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Fuzzy Sapiens #7

Fuzzy Nation

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Jack Holloway works alone, for reasons he doesn't care to talk about. Hundreds of miles from ZaraCorp's headquarters on planet, 178 light-years from the corporation's headquarters on Earth, Jack is content as an independent contractor, prospecting and surveying at his own pace. As for his past, that's not up for discussion.

Then, in the wake of an accidental cliff collapse, Jack discovers a seam of unimaginably valuable jewels, to which he manages to lay legal claim just as ZaraCorp is cancelling their contract with him for his part in causing the collapse. Briefly in the catbird seat, legally speaking, Jack pressures ZaraCorp into recognizing his claim, and cuts them in as partners to help extract the wealth.

But there's another wrinkle to ZaraCorp's relationship with the planet Zarathustra. Their entire legal right to exploit the verdant Earth-like planet, the basis of the wealth they derive from extracting its resources, is based on being able to certify to the authorities on Earth that Zarathustra is home to no sentient species.

Then a small furry biped—trusting, appealing, and ridiculously cute—shows up at Jack's outback home. Followed by its family. As it dawns on Jack that despite their stature, these are people, he begins to suspect that ZaraCorp's claim to a planet's worth of wealth is very flimsy indeed…and that ZaraCorp may stop at nothing to eliminate the "fuzzys" before their existence becomes more widely known.

303 pages, Hardcover

First published May 10, 2011

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About the author

John Scalzi

148 books22k followers
John Scalzi, having declared his absolute boredom with biographies, disappeared in a puff of glitter and lilac scent.

(If you want to contact John, using the mail function here is a really bad way to do it. Go to his site and use the contact information you find there.)

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,760 reviews
Profile Image for Wil Wheaton.
Author 89 books199k followers
April 19, 2011
All this week, I'm reading Fuzzy Nation for the audio book. Once again, I am overwhelmed with gratitude that I get to read a wonderful book, written by a wonderful author, and I get paid to do it.
Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
797 reviews3,631 followers
November 8, 2020
If they weren´t that cute, nobody would care, slimy stinky snails, poisonous insects, or irritating amphibians wouldn´t trigger the same, positive cuteness induced response. Aren´t we a strange, subjective, cognitive dissonance dominated, and extremely superficial species?

It´s amazing how Scalzi uses his humor for a more serious topic than just humans killing everything and another in military sci-fi, instead sensitizing for the importance of biodiversity and an intact environment.

The deeper, underlying premise of environmental protection and social justice for indigenous people against evil megacorporation will become a very interesting topic in the far future for both human settlers and whatever aliens we may encounter. Let´s say humans go to a planet with anything between primitive, but sapient and self conscious life and Stone Age level aliens on it, and act as if it was a replay of colonization time and feudalism on Earth. If there is no change in economic systems and politics, I subjectively deem it very improbable that there will be a fair, democratic outcome, because King Mammon rules forever, the conglomerates already controlling each democracy and media outlet in the Western world nowadays will pretty simply do whatever they wish.

Maybe they will play some rounds of corporate responsibility, code of conduct, business ethics, hypocritical PR, and public private partnership, some Potemkin villages for the few independent left media outlets in the galaxy, to show a happy symbiosis at some places, while the planet is secretly devastated, mined, and sucked dry. Even if some investigative journalists might film unwanted truths, many accidents can happen on the long ways home to the stations of citizen journalists and whistleblower media and pirate stations.

The novel is a retelling of a classic, old story, just better, as it´s mostly the case, because rarely someone that days cared about using creative writing techniques and pimping the texts. It was just easier to get published in the young and empty sci-fi genre, so that many of the great sci-fi ideas are encapsulated by average and a bit oldfashioned writing, depending on the talent of the author. These ideas from the different waves of sci-fi from the 20th century might hide many great, fresh ideas authors should have a look at if they can handle the style.

Tropes show how literature is conceptualized and created and which mixture of elements makes works and genres unique:
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,868 reviews16.5k followers
December 9, 2019
John Scalzi has accomplished that rarest of achievements, not only modernizing an idea and freshening it for a new generational audience, but also making it better. This wonderful book should be made into a film and directed by a collaboration of Joe Dante and Adam Sandler.

In an editorial note, Scalzi describes writing Fuzzy Nation as a “reboot” of the classic 1962 science fiction novel Little Fuzzy by H. Beam Piper. Scalzi explains that as great a work as Piper had, it was clearly dated from the 50s and early 60s and it was his intent to bring it to a new, younger group of readers. He did.

