Among Others • 2011 • Fantasy novel by Jo Walton

Rating: 1 out of 5.

I’ve read and reviewed this novel in November 2013. Enjoy the unaltered text copied over from GoodReads.

“You are REALLY going to read this book?” My wife pointed at the pink dust cover.
“Ahm…” I felt embarassed.
“That’s a girl’s book!”
Obviously, I was in trouble. I have no problems with my masculinity, but being confronted with girl’s books I usually shy away.
“Well, only real men read pink.”
I’d have skipped this book in book shops or even brought it to the “right” shelf. But then, there is this “Awards, Awards!!!” stuff printed on the cover and although not every Nebula Award has my full support it could be a sign that it’s worth reading.
But I bought it blindly.

So, here it is and already humbling me.

And it’s troubling me – because it starts with an Aeneis citation in latin. I had latin courses for a couple of years, so I tried to translate this one. “Et haec, olim, meminisse iuvabit!”
And failed.
And I googled. And downloaded the whole fucking Aeneis from Virgil to find the reference: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/227/22
And found that the citation missed one word. “Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit.” – A joy it will be one day, perhaps, to remember this.

I wonder if all of those references and citation are correct in that book. It’s just starting and already flooding me with book shelf pictures. In the end there were 162 book references (cf http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/12… ).
Though I really like book references in narratives, I come to the following conclusion: Having only read 21 of all those referenced books I cannot follow all of her “discussions”. This frustrates me. The references are almost everywhere elliptical – they are too short for me to really care. I really don’t want to look up every single book when reading this text just to stumble over the next reference a couple of sentences ahead.

This is a male thing: comparing each other and see who has got the longest… book shelf.
This book starts pink and is already very masculine in the second chapter. But it continues and ends in a very teenager girlish fashion. Not my thing at all.

Can someone please explain to me why I have to endure this overlong family description on 9/30/79? On the next page she writes: “Maybe I ought to draw a diagram. But it doesn’t matter. You don’t have to remember who these people are”.
Just to continue with this stuff on 10/5/79.
Walton screwed me up, I’m very glad I skipped those pages.

I’m no action fetishist (e.g. I really like Little, Big with it’s slow narrative). I just didn’t get into the story and the character. I didn’t like the showdown, in fact I found it quite boring. I didn’t lem it but it wasn’t worth the read.

Update from 2021: I just checked that book list again and found that I’ve read 39 of those books, up from 21. 

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6 Responses to Among Others • 2011 • Fantasy novel by Jo Walton

  1. bormgans says:

    I hate namedropping in books. it hardly ever serves a purpose, except to show off. The only novel I’ve ever seen it do successfully is ‘Dying Inside’ by Silverberg.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So… what is the book about?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andreas says:

      Good point 🙂 I didn’t write anything about that. Honestly, I don’t remember. So, I give you the GR blurb:
      “Startling, unusual, and yet irresistably readable, Among Others is at once the compelling story of a young woman struggling to escape a troubled childhood, a brilliant diary of first encounters with the great novels of modern fantasy and science fiction, and a spellbinding tale of escape from ancient enchantment.

      Raised by a half-mad mother who dabbled in magic, Morwenna Phelps found refuge in two worlds. As a child growing up in Wales, she and her twin sister played among the spirits who made their homes in industrial ruins, but her mind found freedom and promise in the science fiction novels that were her closest companions. When her mother tries to bend the spirits to dark ends with deadly results, Mori is sent away and must try to come to terms with what has happened without falling prey to the darkness”

      Like

  3. jameswharris says:

    I loved Among Others. It’s a wonderful book about the love of SF/F. And it’s a wonderful book about finding people of your own kind.

    Liked by 1 person

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