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In the Company of Others

In the Company of Others

4.7 7
by Julie E. Czerneda

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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…


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…

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
Aaron Pardell is an illegal inhabitant of Thromberg Station, an overpopulated space station made even larger by the hundreds of unauthorized ships docked to it. The people living in these deteriorating ships are called Outsiders. But it's not where he lives that makes Aaron feel like an outsider, it's his strange ailment. Physical contact not only brings intense pain to Aaron and throws him into shock, but whoever touches him feels that pain as well.

When a ship from Earth docks at the station, the first in centuries, and strange "Earthers" start looking around for him, Aaron tries to hide with the help of his huge Outsider friend Malley. When the Earthers -- led by Dr. Gail Smith -- finally track Aaron down, the action explodes! It seems that Aaron's illness is directly tied to the secret behind how a strange alien race known as the Quill invaded and took control of dozens of terraformed planets almost ready for human colonization.

Another wonderfully wild science fiction blockbuster from Julie E. Czerneda, In the Company of Others is Grade A science fiction. (Paul Goat Allen)

Scientist Gail Smith is on a quest to seek and destroy the Quill and to start up the terraforming projects again. When she finds Aaron Pardell, it starts a riot on the station. Aaron is hurt in the riot because of his gift from the Quill. It forces his best friend, Malloy, to join up with Smith, leading to a series of ups and downs, twists and turns in the story. This story surprised me so many times that I lost count. It did not turn out the way I expected. If you have a good mind for puzzles and a sense of action, this is the book for you! It is one of my most favorite books and only a few can compare. Good reading! VOYA CODES: 5Q 4P J S A/YA (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult and Young Adult). 2001, DAW, 562p, $6.99 pb. Ages 12 to Adult. Reviewer: Kelsey Sands, Teen Reviewer SOURCE: VOYA, February 2002 (Vol. 24, No.6)
Space-faring humans have expanded into the galaxy, and while they have found great beauty and adventure, they have found no trace of any other civilization. To ease the crowded mass of Earth, they begin to terraform planets for colonies, working in three teams of experts to investigate, alter and then seed to create fresh new wildernesses to inhabit. The first colonists go out, settle in and then suddenly die for no visible reason. Fear of an alien contagion abruptly shuts doors on the colonists and crews in transit. Twenty years pass in this degenerating stalemate and only one brilliant scientist, Gail Smith, feels she has an answer. She has cast suspicion on the Quill, a tiny rainbow ribbon of an alien "pet" that the first teams were wearing on their wrists and had left behind when they left for the next world. Having mutated in the new environment, the Quill are now perfectly camouflaged and empathetically echo the humans to such a degree that it's overwhelmingly fatal. Professor Smith plans to find a rumored survivor of the Quill Effect. Her hope is that by using him and an untainted sample of the Quill, she can break the Effect, freeing humans to move into space again. Adding urgency to her experiments is her growing affection for Aaron Pardell, the survivor—a man who goes catatonic at the slightest touch while the person who has touched him suffers debilitating pain. Gail, Aaron and all of humanity battle rising hopes, fears, and time as they are literally so close and yet so lethally far from what they desire. There are fat paragraphs describing evolved social life and customs on the station with its attached ships. There is love in various forms, also described in greatdetail but interesting in concept, as well as a happy ending, which is always a good thing. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2001, DAW, 565p., $6.99. Ages 16 to adult. Reviewer: Liz LaValley; Mattapoisett, MA , September 2001 (Vol. 35 No. 5)

Product Details

Publication date:
Product dimensions:
4.16(w) x 6.78(h) x 1.56(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Julie E. Czerneda is a biologist and writer whose science fiction has received international acclaim, awards, and best-selling status. She is the author of the popular "Species Imperative" trilogy, the "Web Shifters" series, the "Trade Pact Universe" trilogy and her new "Stratification" novels. She was a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Her stand-alone novel, In the Company of Others, won Canada's Prix Aurora Award and was a finalist for the Philip K. Dick Award for Distinguished SF. Julie lives with her husband and two children in the lake country of central Ontario, under skies so clear they could take seeing the Milky Way for granted, but never do. You can find her at www.czerneda.com.

