Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi

I picked this up at the library because…I liked the cover.

I admit, it’s shallow but I do pick up books due to their covers. Sometimes it doesn’t work out; other times, it works wonderfully as I pick up a book I would have normally overlooked. “Fuzzy Nation” by John Scalzi is firmly in the latter category.

On the distant planet Zara XXIII, disbarred lawyer and current mineral prospector Jack Holloway, in the wake of an accidental cliff collapse, has discovered a seam of sunstones. Unimaginably valuable jewels, the seam is going to make him rick beyond dreams as Jack lay legal claim to the seam as the discoverer of the seam.

This claim is disputed by ZaraCorp, the company with legal claim to exploit the whole of the planet. Of course this claim, given by the home planet of Earth, is based solely on the fact that there is no sentient species on the planet.

Something that comes into doubt when Holloway’s home is invaded by a small furry, and extremely cute biped. The creature is soon followed by his family as he comes into more contact with the Fuzzys, Holloway begins to suspect that these creatures are more than animals, that they are in fact creatures with intelligence. A fact that would void ZaraCorp’s claim to the whole planet.

First off, I must say I didn’t realize till I finished the book that Fuzzy Nation was a reboot of a 1962 novel by author H. Beam Piper titled “Little Fuzzy”. Yes, we have rebooted TV show, rebooted movies, now we have rebooted books!

Steeping away from that, I found the book to be extremely fun and enjoyable. I have never read a John Scalzi novel before, and I am unfamiliar with the original “Little Fuzzy”, but I thought this book was both fun and (rather surprisingly) pretty thought-provoking.

Humans are basically the bad guys in this book with the lovable alien Fuzzys the cute, endearing, brave, and noble good guys. Even the protagonist, Holloway, is a bit of an ass who was slowly “redeem” by his interaction with the Fuzzys. Even the “good” humans who tried to help the Fuzzys were straitjacketed by human laws and society and it took an outcast human like Holloway, who has more than a few demons in his past, to be able to truly help them. This is not a new concept but under Scalzi's steady writing, it is an interesting one.

I also loved the way Scalzi just admitted the fact that the Fuzzys are Ewoks in another guise. The given way it was written made the comparison a non-factor and I thought it was very smart of Scalzi to do this.

The only bad point of this book is the fact that the ending was a little open-ended. I checked and found that H. Beam Piper’s “Little Fuzzy” has two sequels but since Scalzi isn’t going to write a sequel (or rebooted sequel) to this novel, I think he should have tried to have a better, more affirmative ending.

Still, this is a good book and for a fun, enjoyable read, I highly recommend “Fuzzy Nation”. 

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