Where Piper’s characterization was somewhat flat and his explanation of inter-species case law cursory, Scalzi goes one better to develop complex characters, involved group dynamics and a thoroughly expanded system of legal and economic detail that heightens the dramatic tension inherent in the narrative.

All due respect and accolades to Piper for the original idea, Scalzi adds depth to his story with a literary and philosophical nod to Ursula K. Le Guin and her 1976 novel The Word for World is Forest by expanding the understanding of Fuzzy culture and further developing the relationship between people and that species.

Scalzi also demonstrates an influence of Ibsen’s great drama An Enemy of the People in a narrative that involves standing up for a scientific truth when that truth runs afoul of great economic benefit. Like Ibsen, Scalzi gives weight and credence to the universal truths of monetary gain and fundamental human motivations while not waxing over, or unduly romanticizing a difficult, even life threatening need to defend innocence and purity.

What adds the most to Scalzi’s vision is the complexity and dynamic depth of his characterization. Scalzi’s protagonist Jack Holloway is a complicated person, believable to the reader as the good, the bad and the ugly of what drives us all. Holloway is a mixed bag of good and bad and evolving and Scalzi is artistically correct to reveal in Holloway flaws and the scars of prior wrongs. As Holloway declares himself – “I was not a good man, but the right man” and in this declaration, Scalzi, through Holloway displays a literary poignancy that transcends the earlier original and lifts this new creation into not just a damn fine science fiction work, but a good book period.


Profile Image for Stephen.
1,516 reviews11k followers
January 16, 2012
Friends...this here is a Fuzzy**:
**The tiny guy not the grunge rocker dude

Fuzzies are like intelligent, bi-pedal cats the size of a raccoon...which makes them just about as saturated in adorable and cuddle-worthiness as you can get. They are like ewoks only cute, smart, endearing, pleasant to be around, brave, noble, plot-enhancing and 100% non-assclowny:

Fuzzy Nation is a wonderfully successful reboot of H. Beam Piper’s popular, 1962 classic, Little Fuzzy.
With deep respect for Piper’s original, which I enjoyed, Scalzi’s novel surpasses its source document on every level and I think this book is a perfect starter novel for people looking to dip their toe in the science fiction waters. Enough warmth and action to appeal to younger fans and SF novices and enough humor, depth and well-paced story to appeal to us older more mature fans.


Here’s the quick scoop...

The story takes place on the planet Zarathustra where ZaraCorp has been granted an exclusive mining and exploration charter from Earth to exploit locate and process the autochthonous commodities of the planet. Well, it turns out the planet is so loaded with mineral, gems and valuable goodies that strip-mining it will yield enough simoleons (aka dough, cabbage, wampum and mammon) to keep the corporation’s earnings and stock price up for decades...we are talking trillions of credits.

However.....*prepare yourself for a large, Kim Kardashian-sized.....BUUUUUUUUUUTTT*

ZaraCorp’s charter will be null and void and all of its untold riches will vanish faster than the truth during a presidential campaign if the planet is found to contain sentient life. So, when Jack Holloway, rebel, schemer, mover-against-the-grain, authority-averse prospector discovers a group of heart-achingly cute creatures while working for ZaraCorp, the entire future of exploration on this planet will be decided in a make-shift courtroom assembled to determine the answer to the query, “Are the Fuzzies people?”


Scalzi’s subdued, unsentimental, straight-forward prose is the perfect delivery system for this story. The Fuzzies are so damned likable and sweet that the narrative could easily have slipped into a cavity-causing fluff piece. Scalzi’s gives you none of it and avoids melodrama like he was allergic to it. Plus, he infuses the story with his trade-mark wit and sarcastic dialogue that keeps the story on a very even keel while allowing the unquestionable appeal of the Fuzzys to seep in on its own.

Believe me, they don’t need any assistance on that point.

A major improvement from the original is the character of Jack Holloway. Rather than the 70+ year-old father-figure of Piper’s original, Scalzi’s Jack is a young, morally-ambiguous loner. Holloway is a disbarred lawyer turned prospector who’s smart, common-sensical and very self-centered. While not immoral, he spends his time acting in his own best interest and is unconcerned about breaking rules or telling the occasional fib in order to get his way.

For all that, Jack is still likable and his “less than pure” motivations for doing what he does acts as an emotional restraint (in a good way) for Scalzi in telling the story. Rather than a moral champion like Atticus Finch, we get a Han Solo scoundrel who slowly grows into his role as savior for the rebellion against the empire Fuzzies against the corporation.

As for the Fuzzies. They are terrific characters that never cross the line from people to play thing. Again, Scalzi handles them wonderfully. You’ll see.

