Andy Oppenheimer | Author, Editor & Public Speaker

Andy Oppenheimer AIExpE MIABTI

Andy is an author, editor, public speaker and subject matter expert in counter-terrorism and CBRNE (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear weapons & explosives).

In August 2019 he published his first in a trilogy of science fiction novels. Fields of Orion: An Odyssey is set in London in the near-future world of terrorism, espionage and alien contact. The second book in the series Fields of Orion: The Mission  continues the story.

in 2021 he began work on an illustrated astronomy book – Stars of Orion – featuring photographs of the Orion Constellation by amateur & professional astronomers. To include Forewords & Guest Articles, fun facts for Astronomers of all ages, how to view Orion, & the story behind Orion the Hunter.

His first major book on explosives and terrorism, IRA: the Bombs and the Bullets: A History of Deadly Ingenuity was published by Irish Academic Press in 2008.

He is Editor-in-Chief of CBNW (Chemical, Biological & Nuclear Warfare) and CBNW Xplosive magazines.

Before specialising in defence, for many years he worked on popular science books and magazines including the American magazine Omni, where he worked with famed astronomer Sir Patrick Moore and the legendary astrophysicist Prof Carl Sagan.

He is an Associate Member of the Institute of Explosives Engineers and a Member of the International Association of Bomb Technicians & Investigators. A former Editor of Jane’s Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Defence, he has written hundreds of articles for specialist defence and security journals, provides consultancy and interviews to media, and is a speaker at conferences worldwide.

He has also been a singer/songwriter of electro pop music since 1982 (Oppenheimer Analysis, Oppenheimer MkII, Touching the Void), and a painter of surrealist pictures since childhood.

Orion is vital to the theme of the trilogy of novels as both the beautiful constellation in the Northern winter skies (avoiding spoilers here!) and its earthly (and earthy) form as the legendary giant hunter of Ancient Greece. Aspects of the original mythical character are played out in modern form in the main character Major Adam Armstrong. There are several similarities to the Orion legend in Adam’s life, loves and battles: he is a born warrior; he is stung by a lethal scorpion; he is blinded; he is a prolific lover; and at least two of his women are malevolent forces.
Since 2001 I have worked alongside and gained a vast cache of knowledge and experience from military officers and veterans as an author, lecturer and civilian analyst in counter-terrorism, counter-IED (improvised explosive devices) and NBC (nuclear, biological, chemical) defence. My first book was on the IRA’s bombing campaign, and based on this work I became a member of the International Association of Bomb Technicians and the UK Institute of Explosives Engineers. I have written hundreds of articles and given dozens of presentations and instruction sessions at conferences on bombs and explosives. The bomb disposal veterans and serving operators I have met and known for many years are the main inspiration behind Fields of Orion.

Only after nearly 20 years as an author and editor specialising in defence did I think of writing fiction. After a brief spell in government service I went into science publishing – working on an American futuristic magazine which included science fiction. I had read mainly ‘old school’ sci-fi authors, and met several famous ones, such as Arthur C. Clarke and Ray Bradbury, in that first job. I also love astronomy, which is where the Orion connection comes in, and ‘psychological’ sci-fi. ‘The Twilight Zone’ is my favourite TV science fiction series and ‘The Man Who Fell To Earth’ – David Bowie’s first film as a beautiful, enigmatic extraterrestrial – is a huge influence on my image, imagination, and identity.
I decided to write the first novel on pure impulse, however. I had just painted a picture called ‘Nine Lives’ to donate to a favourite military charity. It shows a bomb tech in a surreal setting. As I looked at the painting, the plot of Fields of Orion came to me in that moment.

I’ve had far more inspiration from the bomb disposal vets I’ve known, and from David Bowie! I’ve also been an occasional singer/songwriter of electro-pop music since the heyday of the London futuristic nightclub scene in the early 1980s. Many of the songs, themes and my image were sci-fi-inspired. I’m not a fan of spaceships shooting up monsters type of stuff, though. And as the day job involves writing, I only have time to read a handful of books. the main stories that have inspired Fields of Orion – other than The Man Who Fell to Earth by Walter Tevis and Contact by Dr Carl Sagan (whom I also met) – are not science fiction. They are military memoirs (Eight Lives Down by Major Chris Hunter), espionage novels (Failsafe Query by Michael Jenkins, another military vet I know), and murder thrillers (The Killing of Ellie Swales by Olga Merrick).

Speaker

Invited speaker to more than 100 events on counter-terrorism and CBRNE since 2002. Visiting Lecturer at the School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, University of Brighton 2011-18 and Instructor, Workshops on Counter-IED, SMi Group, London 2009-13.

Featured Events

  • NATO-US Office of Naval Research Workshop, 17 June 2013 – The IED Threat from Chechen and other Groups
  • Counter-Terror Expo, Olympia London, 29-30 April 2014 – Training and Equipment for First Responders in Dealing with CBRN IEDs
  • Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Visiting Lecturer in Master CBRNe Directorate, July 2014 – Day of Lectures on CBRNe
  • Airport 2017 Security Conference, Hilton Vienna, 12-13 Sept 2017 – CBRN Threats to Airports and Aircraft
  • Annual Conference Institute of Explosives Engineers, Sept 2018 – Terrorist Explosives: From IRA to ISIS
  • Annual Conference, Institute of Explosives Engineers, March 2020 – Dissident Irish Republican Bombings
  • Maritime Explosive Safety Forum 15, MOD Abbey Wood, February 2019 – Terrorist IEDs: Evolving Modus Operandi
  • International Security Expo, Olympia London, December 2019 – Reading the Bombmaker’s Signature
  • Fulmination 2020 – Annual Conference Institute of Explosives Engineers, March 2020, Dissident Irish Republican Bombings
Andy Oppenheimer | Public Speaker

Consultant

Media consultancy:

Spooks (BBC 1); Mountbatten: Death of a Royal (History Channel, RTE, Sky 3); Critical Times (Border TV/Discovery Channel); The World’s Deadliest Arms Race (ITV); Terror Attacks That Shocked Britain (Current TV/Sky), Silent Witness (BBC1) 

Expertise

Terrorism and counter-terrorism; chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) weapons; CBRN countermeasures for first response, equipment, training; IEDs and explosives; explosives ordnance disposal (EOD); business continuity and protection.

CBNW (Chemical, Biological & Nuclear Warfare) https://cbnw.co.uk/
Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence (CSTPV) https://cstpv.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk/
Institute of Explosives Engineers https://iexpe.org/
International Association of Bomb Technicians & Investigators https://www.linkedin.com/company/international-association-of-bomb-technicians-&-investigators-iabti-
Felix Fund Bomb Disposal Charity https://www.felixfund.org.uk/
Help for Heroes https://www.helpforheroes.org.uk/
Veterans in Action http://www.veteransinaction.org.uk/
Jane’s Information Group https://www.janes.com/
Military Periscope https://www.militaryperiscope.com/
Military Technology https://www.monch.com/mpg/publications/military-technology.html
Royal United Services Institute https://rusi.org/
Change Step http://www.changestepwales.co.uk/

 
Andy Oppenheimer | Media Consultant

Editor

CBNW & CBNW Xplosive https://cbnw.co.uk/

The leading journals for CBRN and Counter-IED defence, countermeasures and analysis of threats worldwide.
Former Editor, Jane’s Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Defence.

Andy Oppenheimer | Editor - CBNW & CBNW Xplosive