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The Companions: A Novel
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The Companions: A Novel

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  1,136 Ratings  ·  66 Reviews
Three planets have been recently discovered in deep space, and prosaically named to reflect their respective environments. Jungle, lush and foreboding, swallowed up an eleven-member exploratory team more than a decade earlier, while hot, harsh, and dusty Stone turned out to be phenomenally rich in rare ore, the most profitable new world to be found in a century. But it is ...more
ebook, 464 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 2003)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,784)
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Althea Ann
A mature and well-crafted work.
I personally find the sci-fi scenario where humans are squished together in huge building complexes that they rarely leave, and all other lifeforms have been forced into extinction due to humanity's lack of caring or active malevolence, to be truly terrifying, as it is all too likely that that is truly the direction that we are heading in.

I thought Tepper's point that a race that cannot co-exist in its natural environment is unlikely to be able to co-exist with its
...more
ala
May 14, 2012 ala rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book might have worked if it had been expanded into a series of 4 or more novels of the same length. As it stands, Tepper bit off more than she could chew, or at least relate convincingly in one book. Too bad, because it started off with promise, and I was hooked for the first 300 pages. However by the end the relationships ended up falling flat, failing to probe much psychology or show growth. All alien species: bugs, tentacled, lizard, whatever acted some variation of human. The war eleme ...more
V. Briceland
Mar 22, 2012 V. Briceland rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Those who dismiss Sheri S. Tepper's books as too strident in their feminist and ecological concerns need only take a look at the 2012 U.S. Republican presidential campaign for retort. It provides almost too many examples of the ways in male public discourse at the very highest levels that women—and their reproductive systems—are reduced to mere vessels, sluts, and handmaidens, almost as extremely as they are in Tepper's dystopian Gibbon's Decline and Fall. That Tepper always has axes to grind in ...more
Alexandra
I can't begin to say how angry I am at the blurbing of this book. It doesn't even begin to hint at how awesome and wide-ranging and epic it is. Without prior knowledge that Tepper is amazing (which I knew from reading Beauty), I would have had zero reason to expect this to be at all something I would like.

The blurb tells you that humans have arrived at Moss to see if there's intelligent life - which is true; that Jewel is accompanying her half-brother "to help Paul decipher the strange language
...more
Stevelvis
Feb 17, 2008 Stevelvis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Companions is the Sherri S. Tepper book which made me decide that she was a genius and is now my most favorite author of all time. It's a very complex book with several planets and many different species, from sentient dogs with human slaves to a living moss. The story combines feminist ideals with ecological concerns and a desperate attempt to transcend cultural differences as well as languages expressed in music and scent in order to save the universe.

SHERI S. TEPPER-- Author of many books inc
...more
Tracy
Jul 08, 2008 Tracy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just finished reading this book. I decided last summer that it would be fun to read a Tepper novel a year, and this one was June 2008's selection.
I found The Companions more metaphorical than many of Tepper's other novels. In this science fiction novel...
er, only the setting is science fiction. It's actually a mystery...
er, well, it's not only a mystery and it's certainly not a procedural!
The ideology is very feminist
but it's style is epic!
Anyway! You get the idea - Tepper takes on a lot! It's
...more
Nicholas Bollaert
I read this on someone's recommendation, and I will admit I was slightly biased against Tepper after being traumatized by The Gate to Women's Country. While I found this story engaging and interesting, I believe it suffered from the "10 pounds of crap in a 5 pound bag" problem.

The story is all over the map and spans multiple worlds, races, ideas, etc. and gets somewhat disjointed. About halfway through I wondered how the hell does this story get wrapped up in one book? She just keeps adding more
...more
Mike
Sep 11, 2009 Mike rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is Tepper's Treasure Hunt book. She borrows from other authors and puts it all together in a book that doesn't quite fail and doesn't quite succeed.