This is a classic science fiction yarn that does a terrific job of reminding us all why we love these kinds of stories. Smart, funny, engaging and, ultimately, uplifting.

Profile Image for Patrick.
Author 90 books232k followers
December 5, 2011
I never read the original story Scalzi drew inspiration from (H. Beam Piper's Little Fuzzy).

Despite the fact that I read this blind, I really enjoyed the book. It had all the pleasantly nostalgic feel of a classic golden-age sci-fi story, but without the ponderous description and opaque language that tends to make some of those older stories less than easy reading....
Profile Image for David Putnam.
Author 16 books1,517 followers
March 13, 2020
I read all genres as long as they are well written with strong craft and characters. One of my favorite Scifi novels of recent years was Old Man's War, what a great tale, highly recommend it. Ghost Brigade was almost as good but after that one they started to flag as far as quality and I lost interest. I picked up Fuzzy Nation and could not put the book down. The writing isn't complicated but the characters are excellent and the story just pulls you along. The premise is kind of out there but the book delves into issues you wouldn't normally think about. At it's base the book is a courtroom drama set in a space opera. Well done and I highly recommended.

David Putnam author of The Bruno Johnson series.
Profile Image for Dan Schwent.
2,929 reviews10.6k followers
August 7, 2011
On Zara XXIII, disbarred lawyer and current mineral prospector Jack Holloway finds an unimaginably valuable seam of sunstones, one that will make him unbelievably rich. Shortly thereafter, Holloway meets some of the world's native life, catlike creatures he names Fuzzys. Unfortunately, the Fuzzys appear to be sentient, putting Jack's, and ZaraCorp's, claim on the trillion credit sunstone seam in jeopardy. What's a prospector to do?

The Scalz does it again. Fuzzy Nation is a hilarious re-imaginging (I feel dirty using that term and not good dirty) of H. Beam Piper's Little Fuzzy, a book I have not read.

First of all, Fuzzy Nation isn't as good as Old Man's War. I'll get that off my chest right now. But it's still good. It raises interesting questions about what it means to be sentient, the effects of mining on native life, and teaching dogs how to detonate explosives.

Holloway isn't a nice guy but I wound up liking him anyway. He's antagonistic and kind of slimy. He was, after all, formerly a lawyer. The supporting cast more than makes up for Holloway's flaws. As he says himself at one point, he was the right guy surrounded by good people. The rich supporting cast kept me from giving this book a three.

That's not to say Holloway doesn't rise to the occasion to defend the Fuzzys. Of course he does. It's just for a while, I wasn't sure how he was going to do it. His emotions toward the end of the story were well done.

The Fuzzys were cute but not nauseatingly so, like certain George Lucas creations that live on Endor that shall remain nameless. When the shit hit the fan, I was ready to charge in and give them a hand.

To sum up, The Scalz took a sf classic and made it funny. It's a good weekend morning read.

Topic for discussion: Is Scalzi's reimagining of an sf classic the forerunner of a new age where book execs go the route of Hollywood and commission people to rewrite old books instead of writing original ones? Discuss!
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,228 reviews2,057 followers
May 28, 2018
I am giving this one five stars because it was funny, very entertaining and all in all an excellent read!
If you do not normally read science fiction do not be put off because that is a very minor part of it. Okay so there are space ships and a few non human creatures but basically the story is about the awful things we can do to the environment in order to make money and how sometimes a few people come forward to fight the fight and maybe even win.
Jack is an unlikely hero but a very likeable one. He is smart, cunning and frequently objectionable in often very funny ways. His side kick, Carl, (a dog) is delightful. Best of all of course are the Fuzzies but you must read the book if you want to know about them.
I had not read anything by John Scalzi before but I certainly will look out for him now.
Profile Image for Amanda.
282 reviews315 followers
August 4, 2014
I have never read a John Scalzi novel before, but I certainly don't think this will be my last. Fuzzy Nation is apparently a "reboot" of an earlier science fiction classic, although that's a novel with which I am unfamiliar (so I can't offer any comparisons to how Scalzi's reimagining of the novel measures up to the original). What I can say is that Scalzi's novel is both humorous and thought-provoking.

Fuzzy Nation is set in a future where mankind has successfully managed deep space exploration to the point where we colonize other planets. Of course (and I don't think this is too far off the mark here because we are avaricious bastards), our only interest in other planets is purely economic--we strip these planets of the natural resources we've depleted from earth and then we toss the planet aside like a banana peel and move on. This has led to the creation of mega-corporations, Zarathustra and Blue Sky, which make trillions off of their outer-planet mining industries. But ecologists have begun to take note and these corporations find their greedy little hands inconveniently bound by an ever-broadening range of EPA style rules and regulations, the most significant of which is that mining may not take place on planets that have been proven to have sentient life--at any stage in the evolutionary process.

