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Among Others [Hardcover]

Jo Walton
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)

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Hardcover, 18 Jan 2011 --  
Paperback 5.59  
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Book Description

18 Jan 2011
'It doesn't matter. I have books, new books, and I can bear anything as long as there are books.' Fifteen-year-old Morwenna lives in Wales with her twin sister and a mother who spins dark magic for ill. One day, Mori and her mother fight a powerful, magical battle that kills her sister and leaves Mori crippled. Devastated, Mori flees to her long-lost father in England. Adrift, outcast at boarding school, Mori retreats into the worlds she knows best: her magic and her books. She works a spell to meet kindred souls and continues to devour every fantasy and science fiction novel she can lay her hands on. But danger lurks... She knows her mother is looking for her and that when she finds her, there will be no escape.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 302 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; Reprint edition (18 Jan 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076532153X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765321534
  • Product Dimensions: 2.6 x 16.5 x 24.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 849,320 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jo Walton writes science fiction and fantasy novels and reads a lot and eats great food. It worries her slightly that this is so exactly what she always wanted to do when she grew up. She comes from Wales, but lives in Montreal.


The King's Peace (Tor 2000)
The King's Name (Tor 2001)
The Prize in the Game (Tor 2002)
Tooth and Claw (Tor 2003, reprinted Orb 2009)
Farthing (Tor 2006)
Ha'Penny (Tor 2007)
Half a Crown (Tor 2008)
Lifelode (NESFA 2009)
Among Others (Tor 2011)

Poetry Collections

Muses and Lurkers (Rune Press 2001)
Sibyls and Spaceships (NESFA 2009)
The River and the Road (forthcoming from Aqueduct in 2013)


Copper Cylinder Award (Among Others 2012)

Hugo: (Among Others 2012)

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, 2002

Mythopoeic Award (for Lifelode, 2010)

Nebula Award (for Among Others, 2012)

Prometheus Award (for Ha'Penny) 2008

Robert Holdstock Award (Among Others, 2012)

Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award (for Farthing) 2007
Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award (for Half a Crown) 2009
Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award (for Among Others 2012)

World Fantasy Award (for Tooth and Claw) 2004

Award Nominations

Indie Lit Awards: (Among Others 2012)
John W. Campbell Memorial (Farthing 2007)
Lambda (SF with gay/lesbian issues) (Ha'Penny 2008)
Locus (Farthing 2007, Among Others 2012)
Mythopoeic (Among Others 2012)
Nebula (Farthing 2007)
Prometheus (Libertarian) (Half a Crown 2009)
Quill (Farthing 2007)
Rhysling (SF poetry) (2007: "Candlemass Poem", in Lone Star Stories, Feb 2006)
Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice (Ha'Penny 2008)
Seiun (Best work translated into Japanese) (Farthing, Ha'Penny, Half a Crown 2011)
Sidewise (Alternate History) (Farthing 2007, Ha'Penny 2008, Half a Crown 2009)
Sunburst (Canadian Literature of the Fantastic) (Half a Crown 2009)
Tiptree Honor (Lifelode 2010)
World Fantasy Award (Among Others 2012)

Her livejournal, with wordcount, poetry, recipes and occasional actual journalling, is at: She also blogs about old books at

Product Description


Among Others is a wonder and a joy. Jeff Vandermeer, New York Times If you love SF and fantasy, if reading it formed your teen years, if you do remember the magic you used to do, if you remember the absolute joy of first discovering those books, then read this. -- Robin Hobb 'Funny, acute, and impassioned ... Walton's trying hard to do what I call moving the boundary: to alter, or make more permeable, the wall between the possible and the impossible. I think she almost succeeds.' -- Ursula Le Guin A hymnal for the clever and odd - an inspiration and a lifeline to anyone who has ever felt in the world, but not of it. Cory Doctorow Among Others is about a young girl brought up in a magical family who is sent to a mundane, non-magical school; a captivatingly told mirror image of Harry Potter. The Guardian A lovely story, unlike anything I've ever read before: funny, touching, and gently magical. -- Patrick Rothfuss I don't believe I've seen, either in fiction or in memoir, as brilliant and tone-perfect an account of what discovering SF and fantasy can mean to its young readers... Remarkable. -- Gary K. Wolfe Locus There are the books you want to give all your friends, and there are the books you wish you could go back and give your younger self. And then there's the rare book, like Jo Walton's Among Others, that's both. Beautifully crafted... Among Others calls to those who desire a wild, magical world in place of the one they have but eventually learn that their own lives are the greatest story of all. Bloomsbury Review Compelling... Never deigning to transcend the genre to which it is clearly a love letter, this outstanding (and entirely teen-appropriate) tale draws its strength from a solid foundation of sense-of-wonder and what-if. Publishers Weekly, starred review --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

