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The Wanderer

3.48 of 5 stars 3.48  ·  rating details  ·  1,798 ratings  ·  87 reviews
All eyes were watching the eclipse of the Moon when the Wanderer--a huge, garishly colored artificial world--emerged. Only a few scientists even suspected its presence, and then, suddenly and silently, it arrived, dwarfing and threatening the Moon and wreaking havoc on Earth's tides and weather. Though the Wanderer is stopping in the solar system only to refuel, its mere p ...more
Paperback, 318 pages
Published October 15th 1983 by Tor Books (M/M) (first published 1964)
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In this bizarre SF novel, which somehow managed to win a Hugo, a mobile planet crewed by a race of intelligent cats materialises in orbit around the Earth, causing all sorts of trouble. Tidal forces, you see. I think it's a metaphor for the arrival of sex in modern science fiction. Until the early 60s, it had been conspicuously lacking, for all the skimpily-dressed Martian princesses and suchlike. But then, suddenly, tidal forces! And there is, indeed, a surprising amount of odd sex, which I bel ...more
I finished this one out of sheer stubbornness. I'm a great fan of Leiber's "Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser" fantasy stories but this Hugo award-winning science fiction tale from 1964 has aged badly, in my opinion.

An interesting premise, a planet-sized spacecraft appearing in near-Earth orbit, is thrown off track by frequent hopping amongst several groups of characters, mostly unrelated. These asides do show the destruction caused by the now out-of-control tidal forces on our planet but Leiber spend
The predecessor of the disaster movie, or even better, the spoof Disaster Movie. Characters of all walks survive tidal chaos when a new planet comes to visit. Fun, but Fritz steals the show with his funny observations on culture and SF.
David Bonesteel
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 t ...more
Mike Moore
I like classic sci-fi, and this book spends a lot of type on unrepentant homage to classic sci-fi staples like Heinlein and Burroughs. I have a soft spot for Fritz Leiber. I find his unpolished, slap-dash approach to writing somehow endearing. It always feels like he's just barely making his deadlines and he would spend more time reworking things but he's got to run off to his day job. But at some point, I just had to accept that this was a pretty lousy book. Maybe if the same territory hadn't b ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 22, 2013 D-day rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to D-day by: top 100 list
Shelves: 100-scifi-list
Fritz Leiber is known for Fantasy, both Swords and Sorcery and Urban Fantasy (a genre he practically invented), but The Wanderer is a mixture of disaster/apocalypse and first contact novel. It is in fact surprisingly 'hard' as far as the science fiction elements are concerned. A new planet, the Wanderer, appears suddenly next to the moon, its gravity causing earthquakes and huge tides which cause considerable destruction on Earth. Leiber follows several groups of people through the story includi ...more
Yes, there are flying saucers in The Wanderer. Yes, it is an “Invaders from Outer Space” story of sorts. Yes, it is written by Grandmaster Fritz Leiber. But no, it isn’t what I expected. And, as fabulous as I’ve always considered Leiber, it wasn’t something I enjoyed.

A terrific novel begins with a clever hook and The Wanderer has just such a hook. It considers the same event, a cosmic event with a strange appearance near the moon, from the perspective of nearly a dozen different characters from
I’ve read my fair share of old science fiction. (By old here, I generally mean things written before 1980.) I acknowledge this line is relatively arbitrary, but so am I. Some old sf gets dated pretty quickly, and feels foreign and a little weird. The Cosmic Computer comes to mind. Some old sf holds together pretty well, remaining both entertaining and illuminating its age well–The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, for instance. And then there are sf books that age badly–they don’t comment on their own e ...more
David B
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 t ...more
Mike Wallace
I can't believe this painfully tedious book won the Hugo. Perhaps our Science Fiction sensibilities have just changed quite a bit since 1964. This book threatens to derail my plans to read every Hugo Best Novel winner; apparently the award has occasionally been an unreliable yardstick.