First, who does she borrow from? Well, she definitely follows the David Brin "Uplift" concept for the main underpinning of the book. Brin does a much better job of building the concept of alien races planting, growing and tending younger races as they reach for the stars. Tepper's races are less developed than Brin's, but she definitely borrowed
...more
Kristin Lundgren
This is another winner by the engrossing Sheri Tepper. As with her other books it is very different from each other she has written, and different from mainstream SF. In this one, about 700 years from now, the Earth has been stripped of most vegetation and animals, and people live in 100 sq mile "urbs", consisted of ten tower blocks each way. There are people who live down near the bottom of these 200 story towers, and those who live at the top, in penthouses that were in trust for their familie ...more
Kerri Northey
Jan 25, 2014 Kerri Northey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Complex aliens, political struggle and dysfunctional interpersonal relationships make this by far the best Tepper novel I have read. In places the depiction of alien species and ecologies is equal to the work of David Brin. Unfortunately the end is somewhat rushed and the author reverts to the heavy handed morality tale present in so much of the rest of her work.
Susan
Made it about halfway through. Awfully bleak and constant stress about the dogs. No, thanks.
Jenny Yates
I really like Tepper’s earlier work, but sometimes she gets a little carried away, and this novel is a case in point. She could have divided this into five parts, and had five very imaginative sci-fi novels. About midway through, it starts to come together more, and some of the loops come back to their starting point. Most loose ends are tied up by the end of the novel, although a few are left hanging.

In all, it’s pretty ingenious. It’s set in a dystopian future, in which all animals have been
...more
Juushika
Bioengineered dogs are brought to the newly-discovered planet Moss, whose inhabited status is still under debate. Tepper is a conservationist author, but in an embarrassing way: lofty, extremist, frankly unresearched; reaching for an untenable and romanticized ideal while painting the opposition in such exaggerated and villainous strokes as to obscure the real problem. The tone here is satirical but flat, like humor that's missed the mark. And to call the ending a deus ex machina would be a vast ...more
Kris Sellgren
Feb 12, 2014 Kris Sellgren rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Sheri Tepper considers the politics of trashing a planetary environment. In this future, all non-sentient animals are banished from Earth as requiring too many resources (air, water, food) -- a heart-wrenching threat for us animal-lovers. But humans are just one of many sentient species in the Galaxy, and Earth is just one planet. The villains were too villainous, however, without shades of gray. Also, too many dogs, not enough cats.
Michael Blackmore
It started with an intriguing introduction, but then there was a rough beginning after the intro where the author tried to cram in way too much backstory to underlay the present day story once it resumed. But when it did reenter the present day - so to speak - it improved vastly. Fascinating aliens, worlds and culture with a nice commentary on our own through them. And quite a few interesting and shocking twists and turns along the way.

If you make it through that rough patch, a very rewarding re
...more
Peter Walton-Jones
Dec 17, 2015 Peter Walton-Jones rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
After a bit of a shaky and confusing start I have absolutely loved this imaginative sci-fi/space opera novel. It is an example of what I would describe as feminist sci-fi. Indeed on googling the topic I find that I am far from the first to make that observation! Two of my favourite other sci-fi novels "The Left Hand of Darkness", and "The Handmaids Tale" are other examples of the genre. Earth is over-crowded and breaking down as an ecological system for anything more than human-beings. At the sa ...more
Delicious Strawberry
Anyone who is a seasoned reader of Tepper is familiar with her tendency to introduce crazy and/or contrived deus ex machinas near the end of her stories, and some of them were terrible (Family Tree, the Visitor), but this story actually made more sense. Like her other works, this delves into issues like religion, society, gender roles, slavery, and other important topics.

The setting is Earth in the future, where Mars and other planets have been colonized, but Earth itself is dealing with a sever
...more
Perrin Pring
This was the first, and most likely the last, Tepper book I will read.

Let me summarize my thoughts on the Companions in bullet point form.

*The first 250 pages of this book were utterly depressing and made me want to stop reading entirely. Do you want to read about an over populated Earth with no animals or open spaces? Read the first 250 pages of this book. I appreciate the statement Tepper was making with the first 250 pages, but I felt as if she over did it. Every time I picked up the book I
...more
Lisa Grabenstetter
'The Companions' is a difficult one to rate. Tepper uses language beautifully, playfully, and her worlds are incredibly intricate and inventive. Her characters are dimensional and believable, their tribulations very relatable.
To a point.
I'm disappointed that in all the many works she built in this book, religions, genders, and gender roles are almost identical. Except with the Tharstians, who we only hear about and don't see directly.
Too, I felt the first 3/4 of the book was the strongest. Th
...more
Angela
Sheri Tepper's latest is a remarkably ambitious and complex story, perhaps too ambitious and complex. The story encompasses so many different locations, and different species, all with competing agendas, it was difficult to keep track of who was doing what to whom, and for what purpose. I had a little trouble remembering who some of the individual players were, and their various foibles and attributes.