Winner of the 2012 Hugo Award for Best Novel. Winner of the 2011 Nebula Award for Best Novel. 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 SF, and a spellbinding tale of escape from ancient enchantment. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A marvelous affirmation of the transformative power of literature in the education of anyone, not merely the adolescent protagonist of this novel, "Among Others" is a beautifully rendered celebration of fantasy and science fiction as literature, worthy of recognition by a readership that should extend far beyond the typical audiences for fantasy and science fiction. If you love books, if you understand how they can inspire you and sustain you, then you have to read "Among Others", since it is not merely a most affectionate love letter for those who admire greatly both fantasy and science fiction. Walton's novel is also an enchanting coming-of-age story, demonstrating how her protagonist, Morwenna Phelps, finds refuge in the power of the written word and in an expanding social network of like-minded fans of fantasy and science fiction; a saga which should resonate strongly with anyone who began loving great literature in their youth. The more magical aspects of "Among Others" should not deter potential mainstream fiction readers, especially those familiar with the more fantastical elements of Jonathan Lethem's "The Fortress of Solitude" or Pete Hamill's "Snow in August". While delving into the make-believe worlds conjured by the likes of Samuel Delany, Ursula Le Guin, Robert Silverberg, and J. R. R. Tolkien, Morwenna also tempts fate by performing magic in her English boarding school, plunging unexpectedly towards an emotionally charged climax in which she must confront both her own destiny and her half-crazed magician mother's. This beautifully written ode to fantasy and science fiction is destined to be remembered as a classic work of fantasy and realism, admired and cherished by readers for generations.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars mixed bag 28 Dec 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An unusual book really. Part homage to SF and Fantasy as a narrative reading list, part 70s coming of age memoir, part faerie story. I didn't feel the strands were well distributed, as the reading list side was overplayed. Strands of narrative we're unsatisfactorily abandoned. But it had charm and the central character was interesting and well written ( and likely partly autobiographical ). So a decent read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Reads well 24 Dec 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read this with considerable enjoyment despite not having a great liking for magic as a genre. Jo Walton very cleverly allows you to hold off from making a decision about the existence of 'fairies; and magical action throughout the book. They could all be real or merely the overheated imagination of a young girl with many problems in her life. I also like her view that magic, if performable, is so fraught with unintended consequences ranging from one end of the universe to another that it is best avoided except on an entirely personal level. The tale ended well enough but I would have liked a bit more.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From one lover of interlibrary loans to another 14 Sep 2012
I kept exclaiming aloud whilst reading this, Mor just sounded exactly like me on so many points - about Welsh/English differences, how tap water tastes completely different outside the Valleys, and the blessing of civilization that is the free interlibrary loan system. I will certainly be using it to track down Mor's reading lists, in the case of any of the more unusual books she devours that might not be on here - I've never read SF before, but this has inspired me to give it a go.
The plot isn't the point of this book, so much as Mor's insights - and I liked that. Sometimes it's nice to get to know the character more, which the diary entries allow you to do. The author has captured the experiences of a childhood in the Welsh Valleys, with all the idiosyncrasies that entails, absolutely perfectly. It's lovely to have read this, and to return to it when I get homesick at uni! Will definitely be reading more of Jo Walton, a new author for me.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A third of the way into Among Others, I was wondering how it could have won Jo Walton both the Nebula and the Hugo. An epistolary YA-novel from the perspective of a 15-year old girl who goes to a posh boarding school she does not like? Not exactly my kind of thing.

