The Wanderers tells the story of three career astronauts who have been recruited by a commercial space travel company to be the first to go to Mars. Chapters switch between the thoughts of each astronaut, selected members of their families, and one or two of the company’s employees, charged with observing their behavior around the clock during their training and space flight simulation.
“Who are these people that can withstand such a trip, the danger, the isolation, the pressure? What can these people teach us? Because if we – the species – might eventually do something like move to another planet, it would be better if we made a few improvements on ourselves, first, if possible.” [p.58]
Indeed, each of the astronauts continually tries to improve, tries to be (or project) an ideal, what they think is expected or desired from them. Their children and partners back on Earth do the same. Although I enjoyed myself while I was reading this book, it left me empty, their characters and experiences separated from anything genuine, a simulation of feeling to go with their simulated trip to Mars. Nothing happens in The Wanderers, nothing is resolved, and it was not enough for me.