Those who colonize these planets are migrant contractors and surveyors who move where the work is. Jack Holloway is one such contractor. Working for ZaraCorp, Jack is a misfit who seldom responds to anything appropriately, is purposefully antagonistic, and speaks sarcasm as if it's a second language. Jack is an asshole, a quality which I find endearing because he's amusing and you get a sense that, for all of his self-centered swagger, he's actually a moralistic asshole when it matters. The conflict of the novel centers on Jack, who has just discovered a seam of sunstone that could make him (and the generations who come after him) ridiculously wealthy. The problem? He has also just discovered the fuzzys, a cat-like animal that, as the novel goes on, may prove to be sentient. This pits Jack against his former girlfriend (the on-planet biologist), the corporation that must share the wealth with Jack (and whose ruthlessness may imperil Jack's life), and against his own self-interest.

Where the novel goes depends upon whether Jack really is a good guy or not, a point that always seems debatable, which is why the use of an anti-hero as the main character is a stroke of genius. The reader hopes Jack will do the right thing, but can never be definitively certain that he will. The other bit of genius is that the evidence suggesting the fuzzys may be sentient is doubtful at best and this ambiguity also calls into question when and how do we decide that life is expendable and when it is not. Overall, I think Scalzi pulls off something very rare in fiction: a novel that makes you think about important issues without being overly preachy and also allows you to laugh along the way.

Cross posted at This Insignificant Cinder and at Shelf Inflicted
Profile Image for Megan Baxter.
985 reviews656 followers
May 19, 2014
Fuzzy Nation, a retelling of H. Beam Piper's classic Little Fuzzy, is a quick and fairly easy read, but one that I thoroughly enjoyed. I would sit down, and fifty pages would fly by faster than it seemed they possibly could. Here is not dense narrative prose. This is straightforward, moves along well, and is often funny and always entertaining.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook
Profile Image for Timothy Urgest.
507 reviews264 followers
March 24, 2019
Jack Holloway, anti-hero extraordinaire, is a former lawyer/current surveyor contracted to work on the planet Zarathustra XXIII. Holloway discovers a rich seam of very rare sunstones that will quickly make him a profitable man. After this discovery, Holloway’s attitude leads to complications surrounding whose pockets the new wealth will fall into. To complicate the situation further, Holloway meets a new creature never before encountered on Zarathustra XXIII. And they might be sentient.

Fuzzy Nation is a cute ecological legal drama that left me feeling hopeful.

My only complaint is that John Scalzi uses so many dialogue tags that it heavily stunts the writing. It is not necessary to tag every single line of dialogue, especially when only two characters are speaking. Other than that, the characters are likable and fallible, and the pacing is done well.
Profile Image for HBalikov.
1,737 reviews650 followers
July 22, 2018
This is one of Scalzi’s wittiest/funniest efforts. But that doesn’t mean he won’t take up a serious topic. Here it is: If humans exploit a planet that has a sentient species on it, what are the consequences?
Jack Holloway has been hired by the big corporation to find valuable material that can be mined. He and his dog, Carl, have been at this for several years. Jack has trained Carl to set off explosives……but that’s another part of the plot. Jack is not your everyday loveable lead character.

“It’ll make me look like an asshole,” Holloway said.
“Everyone thinks you’re an asshole anyway, Holloway,” Aubrey said. “No offense.”
“None taken,” Holloway said."
Scalzi likes dialogue. He uses it almost exclusively to move the plot along. And, he uses it with great skill.
"…You’d be doing the universe the favor.”
“That is, if you can get him to accept it,” Holloway said.
“Don’t you worry about that,” Meyer said. “That’s my job, and I’m good at it.”
“I’m sure you are,” Holloway said.
“So we have a deal,” Meyer said.
“Absolutely not,” Holloway said.
“No deal,” Meyer said.
“No way,” Holloway said. “Not a chance in Hell.”
“Can I ask why not?” Meyer asked.
“Because, Ms. Meyer,” Holloway said, “with all due respect for your considerable skills and intellect, the fact of the matter is you have absolutely no clue what it is I want out of this.”
There is plenty of this that parallels concerns about our own actions and their “unintended consequences” for the other living things on planet Earth. Thanks to my GR friend Monica for her encouragement to move this up on my TBR.
Profile Image for Paul O’Neill.
Author 4 books175 followers
September 21, 2016
This was delightful. It made me chuckle a lot but it also made me very sad. I think its an excellent commentary on what we would do as a race if we ever travel amongst the stars.

