In the Company of Others (2001)

Mankind is in the process of terraforming new worlds, when some spacer discover a strange life-form, named quill. It seems to have a soothing effect on its owner. When the first colonists from Earth rush out to set food on the terraformed worlds, death awaits them. And none other than the seemingly harmless quill are the reason for that, the quill who have been brought to every terraformed world by the terraformers and the spacer who have worked with them. Earth, fearing an infection through the quill, doesn’t allow anyone to come back to Earth.

As a consequence of this many colonists are trapped on overcrowded space stations and all deep space exploration has stopped immediately. Years later a crew of scientists from Earth try to discover why the quill has become such a deadly threat and if there’s a chance for mankind to take the terraformed worlds back.

I really wanted to like this book. It has a wonderful cover, a cool title and the concept didn’t sound bad. But there is one reason why reading the book turned out to be a tedious chore. Soap opera mode. Everybody in this book acts, speaks and thinks not like any human being, but like he has stepped directly out of a soap opera. The two main characters are angsty and whiny to a degree that I wanted to murder them, and the rest of the crew and other people in the book aren’t much better. Another problem is that the plot and the pacing is very slow, much too slow. When I found out what the mystery behind the quill was, I was already beyond caring.