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The Wanderer

3.48  ·  Rating Details ·  2,119 Ratings  ·  103 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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Apr 20, 2016 Brad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
1965 Winner of the Hugo Award.

Years before furry was popular, there was The Wanderer. Years before Lucifer's Hammer, there was The Wanderer. Years before it was popular go epic numbers of scientists and normals oohing and awing over BDO's entering the Earth's orbit... oh wait, no that's pretty much a standard of SF.

Seriously, aside from the times, which may or may not let you guys forgive the casual references to casual racism, sexism, and the oddly frank depiction of a lesbian woman deciding ri
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
Jul 07, 2010 Scott rated it it was ok
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
May 16, 2015 fromcouchtomoon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mike Wallace
Jan 11, 2015 Mike Wallace rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jul 29, 2012 Mike Moore rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 20, 2010 Dave rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 26, 2010 Elenaran rated it did not like it
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.
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
Sep 22, 2013 D-day rated it liked it  ·  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
Maurizio Codogno
Sep 15, 2011 Maurizio Codogno rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
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
Oct 13, 2015 Chip rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: top-200-scifi
A mixture of Ellison's speculative fiction and Campbell's rocket stories. Another drug induced poorly written and edited book (attempted to do too much). The story starts with everyone being crazy and soon the whole world is a disaster and everything is crazy. Tried to tear down boundaries that early science fiction had setup (sex, drugs, death, etc).
Michael Burnam-fink
The Wanderer is not not a good book by any means, but it's fun enough disaster fiction and cosmological speculation, if you can overlook some real groaners in the writing.

The story follows a cast of dozens as a garishly decorated planet appears from hyperspace near the orbit of the moon. While at first people stare in wonder at their new purple and gold neighbor, wonder turns to horror as the 80-fold increased gravity of the Wanderer shreds the moon and starts a series of earthquakes, tsunamis,
Jun 12, 2015 Johnny rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
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
Mar 05, 2015 Brendan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, scifi, 2015
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
Jul 14, 2014 David B rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Liz Baessler
The newest installment in my sci-fi book club. We were looking for some gritty old school science fiction this time, and I don't think we found it. Instead we got something that I'm sure was very avant garde when it came out in 1964 but is now a little scattered and unpleasant.

To be totally fair, I didn't read this book under the best of circumstances. My boyfriend and I planned to listen to it on a long car ride. Unfortunately the air conditioner gave out half an hour in, and we had to keep th
Jul 30, 2016 Grond rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fritz Leiber's 'The Wanderer' is an odd book. It has moments of very effective, sweeping poetic visions of the vastness of the universe and by extension our place in it. It has some great sections of 'disaster porn' dealing with the technical consequences of parking another earth size planet in the moons location. It has some very wonky interpersonal interactions of 1960s people (or at least Leiber's perception of them). Finally, it has some weird goofy shit going on as well. So, it is an entert ...more
Jan 01, 2008 Stef rated it liked it  ·  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

Lance Schonberg
It may seem weird with the inciting incident being an artificial planet showing up to digest the moon as fuel, but The Wanderer starts a bit slow. The first chapter gives us a list of names and then a tiny sliver of POV from many of them, no more than a few paragraphs each. It drags.

Only then do we start to get to the real story. There are two primary arcs, really, but we keep coming back to those extraneous points of view, over and over until and unless the character in question dies. I think t
Kelsey Cretcher
Aug 03, 2016 Kelsey Cretcher rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Amanda Hamilton
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 25, 2010 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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 Kinzer
Let's say 2.5 stars. It starts out really disjointed, jumping between different groups of people around the world, and how "The Wanderer" is affecting them. About 2/3 of the way through, it starts to get enjoyable to read. I wonder how stuff like this wins Hugos? The premise is interesting enough, but much of the science dubious, and some of the characters the reader is barely able to understand. And, even for early 60's Sci-Fi, a a surprising amount of sex. Written by a geek, for geeks, I suppo ...more
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
May 22, 2015 Norman Howe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
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?
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Fritz Reuter Leiber, Jr. 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 variou ...more
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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.” 8 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—” 2 likes
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