you think about our current lifestyle, the luxuries we have, our economy, sourcing out production/culture to low-wage countries, the cars we drive (and when we use them), ... it almost makes you afraid of having a good life. But the truth is, are we prepared? We aren't. Unless perhaps those who already lead such a kind of life or those in charge of the reigns, politically, financially, economically, and what not.

If you want to read a thought-provoking story, Ausgebrannt is very much recommended. If you're such seeking a very entertaining thriller, then this book also is worth reading. ( )
  TechThing | Oct 16, 2013 |
Sehr gutes Buch zum Thema Peak Oil.
Viele Infos, offenbar gut recherchiert. Daneben spannend und gut lesbar - die Charaktere sind realistisch, Handlungsstraenge und Settings sind vielseitig und abwechslungsreich.
Spannendes und aktuelles Thema - das Buch laesst mich mit einem unguten Gefuehl zurueck - was ist Realitaet, was ist Fiktion? ( )
  spurius163 | Oct 13, 2010 |
This book had more coincidences than a Wodehouse novel. Good beach book. ( )
  jaygheiser | Apr 18, 2009 |
un thriller environnemental... ( )
  lilasrose | Apr 7, 2009 |
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Pour l'édition française, publiée par L'Atalante, à Nantes : 763 pages, broché.
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