Planet Books


The Wanderers by Meg Howrey


The Wanderers has been compared to The Martian and Station Eleven, but not having read either of these books, I wasn’t influenced by their stories. The Wanderers took me a bit of time to get into, but I am glad kept with it. I really enjoyed this book.

Prime Space is a private company that wants to put the first humans on Mars. The company has devised the most realistic simulation ever created. This is a story of three astronauts, each at the top of their field, who have been selected to take part in the seventeen month long simulation with the hope that they will be chosen as the crew for the actual mission to Mars.

Helen Kane is retired from NASA and sees this as her last chance to return to space. For Yoshi Tanaka, it is an opportunity to prove himself worthy to his wife. Meanwhile, Sergei Kuznetsov is willing to spend seventeen months away from his sons if it means travelling to Mars.

The simulation takes place in the Utah wilderness. Prime Space's Mission Control gives them many scenarios and puts them in situations to observe their actions and reactions. They are watched around the clock – as are their families, who are as much a part of the simulation as the astronauts. The longer the characters are in the simulation, the line between what is real and what is not can sometimes appear to shift.

For me this is a book about relationships – about wanting to be there for family but needing more. As the story unfolds, we learn more and more about Helen and her daughter, Yoshi and his wife ,and Sergei and his two sons. We see how the three astronauts relate to each other, and how they deal with their own doubts, fears, and regrets.

“The Wanderers is phenomenal. A transcendent, cross-cultural and cross-planetary journey into the mysteries of space and self, the novel explores the dangers and necessities of venturing away from the familiar and finding home in the unknown...” - Ruth Ozeki


Find this novel in store at Planet Books. Ask the friendly staff for guidance too, and they’ll be more than happy to order you in a copy if it’s already sold out.