Just in time for the release of my novel in paperback, as reported in the New York Times, the Huffington Post, and major energy related media, Japan announced the first successful extraction of a new energy source from the ocean floor, methane hydrate. Many experts are calling this a global game-changer.
This quest forms much of the plot of my novel Ice Fire. Methane hydrate has been popular in fiction of late, also contributing to the story line of the revived TV series, Dallas. Years ago, Clive Cussler tackled the subject. Exploring the ocean floor for an almost inexhaustable supply of energy does stir the imagination. Now it is no longer merely the stuff of fiction.
Methane hydrate is natural gas encased in ice crystal, formed at great pressure and low temperatures at the bottom of the sea. It is estimated there is more than twice as much methane hydrate as all other carbon based forms of energy combined. Numerous countries and the largest energy companies have had research and development projects to exploit this resource under way for years. Methane is a much cleaner burning fuel than oil or coal, leaving less of a carbon footprint. That said, it is also a greenhouse gas, and extracting it from the ocean floor may destabilize the sea bed, with potentially dire consequences. But ask any West Texas oil field worker over the past century and he’ll tell you no form of energy comes without cost.
How would the world be changed if economic powers like Japan, China and India no longer had to rely on exports for their energy needs? Would the Middle East become less of a strategic hot spot if nations were no longer forced to look solely to that tempestuous region for their oil? Could a cleaner burning fuel clear China’s skies? Questions worth pondering.
But Ice Fire wasn’t meant to address the major problems of the world. It’s a page-turning romp through New Orleans and the French Quarter featuring as protagonist a renegade Cajun judge who does not limit his justice to the courtroom. It’s about his fight against a villian who plans to exploit methane hydrate from the sea bed in a careless, dangerous manner.
It’s a thriller, not prophesy. Still, it’s fun for an author when you get the timing right.
Thanks, and enjoy your reading.
Ice Fire is available in hard cover, Ebook, audio book, and now paperback.