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    Short of Love is a novel by Martin Knox. Tom has set his heart on Vicki but she won’t commit to him at university. He figures she will want him when he has less competition and delays his pitch until he graduates and has a job. In the meantime, he goes with stop-gap Barbara. Is his plan feasible, when he frames it as a commodity short with a friend? Tom’s plan satirizes conventional arrangements between couples with amusement, including exchanges of vows and monetary obligations. Will Vicki accept him when he makes his move? The couple have met in the Beatles era. Tom is like Paul in wanting casual relationships, expecting Vicki and Jane to accept this. Tom has a glittering career engineering in Canada and waits for Vicki, but eventually marries and has children. When they grow up and leave home, he and his wife separate. Will he finally get together with Vicki? This is an exciting and action-packed story, set in the UK, Canada and Africa, portraying Tom’s career as CEO of an international oil company. His morals are held to account by activist Vicki.
Short of Love is a satire about a love relationship informed by an engineer’s economics.
The book is available on Amazon.
For reviews see


Vicki’s class is a cut above Tom’s. He is besotted and wants a relationship. They are in Britain,  where social class is determined by breeding, old money and privileged education. Tom tries to raise his class, drops his regional accent and adopts BBC English. Will his lower class breeding, lack of old money and his redbrick university, thwart their love?

When Vicki plays hard to get at university with him, Tom moves her on to a back burner, so he can concentrate on getting a first class degree. He frames his interest in her as a short transaction in the commodity love, with delivery delayed until after graduation. Vicki won’t be compromised, making out with his flat mate and breaking Tom’s deal with him. Rebuffed, Tom has another girl, until he goes to a job in Canada.

Tom returns to the UK on visits, staying in touch with Vicki and trying to rekindle their love. When she continues to reject him, he marries another girl and has children. He still wants Vicki but is faithful to his family.

 This is a story about personal ambition trying to displace social classes and family loyalties, dishonouring love. Tom rises to be CEO of an international oil company and tries to act morally and ethically against corporate greed. If he succeeds, will Vicki finally accept him?

Eventually his marriage fails and he plans to return to the UK to be with Vicki who is single. Should he have realised that her different class would inevitably come between them?  Should he have looked for a girl friend from his own class? Will Vicki want him, after all this time?

Short of Love is fast-paced biographical fiction, a true love story, interwoven between the  stylised lives of an ambitious engineer and an idealistic activist.

Available on Amazon. For reviews see


Dairy farmers get a price for milk that is held down by oligopsony, agreement between a small number of buyers for their product. For stability of supply, the price has to recompense investment.  Oil exporting countries get a price for oil that is held down by oligopsony, agreement between major oil importing companies. For stability of supply, the price has to recompense investment and also anticipate the depletion of petroleum resources with oil supply running out. For example, a higher price could be demanded to fund diversification into agriculture. Oil has varied per barrel between $20 in 1997, $160 in 2008, and $60 today.

Is the ethical position of companies buying oil different from supermarkets buying milk? Who will provide for oil exporters to transition away from oil when it runs out?

Novel ‘$hort of Love’ is about love set in the international oil industry, with some relationship and oil supply dilemmas considered in a satirical commodity framework.


Moving away together?

Job relocation out of town can bring conflict if one of a couple is reluctant to move. To stay together, there is a fair and scientific way to resolve the impasse that can respect their  ‘inertias’: different propensities to keep on doing what they have been doing. This method is explained in my novel ‘$hort of Love’, Chapter 66 Relocation Refusal. When a couple cannot agree, should it be for want of trying? Book information:

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