As a general point, I don't know how I feel about book reboots. I hate the film industry for doing nothing but pointless reboots and I'd hate for books to follow suit. That said I havent read Little Fuzzy, the orginal version of this book that Scalzi updated. Thoughts? Are there very many book reboots out there? Do they work well? This is the first I've encountered.

Great story, adorable creatures, funny main character and a middle finger pointed squarely at corporate humanity. Well worth a read.
Profile Image for Mimi.
694 reviews191 followers
January 31, 2019
A quick, fun, humorous story about ecology, sustainable living, and ethics.

A snarky unfortunate contractor, Jack Holloway, who’s down on his luck, accidentally struck gold which then sets in motion a series of events that pit him against Zaracorp, a powerful entity that more or less owns the planet and is looking to exploit Holloway’s discovery. In short, they want him out of the way, permanently, but he wouldn’t give in so easily. What follow are hilarious exchanges of corporate speak and lawyerly threats, coming from both sides.

As this is happening, a family of small cat-like creatures befriend Holloway and decide to move into his cabin in the trees. They seem awfully intelligent and intuitive for mere animals, and that’s because they’re sapient. Since universal laws protect sapient life forms at all costs, the creatures’ existence poses a major threat to Holloway’s and Zaracorps’ claims on the planet’s resources, just as these claims are a major threat to all life on this planet. Holloway, who up until then only cares about his rightful share of the profits, has to decide whether or not to go public about the fuzzies.

I absolutely love this book and will be rereading it for years to come.

Full review at https://covers2covers.wordpress.com/2...

* * * * *

UPDATE: reread September 2017

Still as good as I remember.

This is one of the few books I reread in parts because it's just so comforting to me.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 6 books3,976 followers
August 26, 2013
I admit I've never read any of Mr. Piper's works but now I've got a real hankering to do so. I loved this story. It had everything. Furries, exploitation, edge-of-the-seat legal drama, and one hell of a tinseltown ending. I was almost swearing to myself that I was reading a Heinlein novel that was updated to modern standards until I realized, for the tenth time, that I was reading one of my favorite modern authors, Mr. John Scalzi, and I subsequently face-palmed myself.
This was a quick and easy read, but by no means was it simple or lacking depth. I laughed out loud and I even dropped the book to clap. I even cursed myself when I dropped the book because I normally don't drop or throw books. Fortunately, I didn't forget my place and was able to keep reading with minimal interruption.

I can't praise the novel enough. It had heart.
Profile Image for Veronique.
1,233 reviews169 followers
January 31, 2019
Now that my other half has found the wonder that are audiobooks, I’m introducing him to some of my favourite scifi novels. Well, starting with the fun ones :0)
Scalzi is soon becoming one of my go-to scifi authors when I want an entertaining read, mixing adventure with humour while having a serious undercurrent.

In this instance, we have the stereotypical big bad corporation out to exploit a planet for all its resources, which it can carry on doing by law unless the newly found native creatures, who look like a cross between cats and monkeys, are declared sentient. Add to this the character of Jack Holloway, sarcastic independent contractor, bad boy extraordinaire, who finds himself in the very centre of the situation when he really just wants to make his fortune.

It all sounds very straightforward and perhaps not that exciting but it is the manner in which the author treats the story that makes all the difference. Yes, there are a few thrilling action scenes but these are not the main element of the book - far from it. Holloway, as well as the other main protagonists, is well drawn and not just one-dimensional. Throughout the story, we get to scratch a little at his character, finding out that he has a heart and conscience, which his decisions don't always showcase, but ultimately you never know exactly what he has up his sleeve or in his mind. The Fuzzies are of course beyond cute, but again not what they seem, which makes the story all the more interesting.

The other thing that impressed me in this novel is that it is really a courtroom drama. Lawyers have the spotlight and the fate of the planet is fought not with weapons and brute force, but with cunning and knowledge of rules and regulations.

While entertaining us with this adventure, Scalzi is also touching on several philosophical points. As found in his other books, he doesn't force them at you but instead weaves them in the background. Smart.
Profile Image for aPriL does feral sometimes .
1,893 reviews430 followers
November 10, 2017
So, the neighbor's cat looks up at me and meows.

"What? You want in my house?" I ask, looking into his yellow eyes which are fixed on me, compelling me to interact with him.

