Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Fiction High Tech

The Oppenheimer Alternative

by (author) Robert J. Sawyer

Red Deer Press
Initial publish date
May 2020
High Tech, Military, Apocalyptic & Post-Apocalyptic
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2020
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


"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 and 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.

With a release coinciding with the 75th anniversaries of the Trinity explosion (July 16, 1945) and the Hiroshima bombing (August 6, 1945), The Oppenheimer Alternative will be supported by an eight city Canada-wide book tour. (With COVID-19 the nature of the tour may change.)

About the author

Robert J. Sawyer,
a Member of the Order of Canada and a Globe and Mail and Maclean's bestseller, is the author of 23 previous novels, including FlashForward, the basis for the ABC TV series. His most recent novel, Quantum Night, was long-listed for CBC's Canada Reads

Praise for Robert J. Sawyer

"A new Robert J. Sawyer book is always cause for celebration."
Analog Science Fiction and Fact

"Robert J. Sawyer is a writer of boundless confidence and bold scientific extrapolation."
The New York Times

"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."

"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

"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

Robert J. Sawyer's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"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.
Publisher's Weekly

"Sawyer employs a no-nonsense style reminiscent of that of Isaac Asimov or Ben Bova, which makes the narrative easy to navigate—helpful in a book that boasts a full three pages of dramatis personae. While familiarity with the real Oppenheimer is not necessary to follow and enjoy this story, some background would enhance the reader's appreciation as Sawyer builds up his speculative internal history. The result is a realistic and intriguing look at Oppenheimer and his work."

"This is probably my favourite Sawyer book of all he's written; but then, I like "pure" SF. The writing is extremely clever and should appeal to all levels of SF readers, from those who will get all the "in" jokes or references to those who won't even realize they're there. This book is a solid award contender!"
Amazing Stories Magazine

"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

"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

"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

"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, G�del, 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

Other titles by Robert J. Sawyer