The Oppenheimer Alternative by Robert J. Sawyer Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A chapter in history get’s a secret new chapter that showcases a thrilling possible sequel to one of history’s greatest, most powerful yet most terrifying projects in the name of science in author Robert J. Sawyer’s “The Oppenheimer Alternative”. 

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The Synopsis

On the 75th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb, Hugo and Nebula-winning author Robert J. Sawyer takes us back in time to revisit history…with a twist.

While J. Robert Oppenheimer and his Manhattan Project team struggle to develop the A-bomb, Edward Teller wants something even more devastating: a bomb based on nuclear fusion—the mechanism that powers the sun.

Teller’s research leads to a terrifying discovery: by the year 2030, the sun will eject its outermost layer, destroying the entire inner solar system—including Earth.

As the war ends with the use of fission bombs against Japan, Oppenheimer’s team, plus Albert Einstein and Wernher von Braun, stay together—the greatest scientific geniuses from the last century racing against time to save our future.

Meticulously researched and replete with real-life characters and events, The Oppenheimer Alternative is a breathtaking adventure through both real and alternate history.

The Review

A brilliant combination of true historical events mixed with alternative history, author Robert J. Sawyer has created a masterpiece of a story. Delving into the deeper character growth of historical figures like Robert J. Oppenheimer, the author brings more of a personal viewpoint of these larger than life figures. With figures like Oppenheimer and Einstein being so notable and their work making them as infamous as they are, it was fascinating to see how facing the end of the world would have brought them together in a whole new way. 

The author does an excellent job of highlighting the brilliant minds at work historically during this period of time, and the science that they both discovered and worked in. The irony of choosing Oppenheimer as the protagonist is felt in the pages of this book. While he is notorious for his quote, “I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds”, the author not only does an excellent job of exploring the man behind the legend, but giving him the chance to fight for humanity’s survival as our own solar system threatens to turn against itself. 

The Verdict

Highly scientific and creative, “The Oppenheimer Alternative” by Robert J. Sawyer is a masterful work of fiction that both entertains and educates readers on the work done by scientists, the manipulation of scientific discoveries by politics and militarization, and the work that can occur when scientists use their brilliance to saving lives rather than destruction. Oppenheimer is a truly unique and memorable protagonist and readers will love the sci-fi turn of events as the story progresses, creating a one of a kind read that readers will not be able to get enough of. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Robert J. Sawyer is one of Canada’s best known and most successful science fiction writers. He is the only Canadian (and one of only 7 writers in the world) to have won all three of the top international awards for science fiction: the 1995 Nebula Award for The Terminal Experiment, the 2003 Hugo Award for Hominids, and the 2006 John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Mindscan.

Robert Sawyer grew up in Toronto, the son of two university professors. He credits two of his favourite shows from the late 1960s and early 1970s, Search and Star Trek, with teaching him some of the fundamentals of the science-fiction craft. Sawyer was obsessed with outer space from a young age, and he vividly remembers watching the televised Apollo missions. He claims to have watched the 1968 classic film 2001: A Space Odyssey 25 times. He began writing science fiction in a high school club, which he co-founded, NASFA (Northview Academy Association of Science Fiction Addicts). Sawyer graduated in 1982 from the Radio and Television Arts Program at Ryerson University, where he later worked as an instructor.

Sawyer’s first published book, Golden Fleece (1989), is an adaptation of short stories that had previously appeared in the science-fiction magazine Amazing Stories. This book won the Aurora Award for the best Canadian science-fiction novel in English. In the early 1990s Sawyer went on to publish his inventive Quintaglio Ascension trilogy, about a world of intelligent dinosaurs. His 1995 award winning The Terminal Experiment confirmed his place as a major international science-fiction writer.

A prolific writer, Sawyer has published more than 10 novels, plus two trilogies. Reviewers praise Sawyer for his concise prose, which has been compared to that of the science-fiction master Isaac Asimov. Like many science fiction-writers, Sawyer welcomes the opportunities his chosen genre provides for exploring ideas. The first book of his Neanderthal Parallax trilogy, Hominids (2002), is set in a near-future society, in which a quantum computing experiment brings a Neanderthal scientist from a parallel Earth to ours. His 2006 Mindscan explores the possibility of transferring human consciousness into a mechanical body, and the ensuing ethical, legal, and societal ramifications.

A passionate advocate for science fiction, Sawyer teaches creative writing and appears frequently in the media to discuss his genre. He prefers the label “philosophical fiction,” and in no way sees himself as a predictor of the future. His mission statement for his writing is “To combine the intimately human with the grandly cosmic.”

1 thought on “The Oppenheimer Alternative by Robert J. Sawyer Review

  1. Pingback: Interview with Author Robert J. Sawyer – Author Anthony Avina's Blog

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