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The Companions: A Novel Hardcover – Bargain Price, September 1, 2003


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Hardcover, Bargain Price, September 1, 2003
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • ISBN-10: 006053821X
  • ASIN: B000IOEO32
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,113,917 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Fans will hail Hugo nominee Tepper's latest (after 2002's The Visitor), with its compelling story of an ordinary woman flung into extraordinary circumstances, but interesting ideas left undeveloped, awkward transitions from first to third person and unfair withholding of information may annoy others. Earth, incredibly overcrowded, has passed a new law prohibiting nonhuman life on the planet. Jewel Delis, dog keeper and member of an underground animal-rights group, wrangles her way to the planet Moss with several dogs, ostensibly to help her unpleasant half brother Paul, a linguist, figure out the peculiar language of the planet's varied inhabitants. Jewel finds Moss every bit as odd as advertised, with strange and dangerous plants, fantastic dances performed by creatures that may or may not be intelligent, and a group of humans descended from the crew of a spaceship that crash-landed years earlier. But figuring out how the Mossen communicate is only the beginning, as Jewel and her dogs get sucked into a portal, where Moss, Mars, the dogs, a missing alien race and Jewel's ex-husband collide. As usual in this author's novels, overt themes of ecology and feminism combine with thrilling mystery, and just as typically, a deus ex machina-here aliens stepping in to save the day-makes for a less than emotionally satisfying ending. Still, Tepper talks about important issues, besides excelling at world-building and at creating strong and independent characters.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Tepper's new grand-space opera contains a mysterious planet that may or may not bear intelligent life but does host the remains of a fleet of Earth ships; several predatory cultures, human and alien; an implausible law that will eliminate all nonhuman animal life on Earth; and a heroine who is a true speaker to animals and is trying to find a refuge for them. The good guys are larger than life, the bad guys smaller (whining rather than bold villains), and everything in the book comes together in a magnificent climax. The profeminist, antimale, antireligious didacticism that marks so much of Tepper's work is present in full measure, but so is her extremely fine writing. Tepper's command of language and characterization should have readers busily turning pages right up to the climax, even if, now and then, they will want to install earplugs to soften the shrieking of axes being ground. Oh, well, Tepper's hefty following will happily receive this book, which, neophytes should be advised, isn't the ideal introduction to her. Frieda Murray
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

I found the Superdog dialect pretty damn annoying, too, but this may be a pet (ahem) peeve.
Peter D. Tillman
This is one of the things I like about Tepper's books, her aliens are really "alien", which is as I think it should be.
T. Zajack
As with all of this authors works she takes so many unexpected turns with characters, plot and the envisioned. world.
Terrence N. Tallman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
In a novel reminiscent of her best-selling "Grass", author Tepper creates a complicated exobiology on a world "Moss" that has an abundance of perplexing denizens. At first, the explorers from the "PPI" or Planetary Protection, aren't even sure if what they are observing on Moss is an indigenous species. Rest assured, however, something is living there, and it may not be entirely friendly.
Jewel and her half-brother, the slimy Paul, go off on an expedition to Moss. Jewel is happy to leave Earth, which is overcrowded and being threatened by a draconian leadership with the extinction of the sad remnants of non-Human species which take up too much valuable space.
This novel is ambitious, complicated and darker in tone than "Grass" or "Family Tree" but is similar in ideology (ecological concerns, harmony with nature and all creatures.) The complexity of the system on Moss is like the complex interactions Tepper created in "Six Moon Dance" but with again, a darker tone. If you like imaginative science fiction that is not a re-hash of typical sci-fi generic themes, you will enjoy "The Companions" though it is not perhaps quite as good as "The Fresco", "Singer from the Sea" and "Six Moon Dance."
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By avanta7 on July 26, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Sheri Tepper's latest is a remarkably ambitious and complex story, perhaps too ambitious and complex. The story encompasses so many different locations, and different species, all with competing agendas, it was difficult to keep track of who was doing what to whom, and for what purpose. I had a little trouble remembering who some of the individual players were, and their various foibles and attributes.

I appreciated being introduced to each set of players one at a time. The back story was quite useful, and once we got to the action set on Moss, the plot moved along briskly. And along the way, Tepper paid homage to her customary icons: environmental responsibility, religious (in)tolerance, human rights, the interconnectedness of us all. However, the conclusion felt rushed, almost as if Tepper hurried her characters along to meet the publisher's deadline rather than their own destinies.

Still, it's an enjoyable read, full of lovely moments and beautiful sentences. The poem which opens the book ("The Litany Of Animals") is fun and melancholy at the same time. I wish Tepper had given us more of Jewel's mother's epic poem than the few bits and pieces sprinkled here and there throughout the text.

I remain one of Tepper's most fervent admirers. This is nice work, worth reading. It's just not her best.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Arthur W. Jordin on June 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The Companions (2003) is a singleton SF novel. Sometime in the future, humanity has gone to the stars, but much of mankind still lives on Earth in mile-wide square Towers more than two hundred stories high. Each Tower is self-contained, yet associated with other such arcologies into a mega-city -- an Urb -- and all these Urbs are linked together by highspeed podways. Among the Towers are scattered several Sanctuaries wherein dwell the only surviving Terrestrial nonfood creatures, mostly pets and domestic species, but also other types of animals as well as plants.

A popular movement -- In God's Image - Humans First and Only (IGI-HFO) -- seeks to close these few havens for nonhuman life and to destroy all nonhumans therein, allegedly to provide resources for more humans. An ecological protection group, the arkists, has created Earth-like habitats on various worlds to preserve the remaining species. Animal activist groups are also opposing the iggy-huffos through lobbying and legal suits.

Of course the iggy-huffos don't oppose concs, sexual toys who dwell in millions -- or billions -- upon the Earth. Now they are turning up on the colony planets. Even though they are mobile, bisexual, somewhat intelligent, and resemble humanity, the concs inhale carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen like plants, thus don't use up valuable air. Besides, they have no legal rights; concs can be abused and even killed without any authorities making a fuss.

Humans are not alone among the stars nor are they very important to the other races. Most intelligent species are joined in the Interstellar Coalition/Interstellar Confederation, in which humanity is a very junior member. Some of these species despise humanity, but others merely consider them acceptable-vermin.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By E Rice on October 14, 2003
Format: Hardcover
i know few writers who can match tepper's world building and social imagination, and none who are as capable of envisioning a future that isn't exactly like the present without succumbing to to the usual post-apocaliptic nonsense.
as other reviewers have noted, this novel contains a lot of tepper's familiar themes. which is not a bad thing. i found _the cmpanions_ much more readable than _the visitor_, which i still haven't been able to finish, but not as much sheer fun as, say, _the family tree_ or_fresco_.
still, not quite topnotch tepper is still much better than most of the rest of the stuff being published. her writing is superb, her imagination is beyond description, her characters are clearly drawn and realistic. some of her solutions to social problems are inspired (and occasionally hysterically funny), and don't i wish they were possible. i can't imagine a reader whose mind wouldn't be stretched by reading her.
and the process would be thoroughly enjoyable.
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