Please enjoy an excerpt from Chasing the Light, a novel of the near future.
Chasing the Light is a “boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy returns to find girl and make his fortune” story, set in the United States of a very realistic near-tomorrow. The young lovers, Tom Everson and Doña Navarra, are forced apart due to circumstances beyond their control, and Tom risks everything to be reunited with Doña.
In fact, the story could be said to begin any day now, as it is kicked off by violent events caused by the energy crisis and the oil industry’s contentious activities to dominate the energy landscape. The United States is on the brink of serious, possibly violent changes that will be triggered by Peak Oil and come to impact the world. Transportation, security, automation, politics and social systems will be as strongly impacted as energy, and some aspects of the U.S. may be barely recognizable when it is over.
When this book was written, it featured two emerging technologies, one of which has grown into a major portion of the computer industry. The digital scrapbook concept, a portable personal electronic device controlled by touchscreen and designed to store and sort data, memos, articles, photos and media in customizable folders and groups, is now popularly known as the iPad or tablet computer. But possibly even more interesting is the solar antenna technology, a system whereby a nanoscale “antenna” can convert infra-red light, a band of light that today’s solar cells cannot use, into electric power. The nano-antenna can be added to existing solar cells, increasing their output and keeping them cool in the process, which will extend their useful life and prevent the power loss caused by overheated solar cells.
The technology of the rest of the story is based on existing or developing technology. This is real science, not fanciful notions of a future society saved from its demise by cold fusion, zero-point energy or benevolent aliens.
The story also investigates the impact of the energy crisis on a small town in Maryland, a real town in which I lived for years. Gaithersburg, Maryland, with its proximity to Washington, DC, has been a representative model for suburban growth and development since its incorporation. Its development will continue to reflect national trends, which makes it an ideal window on the future impact of America’s energy situation.
But most importantly, the story is about the lives of Tom and Doña, their friends and family, and the typical Americans living typical lives in a future energy-evolving U.S. nation. Far from being dystopian, Chasing the Light gives all of us confidence that the American way of life will continue on, even in the face of energy adversity.
Enjoy the excerpt.