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The Companions: A Novel by Sheri S. Tepper
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The Companions: A Novel (edition 2003)

by Sheri S. Tepper

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478821,584 (3.64)33
Member:jillnienhiser
Title:The Companions: A Novel
Authors:Sheri S. Tepper
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Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:****
Tags:scifi

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The Companions by Sheri S. Tepper

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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
A while ago, I read and reviewed Sheri Tepper's "The Margarets". Had I known, I would have read "The Companions" first because this book, written only a few years earlier than "The Margarets", treats the same themes using different characters but very similar plots with fascinating details like the centrality of Mars to the story. Almost as though Tepper, not satisfied with "The Companions" returned to the same concerns with the later novel. Both are good reads but I read them close together in time by chance--lucky chance, so I hope others read them in any order but close enough together to enjoy the similarities and differences. ( )
  nmele | Apr 6, 2013 |
The Companions added to my deepening love of Tepper's writing, after starting me off on the wrong foot. My initial worries of either/both a) getting beaten about the head by gloom-n-doom ecopocalypse themes (and that's coming from a bleeding heart liberal!) or b) having my heart ripped to shreds for 300 pages at the prospect of the remaining few canines in that god-forsaken world being exterminated, happily were dispelled all around.

I found the humans-wreck-everything theme and story-lines plausible and thought-provoking without being preachy or beating me about the head. I connected strongly with the protagonist characters and felt substantial active dislike/revulsion of the disreputable characters and races. There was a pleasing amount of suspense and some-but-not-too-many bread crumbs that kept me engaged and turning the pages until the end.

I don't know that Tepper is the first to hit upon the notion of scent-based language, but she does a fantastic job of weaving the structure of the story and all of the characters and pieces around and through the scent-language notion.

A great story - I felt like I thoroughly got know the characters and by the end I felt like I'd been there and part of it. Tepper has an ability unlike anyone else that comes to mind to really personally and emotively draw you into her stories, and to the connect with the themes and characters therein. ( )
  tinLizzy | Sep 9, 2010 |
Tepper once again weaves her poignant imagination with superb writing to tell a story brimming with insightful notes for our contemporary era.

Like most of her novels, The Companions is richly and imaginatively told. The story centers on dog-lover Jewel Delis and her experiences growing up on an over-populated Earth in the grip of interstellar alien conflict. Delis travels on assignment to the mysterious planet Moss, where a "world consciousness" is discovered. Tepper deftly explores the themes of "human nature," language, ecology, and ecofeminism. She especially focuses on the issue of the endangerment of animals and what cavalier disregard for "whole systems" can cost humans.

Tepper juxtaposes different types of relationships in the story as a means to explore the social and ecological ramifications of the idea of companionship. The characters wrestle with both positive and negative relationships between family members, between genders, between spouses, and between species. She contrasts the mutually supporting companionship between humans and dogs, to the "companionship" between master/slave and owner/concubine.

Tepper is skilled at evoking thoughtful consideration of some of the key issues of today through story. My only wish would be to have a smoother balance between character development and action-packed narrative. ( )
  jollyhope | Jan 12, 2009 |
This book had a promising premise. That Earth suffers from overpopulation due to retirees returning from off-world colonies, basically the planet Earth becomes the state of Florida. That due to population pressure, religious extremists create a movement to ban all animals from Earth because only man is created in God's image. A group of animal lovers run an underground railroad for pets.

In theory, all this is great. But unfortunately, the story decends into absurdity. Throw in an ancient alien race of environmentalists and another nearly extinct race of super-shapeshifting aliens bent on destruction (and responsible for the creation of humanity), who take the form of dogs - they actually think that dogs enslaved humans rather than humans domesticating dogs - and you get a complex mess of polemics. Is it intended as satire? Or is it bad writing? It is hard to tell. Without giving the ending away, Tepper relies on a deus ex machina to extricate the heroine from the crisis at the end of the book.

