Title: The Wanderers
Author: Meg Howrey
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Pub. Date: 14, March 2017
Astronauts Helen, Yoshi, and Sergei are training for the first Prime Space Mars mission. It is interesting but occasionally stressful for them and their families. Apply external stimuli and observe the internal workings of complicated people. That is it.
The whole book is a character study and thought experiment. The science is nice. The setting is interesting. The story setup is nice, despite the ultimately anticlimactic destination. The writing is intellectual– striving for literary– some would say lyrical.
Obviously, Howrey loves a particular kind of character, because they are all some version of dignified, high functioning yet fundamentally broken, robotic, strong willed with hidden weakness, borderline psychotic, uber-abled, hyper-sensual, poetic natured person. I tested this theory by replacing any one of the character names in any of the long passages of internal blah-de-blah, and they all fit the thought, speech, and action patterns of each other, despite their diverse construction and the occasional peppering of colloquial speech in dialogue.
Overall, I did read the whole book so I will give it three stars.
I even enjoyed it to a point, though I ran out of patience every once in a while. Sometimes I marveled at the cleverness of a particular passage, but I wanted more to be happening than just being clever. I yearned for more of the best parts. I wanted to experience the science of the mission, ride the relationship evolution of these extraordinary people who are doing extraordinary things (not just micro-exposing each character), go places in the story just hinted at (even those cool robot companions had a story I wanted to hear). All I got was more angst and observation. I wanted the characters to just ‘be’ sometimes, without all the existential qualifying explanations for feelings and actions.
I wanted Mars.
Oh well. Some of you are going to really like this. Forget the comparison to other books. Does it have to be like any other? I suppose any story is derivative to a point, but it is not often a plus.
Thanks to the publisher for a review copy.