Having finished the novel today, I am so glad I did not dispense with it, because it is "brill" as the protagonist Morwena would say.

Why? Among Others is so much more below the surface: A love letter to science fiction (I guess this was one of the reasons it won all the awards), a truly fascinating description of unique and very contemporary magic and finally a convincing coming of age-story.

Highest recommendation to any true SF fan (regardless of age).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant 19 Dec 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A wonderful book. Told from the perspective of a young person who has been through traumas and has an unconventional and dysfunctional family. A must for adults who were avid sci fi readers as teenagers as these books are the main characters refuge as she makes her way through adolesence and learns about herself, friends and family. What is real and what is imagined is up to the reader to decide. A beautifully written and well crafted novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars OK idea. Very poor execution. 17 Dec 2013
By roger
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
You have to wait until the last ten pages to have an insight into what this book might have been. They are exciting and compelling, and it's the only time when Ms Walton has bothered to show some magic in action. But it's too little, too late.
To get there, you have to wade through a seemingly endless booklisting: Girl goes to the library. Girl picks up books a, b and c. Girl comments on the plot and characters of said books. Girl goes to the bookshop, and repeat. Girl goes to the book club where Zelazny, Le Guin, and others are weekly dissected. There follows lenghty discussions on the merits and demerits of said authors' narrative.
What has that got to do with anything?! Did I mistakenly order '100 SF novels you have to read before you kick the bucket'?
That struck me as an utterly amateurish piece of show-off on the part of Ms Walton.
The rest of the book is about the girl's life at boarding school, her relationship with her long-lost father and a number of other relatives. Not a thrilling piece of literature, not exceptionally well written either, but it's passable. It would do OK in the 'Young Adults' section of your bookstore.
So, you might ask, where do the Hugo and Nebula Awards come into it? Ask you might. Answer I cannot.
With the exception of the last four pages, magic is occasionally mentioned and never shown. Fairies are also occasionally mentioned. The girl goes to meet them a couple of times, but, apparently, Ms Walton has yet to decide what they look like.
I am honestly puzzled.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Great character, great narrator. There is something quite captivating about the storyline and the way the fantasy elements unfold here
Published 2 months ago by Stripyzebra
5.0 out of 5 stars Something else ..
I loved this book, I wouldn't have expected to like it so much from the cover - I thought it might be one my wife might enjoy more than me when I got it. Read more
Published 3 months ago by BH
2.0 out of 5 stars The Blurb Was Promising
As the title suggest the blurb makes this book sound so much better then it actually is. There isn't any kind of plot to this book and none of the characters were particularly... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Skyler Haslam
2.0 out of 5 stars Not sure if I will ever finish.
So this is a book where something has happened which has turned someones world upside down. It harps on about this after setting the scene well in the first chapter and then .... Read more
Published 7 months ago by M. Sunderland
4.0 out of 5 stars The Importance of Books
Jo Walton's dedication at the beginning of the book, perhaps gives the reader an insight into what Walton is trying to achieve here. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Ms. Theresa M. Derwin
5.0 out of 5 stars An education in loving SF/Fantasy
A joy, an ode to SF anf Fantasy. I read a third of the numerous books mentioned whilst growing up as a teenager in west Wales in the 1970s. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Set review to stun!
4.0 out of 5 stars Enigma of a book (contains spoilers!).
"Among Others" is an enigma of a book, yet it is glorious in its simplicity. Set in the seventies of the last century, it is a diary of a 15 year old Welsh girl named Mori, a... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Lola
4.0 out of 5 stars Very compelling but finely targeted
I'm not sure how somebody who isn't approximately the same age as the heroine and also likes to read science fiction would get on with this book, but as both those apply to me I... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Mr. Derek Law
3.0 out of 5 stars For genre lovers
This is one of those books you love or hate. I've rated it three stars fairness because it really wasn't my kind of thing, BUT it is also about books, libraries, interlibrary loans... Read more
Published 12 months ago by K. J. Noyes
3.0 out of 5 stars FOR EMO SF TEENAGERS
Made me turn the pages as I was fascinated as to what was going to happen, but not because I was actually enjoying the read. Read more
Published 12 months ago by art49man
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