It’s not easy to write the end of the world. In precise and deliberate prose, you can explain why and how your fictional world ends, but writing something that really brings about the end — with the many cogs of the civilization machine that have to collapse, and the consequences of the failure of everyone — is much more difficult, especially if you want to do it with heart and thrill and something that looks like a thesis about the human condition. Very few authors can manage it, and even fewer can master it. With Wanderers, Chuck Wendig mastered him.
The story begins with a young girl who comes out of the house one morning without shoes or supplies. His sister tries to seize him, then her father, then the paramedics, and the police, but she leaves anyway. It is the beginning of an apparent epidemic of “sleepwalkers” who form a herd that marches — expressionlessly and painlessly — across the United States. In the midst of this secret epidemic, a number of characters, a CDC employee disgraced, a woman who has built artificial intelligence the most sophisticated in the world, a rock star, a preacher who is on the verge of crisis, and the older sister of young girls – they all have a role to play to unravel the secret of what is yet to come. The Wanderers, you see, is just the beginning, and what follows is an American epic with the soul of the nation—and the world — at stake.
Nimble tells this story from different angles, combining not only different geographical and emotional perspectives but also different spiritual, political, and psychological worldviews, all as real as the others, each of which takes its own path. His ability to juggle with so many fully realized characters is impressive, but even more is the awesome command of Power Wanderers to convey what it would really do if this happened in the America we live in now, complicated by deep ideological divisions, misinformation, and the constant chatter of social media. All these elements work together, often in surprising ways, to create a sense of frightening plausibility and convincing plausibility.
However, the real success of Wanderers lies not only in its ability to show us the gloomy scenarios that could unfold through a divided nation; it lies in its heart. Whether he speaks of anger, faith, or the slightest gleam of light, Nimble teaches sincerity and emotional weight to his prose. That’s why the scariest parts of the vagabonds work, but also the most optimistic ones.Tags: Characters, Sleepwalkers, The Wanderers