The Wanderers

The Wanderers

Book - 2017
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"Station Eleven meets The Martian in this brilliantly inventive novel about three astronauts training for the first-ever mission to Mars, an experience that will push the boundary between real and unreal, test their relationships, and leave each of them--and their families--changed forever In an age of space exploration, we search to find ourselves. In four years Prime Space will put the first humans on Mars. Helen Kane, Yoshi Tanaka, and Sergei Kuznetsov must prove they're the crew for the job by spending seventeen months in the most realistic simulation ever created. Retired from NASA, Helen had not trained for irrelevance. It is nobody's fault that the best of her exists in space, but her daughter can't help placing blame. The MarsNOW mission is Helen's last chance to return to the only place she's ever truly felt at home. For Yoshi, it's an opportunity to prove himself worthy of the wife he has loved absolutely, if not quite rightly. Sergei is willing to spend seventeen months in a tin can if it means travelling to Mars. He will at least be tested past the point of exhaustion, and this is the example he will set for his sons. As the days turn into months the line between what is real and unreal becomes blurred, and the astronauts learn that the complications of inner space are no less fraught than those of outer space. The Wanderers gets at the desire behind all exploration: the longing for discovery and the great search to understand the human heart"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : G.P. Putnam's Sons, [2017]
ISBN: 9780399574634
0399574638
Characteristics: 370 pages ; 24 cm

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bjharman
Feb 15, 2021

This was a "couldn't put it down" book for me. It was funny in ways that snuck up on me and deep psychologically in ways that kept me engaged. I spent many a night propped up in bed reading later than I should because it was so fascinating. The combination of science, adventure, relationship and character development was unique and beautifully created.

d
daggry
Apr 30, 2020

This was nothing like what I was hoping for or expecting -- but I loved it. Instead of finding a fast-paced mission-to-mars adventure, I found a thoughtful and character-driven novel about identity and connection, self-perception and relationship. It was interesting to explore those themes in a context of training for space travel, because that places the characters in the crucible. And while at first I was disappointed to see that chapters were titled with family names, I came to appreciate hearing their stories too. They are not, after all, utterly separate stories, however well isolated the astronauts from their loved ones.

p
parakeleo2
Dec 30, 2019

I went into this book thinking that I was reading science fiction about Mars and its astronauts. I think the premise of dealing with the psychology of not just the astronauts but also their family was a fascination endeavor. What I didn't care for was the gratuitous gay sex scenes that get thrown in the book. The author could have implied that this happened but as a reader I was not interested in every detail and didn't see how it moved the story along.

4
49ethyl
Nov 15, 2018

Best book I have ever read on character development. So well written you could write a movie script directly from it. Not a plot driven book, it is all about the main characters and what they are thinking about their life, their role in life, each other, and the attitude they bring to his life.

DBRL_KatSU Jan 23, 2018

When this book was recommended to me, it was compared to "The Martian." I loved "The Martian," but this book was nothing like it. I'm hesitant to even consider it sci-fi, as the science aspect took a back seat to the rest. Nonetheless, I very much enjoyed "The Wanderers."

The premise of this story is a rich private company, Prime, is planning to send humans to Mars, and they select Helen- an American woman, Sergei- a Russian man, and Yoshi- a Japanese man to participate in a simulation of the trip to and from Mars that will take place in Utah. These three are chosen not only for their individual talents and personalities, but also for how they will interact with each other on this long-haul mission. If they do well during this simulation, they will be the first humans to set foot on the red planet.

They are very aware of the importance of their "performance" during the simulation, and this leads to everyone essentially acting like the astronauts they assume Prime is expecting. Their families are also included- it's very important for the astronauts to have a supportive family.

While there was a bit of cool science, the heart of this novel is relationships (human and otherwise). Relationships between family members and colleagues, blooming relationships that may or may not be socially acceptable, and an interesting bit of relationships with robots.

Be warned: there's not a ton of action in this story. It's mostly a lovely character-driven exploration on humanity.

r
rgally
Jan 05, 2018

Less about going to Mars (which I am more interested in) and more about the individuals and their interaction with family and co-workers (co-astronauts?).

I originally categorized it as SciFi buts it's really more dysfunctional families.

Yawn!

7
7626dee
Sep 29, 2017

Very enjoyable book for the first half with a very believable mission for three interesting astronauts. Author ignores an elephant in the space ship when she puts together two men with one woman. A two year mission and there will not be any thought of sex yet one of the men is divorced and the lady is widowed. Last part of the book drags due to the constant asides to deal with the family members and their very petty problems. The great explorers of the 12-1700 era used to disappear for years on their sea voyages and treks and that is the price families pay when connected to great explorers-it is dangerous and time consuming get used to it already!

a
aplmegh
Aug 20, 2017

Literary science fiction about going to Mars for people who don't like Mars. If you do like Mars, bonus. The novel's conceit may irritate some readers but it also delightfully mirrors the experience of our protagonists. A clever book that might make your brain hurt.

j
jedabug
Jul 12, 2017

Wonderfully complex characters and interesting setting. The story is about a simulated trip to Mars, and reading the book is like being in the simulation yourself. This book would be a great book club book, lots to discuss about relationships and the nature of reality!

l
laphampeak
May 29, 2017

Intelligently written with forays into human nature against a backdrop of astronauts in a simulated trip to Mars.

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parakeleo2
Dec 30, 2019

parakeleo2 thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

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