Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Among Others

Among Others
by Jo Walton

Jo Walton's novel, Among Others, won both the Nebula Award and the Hugo Award this year for being the best science fiction or fantasy novel published in 2011. (It was also nominated for the World Fantasy Award, but didn't win that one). It joins a small and fairly select group of 21 other novels to have won both of these awards, including such distinguished works as Dune (by Frank Herbert), The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed (by Ursula K. Leguin), Ringworld (by Larry Niven), The Gods Themselves (by Isaac Asimov), Rendezvous With Rama (by Arthur C. Clarke), and The Forever War (by Joe Haldeman). This is significant, because, at its heart, Among Others is an aching love letter to the world of science fiction fandom. Among Others is told in the form of daily journal entries by a young teenaged Welsh girl who has been sent off to boarding school in England.

Morwenna Markova (Mor) is crippled, injured in a mysterious incident that caused the death of her twin sister as they opposed their crazed mother, who they believed to be a witch intending their destruction. Mor is an avid reader of science fiction (and fantasy) literature, and when she finds herself thrust into a new social setting and feels ostrasized by her "newness" and her physical condition, she becomes even more absorbed into her world of books. Among Others is a coming-of-age story, as Mor simultaneously delves even deeper into her world of literature and also begins to form new emotional and social bonds with the people around her, particularly as she reconnects with the father she never really knew (who also loves SF), and as she becomes a member of the local library's science fiction discussion club. The novel itself, in addition to being a "love letter to science fiction fandom" and a celebration of the effect that good literature can have upon all of us, is a genre work on its own, as Mor's use of magic provides her with ethical and personal challenges. I highly recommend this work, for its unusual writing structure, and for the wonderful tone Walton manages to capture in Mor's voice. [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try many of the books on our Nebula Winners and Hugo Winners booklists.] -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library [Subscribe to Scott's monthly booklist newsletter It's All Geek to Me! - on the Books, Movies & More newsletter sign-up page].

[Also available in downloadable E-book format.]

[ Jo Walton entry on Wikipedia ] | [ official LiveJournal Blog for Jo Walton ]

Have you read this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

No comments: