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Among Others (Hugo Award Winner - Best Novel) Paperback – January 3, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. World Fantasy Award–winner Walton (Tooth and Claw) turns the magical boarding school story inside out in this compelling coming-of-age tale. Welsh teen Morwenna was badly hurt, and her twin sister killed, when the two foiled their abusive mother's spell work. Seeking refuge with a father she barely knows in England, Mori is shunted off to a grim boarding school. Mori works a spell to find kindred souls and soon meets a welcoming group of science fiction readers, but she can feel her mother looking for her, and this time Mori won't be able to escape. Walton beautifully captures the outsider's yearning in Mori's earthy and thoughtful journal entries: "It doesn't matter. I have books, new books, and I can bear anything as long as there are books." Never deigning to transcend the genre to which it is clearly a love letter, this outstanding (and entirely teen-appropriate) tale draws its strength from a solid foundation of sense-of-wonder and what-if. (Jan.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

With a deft hand and a blazing imagination, fantasy writer Walton mixes genres to great effect. Elements of fantasy, science fiction, and coming-of-age novels combine into one superlative literary package that will appeal to a variety of readers across age levels. After engaging in a classic good-magic-versus-bad-magic battle with her mother that fatally wounds her twin sister, 15-year-old Morwenna leaves Wales and attempts to reconnect with her estranged father. She was sent to boarding school in England, and her riveting backstory unfolds gradually as she records her thoughts, feelings, and experiences in a series of journal entries. An ominous sense of disquiet permeates the nonlinear plot as Morwenna attempts to avoid a final clash with her mother. In addition to casting an irresistible narrative spell, Walton also pays tribute to a host of science-fiction masters as she peppers Morwenna’s journal with the titles of the novels she devours in her book-fueled quest for self-discovery. --Margaret Flanagan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Hugo Award Winner - Best Novel
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (January 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765331721
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765331724
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.8 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (301 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,274 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jo Walton has published eleven novels, three poetry collections, and an essay collection, with another novel due out in July 2015. She won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 2002, the World Fantasy Award in 2004 for Tooth and Claw, and the Hugo and Nebula awards in 2012 for Among Others. She comes from Wales but lives in Montreal where the food and books are much better. She writes science fiction and fantasy, reads a lot, talks about books, and eats great food. She plans to live to be ninety-nine and write a book every year.

Her livejournal, with wordcount, poetry, recipes and occasional actual journalling, is at: http://papersky.livejournal.com She also blogs about old books at Tor.com: http://www.tor.com/Jo%20Walton

Her real grown up website with info about her books, stories, plays and poetry is at http://www.jowaltonbooks.com

Novels

The King's Peace (Tor 2000)
The King's Name (Tor 2001)
The Prize in the Game (Tor 2002)
Tooth and Claw (Tor 2003, reprinted Orb 2009)
Farthing (Tor 2006)
Ha'Penny (Tor 2007)
Half a Crown (Tor 2008)
Lifelode (NESFA 2009)
Among Others (Tor 2011)
My Real Children (Tor 2014)
The Just City (Tor 2015)

The Philosopher Kings -- forthcoming July 2015

Poetry Collections

Muses and Lurkers (Rune Press 2001)
Sibyls and Spaceships (NESFA 2009)
The Helix and the Hard Road (Aqueduct 2013)

Essay Collections

What Makes This Book So Great (Tor 2014).

An Informal History of the Hugos (Forthcoming, Tor 2016)

Awards

Copper Cylinder Award (Among Others 2012)

Hugo: (Among Others 2012)

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, 2002

Kurd Lasswitz Award (for Among Others, 2014)

Mythopoeic Award (for Lifelode, 2010)

Nebula Award (for Among Others, 2012)

Prometheus Award (for Ha'Penny) 2008

Robert Holdstock Award (Among Others, 2012)

Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award (for Farthing) 2007
Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award (for Half a Crown) 2009
Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award (for Among Others 2012)
Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award (for My Real Children, 2015)

Tiptree Award (for My Real Children 2015)

World Fantasy Award (for Tooth and Claw) 2004

Award Nominations

Indie Lit Awards: (Among Others 2012)
John W. Campbell Memorial (Farthing 2007)
Lambda (SF with gay/lesbian issues) (Ha'Penny 2008)
Locus (Farthing 2007, Among Others 2012)
Mythopoeic (Among Others 2012)
Nebula (Farthing 2007)
Prometheus (Libertarian) (Half a Crown 2009)
Quill (Farthing 2007)
Rhysling (SF poetry) (2007: "Candlemass Poem", in Lone Star Stories, Feb 2006)
Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice (Ha'Penny 2008, My Real Children 2014)
Seiun (Best work translated into Japanese) (Farthing, Ha'Penny, Half a Crown 2011, Among Others 2015)
Sidewise (Alternate History) (Farthing 2007, Ha'Penny 2008, Half a Crown 2009)
Sunburst (Canadian Literature of the Fantastic) (Half a Crown 2009)
Tiptree Honor (Lifelode 2010)
World Fantasy Award (Among Others 2012)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Elisabeth Carey on February 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is a stunningly wonderful book.

