The Wanderers by Meg Howrey
Penguin Publishing group:3/14/17
eBook review copy; 384 pages
The Wanderers by Meg Howrey is a highly recommended novel exploring the psychology of a Mars mission on the astronauts and their families.
Aerospace giant Prime Space has chosen three astronauts for its upcoming
mission to Mars. Helen Kane, Yoshihiro Tanaka, and Sergei Kuznetsov
have been selected for the mission, but first they must undergo a
17-month realistic simulation in the Utah desert in an operation known
as Eidolon. This simulation will force the three to endure both the
physical and emotional pressures of what the trip might entail for the
crew. Not only are their technical, physical, and interpersonal skills
tested, they are also under constant surveillance by the
Prime Space’s team of "obbers" as are their family members. As their
time in isolation increases both astronauts and family members question
the stories they chose to tell and what is being told to them.
The Wanderers explores the psychological aspects of a long
mission to Mars on both astronauts and family members. The narrative
focuses on what all of the characters are thinking. Not only do we have
the distinct voices of Helen, Yoshihiro, and Sergei, but also
(Yoshi's wife), and
(Sergei's 16-year-old son), and a member of the "obbers."
What we have here is a character study of all the people involved rather
than a science fiction novel. It is well written and there is an
incredible depth of insight into the characters, making them complex,
realistic people. Two important things to note are that not all the
characters stories have closure and the novel does feel a bit slow at
While the psychological insight and exploration of the different
characters is interesting, what drew me to this title was the phrase
"Station Eleven meets The Martian."
Since these are two novels I loved and both were in my top ten lists for their publication years, I was sure The Wanderers
would be a winner. While the writing is certainly good and the insight
interesting, the novel was done a disservice with the comparison to
these other two novels. I will admit that I felt let down. Probably a
3.5 rounded up
My review copy was courtesy of the Penguin Publishing group.