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The Wanderers

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  4,518 ratings  ·  901 reviews
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
Hardcover, 370 pages
Published March 14th 2017 by G.P. Putnam's Sons
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Jodi What do you mean by clean? Does it have cursing and sex and overall carousing? Not really (there's a very, very small sex scene - like literally a sen…moreWhat do you mean by clean? Does it have cursing and sex and overall carousing? Not really (there's a very, very small sex scene - like literally a sentence). Does it talk about the fine particulate that is Mars dust and how it gets everywhere? Does it deeply explore what it means to love another person and what sexuality is? Does it investigate humanity? Yes. (less)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Kate I believe it's intentionally ambiguous. I also think they didn't go, though.…moreI believe it's intentionally ambiguous. I also think they didn't go, though.(less)

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Average rating 3.55  · 
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 ·  4,518 ratings  ·  901 reviews

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Larry H
Feb 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I'm about 3.5 stars here.

Aerospace behemoth Prime Space, which has made its presence known in NASA's waning years, has a plan to put the first humans on Mars in four years. The company has selected the perfect crew for this mission—Helen Kane, Sergei Kuznetsov, and Yoshihiro Tanaka—each of them leaders in their own country's space program who have participated on the International Space Station. The three are chosen for their complementary skills, personalities, and backgrounds, which should mes
Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
A book following astronauts getting ready to go to Mars sounds awesome right?
Well this book manages to make it boring... Nothing happened... at all...
3.5 Stars. Three astronauts embark on a seventeen-month training simulation in preparation for a real trip to Mars. During the hyper-realistic simulation, Prime Space will be studying the astronauts' behavior and monitoring their communications with their families to see how they hold up on such a long mission. The goal is "not asking them to deal with the environment [Prime Space has] created for them, but creating the right environment for them to deal with whatever they encounter." The most u ...more
Jul 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-shelf, sci-fi
I like all kinds of books.

I generally don't have much of a problem getting into SF that happens to be more about family and interpersonal drama than about space... but I do like to know that this is what I'm getting into.

By all accounts, the extended opening felt like a glorious character-driven lead-up to a tight and absorbing journey to Mars. But when the interpersonal stuff took over and most of the page space was devoted to different family members, all of which stayed behind, I had to concl
2.75ish stars.

This is a story about the struggle to connect and communicate and about the balance between (selfishly?) finding and fulfilling one's identity and how that may come at the expense of sharing one's life with those whom they love and who need them. It shows the dissonance between three astronauts who seemingly know exactly what their goals are and where their lives are going (Mars), and people they love who are wandering, floating, just trying to figure things out, with and without t
Mar 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
The Wanderers: a very long journey that’ll have you asking “Are we nearly there yet?”

Alarm bells should have rung at the dust jacket's comparison to both The Martian and Station Eleven; one of those is a fast-paced space romp, the other a gentle and profound meditation on the place of art in a post-apocalyptic world. The only real similarity between the two is that they made a tonne of money.

The overzealous publisher who made that comparison handed The Wanderers some big ole space boots to fill;
Feb 23, 2017 rated it liked it
I don't know what to think about this book, for one I appreciate it's focus on the psychological aspect of the human mind when it's pushed to the extreme and all that this entails on a physical level as well. The main characters are in a simulation for most of the book , they are training to go to Mars and need to spend time together in a fake landing to see if they are psychologically prepared for the real thing , you can see how they are pressured and how they bend but not break, you get to se ...more
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
This was... interesting. I feel like I would have liked this so much more if there were less perspectives. I was constantly getting characters confused and I couldn’t keep anything straight. BUT. I really did like the concept of this, so I think I’ll do a re-read down the line and I predict I’ll enjoy it significantly more when that time comes.
Brandon Forsyth
Not all who read THE WANDERERS will be lost, but more than a few might scratch their heads and wonder who this book is supposed to be for. It's like someone read THE MARTIAN and thought, "this is atrociously written" (a viewpoint I am more than sympathetic to), but then stripped out all the wonder and humour and tension from it while adding some wonderfully-written metaphors. Do well-written books have to be dull character studies full of apathetic, uninspiring protagonists? I refuse to believe ...more
Noah Nichols
Aug 03, 2017 rated it did not like it
Have a hankering for some vanilla flavoring? Then you should scoop up this weak offering! With no feeling and no anything, really...this lifeless novel is already my most disappointing read of 2017 (you're presently second, Everything Matters!).

