I've been reading a bunch of sci fi for the past couple of months (John C. Wright, Richard Morgan, Chris Moriarty, etc.). At the heart of a lot of it is the idea that, once we can harness something greater than simple fossil fuels, we will be able to transition much of our technology and consequently much of our society. Michio Kaku has an interesting article that summarizes the state of science around a lot of that thinking.