Los Alamos by Joseph Kanon or Things That Go Boom In The Night
In preparation for this, I read a book called Los Alamos by Joseph Kanon. It’s a murder mystery set during the time of the Manhattan project and Mr. Kanon captures the dark and desperate mood of the time – the bleak landscape, the near total isolation, the fervor of the scientists, the stifling blanket of secrecy. It’s all there, beautifully rendered, page after page.
As it turned out, some amorphous security glitch truncated the tour, eliminating a visit to those parts of the original project hidden behind LANL’s razor wire fences. Sad, as they would have been interesting to see, but I found out something that changed my opinion of Los Alamos. I still wouldn’t live there but I see it now in a different way. It turns out that much of downtown Los Alamos is part of the original site. There’s Ashley Pond pond (Not a typo. The pond is named after a man named Ashley Pond.), Bathtub Row, Hilltop House, the bungalows where Oppenheimer, Teller, Fermi and the like stayed while working on the bomb, all the places Mr. Kanon painted so well with his words, right there in the middle of town.
Funny how a well written book can do that to ya, change your perspective and all. I highly recommend his book.