April Books 3) The Wanderer

3) The Wanderer, by Fritz Leiber

The second last of the Hugo-winning novels for me to read, first published in 1964. Set in the very near future (Russians and Americans have manned missions to the moon). A rogue planet appears out of space and starts to dismantle the moon. The resultant high tides and earthquakes cause widespread devastation on Earth.

So far, so pulp. But what I think won Leiber the award is that the story is so well written. A dozen or so different viewpoint characters, some of them rather less prominent than others; a proper sensawunda with regard to the main plot; aliens who actually seem alien; a surprising amount of sex (of course, this was coming into the Swingin Sixties I suppose).

Amused that one character claims to be Guillermo Walker, a direct descendant of the William Walker who took over Nicaragua in the 19th century – there is in fact a real American diplomat of that name and ancestry, but he would still have been a student when this was published.

Recommended.

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1 Response to April Books 3) The Wanderer

  1. artw says:

    The opening of book two, which I read last night, annoyingly has Lyra waiting passively for somebody to come and feed her because in her world servants do the cooking. It’s not that he’s not allowed to show female characters with weaknesses, it’s that it is completely at odds with the character he created in the first volume.

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