He looks 'hopefully' into my eyes.

"You think if you stare at me, I'm gonna get all mushy and gooey and let you enjoy some of this delicious cooked chicken I just bought, and what I plan to put on my plate as soon as I open this door?"

His lower jaw trembles as a pathetic mew stutters from his lips. He winds his black and white fuzzy body around my legs, and then a loud purr bursts from him, vibrating against my calf. He's certain he has won.

You know what? He has. I hold the screen door open for him.

‘Fuzzy Nation’ had me at when the main character: "Holloway stared back at the cat. It took him a second to remember that he didn't own a cat. It took him a second after that to remember that cats didn't usually stand on two legs."

I was squealing like a girl! Wait. That's because I am a girl, even though my hair be sprinkled with grey.

Jack Holloway's personality is best described as having the crust of a 1930's lawless entrepreneur overlying the sophisticated veneer of a lawyer, which is what he was on Earth. He has the mind of a Wall Street quant - able to think three steps ahead in a multidimensional game, but he hides this most valuable asset. Instead, he is playing at the job of land surveyor for a rapacious mining company, which is intent on taking apart a life-filled planet. However, the animals on Zarathustra are not sentient, an important legal certification which allows ZaraCorp's extraction of the planet's mineral wealth.

Jack has a prefabricated tree house he has built on the boundary of one of the forests which mostly cover the raptor populated planet, staying one step ahead of his creditors, ZaraCorp's ruthless contract negotiations with its contractors such as himself, and the law. If he's very good, Holloway could soon be very very rich, having discovered by accident rare jewels when he accidentally blows the face of a cliff off. Or rather, his dog Carl, blows it up, since Holloway has illegally trained his dog to push the button for the explosives to be set off. He's already been in trouble for this and has made enemies. But both he and Carl love it, so he still is having Carl do it secretly. After all, as a contractor, he is mostly on his own flying his skimmer around the land he is contracted to survey on the sparsely populated planet. He is efficient at dealing with the employees of the mining company, never forgetting they are his adversaries, not his friends, intent as they are to hire him for the least money. He is doing well enough.

Until the incredibly cute fuzzy cat thing is looking at him through his window.

When I was 13, my two favorite things was my kitty and a television show called 'The Man from U.N.C.L.E. When my creative writing teacher asked our class to write for our final term paper a thirty page short story, I started on mine right away. I knew what story I had to put down. Hadn't I been writing it in my head already during my daydreaming?

Drum roll please......

Secret Agent KITTY! Talking educated cats! Spy cats with ray guns! Heroic cats who save the Earth from a terrible weapon developed by the evil agency, R.A.T.S.! But never fear, Sweetie will save the day with a swish from her tail and her sidekick, Rascal!

I got an A.

Fortunately, my story has been lost in the mists of time. Whatever my teacher may have actually thought about my silly heroine she never said. If she liked science fiction at all, she must have read the hundreds of excellent books created by my competition, who had the jump on me in age, wisdom and talent.

Not only did the original science fiction authors blow my generation's minds with their never before imagined serious and heart-rending moralistic space adventures, after them were decades of a writer explosion in extrapolated scientific imagination and snarky baby boomer humor that the 'golden' era of science fiction couldn't match, since many boomer generation authors never had enjoyed the back-breaking soul-destroying worries of farm labor or ever been without Saturday morning cartoons on TV. We boomers, as children, actually saw the first human being walk on the moon on live television. The only early movie which initiated what boomer science fiction was to become was 'The Thing from Another World' in 1951. The fast talking smart dialogue of that script has become the staple of most youth-oriented movies, comics and books, with the science fiction genre especially producing blockbuster verbal cleverness.

Now, after 100 years of development (starting with H.G.Wells, IMHO, although I know that can be argued), science fiction has truly entered another era - the fine-tuned HD voice which has assimilated everything from before and is now rebooting it all in extrapolated creativity and knowing mockery, yet underlying it still is a serious moral adventure. Mature genres may be done saying something new, but now they are having fun reshaping the familiar into exciting new designs.

Take the movie dialogue of 'His Girl Friday' (1940) and 'The Thing from Another World' combine it with comic book angst and urban cynicism, mix it well with quant logic and analytical strategic intelligence - and the result is now usually my joy. For me, this book is part of that combined fun, but well-done, rebooting of familiar themes. John Scalzi is SO good at this!

