This is a fun, quick read and one of my kids' favorites even though it is not a children's book (there is some swearing that will offend some, and a violent scene probably not appropriate for really young ones), but my kids were 11 and 17 at the time and both just loved it.
I loved the reluctant hero of the main character Jack, and especially his relationship with is dog Carl. I also loved the anti-corporate, yet not bludgeoning you over the head, message (which is fairly common in sci-fi anyway).
The only reason I gave the story 4 stars is because it is a little simplistic for adult fiction and I will agree that Scalzi overuses "says" to the point that it is sometimes distracting if there's a lot of quick back and forth between characters.
And then there's Wil. I can't love his narration of this story enough. Wil just knows how to read Scalzi's work perfectly. I can hear in his voice his own amusement or sadness at what he's reading and I think his cadence is perfect for it.
This is a fun book and I especially recommend it in audio form!
I really loved John Scalzi's version of Fuzzy Nation. He did a great job and it was enjoyable to hear the original afterwards.
The is one of the best - up in the top 10%
When Papa was testifying, it brought tears to my eyes
The back story about the inception of the book was interesting. Wil brought the right amount of indignation and disrepect for authority...
The best thing about this selection is that it includes H. Beam Piper's original story with John Scalzi's updated treatment. Scalzi didn't just modernize the classic story - he used the basic premise and some character names but followed his own creative path in character development and plot. It turned different enough to be enjoyable on its own merits. The original still shines, despite some anachronistic sexism, obsolete technology, and lots of cigarettes.
The narrators enhanced the differences between the stories. Wil Wheaton narrated Fuzzy Nation with only limited attempts at character voices, so the dialogue needed "_____ said" after every quote for clarity. This got annoying after a while. Peter Ganim narrates Little Fuzzy with voices, making the dialogue was truer to the text, though the strong ethnic accents of some characters was also a little distracting.
Little Fuzzy was already a classic by the time I started reading SF as a teen, but its juvenile-sounding title kept me from reading it. It took John Scalzi's rewrite to convince me to give it a try as an audiobook, and I'm so glad I did.
Fuzzy Nation and Little Fuzzy are one of my best audio experiences this year. I like both stories and the narration was excellent.
In this audio book you get to compare Scalzi's telling of the story with Piper's original story. Although I like Scalzi his story is more light weight and almost a cliche compared to the original. Story is 4 for Scalzi and 5 for Piper. My ratings are reversed for the naration.
Wil Wheaton is an excellent narrator but I think little was added to the story or intro by having excellent narration. Perhaps the emotional impact is improved by the narration, that is the one thing Scalzi heightened and improved upon the original and Wil really brought it out.
Toward the end of both stories ??? yes.
I like Scalzi but Piper's Little Fuzzy is better and a 5 star classic. Your mileage may vary.
Not every story and reader keep me fully engaged. These did. Probably shouldn't have been listening and driving....
H. Beam Piper's Little Fuzzy is one of my favorite books to re-read. That said I would like to highly recommend Fuzzy Nation, John Scalzis reimagining of the Fuzzy novels. The characters are well fleshed out, the storyline twists just enough from the original to keep you wondering what will happen next, and Wil Wheaton did an excellent job reading the story.
The only negative is that the word "said" was used way to often to denote dialogue.
There are a number of things that made buying this book an interesting idea. First, the idea of two novels written by two authors based on the same basic idea. I wondered exactly how different the stories would be, how interesting the second would be after reading the first and how dated the earlier version of this story might be. Second, any novel by John Scalzi seems worth at least some investigation as I have not read anything by him that I have not considered to be worth the time spent. Third, Wil Wheaton does a good enough job narrating a book that his narration made the purchase even easier. So, how are the two different stories?
Fuzzy Nation (approximately 7 hours, 20 minutes)
Simply put, this book is a gold mine and, at the same time, a roller coaster ride. It is one of the few books I have read where I could say I really did not know how it was going to turn out. Of course you have a general idea that things will turn out for the best, but this book has so many ins and outs, so many legal turns and so many unexpected developments that I was unable to figure out precisely what would happen.
At the same time this novel is just plain fun. There are laugh-out-loud moments when my wife just looked at me as if perhaps I needed to see a doctor, suspenseful moments when I did not want to stop listening and just plain interesting moments when time seemed to fly past. I have not had this much fun listening to a book is quite some time. In particular I had no idea how the courtroom drama at the end of the novel would turn out, who would win, who would lose and how all of the lose ends would get tied up. In the end Mr Scalzi did a neat job of closing all of the loose ends and answering all of the questions and in a way that caught me completely by surprise. This is not a simple book and the plot is quite involved, but also quite satisfying at the end.
The narration, of course, is first class. The writing is first class. The story is first class. The first novel in the book is worth the purchase price alone. Five stars.
Little Fuzzy (approximately 6 hours, 25 minutes)
I had such a good time with Fuzzy Nation that I was actually reluctant to start listening to Little Fizzy. It was hard for me to see how the story could match John Scalzi's re-writing of it and the narration by Peter Ganim sounded harsh and uninviting by comparison. I actually waited for a day before I even began listening and, after 20 minutes or so, stopped listening and waited another day before getting back into the novel. I should not have worried.
The main character, Jack Holloway, exists in both books but is a completely different type of person in each. He is an independent mineral prospector on the same planet in both novels, but that is the extent to which the characters match. In Little Fuzzy he sounds like an older grizzled loner as compared to the young ex-lawyer in Fuzzy Nation. His views and opinions are much more dated and altruistic in Little Fuzzy, but he is still a main character worth spending time with in both stories. He is open and welcoming to the fuzzies when he finds and makes a home for them.
Little Fuzzy is a much simpler book than Fuzzy Nation. The plot is fairly straight-forward, the characters are mostly what you expect them to be and the “bad guys” seem to be operating with a much simpler set of goals. However the story is also interesting in its own way with what turns out to be a parallel, although somewhat clearer, set of plot lines. Still, the characters are interesting, there is a good deal of uncertainty as to what will happen to the fuzzies themselves and the courtroom drama at the end is, in its own way, as interesting as the first book.
This is, in many way, a very different book from Fuzzy Nation, but is worth reading on its own. While the narration is, in my opinion, not as polished as that of Fuzzy Nation, it is still well done. Four stars.
Both books are worth spending the time. Fuzzy Nation seemed to me to be a much more sophisticated novel with deeper character development, a more nuanced story and a more satisfying ending. Little Fuzzy, which I think is worth the time on its own, seemed more superficial by comparison with a much simpler story line, more straight-forward characters and has a more paternalistic feel than Fuzzy Nation. I believe the narration of Fuzzy Nation to be better than that of Little Fuzzy, but both are good. I have rated the combined book at 5 stars since I cannot give 4 ½ stars which would be the average of the two novel ratings.
An interesting question is how my views might have changed if I had read the stores in the reverse order. Having finished both books I clearly cannot do that but readers might want to think about which one to listen to first. Regardless, I recommend this combined book to those who like science fiction and are looking for a light read.
The narration was rushed and the repetitive use of the attributives - he said...she said...he siad.....she said, was like having a splinter stuck in you hand and not able to get it out. I enjoyed the original text and narration so much more.
Between this title and a few other recent purchases, I have started to shy away from a long term love affair with science fiction. If others hadn't rated it so high I may not have been disappointed quite so much.
I am not a fan of Wil Weaton as a narrator
I would recommend that this novel was not re-released. The original was definitely dated but the rewrite did not warrant the effort.