Call for Submissions

If you write/create energy-related fiction, review energy narratives or want a place to host your factual articles about the energy industry and its effect on the environment, then I want you to contribute to Electric Dialogue. I am currently accepting submissions to my website electric-dialogue.com and to this blog.

Here are the rules for submission:

Electric Dialogue only reviews submissions to make sure that they comply with the submission rules. Electric Dialogue does not review or edit submissions, so what you submit is what will appear on the website and blog, and the website and blog only. You are free to submit the same work elsewhere and can remove your work from Electric Dialogue at any time.

Creative Work

1. Any author or artist can submit work as long as posting that work on Electric Dialogue does not violate any previous copyright agreements that author or artist has with an outside party.

2. Examples of submittable work include short stories, short dramatic works, poetry, photography, drawings, comics, graphics, paintings, recordings of music, short films, music videos and any other short works of fiction that are energy narratives.

3. The work the author or artist submits must be an energy narrative. The author or artist should submit a short essay with their work explaining how it meets at least one of the characteristics of an energy narrative.

4. The author or artist must be willing to have their work discussed by other users of Electric Dialogue.

Factual Information

1. The author or artist must have studied, completed research, or worked in a field that gives them an insight into the energy field. The author or artist can only submit work as long as posting that work on Electric Dialogue does not violate any previous copyright agreements that author or artist has with an outside party.

2. Examples of submittable work include essays, photo essays, infographics, scientific reports, news reports, graphs, podcasts, short documentaries and any other short works of non-fiction that add to the energy discussion.

3. The author or artist must be willing to have their work discussed by other users of Electric Dialogue.

Energy Narrative Reviews

1. Any author or artist can submit work as long as posting that work on Electric Dialogue does not violate any previous copyright agreements that author or artist has with an outside party.

2. Examples of submittable work include short critical essays, podcasts, vlogs, infographics, and any other short critical works that review popular energy narratives.

3. The work the author or artist submits must be about an energy narrative.

4. The author or artist must be willing to have their work discussed by other users of Electric Dialogue.

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Syriana: See No Evil

Syriana is secretly an expose of the evil behind the oil industry that is posing as a thriller. It is based on former CIA officer, Robert Baer’s memoirs See No Evil. Syriana is a fast-paced, blink-and-your-miss-major-plot-details, horror film minus the demons, chainsaws and red corn syrup. The film is so dense that I am going to do something a little uncouth for this post and direct you to a Wikipedia article and a really cool web that shows the links between the characters. Normally when I write these posts, I summarize the parts of the narrative that relate to energy. I realized that there is almost no part of Syriana that is not crucial to the movie’s attempt at exposing the seedy underbelly of energy corporations and the federal government. If I summarized the entire film than this post would be extremely long. I do promise, however, to keep an eye on the Wikipedia article and write a summary of my own if it ever drops in quality.

The three major energy narrative characteristics that are found in this movie are corporate ruthlessness, political oppression and the life and energy equivalency.

Corporate Ruthlessness:

Connex looses the rights to the al-Subaai oil fields to the Chinese so they broker an illegal merger with Killen so that they can have Killen’s drilling rights in Kazakhstan. They hire a shady law firm to clear it up and no one is the wiser.

 

We see from the Wasim storyline that at the very least the Connex workers working on at the al-Subaai oil fields have no job security. When Connex loses the rights to drill, the workers are not only let go but also immediately kicked out of their homes. The two workers in this storyline are persuaded into becoming terrorists after taking shelter at a religious school.

Political Oppression:

Prince Nasir is responsible for Connex losing their oil rights in his Kingdom. He is going against his father’s pro-American policies, because he believes that they are holding the emirate’s economy back. He wants to use the profits from the oil industry to diversify the economy and introduce democratic reforms. Normally these words are bread and butter to U.S. politicians, except when it means that their energy interests are threatened. The American government puts pressure on the Emir and he inherits Nasir’s pro-American younger brother instead. The following conversation between Nasir and Woodman helps illustrate the difficult situation that many leaders of resource rich nations find themselves in when dealing with the energy needs of the western world:

Nasir: “My cousins aren’t bright enough to be anything more than finger puppets and my brother has faith only in his own cunning. What do you suppose they are up to, my brother and these American lawyers? Tell me. What are they thinking?”

Woodman: “What are they thinking? They’re thinking that it’s running out. It’s running out. And 90 percent of what’s left is in the Middle East. Look at the progression: Versailles, Suez, 1973, Gulf War I, Gulf War II. This is a fight to the death. So what are they thinking? Great. They’re thinking ‘keep playing. Keep buying yourself new toys. Keep spending $50,000 a night on your hotel room. But don’t invest in your infrastructure. Don’t build a real economy.’ So that when you finally wake up, they will have sucked you dry. And you will have squandered the greatest natural resource in history.”

Nasir: “I studied at Oxford. I have a Ph.D. from Georgetown. I want to create a parliament. I want to give women the right to vote. I want an independent judiciary. I want to start a petroleum exchange in the Middle East, cut the speculators out of the business. Why are the major oil exchanges in London and New York, anyway? I’ll put all of our energy up for competitive bidding. I’ll run pipe through Iran to Europe, like you proposed. I’ll ship to China. Anything that achieves efficiency and maximizes profit. Profit, which I will then use to rebuild my country.”

Woodman: “Great. That’s exactly what you should do.”

Nasir: “Exactly. Except your president rings my father and says ‘I’ve got unemployment in Texas, Kansas, Washington state.’ One phone call later, we’re stealing out of our social programs in order to buy overpriced airplanes. We owed the Americans but we’ve repaid that debt. I accepted a Chinese bid, the highest bid. And suddenly, I’m a terrorist. I’m a godless communist. Dean Whiting, who represents not only these aggrieved royals and my brother but also Connex Oil. They’ve been pressuring my father to invalidate the Chinese contract. But they underestimate him. This is about his legacy to his people.

Life = Energy:

The CIA realizes that making his brother emir is not enough to keep Nasir quiet so they have him assassinated, and as a result, Connex gets their oil interests back. The price of energy is Nasir’s life (and his family’s lives too). The CIA knows this and they are willing to pay that price. They even lie to their assassin to get him to take the job.

All of this corruption is taking place and the characters know it. Many of them do not care and those that do, know that they are helpless against it, so they stay quiet. There is no nomadic element to this movie. There are a few examples of insurrection: Barnes’s attempt to warn Nasir and the attack on the tanker. These attempts are unsuccessful, however, and most of the characters simply accept the abuses they suffer.

Energy narrative characteristics found in this movie: life=energy, religious element, corporate ruthlessness, political oppression, exaggerated inequalities, impedes labor unions/civil rights campaigners, segregation, convenient racism, insurrection.