I highly recommend this book.
Profile Image for Carolyn.
2,179 reviews617 followers
September 13, 2019
Jack Holloway a debarred lawyer and now independent mining contractor has just found a major seam of a rare gem on the planet Zarathustra that will make him and ZaraCorp, the company he's working for very rich. ZaraCorp intends to strip the planet of all valuable minerals before moving on to the next one. However, mining is only allowed on planets without sentient life so when Jack later discovers a small fuzzy animal that may prove to be sentient he faces the prospect of losing a fortune.

This is a David and Goliath story with Jack facing a powerful corporation which effectively controls the planet and is not adverse to foul play and manipulation. There's a reason Jack likes to work alone with just his dog Carl for company. He's the sort of guy who antagonises people who don't play fair with him and lies when he feels it's for the right reason, but he's smart and resourceful someone you'll grow to like. This leads to an interesting plot as we're never quite sure what Jack is going to do next but whatever it is it will be surprising. The supporting cast, including Carl the dog and the wonderful fuzzies, are great and the story is told with a lot of humour making it a very enjoyable read.

Scalzi states this is a re-working of the 1962 scifi classic Little Fuzzy by H. Beam Piper, which I'd like to read now to see how his reworked version has evolved from the original.
Profile Image for Penny.
172 reviews345 followers
January 8, 2014
Simply awesome! This book really wasn't what I was expecting and I have to say I enjoyed it far more than I thought I would.

I really liked the main characters and I have to say that Carl is one of my all time favourite characters! :) Jack is hilarious and complex and flawed and very real. I immediately enjoyed his attitude towards authority and found his banter with anyone who tried to enforce rules on him very amusing. The extensive cast of characters that Jack meets and encounters throughout the book were each great in their own way, even the ones I hated at first. Very few people were cut and dry, most had layers and I changed my mind about a few people I thought I'd written off or vice versa.

The world building was very cleverly and effortlessly done. The set up of where we are and how the world is run was explained in a natural and easy manner. I thought the laws and regulations that exploratory companies need to adhere to due to social pressures very interesting.

The nature of the system of law and how it plays out throughout the book was both clever and hilarious at times. There were a lot of very well placed checks and balances in place that were so simple and very effective.

This story was funny and moving and beautiful and sad and clever. There are so many elements that come together to make this the fantastic read that it is. I'm very interested in getting my hands on the original story that this one was based on to see how much of this was Scalzi and how much of it was in the original by H. Beam Piper.

Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Mili.
389 reviews33 followers
October 30, 2017
An adorable and fuzzy read :). It took me a while to warm up to the writing so that it read fluently. Its a short book and covers one thing, getting the fuzzies recognized as 'people'. This way the mining of the planet would stop and not emptied out. You follow Jack and his dog. There is an animal factor to this plot along with the fuzzies that makes it all cute.

Its entertaining and funny with adventure :) Safe the fuzzies!
3.5 stars~
Profile Image for Chris  Haught.
576 reviews214 followers
February 16, 2015
How is it that this book has been out for 4 years and I'm just now reading it? I remember when it came out thinking that it was an homage to H. Beam Piper's novel (which it is), and that I'd need to have read that one to get this one. That's not the case; after doing a little more looking, I saw that this is a reboot of the original, rather than a sequel. Scalzi explains all of this very well in his introduction.

Well, today was a good day for it, so that worked out; I needed a good distraction. This audio reading was perfect for that, with Wil Wheaton at the helm.

While I've read several John Scalzi short stories over the last few years, this was the first novel I've tried. Well, if that's any indication of what I've been missing, I'll be looking into more of his work very soon.

I loved the last sentence (before the epilogue). Perfect.
Profile Image for Jim.
Author 7 books2,030 followers
March 12, 2017
I really liked this. I haven't read Piper's novel or forgot it if I ever did, so I can't make any comparisons. Typical of Scalzi, it was a quick, well told tale full of great characters. The hero of the story is wonderful. He's quite the rascal. This is a space opera, has an exotic clime, & a fairly obvious plot. If you're looking for SF entertainment, you'll find it here. No great revelations or enduring wisdom, but a hell of a lot of fun.

Update: in March 2017, I finally got around to reading Little Fuzzy. My review is here:
I'm wondering why Scalzi bothered to update the story.
Profile Image for Rachel (TheShadesofOrange).
2,090 reviews2,953 followers
July 28, 2021
4.0 Stars
This was an entertaining science fiction standalone filled with humor. The story started out light in tone, but became more serious and emotional as the story progressed.The themes of corporate greed and environmental protectionism were simple yet effective. The fuzzy creatures were adorable, but my favourite aspect of the story were the litigation. I need to find more sci fi books involving legal jargon and court cases.
Profile Image for Silvana.
1,151 reviews1,118 followers
April 7, 2018
3.5 stars. It is a cute novel, (mostly) literally and (somewhat) figuratively. Started with a dog being taught to detonate stuff and followed by a discovery of cute cat-like creatures who are smarter than the awfully cute dog.