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In the Company of Others 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just like her other books, Czerneda excellently explores the different / maybe alien living and protected by extraordinary friends among those called human.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am an avid fan of the author, hugely enjoyed her other works. For some reason I missed this novel when it first came out. While recently checking if she had anything new published I stumbled across IN THE COMPANY OF OTHERS. Finished it in one sitting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
The one aspect that keeps me interested in a book is the character developement. They have to be strong and believable. IN THE COMPANY OF OTHERS has strong believable characters and a plethora of them! In the true Czerneda style this stand-alones characters draw you so deeply into the story that you could quite possible lose an entire day to reading. I found the stationers to be so totally different from anything I've ever experienced that they became intriguing. The research crew was completely different from the stationers and their interactions show that. The two sets of characters played off each other extremely well. Within the larger communities there are specific individuals that stand out. These interactions are what round out the intensity of characters. Ms. Czerneda created totally believable relationships in what turns out to be a believable environment. Yes, this is science FICTION but you forget the fiction part after page 2.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The story begins by acquainting the reader with the Way Things Are, which is Not Too Good. The people of Earth grew weary of looking for 'Others' out there in space and decided that the only 'Others' they would ever find would be themselves. So they set about terraforming suitable worlds to allow the teeming masses of Earth to expand outward into Space. At the same time explorers were searching deep space. These explorers found harmless creatures that they called the Quill. But somewhere along the way things went horribly wrong and the innocuous Quill became deadly. They took over all of the terraformed planets, leaving the eager colonists stranded on the Colonizing Space Stations. The people of Earth refused to let their stranded colonists come home from these stations for fear that they would bring the Quill home with them and Humanity would be forever destroyed. There is low-level conflict throughout the book, yet no enemies or bad guys! The Station factions are the Immies, Stationers, and 'Siders who all co-exist in a delicate balance of needs and power. They dance around each other with their mutual needs just to survive, but conflicts inevitably arise. The characters in 'Company' remain engaging and likeable whichever side of these conflicts they are on because you understand why they do what they do. This book is extremely good at 'putting you there' where the action is. You can almost smell the recycling floor on the Space Station with its unusual staff. Staff like Malley, a large muscular person who is really too intelligent to be where he is, but smart enough to know how to survive. Others on the Station include Pardell, a sensitive man with special problems and special abilities, both of which make him so dangerous that people can't even touch him. Into this mix barges the Earther faction led by Dr. Gail Veronika Ashton Smith, biologist, researcher, and all around determined person who has a novel theory about the Quill and somehow manages to get the research funds to pursue it. The payoff? 17 terraformed worlds ready for colonists. You can almost feel the wind on a virgin planet, and want to laugh and cry at the triumphs and frustrations as you read this book. Unlike many books I've read recently, at the end of this one you care about what happens to the people, and the Quill. Whether you laugh, cry or think, 'Gee. That could happen,' at the ending, my bet is that you will have enjoyed the trip and be looking for more.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Mankind broke free of the solar system and terra-formed sixteen different planets so humans can live on them. Then the Quill, a fungus like organism with soothing properties was found on a planet. They quickly spread throughout the terra-formed world, killing everyone on it. The people of earth abandoned those living outside the solar system out of fear that the Quill would invade the home world.

At Thromberg Station, Dr. Gail Smith, backed by soldiers, searches for Pardell, a person who was born on a Quill infested planet. Pardell has gold veins that make him sensitive to touch. However, he agrees to accompany Gail back to his home world in an attempt to rid the orb of the Quill.

IN THE COMPANY OF OTHERS is a big juicy novel that provides for outer space buffs what Highlander did for immortal gurus. Fans will enjoy this book as Julie E. Czerneda shows she is an up and coming talent by writing a tale with a strong plot populated by complex and diverse characters.

Harriet Klausner