Straight up, Meg Howrey has written one of the dullest we're-going-to-Mars-now novels that I have ever had the displeasure of trudging through. The Wanderers is a suckfest as well as a snoozefest—yup, it's a TWOFER! F this B. If all books were like th
Mar 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a Goodreads Giveaway.
The story is told from various viewpoints: the astronauts, a family member for each astronaut, and one Obber team member. This lends to the emotional insight you gain as the story progresses. I was pleasantly surprised at the layers of the story. Howrey's writing keeps you engaged when the story may otherwise seem slow.
Jul 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars
Mar 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
This really wasn't at all what I was expecting. I thought "Hey! They go to Mars! Awesome!" but without that many exclamation points.

The story is about three astronauts who are training to go to Mars. They're sent to a training facility that exactly mimics what they believe Mars will be like so they can prepare both mentally and physically before leaving. It's not just about the three astronauts/cosmonauts, however. It also spends time with each of the family members; Helen's daughter, Yoshi's wi
Carol (Bookaria)
Jun 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017, fiction, sci-fi
The book follows the lives and relationships of three cosmonauts before they go into an isolated simulation for seventeen months.

The book is very introspective and the author goes into the inner thoughts and feelings of the main characters and its closest relatives. It is told from the different points of view of the cosmonauts as well as some family members and Prime colleagues.  

This is book is NOT like The Martian, even though they are both scfi and related to colonizing Mars the structure, p
Sydney Young
If you are looking for a replica of The Martian or Station Eleven, that is not this book. Instead, this book is an exploration of the humans involved in a Martian space simulation, whether by being the selected astronaut or one of the family members waiting while the 17 month Mars simulation progresses. Whether from the past or present, these people and their stories, their frailties and strengths, their hopes and worries for themselves, earth and humankind; they will touch your soul. I think if ...more
DNF at 50%
I saw a lot of people comparing this book to The Martian which is ridiculous, because The Martian is amazing and this is anything but. Holy shit, this book is so boring. I barlely made it to the halfway point before giving up. All the characters are so flat and boring and one dimensional and there are so many characters it's hard to keep track of them all (especially when they are all equally uninteresting). Sorry, this one just wasn't for me.
switterbug (Betsey)
Feb 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you want or expect a sci-fi or dystopian novel, then you may be disappointed. Fortunately, I was not, and experienced it on the merits of a mildly speculative but mostly literary novel about characters facing the challenge of authenticity vs. representation, and their very (and sometimes fluid) definitions. An American astronaut, Helen Kane, a Russian cosmonaut, Sergei Kuznetsov, and a Japanese taikonaut, Yoshihiro Tanaka, spend 17 months together in a simulated mission to Mars and back, ( a ...more
Mogsy (MMOGC)
3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

In the near future, a private aerospace company called Prime Space begins preparations for their mission to put the first human beings on Mars. Within their timeline of four years, they have put in place a number of planned test runs and experiments, a key one of them being the 17-month long simulation to prove that a small crew of three can indeed survive the long and rigorous journey to the red planet—while remaining p
Apr 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It seems that the Goodreads reviewers who didn't like The Wanderers also didn't like Station Eleven, which is helpful, I suppose, in that it demonstrates consistently poor taste. I guess that's why they have the Lifetime Channel, for people who like their dramas with predictable beats and bathroom breaks? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Ashley DiNorcia
Mar 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sff
This was a weird one, and I'm having a hard time figuring out if I liked it or not. I think marketing was a bit of an issue, personally I think it would have done better with the VanderMeer treatment and been pushed with the literary side of fiction rather than the SFF. Or as much as I hated it, Faber's The Book of Strange New Things.

It reads like a literary novel, in that it's purely a character study of three astronauts and their families preparing for a long mission to Mars, and honestly I j
Allen Adams
Mar 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing

There’s something to be said for books that defy easy categorization. For those of us whose reading appetites aren’t genre-bound, it can be an interesting experience to consume the kind of literature that would be at home in multiple sections of your local bookstore or library.

Granted, that genre ambiguity can bleed into a book’s overall quality, rendering it a mishmash that fails in generating any real impact on the reader. And in fact, that’s often preci
Bon Tom
Apr 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is clever and quite sophisticated peace of writing. Definitely multiple readings material. Parts towards the end seemed a bit rushed, to the point I thought I had abridged audio version. So I expected more drama in resolution of the plot, instead I was teleported to it, but I'm not going to be an ass an hold grudge because of it. The writing is excellent and deserves all the credits in universe, this crappy pun intended. ...more
Rachel (Kalanadi)
Jun 06, 2017 marked it as did-not-finish
DNF at page 87. Third time in over a month I've forgotten I'd been reading this. It seemed quite good at first, but I think the plot has been mis-marketed. I was getting bored with all the POVs and side stories. ...more
Not quite what I had hoped it would be. Definitely more Station Eleven - slow, plodding, unexeceptional - than The Martian. More a study of how ridiculously well-paired personalities behave when they know their every thought and action is being closely scrutinized, when I would have enjoyed some Real World drama to break up the monotony.
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is now available! You can read my extended review on my blog:

Helen, Yoshi, and Sergei will be the first astronauts on Mars, and Prime Space will put them there. Prime Space believes these three engineers and space exploration vets have the perfect personalities to pull off this long and potentially fraught trip.