I appreciated being introduced to each set of players one at a time. The back story was quite u
...more
Bria
Jan 17, 2011 Bria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amanda
I really enjoyed this one, but it is just a little too ideological to flow well.. which would be fine, except its ideological about more than one thing. The main focuses of the book are environmentalism and animal rights, with a side dash of feminism, and a smaller detour on slavery and societal construction, and the meaning of emotions and relationships. That's a lot to explore in a book that still has a fun plot! What I'd really love to see from Tepper is some actual... god, not philosophy, bu ...more
Katie
Dec 16, 2010 Katie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
This book was decent, but it's not the one I would recommend to a first time Sheri Tepper reader. Tepper always deals with gender/feminism and eco-issues (i.e. humans destroying their world/worlds), themes which I appreciate. The first half of the book (on Earth) was very promising, as it played to what I like about Tepper: the development of a charismatic lead character who cares about the world, which has been built in an interesting (if not always unique) way.

However, in The Companions Teppe
...more
Carol Spears
Aug 22, 2014 Carol Spears rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An interesting take on what might be out there on alien worlds -- interesting as it had little to do with alien (magic) technology. Environment problems being an outcome of communication problems was suggested and illustrated very nicely in this tale. And, there was plenty of action also.

Good book!
Carron Brown
May 20, 2016 Carron Brown rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tepper's imagination is incredible, and a little scary. The concs were particularly freaky. I couldn't help wondering whether Earth's climate change was the main theme of the book - the World not giving people a message until hundreds of years later. All in all, a thoroughly good read.
H
Dec 28, 2012 H rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Tepper is a difficult writer, and I have found her books difficult in the past, but The Companions is particularly difficult. Obscure and hard to follow, it got the second star because it did manage to keep me with it, even though I found it opaque. In a nutshell this is far future science fiction in which humans live in a space faring culture among many other races. Humans have made a mess of earth and are on their way to making a mess of their other worlds too. Jewel is an arkist,, a person de ...more
Melliott
May 07, 2014 Melliott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is REAL science fiction. Layered, intricate, philosophical, analytical, examining moral, racial, social, global, galactic issues, all within the context of a STORY. Sheri Tepper won't be for everyone--you have to really be determined to get through some of her books, and this was one of them. But satisfying? Definitely.
Esk
Jan 14, 2009 Esk rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Esk by: www.ff-leesclub.nl
Shelves: gelezen-in-2009
I started this book with high expectations and I'm sorry to say they didn't all come true. Altough I liked the story and the worlds described, sometimes it was just very confusing. Long sentences, a lot of chapters "outside" of the story and a lot of storylines made it sometimes hard to understand the story at all. I did enjoy the writer's ability to make the planets and species come to life before my eyes.
I also liked the message the book seemed to give: be careful of our planet because otherw
...more
Julia Hendon
This book was well-written with compelling descriptions of an ecologically ruined Earth and strange and beautiful other planets, especially Moss. Tepper does her usual great job of creating multiple species that are not just humans with different appendages but which have their own cultures and psychologies. I found the main character, Jewell Delis, sympathetic and likeable. Nevertheless, the story never really grabbed me and this was a slow read for me. The pace picks up in the second half when ...more
Zedsdead
Mar 16, 2012 Zedsdead rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, this book is dense with themes, plots, and elaborately-crafted alien worlds, races and histories. Among other things, Tepper explores conservation, religious extremism, overpopulation, the evolution of language, and mankind's long love affair with dogs.

There's also a strong feminist slant--almost anti-male, though not overtly so. Virtually everything positive or productive that occurs is attributable to one of the many strong, resourceful, intelligent female characters; with one or two exce
...more
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Sheri Stewart Tepper is a prolific American author of science fiction, horror and mystery novels; she is particularly known as a feminist science fiction writer, often with an ecofeminist slant.

Born near Littleton, Colorado, for most of her career (1962-1986) she worked for Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood, where she eventually became Executive Director. She has two children and is married to Gen
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