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The Wanderer Paperback – January 1, 1972


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Paperback, January 1, 1972
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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (1972)
  • ASIN: B000HQVEJ8
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,543,345 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Disaster ravages Earth, making a story for fans of disaster as well as Space Opera fans.
tmazanec1@juno.com
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.
Ulf Claesson
I first tried reading "The Big Time", but could not finish it (only made it a third of the way through the book).
Neil Kiser

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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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful By mathilde de gardin on November 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
The book is a many sided description of a geological distaster on planet wide scale. Without revealing to much: the plot is driven by the occurence of planet in orbit of Earth. It's not as much about the alien interaction (and certainly not about an alien invasion) as it is about the devastating geological effects that the gravity pull of this planet has on Earth. An on it's people.
The book starts slowly, by introducing the 30-some protagonists (among them drunkards, scientists, UFO-believers, teenagers, would-be playwriters) all over Earth, living their very different things. But within 40 pages the action really gets to you. The value of having 30 correspondents with so varied a perspective around the world really adds to the experience.
The book is action packed, and shows considerable insight in the human behavior in times of disaster. Most of the character's situations and reactions are so real, that you cannot stop considering what you would have done yourself if these things had happened to you.
The importance of gravity to life on Earth becomes very clear to the reader. While reading the book you cannot escape marvelling about the wonderful, and fragile equilibrium that exists on this tiny planet. The book really gave me an acute feeling of cosmic scale, in which some minute change in the balance might trip the scale for us, and forever change everything we took for granted.
Paul Leiber well deserved the Hugo Saward in 1965 for this book. It hasn't aged much. It only shows that it's from that time, by the somewhat oldfasioned modes of discourse and interaction, between the sexes and the races. But that soon blends in, as the context of the book.
If there ever was a film scenario waiting to be found this is it. Especcially in our times, where the real spectacular views of this book can be generated by computer. Oh, I'ld love to see this on a large movie screen.
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