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In the Company of Others

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  1,010 ratings  ·  47 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)
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3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,010 ratings  ·  47 reviews

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Oct 20, 2008 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
Feb 10, 2009 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
Mar 12, 2013 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 27, 2008 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.
May 19, 2014 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 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.

Feb 06, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Saw this book on a list of sci-fi books you "have" to read and decided to give it a whirl. After all, I haven't read much sci-fi lately and the premise, coupled with a female author, seemed to promise something new. So I gave it a shot. Turned out to be a decent book, but it was far below my expectations.

The premise is pretty much as the synopsis tells it. But from there everything felt two-dimensional. So much so that at one point about halfway through I put this away. After 200 pages I just di
It's been many years since I first read this, and upon re-reading I wondered a little why it had stuck in my mind as particularly good. My reading tastes must have developed a lot more than I realized. Not that it's bad, mind. But it's not that impressive, and parts are outright... embarrassing. I'm guessing it was because it had interesting aliens, for which I am a total sucker, and believable characters, which often is a crapshoot in SF-- when you get big ideas, characters can get short shrift ...more
Have read other science fiction novels by Julie Czerneda and loved them (in particular, her Species Imperative series). Therefore, I began reading this book with hopeful anticipation.

The story is very good and the big ideas intriguing. However, they too often get lost. This novel would have benefited from an editor requesting that it be cut by at least one-third. (Editors sometimes ask authors to lengthen their novels, which might have happened here.) Too much of the book includes unnecessary d
S.A. Parham
Aug 13, 2007 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 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 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
Aug 10, 2014 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.
Nov 17, 2011 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 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.
Morgan McGuire
Mar 07, 2008 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 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 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 rated it really liked it
Great ending!
May 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi
slow start but real nice-lots of twists turn character development etc.
Apr 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this novel. It was fun and engaging.
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 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 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this stand alone book and look forward to reading more by this author
John Stimson
Feb 15, 2012 rated it liked it
A complex build-up concluded with a magic resolution. I enjoyed reading it but felt let down by the ending.
Oct 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I love the way Julie Czerneda writes. This is a great book that has a feel-good ending. Great concepts about aliens and how things have unintended consequences.
Jody Wallace
Jan 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The romantic relationship wasn't as well-drawn as expected, so if you're reading it for that aspect you may be disappointed. It was fine otherwise! I enjoyed it.
Richard White
Jan 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this book.
Apr 22, 2008 rated it liked it
An interesting concept, but a mediocre climax.
Sep 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
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For over twenty years, Canadian author/ former biologist Julie E. Czerneda has shared her curiosity about living things through her science fiction, published by DAW Books, NY. Julie’s written fantasy too, the first installments of her Night’s Edge series (DAW) A Turn of Light and A Play of Shadow, winning consecutive Aurora Awards (Canada’s Hugo) for Best English Novel. Having completed her Clan ...more