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The Oppenheimer Alternative Kindle Edition
“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: Einstein, Fermi, Gödel, and Oppenheimer. They are the vividly realized, all-too-human characters who people this novel, and give its brilliant speculations human life and blood. Bravo!”―S.M. Stirling, author of Dies The Fire
“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! Breathlessly riveting; Sawyer pulls it off masterfully.”―Doug Beason, former Associate Laboratory Director, Los Alamos National Laboratory “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 enjoyed it tremendously! Really great, a page turner. I was hooked from the beginning to the end. Another fine addition to the Sawyer canon!”―Andre Bormanis, co-executive producer, The Orville and Cosmos
“An expert and engrossing knitting of the threads of history, with genuine characters of the mid 20th Century, to weave out a compulsive fictional narrative.”―Jem Rolls, author of the play The Inventor of All Things
“Sawyer portrays brilliantly and poignantly the struggles of the scientists who started it all and were consequently obliged to bear an unbearable burden.”―James Christie, Chair, Project Ploughshares, member organization of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
“Sawyer has outdone himself! No one could have taken on this project with such gusto and with such a search for the truth as this outstanding author. I’ve never read such a complete and thrilling account of Oppenheimer’s world.―Jonas Saul, author of the Sarah Roberts series
PRAISE FOR ROBERT J. SAWYER
“A new Robert J. Sawyer book is always cause for celebration.”― Analog Science Fiction and Fact
“Sawyer not only has an irresistibly engaging narrative voice but also a gift for confronting thorny philosophical conundrums. At every opportunity, he forces his readers to think while holding their attention with ingenious premises and superlative craftsmanship.”― Booklist
“Can Sawyer write? Yes―with near-Asimovian clarity, with energy and drive, with such grace that his writing becomes invisible as the story comes to life in your mind.”― Orson Scott Card, author of Ender’s Game
“Robert J. Sawyer is by any measure one of the world’s leading (and most interesting) science-fiction writers. His fiction is a fascinating blend of intellectually compelling big ideas and humane, enduring characters.”― The Globe and Mail
“Sawyer, an articulate fountain of ideas, is the genre’s northern star―in fact, one of the hottest SF writers anywhere. By any reckoning Sawyer is among the most successful Canadian authors ever.”― Maclean’s: Canada’s Weekly News Magazine
“Robert J. Sawyer is a writer of boundless confidence and bold scientific extrapolation.”― The New York Times
“Sawyer’s books―always rich in science, action, and profound thinking―never fail to surprise, delight, and cause us to transcend our ordinary thinking. I’ve read Crichton, Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke, King, and Koontz―and Sawyer outdoes them all.”―Clifford A. Pickover, author Time: A Traveler’s Guide
“A polished, exciting writer. Sawyer writes with the scientific panache and grandeur of Arthur C. Clarke and the human touch of Isaac Asimov.”― Quill & Quire
“Cracking open a new Robert J. Sawyer book is like getting a gift from a friend who visits all the strange and undiscovered places in the world. You can’t wait to see what he’s going to amaze you with this time.”―John Scalzi, author of Old Man’s War
“Sawyer is Canada’s answer to Michael Crichton.”― The Toronto Star
“No reader seeking well-written stories that respect, emphasize and depend on modern science should be disappointed by the works of Rob Sawyer.”― The Washington Post
“Sawyer is a terrific writer. He can write about the most sophisticated science while giving readers the room to understand what’s happening and follow the plot.”― Winnipeg Free Press
--This text refers to the paperback edition.
About the Author
Sawyer’s novel FlashForward was the basis for the ABC TV series of the same name, and he wrote the two-part finale for the acclaimed web series Star Trek Continues.
The New York Times calls Sawyer “a writer of boundless confidence and bold scientific extrapolation.” New Scientist calls his work “scientifically plausible, fictionally intriguing, and ethically important.” And The Washington Post says, “No reader seeking well-written stories that respect, emphasize, and depend on modern science should be disappointed by the works of Rob Sawyer.”
--This text refers to the paperback edition.
- ASIN : B084H26X5S
- Publisher : SFWRITER.COM Inc. (June 2, 2020)
- Publication date : June 2, 2020
- Language : English
- File size : 1741 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 377 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #144,171 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
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Top reviews from the United States
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Exhaustively researched, every character is an actual person. Much of the dialogue is direct from transcripts and writings of those people, the rest created in their well-documented voices. The Manhattan Project was secret and critical, and its scientists were under surveillance, often secretly spied on. These were physicists, chemists, engineers from the scientific centers of the world. The Red Scare was only on pause while the US was allied with the Soviets. Suspicion of "commie" sympathy, concern that atomic secrets be kept, meant that the director of the Project was bugged and trailed on and off Los Alamos.
