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The Companions

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  1,197 Ratings  ·  71 Reviews
Humankind has arrived on Moss to discover if any intelligent native life exists there, and to assess the planet, recently discovered by the Derac, a nomadic space-faring race, for development - and profit. Multi-coloured shapes of dancing light have been spotted; strange sounds are heard in the night; the researchers name them the Mossen and send for a linquist to ascertai ...more
Paperback, 464 pages
Published March 10th 2005 by Gollancz (first published 2003)
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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
May 14, 2012 rated it it was ok
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 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Nicholas Bollaert
Aug 12, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Kristin Lundgren
Aug 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 11, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Kris Sellgren
Feb 09, 2014 rated it liked it
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.
Kerri Northey
Jan 25, 2014 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.
Made it about halfway through. Awfully bleak and constant stress about the dogs. No, thanks.
Philip Chaston
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
A green feminist tract: another mirror of the present masquerading as speculative fiction and transparently illiberal in its conclusions: that the bad part of humanity (warlike, pack creatures, alpha males) was genetically engineered and the good part (co-operative, preserve the planet etc) is the baseline. Whatever the political orientation, racialist or feminist, such deterministic stories dumb down the human.
Jenny Yates
Sep 10, 2016 rated it liked it
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
Jan 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
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Feb 22, 2017 rated it did not like it
I wish I could give this novel .25 stars. I read this book over a decade ago and I still consider it the worst book I've ever finished.
Pat Cummings
Oct 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
I sometimes feel that every review of a Sheri Tepper novel should be subtitled, "Dances With Words." Even though I rarely agree with the writer's philosophy, the astoundingly graceful way in which she spins words into story is seductive, and subliminally persuasive:
The moss world... was a Victorian parlor of a planet, everywhere padded and bolstered, its cliffs hung with garlands, its crevices studded with cushions, every cranny silk-woven, every surface napped into velvet. Here were peridot par
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
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
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
Lisa Grabenstetter
Apr 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
'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
M Strawberry Reviews
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
Peter Walton-Jones
Feb 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Nov 18, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Mar 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 25, 2011 rated it liked it
The Companions is total-Tepper. She puts everything she's got into it, but perhaps, just this once, it's too much. Complex and dense, the story is full-to-bursting with characters, species, and alien worlds that are endlessly novel but at some point it all stops being fascinating and just becomes something to get through. I hate saying this about any book by the author of The Gate To Women's Country or The Family Tree, but I grew weary. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood to be preached to, and we a ...more
Dec 23, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Esk by:
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
Julia Hendon
Jun 16, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Dec 28, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
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Sheri Stewart Tepper was a prolific American author of science fiction, horror and mystery novels; she was 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 G
More about Sheri S. Tepper...

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