In John Scalzi's re-imagining of H. Beam Piper's 1962 sci-fi classic Little Fuzzy, written with the full cooperation of the Piper Estate, Jack Holloway works alone for reasons he doesn't care to talk about. On the distant planet Zarathustra, Jack is content as an independent contractor for ZaraCorp, 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.
©2011 John Scalzi (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
“[Scalzi’s] style and skill make it a highly entertaining read. It succeeds both as a new novel from a talented writer and as a tribute and gateway to Piper’s work.” (Wired)
"It’s a wonderful book.... [T]he way that Scalzi puts that wonderful novel of Piper’s into a fresher context is cynically lovely.... Year’s best? Yeah, one of them." (The San Diego Union-Tribune)
“A perfectly executed plot clicks its way to a stunning courtroom showdown in a cathartic finish that will thrill Fuzzy fans old and new.” (Publishers Weekly)
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...
Say something about Yusef. Uh...he was a great horn player?
made me laugh out loud more than once. This story is hilarious and Wil Wheaton's narration makes it even better. Topical and relevant as reinterpreted - with loving attention- to today's exploitations. Sadly of course, if this were taking place in DRC it wouldn't be very funny.
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.
John Scalzi teams up with his friend Wil Wheaton again to deliver Fuzzy Nation, an entertaining short story set on a distant planet. Although this is a modern re-write of an older story it is still obvious that the original story is from a simpler time. Wheaton does his usual solid job as a narrator. He reads well but he doesn't do a lot of voices so his performances are slightly limited compared to some of the other narrators.
This is a classic tale of a corporation exploiting resources for profit and destroying the environment until a new life form is discovered - the "Fuzzies". There is an ensuing legal battle to protect the home world of the "Fuzzies" as scientists and lawyers square off with differing opinions. The moral compass of certain characters waver as vast sums of money are weighed against the protection of this newly discovered species. Scalzi injects his usual humor into the story and 7 hours felt about right for this one.
Although predictable at times if you are looking for a short, light sci-fi story then Fuzzy Nation will serve you well. Not quite a 4 star tale for me and I would have given it 3.5 stars if allowed.
A good book doesn't necessarily make a good audiobook. Fuzzy Nation however is perfect. Fantastic narration by Wil Wheaton. You can tell he has given a lot of thought beforehand but he's also one of those people who just has a pleasant voice you enjoy listening to. I found Fuzzy Nation fun, involving with plenty of hooks to keep me interested. As a bonus the original Little Fuzzy is thrown in which is the icing on the cake.
"An Excellent Reworking"
I love John Scalzi; I'd waited a while for his latest work and I wasn't disappointed. Scalzi always tells a great story and is witty when doing so.
This is a massive complement from me but he reminds me of the great Douglas Adams. Please live a long and productive life Mr Scalzi.
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