I have never read anything that so perfectly captures the experience of being fifteen, a science fiction reader just discovering some of the greats of the field (not to mention fandom!), the new kid in school who doesn't quite fit in, the young woman just starting to reach for adulthood, and not sure where she fits in a family where no one except her imperfectly known father seems to share her interests and concerns.

Of course, Morwenna's problems are in a whole different league from my own at her age. Morwenna's twin sister was killed in a car accident that left Morwenna crippled. That accident was their witch mother's retaliation for their successful thwarting of her spell intended to make her a Dark Queen. Now Morwenna is dependent on the father she's never met.

On the one hand, Morwenna and her father Daniel bond over their love of science fiction. On the other hand, her aunts, his three sisters, decide that she belongs at Arlinghurst, the same boarding school they attended, so that's where she goes. It's a tough transition for her, a crippled girl among enthusiastic athletes, a Welsh girl amongst mostly upper middle class English girls, an enthusiastic reader amongst students who think reading is only for studying. But she's smart, and determined, and doesn't really see any better alternatives, so she finds ways to cope.

And as she struggles to find her own place, and her own friends, and her own path, she discovers that the threat from her mother is not over. Together with all the normal adolescent challenges, Morwenna also does battle with her mother's hostility and ambitions, the ethics of magic, and the desire and opportunity to be reunited with her sister.
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59 of 68 people found the following review helpful By E. Smiley on March 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Among Others is a fun, interesting book, and I sped through it in one day. Looking back though, several flaws detract from what might otherwise have been excellent.

Through her journal entries (which are really just regular first-person narration), this book relates the story of Mori, a Welsh teenager and lover of science fiction who is sent to an upper-class English boarding school after fleeing her abusive mother. Mori doesn't fit in with the other girls and spends the bulk of her time reading, primarily science fiction. She's a sympathetic and relatable character, particularly if you were an odd kid who read a lot; I love the way she talks about the inter-house athletic competitions, for instance, which everyone else takes very seriously and she couldn't care less about. The book is well-written and does a great job of keeping questions in the reader's mind at all times, particularly as Mori takes her time in telling us about her past. And the discussions of class tensions in 1970's England, as well as the trouble readers had to take to find books by their favorite authors before the Internet (we're spoiled nowadays!) were interesting.

A couple of minor SPOILERS follow.

But there are several problems. Most notable (and ironic, since Mori criticizes other books for this) is that the book is just way too pat. Mori forms close bonds almost instantaneously with every other reader she meets (and there are a lot of them, as she joins a book club halfway through); the first guy to catch her eye soon becomes her boyfriend; the last couple pages are almost sickeningly sweet. And then there are all the unanswered questions.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By booktrout on June 11, 2012
Format: Paperback
Jo Walton is a gifted writer and storyteller. So expectations were high for this book. In the "Thanks and Notes" section, she references how hard it is for her to write what she knows about. Interviews elsewhere reveal that this novel revisits her own past and transmutes her actual mother's mental illness into the practice of witchcraft. One can feel her struggle coming to terms with her past in this book, which is beautiful and heartfelt but has very little action; it's further marred by an ending that feels too manufactured -- as if she wrote an outcome in fiction she wished had happened in real life.

Her description of fairies -- their powers, their speech, their actions and appearance -- is unique in that it captures the feral quality of entities of earth and nature not particularly interested in human wants and desires. But other aspects of "Among Others" are somewhat lacking.

It's hard to know if Walton wants us to see Mori, the heroine of the tale, as an unreliable narrator; Mori often doubts herself and uses the excuse of "magic" as a means of rationalizing others' behaviors (her aunts won't let her cook in their home and want her to pierce her ears, members of a book club she joins mid-year friend her willingly while her schoolmates scorn her) and seems to distance herself from others as a matter of course.

One thing Walton captures is the intensity (and inanity) of young girls' diaries; her many details make the diary feel real but it can also be tedious to read in parts. Although I am also an avid reader and know many of the books she references, this novel may feel like an inside joke that excludes non-SF readers for those who aren't familiar with the works mentioned.
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