This novel is a nostalgic classic from the 1960s. The extra-terrestrial environment in which it occurs is, like the Earth itself, a place that is colonized and exploited. Jack Holloway enters planet Zarathustra with his wards the Fuzzies, trying to secure them a home. The Fuzzies are a good metaphor for all the displaced people and animals on Earth. This vintage novel has depth; it raises questions of how sentience can be measured, and what it means to have a place in the world. Narrator Peter Ganim faithfully recites the groovy sci-fic verbiage of the book, but his sincere delivery make the listener bypass the quaint wonkiness and focus on the still-relevant questions found here. A good listen for those interested in early works of sci-fi.
(P)2009 Audible, Inc.
I first read this book in the early 1960's. Over the next forty-odd years, I have worn out innumerable paperbacks and at least one hard copy. Despite the rather "fuzzy" (sorry, I couldn't help it)title, this is one of the most intelligent, well-written, and touching first contact novel out there. Yes, it's technology is dated and so are the mores,but given the period it was written in, those small faults are understandable. Thank you audible for making this old friend available and please, record the rest of the series.
One of the things I like best about audiobooks is that it makes me hear character dialogue in different ways. I've read this novel numerous times, and I never heard the accents in my head that Peter Ganim brings to the book. Now that I think about them, they make sense.
The Gerd van Riebeek and other characters with Afrikaner-type names have Afrikaner-type accents. Judge Pendarvis has a French accent, as does his wife, Claudette. And the American (can't call them English, as there are no English accents) are also done well.
The only disagreement I have is the cornpone accent of "Pappy Jack" Holloway. He may be a 70-year-old coot, but he never came across as a hick. But that's the impression I get from Ganin's interpretation.
I would like to see the other two books in this series posted ("Fuzzy Sapiens" and "Fuzzies and Other People.")
The plot is delightfully simple - the Protagonist - a good, old, hardworking lone underdog finds adorable little furry people. Old man keeps little furry people, old man trys to get little furry people recognized as sapient life forms. The Antagonist - a heartless CEO of corporation doesn't want adorable little furry people recognized as sentient life form because the corporation would have to give up the claim for the planet. Heartless CEO hires an equally heartless lawyer to help him with the case. But Jack Holloway - good old hardworking space cowboy - also has friends - scientists, who put Science above personal interests, constable, who puts Law above his own interests, honest lawyer in a plaid shirt, and together they drop whatever they normally do to help the old man with his court case against corporation - good chunk of the story happens either in court or discussing case strategies.
Written in 1963, this story is a product of it's time, when space colonization was imagined like colonization of the West. I personally find the idea of treating burgeoning hunter-gather civilization like children or pets because they are cute by human standards uncomfortable. The science, especially the psychology, is noticeably dated as well.
While the story is a little too naive and black-and-white for my liking, in the light of the recent events - Enron, Monsanto, big banks bail-outs and so on - it is definitely a guilty pleasure to see big players being held accountable by just and impartial judge, even if it's only Sci-Fi.
One of my all time favorite Golden Age novels that I've recommended to friends many times.
Mechanical and droning. He does his best with the accents, but this was a very difficult listen because at least 70% of the book sounded like it was read by a robot.
This is a fantastic book that is one of my all time favorites. Unfortunately, Mr. Ganim's performance is at best poor. He does his best with a limited range of accents, but his style of mechanically reading in a monotone, droning voice is incredibly distracting and really detracts from a wonderful story that is filled with all sorts of emotional moments.
Easily one of my favorite sci-fi stories of ALL TIME, and a pleasure to be able to share it with my children in this format. The narrator doesn't grab you right away, but the longer I listened the more he grew on me. The story itself makes it well worth listening to.
Add the others, audible!!
I liked this book. It was engaging and even paced, keeping my interest throughout. It wasn't rocket science, but I don't want every book I get to make me think or ponder the great questions, I just want to be entertained. This book entertained me.
The Piper sic-fi classic sums up the philosophical question of what does it mean to be "sentient", and what we really mean when we attach "sapiens" to our genus "homo". By focusing the novel on the struggle by compassionate humans to designate a species of alien on a colonized planet, Piper opens up a forum to speak on how we determine whether species are first or second class, and deserving of rights on an equal basis with humans. If the Enlightenment tells us that "Man is the measure of all things", how does this get complicated when we move out to the stars?
On the idea level the novel works, in setting up a context for discussion of sentience and rights, while blending in elements of corporate greed that frame the discussion. The working out of the plot, however, is just too facile and easy, as if the question is easily answered in favor of the Fuzzies based on a shared intuition of fairness.
Ganim's variety of voice and accent helps spice up the story, and make it relevant to today's audience.
I was surprised to find one of my most favorite tales finally in audio format. The story teller was enjoyable. I wished that they had used the artwork from Michael Whelen. I believe if they had it would increase the sales of this wonderful classic. Make sure that you get this audio book!
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