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Among Others | [Jo Walton]

Among Others

Startling, unusual, and yet irresistably readable, Among Others is at once the compelling story of a young woman struggling to escape a troubled childhood, a brilliant diary of first encounters with the great novels of modern fantasy and SF, and a spellbinding tale of escape from ancient enchantment.
Regular Price:$21.95
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Publisher's Summary

Startling, unusual, and yet irresistably readable, Among Others is at once the compelling story of a young woman struggling to escape a troubled childhood, a brilliant diary of first encounters with the great novels of modern fantasy and SF, and a spellbinding tale of escape from ancient enchantment.

Raised by a half-mad mother who dabbled in magic, Morwenna Phelps found refuge in two worlds. As a child growing up in Wales, she played among the spirits who made their homes in industrial ruins. But her mind found freedom and promise in the science-fiction novels that were her closest companions. Then her mother tried to bend the spirits to dark ends, and Mori was forced to confront her in a magical battle that left her crippled - and her twin sister dead.

Fleeing to her father, whom she barely knew, Mori was sent to boarding school in England - a place all but devoid of true magic. There, outcast and alone, she tempted fate by doing magic herself, in an attempt to find a circle of like-minded friends. But her magic also drew the attention of her mother, bringing about a reckoning that could no longer be put off.

Combining elements of autobiography with flights of imagination in the manner of novels like Jonathan Lethem's The Fortress of Solitude, this is potentially a breakout book for an author whose genius has already been hailed by peers like Kelly Link, Sarah Weinman, and Ursula K. Le Guin.

©2010 Jo Walton (P)2011 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

  • Hugo Award, Best Novel, 2012
  • Nebula Award, Best Novel, 2011

“Walton succeeds admirably. Her novel is a wonder and a joy.” (The New York Times)

"Katherine Kellgren’s Welsh accent, with its lyrical cadences, suggests that audio may be the most authentic way to experience this 2011 winner of the Nebula Award." (Audiofile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (856 )
5 star
 (255)
4 star
 (279)
3 star
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2 star
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Overall
3.7 (743 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.1 (741 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
 (99)
2 star
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1 star
 (39)
Performance
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  •  
    Julie W. Capell Milwaukee, WI USA 05-10-13
    Julie W. Capell Milwaukee, WI USA 05-10-13 Member Since 2007

    The audio books I get tend to be either 1) scifi or 2) things for my husband and me to listen to on long road trips--humor or history

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    "Diary of nerdy girl is charming trip down sci-fi m"
    What did you love best about Among Others?

    I was completely charmed by this novel of a young girl growing up "nerdy" in the late 1970's and early 1980's. The teenaged protagonist, much like myself, loves to read and loves science fiction books most of all. She describes her life in diary form in a brisk, no-nonsense style that is never treacly yet always very teenager-y. Every entry contains tidbits about her life along with short descriptions of her reactions to the latest science fiction book she has been reading. To hear her talk about discovering Roger Zelazny, Ursula LeGuin, Kurt Vonnegut, Poul Anderson and dozens of others was for me to relive my first discovery of them, too. It was magical. I sympathized when she described reading some of Anne McCaffrey's "Pern" novels out of order, because I did the same thing. When she waxes poetic about Lord of the Rings and equates her situation to the scouring of the Shire, I knew exactly what she meant. When she matter-of-factly tells her diary that getting her first period didn't stop her from seeing faeries "despite what C.S. Lewis thought about puberty" I laughed out loud.


    Any additional comments?

    I worried others from other generations (or even other genders) might not enjoy the book as much as I had, but in my science fiction book club, people who were a generation older than me loved it as did the generation younger than me, men and women alike. We did generally agree that we thought Embassytown was better in terms of the complexity of the ideas contained in the book, but we could understand why "Among Others" beat it out for the Hugo.

    I would highly recommend readers do an internet search using "among others books mentioned" and you will find great lists -- no need to write them all down yourself. And you will have a list of scifi to read for years to come.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sires Chesapeake, OH, United States 11-05-12
    Sires Chesapeake, OH, United States 11-05-12 Member Since 2012

    I like mysteries (particularly British ones, historical fiction and nonfiction, science fiction and fantasy.

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    "A Love Poem to Books"

    I rated the performance higher than the story because I thought that the narrator brought a special depth to this story. While the action of the book covers a relatively short period of time, from September 5, 1979 to February 29, 1980 the narrator does this interesting thing with the first person point of view character's accent. It moves from an educated Welsh accent to boarding school English as she spends time at the expensive English boarding school that her English aunts send her to, then slips back a little more toward the Welsh when she is again with her mother's family, but not as strongly marked.

    Probably a pretty obvious progression, but it kind of crept up on me as I listened this book and some narrators/producers might not have bothered. I've tried a couple of Audible books recently that I did not buy because I sampled them and thought the narrator was sub par.

    This is probably a love it or hate it book. I found it easy to identify with the main character who used books as a comfort and guide. I can see where others might find the references, not just to science fiction and fantasy stories, but to historical fiction, Victorian children's fiction, and Plato to be tiresome, but for me they enriched the narrative.