Then it launched into a countless series of legal debate. What I meant by countless is a lot. All dialogue is about legal thingies it made me feel like I am watching Law and Order (in Space), A Few Good Men (Corporate version), or Ally McBeal (with dancing animals). Anyway, the characters are pretty cardboardy (Scalzi is not known for memorable characters, except Carl the Doggo) especially the evil ones (so predictable) but at least Scalzi knows how to create witty convos that keep one entertained. Although, for a plebes like me I found it rather exhausting to read legal arguments in every forking chapter.

Anyway, the simple, central idea is appreciated. How would men react if they have to choose between riches and sentient beings? We are known to be destroyers of things so what about our preservation nature? Will we still retain some bits of it in the future? Especially if the native sentient beings are not as cute as the fuzzies?

In short, fun and furry story with lots and lots of lawyering going on.
Profile Image for Xabi1990.
1,972 reviews850 followers
December 2, 2020
leído en 2012, 9/10.

Remake de Encuentro en Zarathustra, de H. Beam Piper reescrito por John Scalzi, un autor de CF que escribe de forma totalmente amena y enganchante.

Este libro tiene temática ecologista y tierna, sobre el descubrimiento de seres inteligentes en un mundo explotado por la malvada corporación tan al uso en la ciencia ficción. Recomendable incluso para los no amantes de la CF.

Pues eso escribí y desde entonces hasta hoy, 2020, Scalzi es de mis favoritos en CF. Siempre entretenido, siempre engancha (vale, salvo una de sus novelas)
Profile Image for Rose.
795 reviews46 followers
March 5, 2017
Little Fuzzy is one of those books that Goodreads has been recommending to me since I joined, so it's been going on for a while. I occasionally look at it but then look at when it was written and decide against it. Some things don't age well and I really had the impression I was going to be reading a story with Ewoks in it.

Then I find out it's been remade, by Scalzi no less. OK, so now it's a must-read. Which I did in a day. And it wasn't what I thought it would be. It was much, much better and certainly more serious than I'd imagined. I honestly thought the Fuzzys were going to be more of a side show or comic relief.

Fuzzy Nation is about corporate greed mixed with a huge helping of the question of what determines sentience. The Fuzzys are discovered but it's unknown if they are really cute, intelligent animals or if they are this planet's version of Neanderthal. This is important to a major mining corporation who just came upon the motherload because you can strip a planet down to almost nothing if they just have animals, but if they have potential people, you can't take what's theirs.

This was sooo good and of course I recommend it but not just to science fiction lovers. This is something that everyone would enjoy.
Profile Image for Sanaa.
412 reviews2,554 followers
September 16, 2019
[4.5 Stars] This one was pretty brilliant! Hilarious, witty, emotional, and even a little bit cheesy (both the good and bad kind of cheese), Fuzzy Nation will literally give you all of the fuzzy feelings, make you fist pump, and of course squeal in delight. I think I particularly loved how smart out main protagonist is. Sure he bugs you, but his dog is adorable so that makes up for it (mostly). This one was really close to a five star rating, like so freaking close, but something about the cheesy almost Batman-esque line Jack says at the end of the book made me scrunch my face in an expression that says, "No, just stop." Everything else about the book I absolutely loved, but that line Jack, THAT LINE. It was just straight up cheesy. That being said, this was fabulous. Read it all of you. Right now...

Did you start it yet? No? What are you waiting for?

Still waiting here.
Profile Image for Jeffrey.
890 reviews109 followers
June 23, 2011
Fuzzy Nation is an interesting concept. Scalzi's book has the same characters, and is basically the same novel as Little Fuzzy, H. Beam Piper's award winning novel, just re-imagined and retold. Think of it as Little Fuzzy 2.0

I have read Little Fuzzy and its sequels, including the well done book by William Tuning. Its interesting that Scalzi did not do a sequel or another book with similar aliens and similar events, but with his own characters.

Scalzi, I would guess, if asked would state that his novel, his retelling of the story, is a little more realistic about the actions of some of the characters. I will not give anything further away.

Its a quick read, and well written, yet just because its more realistic is it better.

If I had to say, I would say the original, even if more saintly, was a better story, but that Scalzi, writes a story that is more adult.

IN Scalzi's forward he states that he hopes that a new generation goes back and reads Little Fuzzy by Piper. We shall see.

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