On second thought, it must have been a slow year; I have not read Davy, The Planet Buyer, or The Whole Man, 1965's other contenders, so I can't say. But the previous year the nominees were Cat's Cradle, Dune, Glory
This is one book I could have actually judged by its cover - very cheesy. I have no idea how this won a Hugo Award. The author tries to tell a story of aliens coming to Earth from many different perspectives, but ends up just confusing the reader by never giving any depth to any of the characters. Also, many of the storylines are pointless and end without ever giving any insight as to their importance.

The whole thing is very dated. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.
Kelsey Cretcher
I'll properly format and update this later.

I went into this book expecting to hate it, and honestly I was very biased for the majority of it. It's poor reviews, as well as how truly terrible Leiber ' s other hugo winner was made me very wary. However , while this book wasn't very good, it had strong ideas and potential that made it readable.
Leiber seems to suffer from not knowing how to edit. Once again he had an overwhelming amount of characters, and honestly the events of this book amounted
Jan 01, 2008 Stef rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of classic sf
Audiobook narrated by William Dietz. Fun example of classic hard SF, in some ways broader ranging and better written than other books of its type and era (1964), although the human / alien catgirl romance is a bit cringeworthy. Won the Hugo Award in 1965.
Matteo Pellegrini

Il suo nome è Tigerishka. La sua specie è felina. La sua sensualità è magnetica. E micidiale. Tigerishka arriva da spazi molto lontani e profondi. Pronta a conquistae, a divorare. Ma il suo mezzo di trasporto non è un qualunque, banale disco volante: è addirittura un intero pianeta, il Vagabondo. Penetrando nel sistema solare, il pianeta vagante si avvicina pericolosamente alla Terra, provocando maremoti e sconvolgimenti. Da questo spunto provocatorio, Fritz Leiber costruisce un classico della s

Amanda Hamilton
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
What would happen if a new planet spontaneously appeared right near Earth?

All sorts of wacko stuff effecting the tides, orbit, and all manner of other things... and that's what we start out here with the Fritz Leiber's 1964 Hugo Award winning (Best Novel for the year 1965) "The Wanderer".

For about the first 80 or so pages, this book was good "hard" science fiction and I loved it. I found myself thinking, "Wow... This may be original earth disaster/cataclysm/dystopia novel!"

And then we begin plod
I admit that I have difficulty reviewing this book. I can see why it is considered a classic. The Wanderer is a planetary disaster novel that does a very good job of portraying how the disaster affects its characters, most of whom are just normal folks. I sometimes wished he spent more time on some of the minor characters--a lot of them get really short shrift. Leiber handles the multiple POV take on the end-of-the world very well, whether it originated with him or not. The effects of the Wande ...more
Marc Goldstein
Perhaps best know for his sword & sorcery stories featuring Fafhrd and Gray Mouser, Fritz Leiber wrote successfully across a number of genres, including horror, fantasy, and science fiction. His epic sci-fi disaster novel, The Wanderer, won Leiber the Hugo in 1965 (he also won in 1958 for The Big Time.) Among the list of previous Hugo winners, The Wanderer stands out as one of the more obscure choices. While Leiber remains a well-regarded writer, his Hugo-winning novels have frequently falle ...more
Maurizio Codogno
Tra i commenti di chi come me ha letto questo libro in edizione italiana, molti affermano che la traduzione gli ha fatto perdere la maestà del testo originale. Può forse essere così: sicuramente la prosa è piana, diciamo in stile Asimov. Non avendo però a disposizione il testo inglese, mi limito a fare alcune considerazioni sulla storia, precedute dalla considerazione banale che non ho capito perché il titolo italiano non poteva essere la letterale traduzione di quello originale, "il Vagabondo". ...more
Lindsay Stares
Premise: When it appears in the sky, many don't believe it. Many deny what it is. But the Wanderer is a planet, real, alien, and catastrophic for many of the people of Earth.

