Among Others

Among Others

Book - 2010
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Winner of the 2011 Nebula Award for Best Novel

Winner of the 2012 Hugo Award for Best Novel

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.
One of School Library Journal 's Best Adult Books 4 Teens titles of 2011
One of io9's best Science Fiction & Fantasy books of the year 2011

Publisher: New York : Tor, 2010.
ISBN: 9780765331724
9780765321534
Characteristics: 302 p. ;,24 cm.

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SCL_Justin Aug 03, 2017

Jo Walton’s book Among Others is a librarian’s dream book. It’s about a 15-year-old Welsh girl in a terrible English boarding school in 1979. But Mor loves science fiction. The book is about reading science fiction and fantasy and the power that these stories have. And holy crap does she read. The book is full of commentary on Zelazny and Delany and Tolkien and who might have actually seen elves and known something about how magic really was.

Because Mor’s mother is a witch. At least, she’s alluded to as being a witch. And her twin sister died trying to stop their witchy mother from doing witchy things. But Mor is not an entirely reliable narrator in this story about magic that can always be explained by coincidence.

The librarians in the book are heroes. They help Mor meet other bookish people and place countless interlibrary loans for her. It’s the kind of book that makes me happy when I fill out those forms for my library members.

I believe it won the Hugo and the Nebula awards, but a lot of that has to be because of its near complete immersion in classic science fiction which would be near to the hearts of those prize-selectors. But still. A very good book about books.

Chapel_Hill_KatieJ May 21, 2017

This is such a beautiful and different book! Mor is a twin raised by her witch mother, and she regularly sees fairies. However, the novel is really about books and libraries, as well as the joy of finding a group of people who relate to you. It's not often that you find books that involve inter-library loan as a plot point!

r
Rubicat
Mar 30, 2017

I really enjoyed this book - the magic wasn't over the top but it was a major plot point. I can't wait to read more

l
lunadog
Dec 21, 2016

Beautiful and brilliant. Anyone who has ever felt like an outsider should read this book. Made me go back and reread some of my old favourite science fiction novels.

Tyler__J Jan 27, 2016

A wonderful, thoughtful, genre-bending read for lovers of Science Fiction and those who don't think they love Science Fiction. In other words, everyone.

d
diananock
Jul 13, 2015

If you were an adolescent bookworm like I was, this book will break your heart. I saw a lot of myself in the protagonist. It's actually very low-key with its fantastical elements, more slice-of-life than anything. I definitely recommend it.

PimaLib_Teens Mar 19, 2015

A great books for teens, too! Morwenna is a 15-year old lonely, disabled student in an English boarding school (but this is NOT a girl version of Harry Potter!). The author weaves together the past and the present, revealing dark memories of Mori's childhood with present day journal entries of great sci-fi and fantasy books that sustain her. Her journey includes new friends and old enemies, but I won't give away the details of the final confrontation with her ambitious, black magic obsessed mother. You will have to go there yourself!

Hugo Award winner 2012

a
athena14
Jun 12, 2014

Fascinating until Wim shows up. He's just too perfect to be real.

h
hindins
Mar 27, 2014

This is a wonderful wonderful book - no wonder its won so many awards. Follow up the many books & authors referred to with her other title "What Makes This Book So Great: Re-reading the Classics of Fantasy and SF"

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JCLChrisK Sep 06, 2013

Libraries really are wonderful. They're better than bookshops, even. I mean bookshops make a profit on selling you books, but libraries just sit there lending you books quietly out of the goodness of their hearts.

JCLChrisK Sep 06, 2013

[From the introductory “Thanks and Notes”:] People tell you to write what you know, but I’ve found that writing what you know is much harder than making it up. It’s easier to research a historical period than your own life, and it’s much easier to deal with things that have a little less emotional weight and where you have a little more detachment. It’s terrible advice! So this is why you’ll find there’s no such place as the Welsh valleys, no coal under them, and no red buses running up and down them; there never was such a year as 1979, no such age as fifteen, and no such planet as Earth. The fairies are real, though.

JCLChrisK Sep 06, 2013

Sometimes I’m not sure whether I’m entirely human.
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I mean, I know I am. I shouldn’t think my mother is beyond sleeping with the fairies--no, that’s not how you say it. “Sleeping with the fairies” means dead. I shouldn’t think she’s beyond having sex with fairies, but if she did she’d boast about it. She’s never so much as hinted. She wouldn’t have said it was Daniel and made him marry her. . . .
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What I mean is, when I look at other people, other girls in school, and see what they like and what they’re happy with and what they want, I don’t feel as if I’m part of their species. And sometimes--sometimes I don’t care. I care about so few people, really. Sometimes it feels as if it’s only books that make life worth living, like on Halloween when I wanted to be alive because I hadn’t finished Babel 17. I’m sure it isn’t normal. I care more about the people in books than the people I see every day.

k
Kuhflubbadubba
Jun 02, 2012

"Doing is doing"

k
Kuhflubbadubba
Jun 02, 2012

... people think there are dangerous things that can kill you, and everything else is safe. That's just not the way it works.

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