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Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi

Fuzzy Nation (edition 2012)

by John Scalzi

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7447412,508 (3.9)42
Title:Fuzzy Nation
Authors:John Scalzi
Info:Tor Science Fiction (2012), Edition: Reprint, Mass Market Paperback, 368 pages
Collections:Your library, Audiobooks

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Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi


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Scalzi is funny in the right places, morally concerned in the right places, critical in the right places, and I'm really pleased that the Little Fuzzy reboot is full of this appropriate sense of timing and a light touch with his social commentary.

The best things about Fuzzy Nation, in my reading (listening) of it were the smart ass lawyer passages and Holloway's slow reveal of his character.

Also worth noting are the light touch that Scalzi has with his moral commentary. Holloway begins as and remains a financially motivated exploiter of natural resources. He doesn't give up on his project of getting rich, he just sorts out his priorities. Also, I really, really like the way Holloway's non-apology is resolved. This is an excellent model for why apologies can ring hollow and how to eventually do it correctly.

Wil Wheaton is, of course, the ideal narrator for this story. Holloway is the sort of character he has been playing on shows like Eureka and Leverage in recent years. ( )
  nnschiller | Sep 18, 2014 |
Jack Holloway is a contractor who's on the cusp of becoming a billionaire after an unfortunate mishap with a collapsing cliff. But when a question comes up about sentience on this particular planet, money and life are in danger of big corporation schemes. Fuzzy Nation is a lawyer meets crusader-for-a-species type of book.

I really enjoyed this book. What drives this book is plot. We're quickly inserted into this new world and learn about the laws that surround contracting and world mining and such. And then the introduction of the fuzzys are quite adorable and perfectly timed.

The courtroom scenes are done rather well because they are imaginable. Tension and voices and objections are bright in my mind when I read Scalzi's words.

I love the romance - or rather, the lack thereof. It's great to see a book not concentrate on the tangles of love (especially in a sort of crime-scene lawyer type book) but still have aspects of human interactions and bantering for us to enjoy.

The only thing I am not sold on is Holloway's personality. He gives a ton of monologues about his goals and aims and what drives him to do certain things, but I don't quite believe him.

Overall, a book worth 4 stars. I wish this were a series because I would read all of the sequels. Highly recommended for people who like fast paced action. Perhaps Dresden fans would find this most amusing. ( )
  NineLarks | Sep 15, 2014 |
This is a re-imagining of H. Beam Piper's Fuzzy Sapiens. I thought it was well done.
  RapidCityPubLib | Sep 6, 2014 |
Scalzi's story is set in a distant future when corporations strip-mine entire planets if the Colonial Authority doesn’t stop them first, Jack Holloway discovers an unbelievably rich seam of sunstones on Zara XXIII, exquisite jewels found only on that planet. Holloway has a past as a disbarred lawyer and in his new career the claim he makes on the seam puts serious stress on his relationship with ZaraCorp, the company that runs Zara XXIII. And that’s before he discovers a race of native creatures whose potential sapience could nullify ZaraCorp’s mining rights on the planet. In his original novel, Piper presented issues including the meaning of sentience and the ethics of the mining companies who took advantage of the resources on vulnerable alien planets. Scalzi updates Piper's story and more importantly provides richer characters (both alien and human) who are believably real. Piper’s Jack Holloway is a crotchety prospector with the proverbial heart of gold; Scalzi’s Holloway is brilliant, but sometimes he makes the unwise moral choice as a way of railing against the universe. Scalzi also updates and expands upon the cynicism of the original to be more familiar to a contemporary audience: Piper’s corporation attempts to hide its frequent environmental depredations from notice (and also plans to wipe out the Fuzzies), while Scalzi’s has the corporation develop a public “eco-friendly” campaign. Scalzi ends up improving on Piper's novel with a richer and deeper story that still pays homage to the classic SF style of the fifties and sixties. Piper's novel seems somewhat juvenile in comparison. Scalzi's Fuzzy Nation is compact and readable with some great courtroom scenes.
His update is a worthy successor to the classic novel from the sixties that began our (especially those of us who were teens back then) fascination with the lovable aliens known as Fuzzies. ( )
  jwhenderson | May 20, 2014 |
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

