Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “In the Company of Others” as Want to Read:
In the Company of Others
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

In the Company of Others

3.95  ·  Rating Details ·  908 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
When the terraforming crews introduced the alien Quill to worlds where they did not belong, they saw them only as a mindless form of fungal life. But the Quill multiplied and mutated until they were no longer harmless. In the ensuing chaos, many stations failed. For the survivors, their only hope rests in finding a way to wipe out the Quill…
Mass Market Paperback, 565 pages
Published June 1st 2001 by DAW (first published 2001)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about In the Company of Others, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about In the Company of Others

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Oct 20, 2008 Mistybell rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books of all time and one of my favorite Czerneda books. I also love A Thousand Words for Stranger. This was a very character driven novel and I think this was the first time I was really aware of a character driven story vs. a plot driven story. I loved the characters in this book. (I read it years ago and so I don't remember anyone's name.) What happens to people when they are offered an entire universe to settle, and then are forced to live on space stations due to an alien ...more
Mar 12, 2013 Sara rated it it was ok
Shelves: sf
One star is for if I wasn't able (through some failing of the book) to finish it. Two stars is for if I was able to finish but wish I hadn't bothered. Some background:

For me, a book is worthwhile if it stimulates me emotionally (through the characters) or intellectually (through the ideas). I love the characters in the Liaden series series to death, but I can't say that the ideas appeal to me in any particular way. Karl Schroeder, on the other hand, writes some of the most dazzlingly imaginative
Feb 10, 2009 Ruth rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
When humans reach space and start terraforming new worlds, they first encounter an extra-terrestrial organism they called the Quill. The terraformers thought them a barely sentient oddity, and kept them as a sort of pet. But when the first wave of colonists try to land on the new worlds, the Quill turn mysteriously lethal, killing any who land on the new planets. As panicked colonists turn back to the space stations who don't have room for them, and an overcrowed Earth fires on returning colonis ...more
Feb 27, 2008 S. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
This book looks at the prospect of living off-planet in a closed society. It looks at what it means to be different--so different that you are alone. How do people act when they are in fear of you? What will you do about it. And all from an well-written science fiction base.
Reyna Monzon
May 19, 2014 Reyna Monzon rated it it was ok
It was OK. I was just expecting a bit more, that's all.
It wasn't bad though. Still a good time if you have nothing else to do.

Why wasn't it excellent? Well, probably because I was too pissed off at the main female character for most of the book, after a while I just felt disappointed with Gail.

In the book it's stated that she is such a genius and oh so smart but I never saw evidence of it. Supposedly she had handled conspiracies and intrigue to get the academic career that she had, why then is
Nathan Burgoine
Jan 08, 2013 Nathan Burgoine rated it liked it
A decent science fiction novel from Canadian Czerneda, this puts humanity in far-reaching space stations, when their attempts at terraforming went terribly wrong. Biological disaster left Earth with no choice but to quarantine all those settlers - trapping them in the midst of nowhere on the stations, and unable to land on the planets that were contaminated.

One man holds the key to potentially reversing the disaster, and giving those space-born individuals a second chance at feeling fresh air.

Jan 16, 2017 Bunbun rated it liked it
3,5 stars

I liked this one! It's a space opera that revolves around a mystery plot about an alien race called the Quill, a fungal lifeform that was seemingly harmless when first discovered by human terraforming teams. But as the explorers took it off world, it somehow mutated and became toxic and deadly to humans. Spreading out all over the galaxy, it forced humanity to abandon their plans of colonizing other planets, causing panic and violence to ensue as people fled the alien plague, trying to

S.A. Parham
Aug 13, 2007 S.A. Parham rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi, aliens
I had serious trouble putting this book down while reading it, and considering the length, it swallowed a large amount of my time. The alien Quill have taken over Earth's terraformed worlds, stranding colonists on overcrowded space stations. Since the Quill Effect is deadly, no one has been able to grasp a sample to figure out a way to clear it off the colony worlds. Throw together a determined scientist, a man who survived the Quill Effect as a newborn, a jack-of-all-trades stationer, and a mil ...more
Mar 22, 2012 Joanne rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
SF involving the implications of an epidemic caused by Earth scientists seeding other worlds for colonization. One of them picked up a plastic filament, called a Quill, to wear as jewelry, which generally acts as a tranquilizer but also somehow ends up, sometimes, killing people. Earth panics and quarantines everyone currently in space for decades, creating overcrowding - not to mention resentment and reconfiguration of social norms - on space stations. Enter a new Earth scientist who has a theo ...more
Nov 05, 2007 Chessa rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: SF Fans, first contact fans
Shelves: sf_fantasy, space
Really great book! I would have given it 4.5 stars if possible, just because a few things felt a little contrived (the love story was a little weird and I felt like the revelation of the 'siders on the space station was kind of confusing - like, so what about it? The mystery/combustible nature of that secret was not clear to me for quite a while, I just couldn't understand why it was such a secret/revelation). But overall, this was just a really solidly written SF story. The characters are clear ...more
Jan 26, 2011 Cindywho rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy-sf
It took time to get into the crowded confusing world of the overpopulated space station, but once it got going, the story was a lot of fun. Earth's terraforming projects have gone disastrously awry and too many people have been waiting on space stations - no safe planets to emigrate to and Earth won't take them back. 20 odd years later, an ambitious scientist shows up, ready to save humanity, but she must first deal with station culture and politics. The romance does get a bit goofy by the end, ...more
Aug 10, 2014 Lisa rated it really liked it
I really enjoy Julie Czerneda's books. This book does read differently than her other books. There were parts of the story that were hard to understand on what she was trying to get across. Overall, I couldn't put the book down and was in deep with the story. It is a large book and well worth the read. I love the characters and thought they were unique and loved how she portrayed how the human race reacts to alien life, what it means to be alone (& not) and humanity's need to colonize.
May 06, 2012 Lawrence rated it did not like it
Shelves: sci-fi, unfinished
I won't be finishing this one. Ick. The story very much channels Frederik Pohl's Gateway - following the "how life is weird on a space station" theme. Except the difference here is that the characters are not compelling, the mystery is not that mysterious (it's basically revealed in the prologue), and thus the tension the author is trying to build seems very manufactured.

