The Wanderers Hardcover – 6 Apr 2017
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'Phenomenal. A transcendent, cross-cultural and cross-planetary journey into the mysteries of space and self. Howrey's expansive vision left me awestruck' (Ruth Ozeki, author of A Tale for the Time Being)
‘The Wanderers is unquestionably the work of a brilliant writer at the height of her powers. Dazzling, a work of wondrous skill and ambition, a book about space that’s truly about people, but also about the lonely wonder of true trailblazers, the disparate cast behind a great life, and the compromises that build success’ (J. Ryan Stradal, bestselling author of Kitchens of the Great Midwest)
‘A stealthily brilliant novel. A distinct, shimmering vision of who we are and where we think we want to go. Meg Howrey’s three astronauts exist, as we do now, at the edge of science fiction, their story propelled by a seriousness and intelligence wrapped in a comic and tender humanity. Meg Howrey delivers this vision in a prose that feels new, sui generis, with a kind of sleek precision that is at once simple, gorgeous, and profoundly moving’ (Peter Nichols, bestselling author of The Rocks and A Voyage for Madmen)
‘The Wanderers is a wonderful exploration of space, trust, and what it means to be a conscious creature, finely-tuned and funny from the first page to the last’ (Jonathan Lee, author of High Dive)
‘Elegant, thoughtful, gorgeously written. A meditation on solitude, connection, aspiration, imagination and reality, which builds effortlessly to moments of immense power and honesty’ (Charles Yu, author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fiction Universe and Sorry Please Thank You)
About the Author
Meg Howrey is a novelist and a former professional dancer and actor. Her non-fiction writing has been published in Vogue, and she is the author of the novels Blind Sight and Cranes Dance. She lives in Los Angeles.
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One important thing to note is that this is not a hard sci-fi book. If you're looking for something like The Martian, with its excellent technical explanations of how Mark Watney made water and grew food while stranded on Mars, The Wanderers is not the book for you. However, if you enjoyed the more emotional moments in The Martian when Watney talked about his fears and emotions, then you might want to give The Wanderers a shot.
A woman being the leader and accepted. The lengthe of time to get to Mars, seveneen months! Is it worth it?
Altogether and excellent insight into space trsave; written for non-scientific readers.
Full marks to Meg Howrey for all her research.
It was probably a sign that the UK cover went through so many different versions before publication - like they weren't sure how to market it.
Had this been focused as a sci-fi, it would have been amazing. The ingredients are here for greatness, to further explore Prime Space, and the Chinese agency's plan to go to Earth's moon, and the dust-devil scene...
But it focuses too much on characters I didn't care about (namely, not the three astronauts in the sim), and not enough exploration of the elements that could've developed more brilliance.
But maybe what I wanted wasn't what the author wanted to write or the publisher wanted to publish. Makes me sad to see potential unfulfilled and opportunities missed.
Maybe I'm not the target audience.
“As they look to the stars, what are they missing back home?” In a handful of year’s time, it can be presumed that dreams of humans on Mars will become closer to a reality. In Meg Howey’s The Wanderers, the time has come to select the potential candidates to participate in the first crewed mission to the Red Planet. Yet, as the astronauts prepare to walk among the stars, their families are left to consider a life without them.
The story is told through the perspectives of seven characters. Perhaps the most important are the three astronauts: Helen, Sergei and Yoshi, who are enclosed in a tiny mock-spacecraft, as they practice the hypothetical challenges and experiences they may encounter on a real trip to Mars. The remaining chapters are shared out amongst family members: Mireille, Helen’s adult daughter; Dmitri, Sergei’s fifteen-year old son; and Madoka, Yoshi’s wife – the final character being Luke, a psychiatrist tasked with observing the mental state of the astronauts throughout the experiment.
Interestingly, those being left behind are less concerned about their parent or spouse, choosing to focus on their own, everyday life, problems. Left to their own devices, they worry about their careers, their sexuality and the ways in which others perceive them. All, presumably as a result of the lack of contact with their significant family member, have become capable of surviving independently, however do not appear to realize how lonely they are.
The astronauts, on the other hand, are preoccupied with thoughts of space, concentrating so hard on the mission ahead of them that they fail to think of anything else. However, after months of only having each other for company, their thoughts begin to drift in the direction of home, their childhood, worries about their family, guilt – all notions that are fairly alien to the career driven characters.
Whilst it is interesting to witness the character developments, there is not a significant storyline. The book only encompasses the training period for the prospective space mission, and does not appear to have a substantial conclusion. Whether the astronauts eventually make it to Mars, and whether their consciences encourage them to behave differently towards their families, remains unknown.
The Wanderers has the essence of a work of fiction that English Literature students or professors would enjoy pulling apart, examining the language and literary techniques as they seek the understanding of the various emotions portrayed. Unfortunately, the majority will not have chosen to read this book for this precise purpose, expecting a science fiction novel full of excitement and interesting plot. Without either of these elements taking precedence, many are bound to be disappointed.
My rating for this book (two of five stars) is on the basis of the storyline, rather than the concept of family versus space. Yes, Howey writes well, is informed of the ins and outs of space programmes, and is knowledgeable enough to write an accurate representation of an astronaut’s experience, however as a form of entertainment, it is considerably lacking. Those expecting a narrative similar to other well-written science fiction novels will be sorely disappointed.
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