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The Wanderer Paperback – December 1, 1964


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: e-reads.com (December 1, 1964)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585860492
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585860494
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,019,579 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Fritz Leiber (1910-1992) studied psychology and physiology at the University of Chicago and then spent a year at a theological seminary. He worked as an editor for the Science Digest, acted (he came from a theatrical family) and was a drama teacher before turning to writing. He is particularly well known for his fantasy writing but his other sf includes The Big Time, which also won a Hugo. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Paul Leiber well deserved the Hugo Saward in 1965 for this book.
mathilde de gardin
It also appeared that there had been no advances in science on the Earth since the 60's but yet we have a manned base on the Moon and have astronauts out by Mars.
Brian P. McDonnell
There are far too many characters and many of them are handled in such sketchy fashion that not even Leiber seems interested in them.
David Bonesteel

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 25 people found the following review helpful By David Bonesteel on March 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
A mysterious planet of approximately the same mass as Earth appears from hyperspace within the orbit of our moon, tearing the satellite to pieces and inflicting tremendous damage on our planet through vastly increased tidal forces. When author Fritz Leiber keeps his focus on that basic premise, detailing the effects of the Wanderer's appearance and mankind's efforts to cope with it, this novel really flies, particularly in an early sequence wherein an astronaut barely escapes the shattering of the Moon and finds himself in orbit around the new planet. This is real action-packed sense-of-wonder science fiction from a grand master.

However, other factors act against the novel's success. There are far too many characters and many of them are handled in such sketchy fashion that not even Leiber seems interested in them. For example, the high jacking of an ocean-liner, which could have generated some genuine excitement, is instead summarized in flat declarative sentences in a couple of paragraphs. In addition, I don't want to give away the ultimate nature and purpose of the Wanderer, so suffice it to say that by the time one of our heroes became involved in a love affair with a green-furred cat woman from outer space, certain plot elements had turned decisively away from the hard-SF depiction of global tragedy that I had begun to enjoy. Finally, the dialogue and relationships among the characters has become terribly dated. I know that it's not fair to expect an author to anticipate what will make his story seem stale forty years later; nevertheless, it does remain a distraction and an obstacle to complete enjoyment.
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28 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 18, 2002
Format: Paperback
This review deals only with the quality of this edition, not with the story as such. It appears this edition was produced by an optical scan of an earlier edition, with no evidence that the result was proofread. There are about four 'typos' per page, enough to distract from the story. Some are easy to puzzle out ('fight' instead of 'right'); others less so.
I'll be looking at all my future purchases carefully to make sure they are not e-reads editions.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By James Proust on February 8, 2006
Format: Paperback
Without mentioning the basic story line, because it is covered by other reviews, I'll just hit on a few random points that struck me.

There are perhaps two dozen characters in the book, scattered all over the world (the "multiple viewpoint" approach). Many of them in the course of their conversations mention the names of real-world science-fiction authors (Heinlein, Wells, Clarke, Burroughs, etc.) as if those sci-fi authors are universally regarded as authoritative celebrities and are guiding philosophers for humanity. Why did Leiber do that? Was he intentionally sucking up to his peers? Trying to elevate his field? That was a poor device to include in a work of fiction. The effect is to remind the reader, "Don't forget, you are reading a science-fiction novel right now."

When the feline alien gave her big speech about the need to rebel from authority in order to live life to its fullest, it was as if Leiber were reaffirming (sucking up) to the youth of the 60's and telling them they are correct in their rebellious urges. But at the same time, he depicted the human teenagers in the book as wild, drunken savages bent on destruction and menacing society. Mixed message? There is also a parallel between the second visiting planet (described as the "police") and the human police on Earth who are engaged in battle with the rioting teens.

I didn't like the extreme coincidence that the one person the cat-alien snagged from the Earth's surface was also the friend and colleague of the astronaut who was pulled from the moon, and both happened to be romantic interests of the female protagonist who was carrying the vital spacegun to the Earth authorities. I hate it when authors get lazy with coincidences like that.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ulf Claesson on July 27, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a great..no, a FANTASTIC story, with a deep philosophical issue behind its cosmic disaster theme: the conflict between any society's quest for perfection, and the individual's need to do things..differently.

The book is a tad long; way too many characters are introduced, and too much time is spent on the effects on Earth by the Wanderer. Some editing, and this would have earned 5 stars.

Storywise, it IS 5 stars.

By the way, check out his ghost novel Our Lady of Darkness. More great stuff
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael K. Smith TOP 500 REVIEWER on September 8, 2008
Format: Paperback
Always a master of the language, Leiber, author of the "Grey Mouser" stories, won a Hugo for this quintessential disaster novel when it first appeared in 1964. The set-up is straightforward: A strange, unknown planet, dubbed "The Wanderer," suddenly appears in Earth's sky, a quarter-million miles out, and begins dismantling the Moon for fuel. Naturally, something of that mass is going to have an effect on our tides and the stability of our tectonic plates. Multiply tidal rises and drops by eighty and you can say goodbye to nearly all the coastal population centers. Strain the Earth's crust and you can expect volcanoes and earthquakes without number. If you're a younger convert to sf than I am (I had just graduated college when this came out), then it may remind you of _Lucifer's Hammer,_ by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. While the causes of worldwide panic and geological upset are different, the results are largely the same, and so is the narrative method. Leiber jumps constantly from one narrator or group to another, giving the reader lots of viewpoints to consider. There's the drunken Welsh poet trying to walk across the suddenly empty Severn Estuary, and the sailor-adventurer singlehandedly crossing the Atlantic in a dory who barely realizes anything is happening, and the soldier of fortune trying to overthrow the Nicaraguan government, and the young couple holed up in a Manhattan penthouse with the waves lapping at their feet, and several others. Most of the attention, though, is given to a party of "flying saucer students" on a beach near Santa Monica who spend the whole narrative trying to drive up into the coastal mountains and who have to deal with crazed teenagers, gun-happy cops, and an apparent serial killer.Read more ›
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