Monday, May 21, 2012

Among Others by Jo Walton

Among OthersAmong Others by Jo Walton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Around the World: 10 of 52 (Wales)

I am aware of Jo Walton because of her writing over at  She has a professed dislike of cyberpunk, in fact I've heard her say she thinks it is overrated.  I was determined to NOT ENJOY this book that so far as at least been nominated for the Nebula, Hugo, and Locus Fantasy awards this year, just in defense of cyberpunk.  I had to give up in the end because this novel is a love story to science fiction, and celebrates the love of reading, interlibrary loan, and book clubs that the author clearly has. (Or in Welsh accent - reeeeadin, enterLIBraaary lowan, and booyk clobs - seriously, try the audiobook for this!).

From a critical perspective, I think the plot is fairly weak.  The most obvious moment this apparent is in the supposed climax of the story, which I had to go back and listen to because I practically missed it since it took on such a short span of the book.  The fairy elements also seem fairly unimportant to the story, because really the author seemed to be using the plot as a way to be able to share what she thinks the best SF books of the 1970s are.  I want to emphasize that in the end, I didn't care that the plot is weak. The list of books mentioned within this book can be found here (Thanks Scott!) at the author's blog, compiled by a librarian fan, fitting since Walton seems to have a great respect for librarians, as she should. As anyone should. (Disclaimer: I am a librarian.)

I am posting this to the blog months after I finished it (March 19), because I knew we'd be discussing it on the SFF Audio podcast.  Actually, we found out a few hours before we recorded that it had won the Nebula Award, so let me express congratulations to the author!  You may interpret this exquisite coincidence as evidence of my psychic ability, if you'd like.  

Anyone who loves reading, particularly anyone who loves science fiction, will enjoy this book.  On the podcast, we were in complete agreement on its universal appeal.  And unlike some books that namedrop other authors, leaving me feeling exasperated or uneducated, Walton writes about these books in a way that makes me want to track them down. 


  1. Great timing! I just saw yesterday that this book had won the Nebula, and I was wondering if you had reviewed it. I had made a mental note to check GoodReads to see if you had and what you'd thought of it. Definitely sounds promising. As someone who is in 3 book clubs, this sounds like it might be right up my alley. I'm going to have to add it to my burgeoning to-read list.

  2. So very true! Story elements aside, the book was great because the author so clearly loves scifi and so obviously wants to share that love with everyone else, and did it in such a charming way.


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