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In the Company of Others
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In the Company of Others > ITCoO: The Ending (Major SPOILERS obviously)

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message 1: by Jan (last edited Jan 11, 2020 11:54AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jan | 380 comments Hi everyone!

I have just finished the book and overall liked it very much (despite pacing issues). I found the world building and the different political factions fascinating if in the end just a little disappointing.

Having just finished there are two things I don't really like about the ending - and those are probably very much revealing that I am an inhumane monster, that doesn't feel enough empathy with the plight of the stationers, immis and siders, but I'll post them anyway:

1. I felt somewhat disappointed that the FD were in a way depicted as the bad guys.
I found it so refreshing and wonderful that in this world there is a military force that has come to the conclusion it must defend Alien Intelligence from humanity and is willing to stand against humanity to do so. I thought this was a very positive idea showing what good humanity is capable of. So I was kind of disappointed that in the end this seemed to a degree be seen as negative by the narrative. Grant saying the situation on Thromberg convinced him the Quill have to be "killed" despite being intelligent felt like a step back.

2. I also felt Czerneda chickened out in the end by Susan Quill feeling lonely as an intelligent entity and wanting to return to a non-sentient state herself where she would be in harmony with other Quill. For me it would have been stronger if our protagonists hadn't been relieved of that guilt. Or not. I don't really know how I will feel about this after sleeping a night over it. But at the moment I kind of feel like the ending would have been more meaningful if they had made the hard and morally ambiguous decision to revert Susan Quill and the other Quills to their natural state without their agreement...


Oleksandr Zholud I agree there was a cop out at the end. It is debatable if the Quill are true alien intelligence, or sentient only with human emotional template. And if the later then its decision about self-destruction maybe human as well


message 3: by Jan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jan | 380 comments BTW: Did anyone here go into the book NOT thinking the Quill were intelligent?


message 4: by Jan (last edited Jan 18, 2020 04:29AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jan | 380 comments But to be not too negative, there's a also a lot of things I liked:

1. The World. I found the effects of the quarantine on the culture on Thromberg station fascinating, especially in regards to the effects of overcrowding.
2. The politics. The factions were very interesting and quite believable. Also: Earth has essentially built a Wall without regards to those less fortunate, so there is some very current resonance to that aspect.
3. The Quill. Totally alien bit for me totally believable. One of the few books that creates an alien race that's as good as Larry Niven's Moties
4. The Quill/Pardell Effect: Just a fascinating idea and maybe not quite scientific but nevertheless very ... thought out.
5. The general solution (if not the details)


Oleksandr Zholud Jan wrote: "3. The Quill. Totally alien bit for me totally believable. One of the few books that creates an alien race that's as good as Larry Niven's Moties"

For me they more reminded of Solaris than The Mote in God's Eye aliens


Leesa (leesalogic) | 639 comments I ended up liking the book, and the items you note as both positives and negatives also were the same for me.

I also thought the Gail/Aaron romance was contrived and rolled my eyes through most of those parts. I thought she had better chemistry with Malley and Grant.

(Forgive any misspellings of names: I listened to the audiobook).


William | 404 comments I didn't feel that the FD were presented as bad guys, they were well intentioned (protect life), but their methods were at odds with Gail's.

I don't think Grant wanted to "kill" the Quill, I think he wasn't 100% convinced it was intelligent anyway, and was forced into a corner by the thousands of certainly sentient humans who faced death if he didn't act.

This was a fantastic read of the sort where putting down the book took a serious amount of willpower.

I've got to say I was very surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I found it a very intelligent Science Fiction story, cleverly written to raise important questions, with an overarching mystery...and it was a serious page turner with a romance that pulled at my heartstrings.

I shot through the last quarter and now I need to remember how to breath.


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