sooo.... it was too slow to develop, and I left it around page 109 of 560.
Dec 05, 2010 Robin added it
Shelves: delete-book
While I tried really hard to like this book, the flavor of the story did not appeal to me. While I adore the other Mitford series books, this book seemed to me more of the journal of some long forgotten person, who lived on the island. I could not get into the other characters, as well. I had to stop reading this book. I was disappointed. I liked the small town feel of the other Mitford books. It was sorely lacking for me, in this one.
Oct 30, 2012 Rain rated it it was ok
For me - just okay, basically too long, too slow-moving pace, and way too predictable. And I have always disliked romantic angst subplots taking up too much of the focus in my sci-fi. Despite that, I was able to finish it, which puts it in the 'average so-so pulp' category of books -- which means its good enough for a time-killer, if nothing better available.
Genie McFate
This is one of my favorite books by Czerneda that I have read repeatedly. An alien life form, The Quill, has interfered with people's ability to colonize planets, as in human's exposure to it kills them.

Dr. Gail Smith is looking for a solution and/or cure and believes that Aaron Pardell holds the key.

Feb 11, 2012 Terry rated it really liked it
Czerneda writes Science Fiction that avoids the trite formulas. She develops complex characters (such as Aaron Pardell) who are often unpredictable.
Nov 17, 2011 Catwin rated it liked it
I loved this book. I hated this book. There were great moments and incredibly vivid characters but it also seemed really drawn out. I am glad I read it but at the same time when I was finally done I wanted to donate it to my brother's pet rabbit. I kept it in the end.
Apr 20, 2012 Heidi rated it really liked it
Julie the biologist shines in this book. I love how you can't just guess the ending, but when it happens it totally makes sense. And I loved the biology/alien life questions she raises. The aliens aren't sentient, but they make a huge impact on extra earth life.
Apr 07, 2008 Pax rated it did not like it
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
I rad this as an act of devotion to a beloved author. I learned that she either had a terrible editor for her first book, or completely ignored her editor and miraculously was allowed to publish again.
Dec 03, 2008 Charlene rated it liked it
A successor in style, I think to Cherryh and Cyteen with more environmental/moral issues thrown in. To be honest though, this was a four star book until the end game started up, which I found to be not as fulfilling as I hoped. Still a good read though.
Morgan McGuire
Mar 07, 2008 Morgan McGuire rated it really liked it
More aggressive than Czerneda's other books that I've read in terms of sci-fi ideas, this is also slightly more flawed with a handful of jarring mistakes. As always, the emotional situations and impossible romance are gripping and tender.
Jun 21, 2012 Jessica rated it really liked it
Incredible book. It took a few chapters to warm up to the story, however the characters were instantly engaging. Like another reviewer mentioned, the ending was surprising but in retrospect made complete sense. I enjoy how the titles always become pivotal moments in her books.
Stephanie Foust
Apr 27, 2016 Stephanie Foust rated it really liked it
Great world building in this novel of terraforming meets accidental introduction of a seemingly harmless alien life form,the Quill.Realistic and intelligently written characters in this stand-alone book.Highly recommended.
Michael K.
May 07, 2014 Michael K. rated it really liked it
Great ending!
Apr 29, 2012 Hildegart rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this novel. It was fun and engaging.
May 19, 2015 Katy added it
Shelves: read-2015
Enjoyed the story, but didn't buy the romance. The world building was top notch.
Erin Burns
I adored this book when I read it many years ago, and I fianlly came across it again recently and found even the grown up me still adores it.
Doranna Durgin
Aug 30, 2009 Doranna Durgin rated it it was amazing
It's obvious from my ratings that I enjoy of all Julie Czerneda's books, but this--and her first--are my very favorites.
Jun 01, 2012 Christine rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this stand alone book and look forward to reading more by this author
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Color of Distance
  • City of Pearl (Wess'har Wars, #1)
  • Bio Rescue (Bio Rescue, #1)
  • Code of Conduct (Jani Kilian Chronicles, #1)
  • Warchild (Warchild, #1)
  • Emissaries from the Dead (Andrea Cort, #1)
  • Scardown (Jenny Casey, #2)
  • Manhattan Transfer
  • The Outback Stars (The Outback Stars #1)
  • Expendable (League of Peoples, #1)
  • A Confederation of Valor (Confederation, #1-2)
  • Empire of Bones
  • Probability Moon (Probability, #1)
  • This Alien Shore
  • Jaran (Jaran, #1)

Share This Book