Long-classified records are now available, so the author had an enormous amount of source material, as well as the many books written about the events and people at the dawn of the atomic age. Brilliantly, seamlessly, Sawyer weaves his fiction into the historical story.
The "what if" is huge, plausible , and scary. In the 21st century, we have lots of doomsday fiction, and, in the midst of a new pandemic and the accelerating climate crises, we are living in rolling doomsday realities. How we deal, and don't deal, with them, is the moral and scientific challenge of our century, but Sawyer is too good to get bogged down in melodrama or bravado. As he has in other books, it is people, alone and in societies, who carry the stories. Sawyer is a humane and clear-eyed writer. The characters in this book are historical people, and he doesn't let his affection or annoyance for them get in the way (though I would like to hear him chat about them, and whether he had to argue with them in his head as he developed his novel).
Which of Sawyer's books are my favorites has much to do with who and how I am when I read them. "Calculating God" and "Hominids" found me in different circumstances, and the WWW trilogy came along at just the right time to share with my son. If I had known when I preordered "The Oppenheimer Alternative" that I would be reading it while locked down in a pandemic, I may have taken a pass. Who needs to be reminded of nukes in the days of Kim and Trump? Who needs another reminder of the cosmic fragility of our home and civilization even as we are flooded with surging seas and new disease? But I trust Robert Sawyer, and his storytelling is always absorbing, elegantly written, and makes me think. When the book appeared on my Kindle, I fell right in.
The story begins with one of the most exciting times in history for practical applications of physics. Ethical concerns aside, World War II was an exciting time for science. The first third of the book was a historical sketch of The Manhattan Project. Throughout real people are depicted in real-ish situations. There is some unfortunately turgid prose, though. “Luck. Einstein said God does not play dice with the universe — but then again, God was probably not itching to get laid.” A few paragraphs later, we have the even more unfortunate “Well, well: look at those dice. Six the hard way.” And so, Robert Oppenheimer meets Jean Tatlock for the first time.
Now that we’re about a third of the way through the book, let’s downplay the defeat of japan, make a couple of mournful remarks about “those poor little people,” and move on. But there is a larger problem, based, iit seems, on real pre-war work done by scientists on The Manhattan Project. Almost as an offhand comment, it is discovered that there are irregularities in the Sun, and that it’s going to bake everything out to and including the Earth to a crisp in a relatively short period of time.And oh, there is a brief comment with no follow up suspecting aliens. But let’s not tell anyone, we’ll work on a solution in secret, but not accomplish a whole lot through much of the 1960s.Because there isn’t a space program yet to speak of, and we haven’t figured out how to build a decent colony ship, and there isn’t anywhere decent to colonize, anyway.
So time passes, expected events happen, Teller is resentfully angry, Kennedy is assassinated, Oppie loses his security clearance, and yet, despite this heads another secret project to deal with the McGuffin. Which then receives secret black bag funding from General Leslie Groves, which doesn’t dry up at any point. Richard Feynman engages in some dense scientific exposition while picking up a woman in a bar. Because physics is always a turn on for women looking for a one-night stand. All of the secret work, though, turns out to be in vain when scientists who darn well knew Mars was an airless void suddenly discover that it is an airless, uninhabitable void. All plans are crushed at that point ... except there is a completely ridiculous deus ex machina waiting in the wings. And a bit of a tear jerker. You knew there was going to be a romance in here somewhere, right? Roll those dice again, why don’t you, have them end point down, and spinning endlessly. Because that’s a far better resolution that this book got.
One strange curiosity of this book is that it provides a link to the author's website where the “Easter Eggs” in the book are explained. Sigh. It’s only an Easter Egg if the reader actually notices it on her/his/hir own. Otherwise, it’s just an inside joke, and worse, one that is not at all funny or particularly interesting. .
There is a bibliography at the end of the book which does give a fairly comprehensive list of resources related to Oppenheimer, The Manhattan Project, Project Orion, and other topics of science. I should have skipped straight to the end and picked one of these books I hadn’t yet read. It would have been a better use of my reading time, I’m afraid.
Top reviews from other countries
Hats off to Robert Sawyer for such a compulsive read.
But I did really like this book because is a sweet departure from his usual novels.
Still twists, science and great character deptiction applies.
It's obvious (as always!) the amount of research and attention to detail the Author used in writing this book.
Everyone is so vivid, the history being displayed under your eyes...
Again, it's a gem, and prepare yourself for the final twist.