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)
Awards Hugo Award for Best Novel
Nebula Award for Best Novel
British Fantasy Award
ISBN 978-0-7653-2153-4

Among Others is a 2011 fantasy novel written by Welsh-Canadian writer 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 Morwenna, a 15-year-old Welsh science fiction and fantasy fan, in 1979 and 1980. She and her twin sister Morgana have magically stopped their mother from taking control of the fairies, but their mother then caused an accident in which her sister was killed and Mori's leg was injured. She knows she and Morgana literally saved the world, but no one knows or cares. In fact, she is aware that no one cares about her as a person, and her surviving family's behavior reinforces this view. Bereft of her sister, her joy in running, and her beloved Welsh countryside, Mori must reconcile to her new life as a crippled, friendless outsider. She feels that she can do this as long as she has books to read.

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. She spends most of her 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. The interlibrary loan system becomes extremely important to her. At one point she casts a spell to locate other like-minded SF/fantasy fans, and then is told that a SF/fantasy readers' club is starting at the library. She makes a few connections there and a boyfriend of sorts.

Mori's mother begins sending her letters and family photographs in which Mori's image is burned out. Her aunts attempt to give her a makeover and convert her into their version of a proper young lady, but she resists, especially having her ears pierced for earrings, as she knows this will cause her to lose her powers. Eventually Mori locates fairies in the park near the school, and finds that her boyfriend can see them, but this seems to make matters worse, not better. She confronts her mother in a final magical conflict, and feels that she has more fully accepted her new life and whatever the future might hold.

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] Similarly, Elizabeth Bear, in her review for tor.com, stated that "The voice is sublime; the characters nuanced.… In any case, I think this is Walton's best book to date."[6]

Conversely, in her review for The Washington Post, Elizabeth Hand wrote that "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."[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Walton, Jo (18 January 2011). "Among Others (Excerpt)". Tor.com. 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. (30 March 2013). "Among Others by Jo Walton – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  6. ^ Bear, Elizabeth (2 July 2012). "Is it magic or is it mimetic? (Being a review of Jo Walton's Among Others)". Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  7. ^ Hand, Elizabeth (13 May 2011). "Book review: Jo Walton's 'Among Others'". The Washington Post. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 

External links[edit]