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Among Others Audiobook

Among Others

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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

3.8 (1055 )
5 star
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3.7 (920 )
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Story
4.2 (919 )
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1 star
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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
  •  
    KathyDB Texas 03-28-15
    KathyDB Texas 03-28-15 Member Since 2016

    KathyDB

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    "Needed a younger narrator"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Maybe in print, but not audio.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    The itself was good and the ending worked everything out.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Katherine Kellgren?

    Someone with a younger sounding voice. The girl in the story was 15 and since she was telling the whole story, it needed a much younger sounding narrator.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Probably.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Penny T 12-20-14
    Penny T 12-20-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Good story, but narrator off on this one"

    I very much enjoyed READING the story, and I normally really like Katherine Kellgren. However, her Welsh accent in this one drove me crazy ~ too "sing-song" for my preferences.

    1 of 1 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
  •  
    Belinda 09-21-14
    Belinda 09-21-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Too many book references, not enough plot!!"
    What did you like best about Among Others? What did you like least?

    The story in general is original, and the novel has some excellent parts. However, the constant literary references consume more time and authorial energy than the plot itself, and it gets annoying fast. If I have to hear the term "SF" again I may scream, and this from an admitted bibliophile who adores Science Fiction. I mean, it's nice to hear titles and authors I love mentioned, but, really, who wants to hear what the protagonist is reading ad nasueam? Seriously, it's continuous. I appreciate the connections the character is making between the novels and her own life, and recognize the role this plays in advancing the story, but enough is enough. Also, the narrator's inflections become irritating after a bit.


    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
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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 2016

    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.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
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  • Karen
    London, United Kingdom
    12/13/12
    Overall
    "A spectacular ode to science fiction"

    This book was one of my favorites to listen to since I started my audible subscription. The narrator is wonderful, and the welsh accent makes such a difference (an accent I know I wouldn't have been able to keep in my head if I'd read the book instead of listened to it). The story is complicated to explain, but not complicated to listen to, and the book is addictive in the best way.



    And for a fan of science fiction, it was like a hot bath and a comforting meal - even though the main character Mori read few of the same authors as I did, the feeling was the same, and it reminded me of how much love I felt for reading when I was a teenager, the way I devoured books and how much they impacted my life and my imagination.



    Just a wonderful book. I highly recommend it.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Jo
    GREAT YARMOUTH, United Kingdom
    12/2/13
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    "Loved it"

    I wanted a nice gentle read with a bit of fantasy thrown in and thats what I got. I so loved this book and will listen to it again and again. I loved the accent, which was wonderful and left me wishing for more. It takes you through some of the issues faced by young girls as they enter womanhood especially those that are a bit different.

    It entwines the real bland and everyday reality with that of magic mysticism and escapism. It questions if one creates the other and is it reasonable or even advisable to try and control these – after all who wants to live with puppets or to become one.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Ann-Marie
    Gävle, Sweden
    4/20/12
    Overall
    "Listen is good but reading may be better"

    I can't decide what to make of it. I liked the book talk - the SF hints, bits and pieces. I also liked Mori. I did not like the story though. In fact, I don't think it really is a story. It could have been one but never gets to it. When ( at last ) something finally happen, it somehow belongs to another story, not this one.

    I really loved the narrator. She is excellent. Her welsh accent is wonderful.

    I think maybe I would like to read the book because then I'll have all the titles, quotes and nice literary stuff to go back to.


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Elaine
    West London
    6/21/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I had not expected this to be so compelling"
    If you could sum up Among Others in three words, what would they be?

    For SF addicts


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Among Others?

    The realisation of the heroine that her local library runs a weekly book club for SF enthusiasts; or perhaps when she finds out about inter-library loans.


    What about Katherine Kellgren’s performance did you like?

    I was initially put off by her Welsh intonation but after a few minutes this became quite addictive and I think she has added a whole new human dimension to what was already a very compelling read (as is often the case with first-class narrators).


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    It's a slow-burn read, as the heroine is not one given to laying all her cards on the table. The impact of the book cannot be laid at the door of any one episode; it's the entirety of the book that is moving.


