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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Ex-library copy with normal library markings on inside cover and spine. The book is otherwise in good condition.
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The Wanderer Paperback – December 1, 1964

3 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Paperback, December 1, 1964
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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.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: e-reads.com (December 1, 1964)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585860492
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585860494
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,297,651 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Lucifer's Hammer sort of set me up for disappointment with this novel. Both novels flip back and forth between a large cast of characters before and after a disaster that comes from the heavens. Both depict that destruction in full immersion 3-D, Dolby Digital IMAX glory. Both are pretty rigorous in their science at the beginning though this novel, due to its plot twists, ends up in space opera territory. Still, a story where the moon gets chewed up, millions die from tidal waves, and civilization starts to fray should be more entertaining than it turns out to be.

The characters are colorful enough, all met on the eve of a lunar eclipse. They include a group of "saucer students", an American astronaut on a lunar base, a man sailing solo across the Atlantic, a has-been actor on a mission to bomb the Presidential Palace of Nicaragua, a sex-crazed couple in New York out to compose a musical, a couple of poets in the UK, a would-be treasure hunter off the seas of Vietnam, a captain ferrying fascists on an atomic-powered liner en route to a coup in Brazil, a science fiction fan who falls in with a dying millionaire, and a German scientist who absolutely will not accept any evidence of the apocalypse apart from his own instruments. The Black Dahlia killer just may put in an appearance too. They are all interesting, colorful, their segments generally at the right length.

The plot? After a lunar eclipse, another big object appears in the sky, the moon starts to get ripped apart, and massive tidal devastation - along with volcanic eruptions and earthquakes - is caused by that object. The first hundred pages mysteriously dragged for me, though.
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