A strange book, Among Others is a story about dealing with loss, growing up, and loving Science Fiction and Fantasy. It's told as diary entries of the...moreA strange book, Among Others is a story about dealing with loss, growing up, and loving Science Fiction and Fantasy. It's told as diary entries of the main character, Mor, with most of the story taking place over about a five month period in late 1979/early 1980.
There were aspects of the story which I really liked. Others became tedious, particularly the never-ending litany of the latest SFF books Mor had read, a who's-who travelogue of the genre as it stood around 1980. After awhile the constant litany of books and discussion of authors becomes less of an homage and more of a condemnation of *you*, yes you the reader, for not having read or being familiar with every single one of these. It's certainly not meant that way, but that's what it starts to feel like, and it becomes somewhat gimmicky. (I did rather like her discovery of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, however...a book she received as a Christmas gift from a friend which she never would have read on her own, but felt obligated to read so she could make an honest claim to have done so, and then ended up loving it).
Magic in the book is kept deliberately mysterious, and in fact, a theme of the book is that magic doesn't work as well or as simply in the real world as it does in fiction. Despite this, Mor seems completely knowledgeable about how to do magic, and seems capable of doing whatever she wants at will, with no explanation or logic as to how or why she knows how to do it when she simultaneously claims not to understand it almost at all.
I enjoyed the book, but I certainly didn't love it, and I'm not sure who I'd recommend it to. Probably a very hit-or-miss book for most people.(less)
I had very mixed reactions to this book. On the one hand, Bacigalupi paints a type of apocalyptic future very different from that of other authors, ta...moreI had very mixed reactions to this book. On the one hand, Bacigalupi paints a type of apocalyptic future very different from that of other authors, tackling subjects such as genetically-modified organsisms (GMOs) and global warming in ways not really seen before. On the other hand, the characters are almost universally dislikable. They are uniformly racist, which becomes frustrating after awhile (although to be fair, its equal opportunity racism since at least four different races are all portrayed as being completely disdainful of every other race), even if it may be sadly realistic. I found it hard to care about a story in which everyone was so unpleasant (even though a few were less so than others). The most sympathetic character by far (at least major character) is the titled "windup girl", but even she failed to really capture me (although she improved quite a bit by the end). I understand the hype about this book and why it has won so many awards, but it's simply not a book I'm likely to have any interest in re-reading in the future. I'm giving it four stars because of the depth of the novelty, rather than because I actually found it entertaining.(less)
An interesting story about a healer in a post-apocalyptic world. The story has a slightly odd mix of modern technology and primitive reversion. Parts...moreAn interesting story about a healer in a post-apocalyptic world. The story has a slightly odd mix of modern technology and primitive reversion. Parts of the story are very good, but some of it seemed a bit meandering. Still, a very solid tale.(less)