Book Review: Fuzzy Nation, by John Scalzi

Tor
301 pp.

Fuzzy NationFuzzy Nation is a reboot of H. Beam Piper’s Little Fuzzy. It is absolutely not necessary for you to have read Little Fuzzy in order to read Fuzzy Nation–but you might want to, and probably should. I’ve read both, so itwill be a challenge to not compare and contrast the two books. Scalzi takes the story in a very different direction from the way things happened in the book though with the same end result.

(I have read a few complaints about this not adding anything to the story. I tend not to agree, mostly because I read fan fiction. A reboot is a dialog between the canon of the story and the “meta” of the person who read the original canon and went off in a different direction. Also, the Mayhar and Tuning books (Golden Dream: A Fuzzy Odyssey and Fuzzy Bones)  are immediately “Jossed” by Fuzzies and Other People which contradicts the sequel and companion stories, which makes them “alternate universe” or “reboots.” Possibly both.)

Our Protagonist is one Jack Holloway, a disbarred lawyer turned prospector on theplanet Zarathustra. (He was not disbarred for not knowing the law as he points out several times. He was disbarred for punching out his client.) He is a notvery lovable jerk with a quirky personality that tends to get on people’s nerves. Among his many bad habits is his tendency to let his dog Carl handle explosives and naming hills scheduled to be strip mined after his ex-girlfriend.

Holloway,who is continually on the very edge of getting his rear booted off ofZarathustra gets his contract terminated around the same time that he discoversa seam of extremely valuable jewels–which he has complete ownership of sincehe is now technically a private contractor. Shortly after that he makes a seconddiscovery, one that might endanger Zaracorp’s hold on the planet. He encountersa small bipedal creature with opposable thumbs and a very inconvenient possiblesentience. Zaracorp would very much like Jack Holloway to look the other wayand pretend the Fuzzies are not sentient. Holloway may not be as easy to bribeas they would like, however.

Thereis a nice balance between action and conversation in this book, and I likewhere Scalzi took the story and the characterization of the various characters.The courtroom drama aspect of the story was nicely done and interesting, and Iliked the way the situation was ultimately resolved. This was a great rebootand a fun read whether or not you’re familiar with the original material.

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Filed under first contact, John Scalzi, non-earth, reboot, science fiction

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