    Any additional comments?

    The more SF and fantasy you have read, the more you will get out of this book. One quibble: in a book set in 1979-80 with a heroine whose head is full of Tolkien, Niven, Heinlein, Le Guin, Delany and Zelazy (among others), even if she is cooped up in a girls' boarding school, how come she doesn't seem to have heard of Alien?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Annika
    Tallinn, Estonia
    12/31/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Does not seem magic at first, but..."

    It is a story about a girl who claims to see faeries and do magic, but reading/listening to over half the book it seems like it is a child's delusion like invisible friends and so on. And only in the second half magic becomes more real. I awaited a totally different story, but I like it much much more the way it is really written than it usually might have been written by someone else.
    Even without magic turning out to be real it would have been a fantastic book. I liked it a lot. I hope there are more like this from the writer.
    Oh, and I adore that all the nice characters read SciFi. ;)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sally
    Newport, United Kingdom
    12/14/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Some interesting ideas not fully realised"

    As a girl who grew up in the South Wales Valleys in the 70s and 80s, with a passion for science fiction and fantasy I had high hopes for this story. There was a lot to like. The central character was complex and appealing and the author developed some interesting characters around her. It brought back a lot of wonderful memories of going to Lears in Cardiff to find new SF books, and the burning passion I felt for boks at that age.
    However, the book was also very slow, and the fantastical elements felt a little clumsy. As the story of a girl coming to terms with the death of her twin and learning to love life again it was moving and thought provoking; as a story of magic less so.
    I also found the narrator very trying. As an American actress attempting a Welsh accent she did well enough, and if the accent had only belonged to a minor character it probably would have been fine, but as the voice of the whole novel it really started to get on my nerves. It was like Gladys Pugh trying to put on a posh accent! It really undermined the voice of the main character and I felt we lost some of her sharpness and wit because the accent was so ridiculously sing song.
    I would certainly try more books by this author, and this story has stayed with me, I just feel it didn't fully realise its potential.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hazel
    Cardiff, United Kingdom
    12/5/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Light on plot, high on nostalgia"
    Where does Among Others rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is a lovely, meandering reflection on being young and being shaped by the magic of books. It isn't fast-moving like some books I've listened to, but every few minutes I'm reminded of my own adolescence and I smile.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    The narrator's accent got a bit dodgy at times, but I'm from South Wales, so very familiar with what she was aiming for and therefore more likely to be jarred when it went wrong. It was still a fantastic effort for someone who isn't actually Welsh!


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    This book made me smile. I remember being a disabled child and having to rely on books, and on the escapism that only the very best ones could provide.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lynette
    Bristol, United Kingdom
    3/13/13
    Overall
    "Pointless"

    It is with regret I have to write a negative review for this book. Several times I gave up then thought no I must finish listening to see if there is a reason for this story. I am sorry to say it was as disappointing as I imagined and I should have gone with my gut instinct and given up earlier. Although I did like the characters I just felt it was just a wordy book and no real direction, just very pointless.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Shabra Dowson
    Malvern, England
    2/21/13
    Overall
    "I don't want it to end!"

    I haven’t finished listening to the book yet and I really don’t want it to end. I’m really believing in the main character’s existence and I’m sad that I have pierced ears because this means that I won’t be able to see fairies (not that I ever have). The narrator’s accent is just right. There is a lot of talk about science fiction books and I have a moderate interest in them so that’s fine, I might even read some of those that are mentioned. I really like the main character: she is brave and resilient, resourceful and interesting. I like the way the back story is slowly revealed through the diaries.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ann-Marie
    Gavle, Sweden
    4/20/12
    Overall
    "Listen is good but reading may be better"

    I can't decide what to make of it. I liked the book talk - the SF hints, bits and pieces. I also liked Mori. I did not like the story though. In fact, I don't think it really is a story. It could have been one but never gets to it. When ( at last ) something finally happen, it somehow belongs to another story, not this one.

    I really loved the narrator. She is excellent. Her welsh accent is wonderful.

    I think maybe I would like to read the book because then I'll have all the titles, quotes and nice literary stuff to go back to.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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