This is not one of her greatest efforts - but Tepper on a ordinary day is better than many on their best day! ( )
1 vote Jawin | Apr 4, 2008 |
Filled with different alien races and alien cultures that Earthers are still learning to understand and cope with 700 years in the future. Earth itself is supremely over populated and many Earthers are jealous of any other Earth animals using up 'their' (the humans') resources, such as air, water and space. Quietly opposing them are the Earthers trying to save the few animals left from extinction. Jewel Delis shows us what one person is capable of, given the opportunity and some help from the higher ups. A good book to get one thinking about what ifs that ended up being a great adventure as well. ( )
  sandragon | Oct 2, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060538228, Mass Market Paperback)

Three planets have been recently discovered in deep space, and prosaically named to reflect their respective environments. Jungle, lush and foreboding, swallowed up an eleven-member exploratory team more than a decade earlier, while hot, harsh, and dusty Stone turned out to be phenomenally rich in rare ore, the most profitable new world to be found in a century. But it is the third, Moss, that could well prove to be the most enigmatic . . . and dangerous.

Enlisted by the Planetary Protection Institute -- an organization founded to assess new worlds for potential development and profit -- famed linguist Paul Delis has come to Moss to determine whether the strange multicolored shapes of dancing light observed on the planet's surface are evidence of intelligent life. With Delis is his half sister, Jewel, the wife of one of the explorers lost on Jungle. Working together, they are to determine the true nature of the “Mossen” and decipher the strange "language" that accompanies the phenomenon.

Yet the great mysteries of this bucolic world -- three-quarters covered in wind-sculpted, ever-shifting moss -- don't end with the inexplicable illuminations; there is the puzzle of the rusting remains of a lost fleet of Earth ships, moldering on a distant plateau. Perhaps the biggest question mark is Jewel Delis herself and her mission here at the far reaches of the galaxy. Leaving an overpopulated homeworld that is rapidly becoming depleted of the raw materials needed for human survival, Jewel is a member of a radical underground group opposing a recent government edict that will eliminate all of the planet's “nonessential” living inhabitants. And it is here, at the universe's unexplored edge, where the fate of endangered creatures may ultimately be decided -- though it will mean defying ruthless and unforgiving ruling powers to repair humankind's disintegrating relationship with the beasts of the Earth.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:45:05 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"Three planets have been recently discovered in deep space, and prosaically named to reflect their respective environments. Jungle, lush and foreboding, swallowed up an eleven-member exploratory team more than a decade earlier, while hot, harsh, and dusty Stone turned out to be phenomenally rich in rare ore, the most profitable new world to be found in a century. But it is the third, Moss, that could well prove to the the most enigmatic...and dangerous.". "Enlisted by the Planetary Protection Institute - an organization founded to assess new worlds for potential development and profit-famed linguist Paul Delis has come to Moss to determine whether the strange multicolored shapes of dancing light observed on the planet's surface are evidence of intelligent life. With Delis is his half sister, Jewel, the wife of one of the explorers lost on Jungle. Working together, they are to determine the true nature of the "Mossen" and decipher the strange "language" that accompanies the phenomenon.". "Yet the great mysteries of this bucolic world - three-quarters covered in wind-sculpted, ever-shifting moss - don't end with the inexplicable illuminations; there is the puzzle of the rusting remains of a lost fleet of Earth ships, moldering on a distant plateau. Perhaps the biggest question mark is Jewel Delis herself and her mission here at the far reaches of the galaxy. Leaving an overpopulated homeworld that is rapidly becoming depleted of the raw materials needed for human survival, Jewel is a member of a radical underground group opposing a recent government edict that will eliminate all of the planet's "nonessential" living inhabitants. And it is here, at the universe's unexplored edge, where the fate of endangered creatures may ultimately be decided - though it will mean defying ruthless and unforgiving ruling powers to repair humankind's disintegrating relationship with the beasts of the Earth."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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