    I don't know if this is book I could recommend unless I knew you very well, but I liked the audible version very much for some reasons that had nothing to do with just enjoying the story.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Beth Alvin, TX, United States 06-16-12
    Beth Alvin, TX, United States 06-16-12 Member Since 2011
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    "A wonderful book"
    Where does Among Others rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This book had the right combination of an excellent story and an excellent reader. I would put it as one of my top favorite audiobooks. It has the rare quality of being a book which I would listen to repeatedly.


    Any additional comments?

    The book, coupled with the narritor's accent, were enchanting. It was easy to get caught up in the world of the story.

    8 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Rogue River, OR, United States 05-30-12
    Linda Rogue River, OR, United States 05-30-12 Member Since 2014
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    "Very offbeat, but interesting if only . ."
    What did you love best about Among Others?

    I love the quirky main character


    What didn’t you like about Katherine Kellgren’s performance?

    Almost everything!!! The main character was Welsh and I've heard Welsh people speaking English but NEVER with an accent like that. It was so bad I had a hard time listening to it.
    Her other accents seemed fine.


    8 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robin 11-01-14
    Robin 11-01-14
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    "Books can save your life!"

    This is a book about books, about magic, and about the magic of reading itself. Books are the brightest part of life for the young heroine, and are also her doorway to connecting with other people. The narrator is the incomparable Katherine Kellgren, who gets a whole new accent to voice, Welsh, which she does terrifically. I so wanted to meet this young lady and share her enthusiasm for the joy of reading.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jill Brandon, FL, United States 11-05-13
    Jill Brandon, FL, United States 11-05-13 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Tediously dull"
    What disappointed you about Among Others?

    I wasn't expecting a teenage diary with daily entries from October to March.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Jo Walton again?

    Maybe.


    Did Katherine Kellgren do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    Wonderful accent, but a bit wearing after a couple of hours.


    What character would you cut from Among Others?

    All were needed. I just didn't end up really caring about any of them.


    Any additional comments?

    Remember to read more than just a few reviewer comments before commiting to a purchase.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SciFi Kindle Cheshire, CT USA 04-01-13
    SciFi Kindle Cheshire, CT USA 04-01-13 Member Since 2013

    I'm a Hard SF & Space Opera-loving, alien android from the future. I bring gifts of SciFi eBooks & accessories for your leader's Kindle. Take me to him/her/it.

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    "Preferred Others"

    I'm a bit disappointed with this book, being that it won both Hugo & Nebula Awards. I think that's because it's so genre self-referential that it gives the voters goosebumps (much like 'The Artist' in 2012's Oscars).

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy Choctaw, OK, United States 11-23-12
    Kathy Choctaw, OK, United States 11-23-12 Member Since 2004
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    "Complete Drivel!"
    What disappointed you about Among Others?

    I could not recommend the story or the narrator. The story is essentially a teenage girl reading her diary as she writes it. Despite the fact that it is a teenage girl the narrator manages to make her sound like an old woman. The story is about as interesting as an real teenage girl's diary. None of the characters are engaging and really nothing happens. You get a lot of reviews of older science fiction works since the main character has a penchant for SF, and sad to say that is actually the most interesting part of the book. Save your credit and go elsewhere.


    What could Jo Walton have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Actually having a story would have been interesting.


    How could the performance have been better?

    The narratorstries so hard to have a Welsh accent that she ends up sounding like the old witch the main character claims her mother is.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Nope.


    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janice 10-02-12
    Janice 10-02-12
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    "This one's not for me."

    The plot and characterization of the book were all right--I'd put it between three and four stars, if I could. I also might have rated the novel higher if I had read it, rather than listened to it--hard to say. The reader, however, wrecked whatever I might have enjoyed. The side characters she portrays quite well. Her performance of the main character starts off not great, but fair, in my opinion. But the farther along I listened, the more grating and finally almost intolerable, it was. The Welsh accent is strong, but sounds put on. As the book progresses, the accent starts to sound more and more like the arrogant, condescending, 'evil' high-caste English aunts. I think this was meant to show how the character was changing in her new environment, but the last two-thirds of the novel sounded to me like false Welsh/condescending English, which was mind-drilling. I was glad I fell asleep for the last bit of the book (listening in bed), but woke up enough to hear the final scene--I got to hear the end of the story without having to listen to that voice.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cheryl EATON, CO, United States 05-25-12
    Cheryl EATON, CO, United States 05-25-12 Member Since 2009
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    "Don't waste your money."
    Would you try another book from Jo Walton and/or Katherine Kellgren?

    I really enjoyed the Small Changes trilogy (Farthing, Ha*Penny and Half Crown), so I would probably try another one.


    Has Among Others turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No, and it hasn't turned me off from this author - I would give Jo Walton another try.


    What three words best describe Katherine Kellgren???s performance?

    Singsong, but a nice rendition of a Welsh accent.


    You didn???t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    The author does have an occasional nice turn of phrase. Descriptions are very well done.


    Any additional comments?

    This book was so dull that I only continued to listen because I can't believe anything this boring ever got published! Do take the time to enjoy Farthing, but don't waste your time/money on this dull as dishwater recounting of science fiction reviews!

    7 of 11 people found this review helpful
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