The Wanderer

Fritz Leiber
The Wanderer Cover

Not the worst SciFi book


All SciFi has three components, the story, the craftsmanship of the story telling, and the science.

The story itself is actually weak. The characters are far too many, and not drawn to any depth. The plot is fair, and scattered across too much ink to fold in any compelling drama as such.

The language techniques (craftsmanship) are somewhat dry, though effective. After all, how does an author handle simultaneous disclosure of information from several diverging story lines. In this regard, Leiber's attempt is laudible.

The redeeming features of the book are the science of 1965 (or more accurately the popular science of 1965). Plate techtonics and gravitational forces, combined with the questions of space exploration and the fundamental questions of space-time dimensionality are all presented in a Dr. Who type approach of "well if this and this and that all came together what happens to the ordinary people?" But, let's give Fritz his due. There was no Dr. Who, and plate techtonics is kind of a well-duh thing now. Science shock is not what it was in 1965.

Summary: This is not a classic, but a reasonable representation of the mid-sixties transformation of science in the media. Poorly constructed, but ambitious in concept.