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Wanderers by Chuck Wendig

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Wanderers: 12/18/20


Wanderers by Chuck Wendig is a doorstop of a speculative fiction that opens with a teenage girl walking from her home in a trance. Soon she is joined by another. Before long there is an entire crowd. As this is an alternate history, the CDC is brought in to monitor the situation.

Like your typical disaster story, the novel is populated with multiple points of view. There is the older sister, the first Shepherd. There are various members of the CDC. There's a guy who is essentially like Harold from Person of Interest in that he gets all his information from a vast AI/supercomputer.

While I loved the set up and the first two hundred of eight hundred pages, the length of the novel began to work against my enjoyment. There's an entire subplot about a religious leader/ cult leader who is stirring up trouble for the sleepwalkers and their shepherds. Except for the part where they walked through his town and picked up someone who was capable of seeing what made the sleepwalkers different, his plot is irrelevant, boring filler.

Ultimately this novel comes together as a series of recognizable puzzle pieces. Read enough, watch enough, and you'll catch the twist well before the main characters do. Essentially Wanderers shares narrative elements with Immortality INC, Simulacron-3, The Santaroga Barrier, War Games, and Person of Interest.

Regardless, Wanderers does have a place in the road narrative spectrum. For reasons that are revealed glacially, the sleepwalkers are privileged travelers (00). Their destination is uhoria (CC): both the past (the undoing of their trances) and the future (a plan also revealed slowly). Their route, which you can literally follow on Google maps and figuratively through their transformation, is the labyrinth (99). Summarized: Wanderers is about privileged travelers going to uhoria via the labyrinth (00CC99).

Three stars

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