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Reviewed by K T Bowes for Readers' Favorite
“Instead, the hexagon was an anomalous sink, sucking in all the surrounding light: an irregularity in the very fabric of the Dream World, some defect in its underlying reality.” Wake of the Wanderer by Benjamin Kamphaus is underpinned by the presence of this subliminal world, which captures unsuspecting sleepers on the adopted planet of Prime and untethers them from reality. It’s a clever premise, backed by Benjamin Kamphaus’ extensive knowledge of space and science. The sci-fi world in which this novel is set is also peppered with geological facts and there’s an element of certainty in the confidence with which this world is built. I loved the main characters, especially Safiyyah. Although she’s a Renouncer of everything except the quest to unlock the mysteries in the Dream World, she’s discovered a love for science which provides a stronger pull for her. The two storylines run parallel and will eventually converge in a scenario which, while fictional, is portrayed as frighteningly believable by the writer.
There was so much to love about Wake of the Wanderer. I will definitely be at the front of the queue to order an extremely capable machine-dog spectrometer when the time comes. Benjamin Kamphaus’s passion for AI and the digital future of mankind shone from every sentence and was engaging and entertaining. The narrative contained incredible technical and engineering descriptions, all well researched and explained. It provided a fascinating view of future technology and I caught myself wondering many times if some of it already existed. The geological detail is awesome and dovetails well with the philosophical component of the storyline.
One of my favorite quotes would be, ‘“Trying to control chaotic processes at a distance—that’s the essence of self control,” Asumi confirmed.’ It sums up the underlying struggle of humanity and provides a link to the predator in the Dream World which seems to feed on the baser emotions within the human mind. Each chapter begins with a quote from the very first of the Renouncers who began the quest to outwit the monster, nudging the story forward and allowing each of the main characters, in turn, to pick up Viktor’s mantle. Wake of the Wanderer is considered and intelligent, with a similar level of faultless science as was contained within the pages of The Martian. But the philosophy and the long view into humanity’s future makes me think that perhaps Aldous Huxley might have liked a print copy to sit on his shelf next to Brave New World.