Thoughts: The Roamers by Francesco Verso

Source: NetGalley – Thank you to the publisher!
TL;DR: Do not recommend

Plot: All over the place, frankly thin without the unnecessary fluff of pages of pages of science and anti-establishment rambling
Characters: Horrible
Setting: Interesting, if not over doom filled
Science Fiction: Interesting ideas but betrayed in the end by a clear manipulation of logic


The Roamers has an interesting premise – a group of people develop, with the help of nanites, a liberation from food. The need to eat is no longer as necessary, if at all, and they develop a new society. This at least the premise as pitched in the description. Here is my summary – deeply troubled individuals with too much time on their hands in a sensory obsessed world seek to rid themselves of this obsession. They obtain nanites through illegal means from the very technological advanced society, then rebel and shun such society in an attempt to create a new one.

If that is not clear enough – I disliked this book immensely. The idea and promise of this was great, but the execution felt like a 1980’s teenager’s anti-establishment ramblings. Make it more technologically advanced with some plausible science and you’ve got The Roamers. This is going to appeal mainly to the older crowd in the SF fans who want just the idea of the premise with nothing else.

The characters are frankly terrible. The book starts out with a Mother trying to find a way to fix her newly paralyzed son, Alan. She has no character besides this driving obsession to help him, and once she’s done she actually becomes ‘Cat Lady’ and feeds cats till she’s arrested for spreading Nanites. Alan is an angry, nasty man who hates machines and upon receiving the nanites proceeds to develop an obsession for a woman (described mainly by her thighs and mohawk) who we later find out has an obsession with having a child. After this we then follow Nico, an obese man who is attempting to loose weight. He is a master of scents and eventually joins The Pulldogs (the group that will eventually begin to ‘roam’). Don’t worry, he also has a lady love who is mainly described as being small and with white skin. They all form a group, fight the government of their city when said government attempts to evict them, then eventually just leaves anyway because what really is the point?

The story itself is lackluster, it’s filled to the brim with useless details about sciences that ultimately don’t actually matter. We didn’t need to know about the science of scents, we didn’t actually need to know about the politics of the companies that were involved. But we got pages of them. We also got several uncomfortable descriptions of women including a gay couple, referred to as the ‘he’ and ‘she’ of the couple. Our characters are detestable and manipulated for the sake of the plot, there is little to endear them and honestly I couldn’t find myself interested in them at all. If anything the use of the nanites felt wasted.

Additionally I’d like to point out what felt flawed to me in this. The nanites can heal almost anything, as stated multiple times. Yet it cannot fix Alan’s infertility? All this served to do was to lead to Silvia’s cheating, which was ultimately never really important. What was the point then? It didn’t serve any character growth besides possibly the author’s continued dislike or poor representation of women?

I would not recommend this to anyone. Beautiful cover, fascinating premise, but I think misleading in it’s pitch.

1 out of 5 stars


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