Fritz Leiber, 1964
Hugo Winner 1965
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.
The descriptions of how and why the planet-ship affects the tides and causes earthquakes is interesting enough, but it goes on a bit long. Frankly, I'd rather more time had been spent making me care about characters affected by said tides, etc.
Once the narrative settles mostly onto one main group of characters on the California coast, it gets more interesting because these characters are given at least a little development. Once we start to learn more about the great planet-ship: its inhabitants and its purpose, it becomes more intriguing still. Of course, we never really know anything about them; they come in, cause chaos, give their account of events, and are gone.
The Wanderer has a problem similar to Stranger in a Strange Land, although not as bad. It takes place at some time forward enough from the time of its writing to have a small base on Mars, but from the characters' attitudes and behavior, they clearly live in, say, 1967. It also suffers for me by not really having much in the way of interesting female characters.
I thought the ending of Margo's plot line was annoying, and I was overall pretty disappointed with this book.
2 Stars - An Okay Book.
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