THE OPPENHEIMER ALTERNATIVE
by Hugo and Nebula Award-winner Robert J. Sawyer
"Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds," physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer famously exclaimed when the first atomic bomb exploded in 1945. His Manhattan Project gathered the greatest scientists ever assembled, including Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, Edward Teller, Leo Szilard, and Enrico Fermi. In this meticulously researched, fast-paced thriller, Sawyer keeps those geniuses together after the war in hopes of redeeming themselves by saving our planet from an environmental catastrophe. If they succeed, they will be able to declare, "Now we are become life, the saviors of the world."
The Oppenheimer Alternative will delight Sawyer's traditional science-fiction fans as well as history buffs, those who enjoy scientific biographies, and mainstream readers.
Robert J. Sawyer, a Member of the Order of Canada and a Globe and Mail, Maclean's, and Locus bestseller, is the author of 23 previous novels, including FlashForward, the basis for the ABC TV series. He lives just outside Toronto.
Advance Praise for The Oppenheimer Alternative:
"I loved it!" —Lee Smolin, author of The Trouble with Physics"Incredibly realistic: the characters, locations, the era, and even the science. I felt like I was back in Los Alamos — and I should know: I worked there!" —Dr. Doug Beason, former Associate Laboratory Director, Los Alamos National Laboratory"An imaginative restructuring of a phantasmagoric life into an alternative phantasmagorical story. Oppenheimer fans will be intrigued." —Martin J. Sherwin, co-author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer"A truly science-fictional work of alternate history which turns on the decisions — and discoveries — of the great physicists who wrote the history of the 20th century. I read it at a gulp and now I'm going to read it again. Bravo!" —S.M. Stirling, author of Dies The Fire"This book has everything a reader wants from Sawyer: well-drawn alternate history, rigorous SF thriller, social commentary, redemption narrative — The Oppenheimer Alternative reimagines one of the most influential lives of the twentieth century." —Analog Science Fiction & Fact"The feel and detail of the Manhattan Project figures is deep and well done. I knew many of these physicists, and Sawyer nails them accurately." —Gregory Benford, author of The Berlin Project"I was hooked from the beginning to the end. Another fine addition to the Sawyer canon!" —Andre Bormanis, producer, The Orville and Cosmos"My favorite Sawyer book of all; the extrapolation is as brilliant as the history. A solid award contender!" —Amazing Stories"You can call this alternate history or alternate astrophysics (or both). Whatever term you choose, it's a terrific story." —Eric Flint, author of 1632
This dense alternate history from Hugo and Nebula Award winner Sawyer (Quantum Night) probes into the ambitions and shortcomings of physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer. As the reluctant director of the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos, N.Mex., Oppenheimer believes he has "sold his soul to the atom bomb" and laments the mass killings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Meanwhile, Hungarian physicist Edward Teller's work on a nuclear fusion bomb leads him to discover that the sun has an unstable core and will extinguish all life on Earth by 2028. Now Oppenheimer has the chance to turn his genius to good, gathering a team of the greatest scientists in the world to figure out how to shield Earth and whether humanity can flee to Mars. Sawyer's impressive use of scientific and historical detail makes the drastic solution they land on believable, but threatening to derail their progress is communist paranoia and Oppenheimer's loveless marriage. Though the subplots about Oppenheimer's romances are poorly handled, Sawyer's characterization of the man himself are well done and pull back the layers of Oppenheimer's morals, genius, and grief. Science fiction fans will devour this smart speculative tale.