Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Fuzzy Nation is a re-working of H. Beam Piper’s Little Fuzzy, a wonderful first contact story. Jack Holloway is an independent surveyor for ZaraCorp, exploring the planet looking for resources that can be mined. He causes a large scale cliff collapse, and ZaraCorp is in the process of canceling his contract, when Jack discovers a large vein of extremely precious jewels. He manages to lay claim to the vein, and negotiates a deal with ZaraCorp that will make him a very wealthy man. As with all planetary exploitations, ZaraCorps claim to this one is based on the lack of sapient native life on the planet. However, when a “Fuzzy” shows up at Jack’s remote cabin, bringing his family with him, Jack begins to doubt that lack. The Fuzzies show more and more evidence that they are truly people and not just smart animals. And ZaraCorp seems willing to stop at nothing to keep their claim on the planet intact.
Is this Piper’s story, simply retold? No. It’s a fully reimagined version of the story. Scalzi keeps the original framework, updating the details and characters. It is Piper’s story only in a broad sense, and, as it stands, is a pretty good read unless you are looking for a simple retelling. Characters are changed, left out, and combined in new ways. The corporate greed element is here, as are the questions of what, exactly, constitutes intelligent life. Jack Holloway here is a bit of a con man, selfish, and not above a bit of trickery to get what he wants. Still, the story is anchored in its predecessor, and is a nice homage to Piper.
The book is a fairly quick read, the action moves at a good pace, and the twists are nicely done. The future world is believable, the technology makes sense, and characters are interesting. All in all, I found it an enjoyable read.
Six of One: A Collection of Short Fantasy by M.A. Kropp is a set of short fantasy stories. Meet wizards, imps, gangster angels, and frogs in this group of varied tales of magic and mischief. Escape from the everyday into worlds of fantasy with Six of One: A Collection of Short Fantasy.
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