Little did I know when I sat down to read Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi, that the story of Fuzzy’s story had been told before by H Beam Piper,in a very success trilogy starting with Little Fuzzy, and continuing in Fuzzy Sapiens and Fuzzies And Other People. (You can read more about H Beam Piper and his books at the H Beam Piper Memorial Website.). Even if I knew that the story was an update of these books, I don’t think that it would have hurt Scalzi’s marvelous re-imagining of their tale!
Fuzzy Nation is the tale of Jack Holloway and the Fuzzies. Jack is a contract surveyor for the ZaraCorp prospecting and surveying on Zara XIII and a general pain in the ass to most folks, including his employers, his ex-girlfriend and a former client he punched in the nose. The last action caused his disbarment and is the reason that he is a surveyor rather than a lawyer! The story opens when Jack hits the virtual mother-load, a seam of rare sunstones, that will, when excavated make him rich beyond compare! On returning to his home, he finds it in disarray and that he has a fuzzy little visitor. A small cat-like creature that appears to be smarter and more human than your average cat or dog! Enter Isabel Wangai, ZaraCorp’s terrestrial biologist and Holloway’s ex-girlfriend, after naming a mountain on Zara XIII after Isabel, she had to sit by a watch ZaraCorp strip mine Mount Isabel in search of sunstones. The is only half of the reason that they broke up the other half is that Jack lied at a hearing, concerning Jack’s teaching his dog Carl to detonate explosives, , making Isabel look foolish! When Jack offers Isabel a sunstone she is not amused, Jack then intrigues her by telling her and asking her if see would like to study the fuzzies, to which she says certainly.
After studying the Fuzzies, Isabel concludes that they a people. Now the problems begin for Jack if the Fuzzies are sentient beings then all work on the planet would stop and the resources of the planet would belong to the Fuzzies. That means that Jack would lose all his millions and ZaraCorp would lose billions. The remainder of the book deals with determining if the fuzzies are sentient and the ramifications thereof. Soon the question becomes are the fuzzies people? What will Jack do will he try to stop the fuzzies from being declared people, what about Zara Corp???
This is a quick engaging, enjoyable and very funny read. The characters including the fuzzies are well-drawn. Though he is a pain I liked Jack,and in turn Isabel and especially the fuzzies!! And like Scalzi’s other great books I have read Old Man’s War and Ghost Brigade Scalzi touches on themes concerning what it is to be human as well as corporate greed and responsibility without being overbearing!! All in all a great four star read!! Check it Out!!
P.S As I was preparing this post I went back and read the Author’s note at the beginning of the book which I just skipped over. I read the book on my iPhone, which is why I skipped the note. Anyway the note explains that the book is a reimagining of Little Fuzzy rather than a sequel and that it is his hope that readers who have not read Little Fuzzy will be inspired to do so, since it is a wonderful book! Since I have already scoured Amazon for Little Fuzzy I think he succeeded at least with this reader!!!
P.S.S. I would be interested to know the opinion of anyone who has read both books! Also this is book 21 of 2014! Now at three books per month!!!