A brilliantly inventive novel about three astronauts training for the first-ever mission to Mars, an experience that will push the boundary between real and unreal, test their relationships, and leave each of them—and their families—changed forever.
“A transcendent, cross-cultural, and cross planetary journey into the mysteries of space and self....Howrey’s expansive vision left me awestruck.”—Ruth Ozeki
“Howrey's exquisite novel demonstrates that the final frontier may not be space after all.”—J. Ryan Stradal
In an age of space exploration, we search to find ourselves.
In four years, aerospace giant Prime Space will put the first humans on Mars. Helen Kane, Yoshihiro Tanaka, and Sergei Kuznetsov must prove they’re the crew for the historic voyage by spending seventeen months in the most realistic simulation ever created. Constantly observed by Prime Space’s team of "Obbers," Helen, Yoshi, and Sergei must appear ever in control. But as their surreal pantomime progresses, each soon realizes that the complications of inner space are no less fraught than those of outer space. The borders between what is real and unreal begin to blur, and each astronaut is forced to confront demons past and present, even as they struggle to navigate their increasingly claustrophobic quarters—and each other.
Astonishingly imaginative, tenderly comedic, and unerringly wise, The Wanderers explores the differences between those who go and those who stay, telling a story about the desire behind all exploration: the longing for discovery and the great search to understand the human heart.
Three astronauts and those who know them best explore the limits of truth and love in Howrey's (Blind Sight) genre-bending novel. Helen Kane, Sergei Kuznetsov, and Yoshihiro Tanaka are the perfect crew for the first mission to Mars: elite explorers and engineers, they're more at home in microgravity than with their families. But even years of training can't fully prepare them for Eidolon, a highly-engineered 17-month-long simulation. Beyond the physical and emotional stress for the crew members, their prolonged isolation will also test their families. The story's multiple points of view don't confuse the intensely introspective narrative; instead they create perspective and distance three planetary bodies and their satellites observing themselves, and each other. The voices are distinct, each member reviewing and acting on his or her own emotional telemetry with equal parts brilliance and blunder, and the stakes are high, with any heartbeat capable of tipping the scales against the crew's survival. But the longer the mission runs, the longer the three are kept in isolation, the more they question the stories they choose to tell their handlers, their families, each other, and themselves and the more they question the stories they are being told. With these believably fragile and idealistic characters at the helm, Howrey's insightful novel will take readers to a place where they too can "lift their heads and wonder."