Monday, February 01, 2021

Five great alternative histories of WWII & the space race

Sylvain Neuvel dropped out of high school at age 15. Along the way, he has been a journalist, worked in soil decontamination, sold ice cream in California, and taught linguistics in India. He’s also a certified translator, though he wishes he were an astronaut. He writes about aliens and giant robots as a blatant excuse to build action figures (for his son, of course).

Neuvel's new novel is A History of What Comes Next.

At he tagged five favorite alternative histories of WWII and the space race. including:
The Oppenheimer Alternative by Robert J. Sawyer

All life on Earth is a few decades away from being scorched into oblivion (of course it is) and the world’s greatest minds band together to stop it. You know many of them. There’s the titular J. Robert Oppenheimer, obviously, but also Albert Enstein, Leo Szilard, Niels Bohr, Edward Teller, Wernher von Braun, Richard Feynman, Arthur Compton, Enrico Fermi, etc., etc. Every single character in this book is a real person. That’s right, all of them. Even some of the dialogue is real. This is one of the most ambitious books I’ve come across. I can’t imagine the amount of research that went into giving each character a believable voice and personality (actually, I can, the bibliography runs 30 pages on my phone), but this is Robert J. Sawyer so maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. In some ways, it reminded me of the play Copenhagen by Michael Frayn, with more thrills, cool rockets and a doomsday scenario to boot.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue