Wake of the Wanderer

Fiction - Science Fiction
384 Pages
Reviewed on 03/13/2020
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

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.

K.C. Finn

Wake of the Wanderer is a work of science fiction focused on themes of otherworldly horror and colonization nightmares and was penned by author Benjamin Kamphaus. Accessible to all sci-fi fans thanks to its moderation of language and content, the true shock value of this piece is in its ingenious and eerie setup. We find ourselves on the planet of Vaskania Prime, which has been terraformed over more than a thousand years to make it a place where humanity can expand and thrive. But when the people here lie down to sleep, sometimes their minds don’t come back to their bodies. What results is an intense science fiction/thriller mystery that never lets up from cover to cover.

Author Benjamin Kamphaus has hit on the exact subgenre of science fiction that I really enjoy, where the conceptual elements are beautifully laid in what is essentially a human drama with plenty of intrigue and fear. Horror fans will find plenty of thrills and chills in the atmospheric setup and stark imagery of the earlier section of the book, and then later in the final revelations. In the middle area, Kamphaus works hard on character development to bring us close to the Renouncers who seek to unlock the Dream World and its secrets, and this pays off dividends as we root for their survival more and more. Overall, Wake of the Wanderer is an epic work of eerie science fiction/thriller writing and a masterclass in suspense and intrigue for those who dare to enjoy it.

Ruffina Oserio

Wake of the Wanderer by Benjamin Kamphaus is science fiction at its best here, with characters that readers will be interested to follow and a tale of surviving on another planet and having a confrontation with a unique phenomenon. It has taken humans many years to learn to adapt and live in Vaskania Prime, and this happens after many generations have tried and failed and after a lot of work has been done. But now, a strange world or a reality they call the Dream World is about to alter their lives in unimaginable ways. When they sleep, they enter the same Dream World, and at times their minds don’t come back when they wake. What is the secret of getting away from the strong grip of Dream World? Can Carlos, Viktor, Safiyyah, Hector, and Asumi uncover the hidden power of Dream World and its creator?

The reader follows the adventure of a ragtag team of Renouncers as they look for answers, determined to stop a powerful presence from taking full control of their lives. The quest for answers stirs up ancient powers that have been dormant for ages. The conflict grows from page to page, from one moment to the next. This is science fiction with an original idea, one that resonates in the hearts of readers as it reminds them of the struggle with climate change and the question of human survival in difficult climates. The language is unique and beautiful, filled with well-crafted dialogues. Wake of the Wanderer by Benjamin Kamphaus introduces the reader to a good cast of characters and an imaginary world that has its own challenges. It is fast-paced, rollicking, and entertaining. But it will make readers think about how we relate to our own world.