Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Wanderers

The Wanderers by Meg Howrey 
Penguin Publishing group:3/14/17
eBook review copy; 384 pages
ISBN-13: 9780399574634

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 Mireille (Helen's daughter), Madoka (Yoshi's wife), and Dmitri (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 times.

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

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of the Penguin Publishing group.

1 comment:

Audra said...

Hmmm...I'm interested to read this one but good to know it's more character than plot. I haven't read Station Eleven or The Martian, so at least I won't be disappointed it's not like either!