When Jack Holloway??s dog blows up a cliff during a prospecting mission on the planet Zarathustra, Jack loses his contract with ZaraCorp. Fortunately, inside the cliff he discovers the biggest vein of precious gems that have ever been found on the planet and he gets to take a percentage of the profits as finderƒ??s fee. Things start to get complicated when Jack returns home to discover that his house has been invaded by a fuzzy mammal that seems a lot smarter than he should be on this planet that has no sapient creatures. When he calls in his ex-girlfriend, ZaraCorpƒ??s biologist, to have a look, they realize that there may be trouble ahead. A sapient race means that ZaraCorp will have to give up their rights to the planetƒ??s resources. Murder attempts and court cases ensue.

Fuzzy Nation is John Scalziƒ??s ƒ??rebootƒ? of H. Beam Piperƒ??s Little Fuzzy. I mostly enjoyed Piperƒ??s original plotline, but his novel got bogged down in long repetitive discussions about sapience which included some outdated ideas about the nature of consciousness. Not his fault, of course, since those ideas were trendy (though not empirically derived) back then, but they did make Little Fuzzy feel dated. In addition, the court proceedings were laughable and this is not likely to be dismissed by todayƒ??s readers who have grown up watching courtroom drama on TV.

In Fuzzy Nation, Scalzi has not only ditched the bad court procedures and old psychology (he replaced Freudƒ??s psychoanalytic theory with Theory of Mind), but he has also eliminated the dull sapience discussions, too. This is still a story about what it means to be sapient, but Scalzi manages to intelligently address the issue without making us watch his characters sit around and talk about it. He also does a better job of explaining why humans shouldnƒ??t be removing resources from planets with sapient races.

Scalziƒ??s characters are also more vibrant, especially Jack Holloway who, in Piperƒ??s version, addressed himself as ƒ??Pappy Jack.ƒ? In Scalziƒ??s version, Holloway is a young hot-head who doesnƒ??t seem to be able to open his mouth without spitting testosterone. Jackƒ??s dog Carl is a welcome addition and his interactions with the cute Fuzzies gives the book some warmth and humor. I also liked Jackƒ??s ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend who becomes Jackƒ??s lawyer. All of the men in Scalziƒ??s story are unrelievedly aggressive and sarcastic, and Iƒ??m tempted to assume this is some manifestation of John Scalziƒ??s own personality, but instead Iƒ??ll argue that those types of personalities are likely to be disproportionately found on a distant inhospitable planet thatƒ??s home to man-eating raptors.

I listened to the audiobook version of Fuzzy Nation which has been produced by Brilliance Audio and Audible Frontiers. Itƒ??s the same recording, but the Audible Frontiers version includes H. Beam Piperƒ??s Little Fuzzy. Fuzzy Nation is narrated by John Scalziƒ??s friend, actor Wil ƒ??Donƒ??t be a Dick!ƒ? Wheaton. He did a great job with all of the characters and he was especially perfect for the role of Jack Holloway. (I guess itƒ??s okay to be a dick if youƒ??re just acting).

Fuzzy Nation is a successful re-write of Piperƒ??s classic, and I can heartily recommend it. The audio version is especially rewarding. If you want to read Little Fuzzy first, you can download a free print version because itƒ??s in the public domain.

Originally posted at Fantasy Literature. ( )
  Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
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John Scalziprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wheaton, WilNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Jack Holloway, prospecting on Zara XXIII for ZaraCorp, finds an immensely valuable stream of sunstone. But when he forwards footage of the planet's catlike, native "fuzzies" to a biologist friend --who believes the "fuzzies" are sentient--hired company thugs, murder, and arson soon follow to protect ZaraCorp's mining interests.… (more)

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