Fiction Reviews

The Wanderer

(1964/2000) Fritz Leiber, Gollancz, pbk, 9.99, 346pp, ISBN 0-57507-112-5

This release of the Fritz Leiber's Hugo Award winning classic is most welcome. Though it is inevitable - such is the rate of scientific progress - that SF originally written over a third of a century ago will become somewhat dated, Fritz Leiber's The Wanderer is still highly engaging. Plot: A massive space craft the size of the Moon enters into Earth orbit. Such a craft has a profound effect on the Earth, tides and so forth. How will half a dozen individuals, in different circumstances, cope? Who are the aliens and what do they want?

Of particular interest to SF buffs is the degree of impact life itself has on the universe - something on a scale rarely touched on in SF - even these days. Conversely, of equal interest, but because it is so dated, is the zoocentric view of the aliens. Unfortunately the dated nature of Leiber's novel is such that younger SF readers solely interested in the latest the genre has to offer will find The Wanderer simplistic. However those seeking an understand of how SF has developed over the years should regard it as an essential addition to their collection.

Jonathan Cowie

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