Among Others

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Among Others
Among Others (Jo Walton novel).jpg
Dust jacket of first edition
Author Jo Walton
Country United States
Language English
Genre Fantasy literature
Publisher Tor Books
Corsair (Constable & Robinson)
Publication date
18 January 2011
Media type Print
Pages 302 (hardcover)
ISBN 978-0-7653-2153-4

Among Others is a 2011 fantasy novel by Jo Walton, published originally by Tor Books.[1] It is published in the UK by Corsair (Constable & Robinson).[2] It won the 2012 Nebula Award for Best Novel, the Hugo Award for Best Novel and the British Fantasy Award,[3] and was a nominee for the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel.[4]

Plot[edit]

The novel is presented as the diary of Mori, a 15-year-old Welsh science fiction and fantasy fan, in 1979 and 1980. She and her twin sister have magically stopped their mother from taking control of the fairies, but they suffered an accident in which her sister was killed and Mori's leg was injured. At the beginning of the book, as her mother is insane, she is sent to western England to live with her father and his three half-sisters, none of whom she has ever seen. They send her to a nearby girls' boarding school, which she finds unmagical and very uncongenial, losing all but one of the few friends she makes. She has considerable free time because she can do her schoolwork quickly and because her injury prevents her from participating in sports, and she spends all this time reading books provided by her father (also an SF fan), the school library, and the local public library. Throughout her diary she records her and other characters' reactions to these books with as much interest as any other events of her life.

She takes a train trip to Wales to visit relative on her mother's side. On Halloween, the fairies guide her in doing magic that allows recently dead people to leave the world. However, the spell ends before her sister can cross over.

Back at school, she works a magic spell to get friends, and the school librarian immediately offers to take her to a meeting of a local science fiction fan club. At the club, she is thrilled to meet people who share her interests and views, and she easily makes arrangements to attend its weekly meetings. She is also attracted to Wim, the best-looking teen-aged boy in the club, though other characters warn her that he had made a previous girlfriend pregnant.

Mori becomes concerned that her magic forced the members of the club to accept her and is forcing Wim to become romantically interested in her (something she thought was impossible). She swears to use magic only in self-defense, notably to prevent her mother's continuing magical attacks. She also admits her guilt to Wim, and he takes her seriously, even going to a disco with his latest girlfriend to prove that he can; Mori is told by one of her classmates and briefly feels jealous. Wim proves to be able to see fairies, especially when he holds a wooden cane that a fairy had given Mori.

On another trip to Wales, she resists the fairies' attempts to have her join her sister in death, instead freeing her sister with magical flame. She then finally defeats her mother. In the last diary entry of the book, she determines to continue talking with the fairies and learning magic—which she will only use defensively—to continue reading SF, and to continue her more ordinary studies and have a successful adult life.

Reception[edit]

Ursula K. Le Guin, in her review for The Guardian, called the book "a funny, thoughtful, acute and absorbing story all the way through".[5]

In her review for The Washington Post, Elizabeth Hand wrote: "More than anything else, Among Others is a love letter to the literature of the fantastic and to SF fandom. This is problematic as well as charming, because nothing much happens in the novel."[6]

Elizabeth Bear, in her review for tor.com, concludes: "The voice is sublime; the characters nuanced.… In any case, I think this is Walton's best book to date."[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Among Others (Excerpt), by Jo Walton, at Tor.com; published 18 January 2011; retrieved 7 April 2012
  2. ^ Among Others | Jo Walton - Constable & Robinson Retrieved 11 October 2012.
  3. ^ Flood, Alison (1 October 2012). "Jo Walton wins British Fantasy award for Among Others". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 October 2012. 
  4. ^ "World Fantasy Award Ballot". World Fantasy Convention. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  5. ^ Le Guin, Ursula K. (March 30, 2013). "Among Others by Jo Walton – review". The Guardian. Retrieved August 6, 2013. 
  6. ^ Hand, Elizabeth (May 13, 2011). "Among Others by Jo Walton – review". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 6, 2013. 
  7. ^ Bear, Elizabeth (July 2, 2012). "Is it Magic or is it Mimetic? (Being a Review of Jo Walton’s Among Others". Retrieved August 6, 2013. 

External links[edit]