Literature / The Wandering
is a 1990 Science Fiction
book by Roger Elwood. It is about a Tech Detective named Neshi who receives prophetic dreams and is currently working on a murder case when he stumbles upon what turns out to be a Government Conspiracy
with a secret group of beings known only as the Natasians. His discovery does not go undiscovered by the powers-that-be, and soon he is exiled into space where he sees that countless worlds have fallen devastated by the Natasians. He soon settles on the planet called Nede which he thinks is a utopia, but soon he discovers secrets about its people that cause him to despair.
This work provides examples of
- Affectionate Nickname: Etarina's name for Neshi, "Baba", because he talks too much.
- Tuati gives Neshi another nickname, Ma'Tu, which means "gift of God".
- Aliens Speaking English/Translator Microbes: Despite visiting people of two different worlds, Neshi is able to communicate with them without a problem and could even read their literature.
- As the Good Book Says: Scripture is used sparingly in various parts of the story.
- Big Bad: Satan.
- Bittersweet Ending: Neshi and his two companions from Nede are all killed on the last world they ended up on, but just as Neshi dies, he could hear the voice of his wife Etarina calling "Baba".
- Brain in a Jar: Quintez, who is a humanoid brain inside a robotic body.
- Crapsaccharine World: Nede. It's a peaceful world where its citizens engage in ritual sacrifices to their God who is actually Satan.
- Crapsack World: What the Jerusalemites fear that their homeworld is becoming with the Government Conspiracy in place. The two other worlds with civilization still on them that Neshi visits also seem to be headed the same way.
- Creating Life: What the Natasians were secretly working on with their first creation being the "hunchback", where Etarina's brain was transplanted in.
- Crusading Widower: Neshi, after the death of his wife Etarina, made all the more heartbreaking when he found out that she was pregnant.
- Deadly Game: Government-sanctioned ones on Neshi's homeworld, usually consisting of a convict and a very heavily-armed robot. It is during Neshi attending one of the matches that he meets up with someone who passes along some important information leading to the mysterious Jerusalemites.
- Framing Device: The story is told by a mysterious person named the Storyteller, who resides in heaven along with his audience. The Storyteller is hinted to be Neshi.
- Ghost Planet: Neshi visits many of them, all of which were destroyed (presumably) by the Natasians.
- I'm Cold... So Cold...: Ferene describes his death as this.
- The Lifestream: The Currents Of The Cosmos, the preferred afterlife of Neshi's homeworld.
- Mercy Kill: What Etarina wanted of her husband Neshi when he found her in the laboratory of the Natasians' citadel, lying on an operating table with her brain and body hooked up to a machine. Fortunately, she managed to expire without the need of her husband.
- Messianic Archetype: J'sopah Smythe, a visitor on the world of Nede, fancies himself as this, even at the point of death. He is a thinly-veiled Expy of the Mormon religion founder Joseph Smith.
- Minimalistic Cover Art: The cover of the book features curving lines representing a road heading deep into outer space.
- A Nazi by Any Other Name: The assembly of worshipers that Neshi witnesses on the world he winds up on worships a god that demands racial purity at all costs.
- Judging from the fact that one of their victims was a Jew, it seems to suggest that the last world Neshi ended up on was Earth.
- Narrator All Along: The Storyteller is hinted to be Neshi.
- Nightmare Sequence: Neshi has one in the beginning of the story, where he enters a city where people are feasting on one another, and on his exit from it, an army approaches and he gets stabbed by a spear, with a voice calling "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how I weep for thee." The nightmare is later revealed to be shared by various members of the Jerusalemites, who believe that it is actually a prophecy.
- One-Paragraph Chapter: One chapter consists of only two sentences, simply ending with "Graita died".
- Organ Theft: The "murders" on Neshi's homeworld are all for the sake of supplying the government with organs, and not just for organ replacements, as Neshi finds out.
- The Purge: What the Natasians plan to do with the populace of Neshi's homeworld, presumably through the sleep chambers.
- Religion Is Right: More to the point, Christianity is the only religion that is right.
- La Résistance: The Jerusalemites.
- Sdrawkcab Name: All over the place. Natasians is a particularly lampshaded one because the root word is backwards for Satan.
- Shining City: What Neshi sees his homeworld being replaced by after it was destroyed in a dream. It's also the location of the story's Framing Device.
- Sleeper Starship: Neshi's starship was designed with sleep chambers that could enable him and later his two other passengers from Nede to journey through space for long periods of time without ever aging.
- Together in Death: Neshi and his wife Etarina, plus his two companions from Nede.
- Tower of Babel: Asframore, the Natasians' citadel, has an incredibly high spire that they built for the explicit purpose of placing a statue on the top in defiance of the Almighty. On the way up there, Scripture references to the building of the Tower of Babel can be found on two of the plaques.
- Wandering Jew: Or in this case, the Wandering Space Traveling Jew, as Neshi is made to fly through the universe in search of a world where he could settle down, only to find worlds that were either (supposedly) destroyed by the Natasians or corrupted by their influence.
- You Can't Go Home Again: Neshi, as he imagines in one of his dreams that his homeworld was destroyed.