Near-future struggle over energy resources, previously serialized in Analog magazine, from the author of Moonstruck (2005, etc.).
Following a nuclear incident in which the Middle Eastern oil fields were contaminated with radiation, Russia is the world's leading petro-power; as a result, gasoline is upwards of $10 a gallon and the U.S. is desperately scrambling to develop alternative energy resources. The largest project involves capturing an asteroid, Phoebe, steering it into Earth’s orbit, and using its resources to build a gigantic solar power station that will beam microwave power to receiving stations in the U.S. Opposing the project are environmental activists, technophobic Resetters and—secretly—the Russians, who like their monopoly and intend to preserve it by dispatching Federal Security Service heavies to blackmail key players in and near the powersat project, not to mention saboteurs in space and computer hackers on the ground. Radio astronomer Valerie Clayburn finds another reason to be annoyed with the project: Stray microwaves mess up her studies. NASA engineer Marcus Judson, determined to make the project succeed, manages to persuade Valerie of the importance of the project, and the two develop a relationship. But when things start to go wrong on Phoebe, Marcus must go into space to take charge. Just then, however, the Russians strike, hijacking the powersat and using its intense microwave beams to destroy alternative energy installations all over the globe, knowing the Americans will get the blame. These extended action sequences are the yarn's most convincing feature, with the overlong setup technically competent if plodding. The cast of stock Cold War villains, sincere but deluded eco-freaks, weepy scientists and lantern-jawed engineers doesn't help.
An overdose of Message.