But before the trio can go to Mars, they must undergo a 17-month simulation of the trip, a simulation that feels so real that as the months d
Leah (Jane Speare)
Oct 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Mars is my favorite object in space so whenever it is mentioned in a book description, I can't help but to pick it up. But as much as this is a "space book" about the first manned mission to Mars, it is not at all. It's a highly character-driven introspective narrative. Writing from a variety of viewpoints, Howrey explores and digs deep into the three astronauts' minds and those of their loved ones back on Earth. I appreciated how universal this book felt and I think Gene Roddenberry would have ...more
Leah Bayer
Jan 05, 2017 rated it liked it
This is a book that I think is going to suffer from terrible marketing. I have seen multiple blurbs that state it is The Martian x Station Eleven. I guess that's true if by that you mean that they have vaguely connected elements (astronauts and uh... being alone?). But then you might as well say that The Wanderers is Brokeback Mountain x Halo, because it has gay characters and video games.

Even though I knew it probably wouldn't be what the blurb promised, I still felt let down by The Wanderers.
Feb 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Helen Kane, Sergei Kuznetsov and Yoshihiro Tanaka have been chosen by Prime Space to possibly be the first astronauts to land on Mars. But first they have to prove themselves by submitting to a closely studied simulation of the flight, which will take 17 months. They don’t have a minute’s privacy as they’re constantly watched by employees of Prime Space. The simulation is so realistic that it’s sometimes hard for the astronauts to believe they’re not really on their way to Mars. Meanwhile, their ...more
Jessica Woodbury
Three astronauts train for the first mission to Mars. If you've ever heard of such a mission you're probably familiar with what it would entail: months upon months of isolation in a small craft during space travel. What kind of person would happily spend months without a stove or a shower or a phone? That is much of what The Wanderers is about, what makes an astronaut an astronaut and what it does to their relationships with their loved ones.

This is a finely tuned character study, where you get
Jul 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sff, spaceships
This book is kind of the opposite of The Martian: this is all the psychology, sociology, and interpersonal connection of a Mars mission. The Martian was all the engineering and actual space adventure. I enjoyed both books, but I liked this one less, just because — look, I’d rather read about people fixing broken filters in space than read about people having feelings on Earth. That’s just who I am.

But this book is really, really well done. It’s well written, it’s believable, it gives you a real
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Meg Howrey is the author of the novels The Wanderers , The Cranes Dance , and Blind Sight . She is also the coauthor, writing under the pen-name Magnus Flyte, of the New York Times Bestseller City of Dark Magic and City of Lost Dreams . Her non-fiction has appeared in Vogue and The Los Angeles Review of Books. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

Meg was a professional dancer who per

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41 likes · 12 comments
“Everything you say matters," Yoshi's father had once said to him. "Whenever you say something, you are now the person who has said that.” 3 likes
“Everyone is in pain. Most people think pain in massage means something is happening, and if they can endure it, they will be improved, but sometimes the only thing pain means is pain.
It a very easy mistake to make, though.. She’d refused for the longest time to get therapy or take any psychoactive drugs because she’d felt that the “darkness” was necessary, not just for her as an actor, but as a human being.
You didn’t have to feel slightly terrible all the time, as it turns out. Her only worry now was that slightly terrible was not a flaw in her chemistry, but an appropriate response to being the kind of person that she was. “You’re very hard on yourself,” Luke said.
“Can you imagine the kind of person that I’d be if I wasn’t hard on myself?” she said back. Luke should be sympathetic. He was hoping to improve the human race, and it would be hard to get there if the human race thought it was already fantastic, thanks very much.
Well, she could still go dark, if she needed to, she could go dark right now. Yesterday she had done Terror. She’d done Fear and Dejection and Remorse. And because she had done Remorse as fully as a person could do it, she knew that she hadn’t ever experienced that kind of pure Remorse before. What she’d felt in the past was polluted Remorse, because half the time she was sorry she was also privately resentful and building a case about why the actions that had led to Remorse could be justified.”
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