It took me a long time to get into this book. And it's not a very long book. Much of it is structured in a way that reminds me of the beginning of The Stand: it jumps between many different groups of people to show how they are affected by the crisis. In The Stand, I think this is brilliant. The problem with it here is that
Paul Dinger
This book won awards? It's premise was fascinating, and it did keep being fascinating despite the books very choppy narrative in which new characters pop up in frustrating fashion and leave just as mysteriously. The book is about how a planet is used as a spaceship, an interesting idea which this book does do a lot with, but then it wants to be a cold war metaphor and that just doesn't work. It is interesting though.
Norman Howe
A new planet appears out of nowhere"," and calamity ensues. Its gravity destroys the Moon"," and its tides cause devastating earthquakes"," tsunamis"," and flooding.It becomes apparent that the planet is under intelligent control"," that it was piloted through hyperspace. Are aliens coming to invade the Earth"," or is it all some cosmic accident?
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Robert Wood
I just finished it. I can see how this won the Hugo. A lot of references to this history of the genre, and to fandom. Unfortunately, it also has a lot of thin characterization, and probably needed a significant editor. You can tell that Leiber is trying to capture the immensity of the disaster that would be caused by such an event, a planet like ship coming into orbit, but most of it feels tedious and repetitive. It has some interesting science fictional moments, for instance thinking through th ...more
Nathan Gray
The plot and the science fiction ideas were interesting, even intriguing, but I could not take the book seriously (it became comedy, rather than science fiction) when it became apparent that pretty much every character was going to pair up and have sex with another character, and then usually die.
Media influences media, and so popular novels today often read like movie scripts. This is one of the oldest novels I've read that has that flavor. It reminds me of the disaster movies that were popular in the 1970s; The Towering Inferno, Earthquake, etc.

Switching between characters that have no impact on, or involvement in the main thrust of the story splits up the focus. It takes away from the main themes, without managing to make the book into a real disaster story. So while the quality of th
Erich Franz Guzmann

I really don't know what to say about this book.... Pretty much just that it was weird and that I agree with Manny, that I am surprised it won the Hugo Award. There were some really interesting parts but it doesn't make up for it weirdness and it is not just that, I found so many parts quite boring.
In my opinion it doesn't deserve 3 stars but more like two and half, but since there isn't a half I guess I will round it up and give it 3. When I give books 3 stars or less and they won the Hugo or N
Viktor Davion
In general I like this novel, though it didn't make an impression on me. That's why just 4, despite of good themes and good implementation. This novel is about first contact and our civilisation in the face of global catastrophes. Author explores such themes as xenophobia, human relations in extreme environment and extraterrestrial civilisation possible attitude to humans. I like his interpretation of this topics since they are very close to my own thoughts.
Thought that aliens will look the way
Erik Graff
Jul 28, 2011 Erik Graff rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sf fans & adolescent boys
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
Picked this one up at Knack's Drugstore on Lake Street in Bridgman, Michigan and read it up at the cabin in Livingston Hills. Found it slow going, but was fascinated by one memorable element, namely the peculiar relationship between the feline commander of the enormous spacecraft and a human male, a relationship with an erotic culmination. Being still a kid--a kid overwrought by sex at the time--this encounter struck me powerfully. She, the commander, is not only nonhuman and dominant, but she i ...more
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Fritz Leiber was one of the more interesting of the young writers who came into HP Lovecraft's orbit, and some of his best early short fiction is horror rather than sf or fantasy. He found his mature voice early in the first of the sword-and-sorcery adventures featuring the large sensitive barbarian Fafhrd and the small street-smart-ish Gray Mouser; he returned to this series at various points in ...more
More about Fritz Leiber...
Swords and Deviltry (Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, #1) Swords Against Death (Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, #2) Swords Against Wizardry (Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, #4) Swords in the Mist (Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, #3) Ill Met in Lankhmar (Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, #1-2)

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“The right to take a chance, the right to suffer. The right to be unwise, the right to die. These aims are hateful to the government, which values ever frightened mouse and falling sparrow as equal to a tiger burning bright.” 5 likes
“Do you think the saucer actually had an inertialess drive—like E. E. Smith's bergenholms or something?” Harry McHeath asked Doc.  “Have to, I'd think, the way it was jumping around. In a situation like this, science fiction is our only guide. On the other hand—” 1 likes
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