Saturday, August 6, 2011

Fuzzy Nation

Fuzzy NationFuzzy Nation by John Scalzi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

On Zara XXIII, disbarred lawyer and current mineral prospector Jack Holloway finds an unimaginably valuable seam of sunstones, one that will make him unbelievably rich. Shortly thereafter, Holloway meets some of the world's native life, catlike creatures he names Fuzzys. Unfortunately, the Fuzzys appear to be sentient, putting Jack's, and ZaraCorp's, claim on the trillion credit sunstone seam in jeopardy. What's a prospector to do?

The Scalz does it again. Fuzzy Nation is a hilarious re-imaginging (I feel dirty using that term and not good dirty) of H. Beam Piper's Little Fuzzy, a book I have not read.

First of all, Fuzzy Nation isn't as good as Old Man's War. I'll get that off my chest right now. But it's still good. It raises interesting questions about what it means to be sentient, the effects of mining on native life, and teaching dogs how to detonate explosives.

Holloway isn't a nice guy but I wound up liking him anyway. He's antagonistic and kind of slimy. He was, after all, formerly a lawyer. The supporting cast more than makes up for Holloway's flaws. As he says himself at one point, he was the right guy surrounded by good people. The rich supporting cast kept me from giving this book a three.

That's not to say Holloway doesn't rise to the occasion to defend the Fuzzys. Of course he does. It's just for a while, I wasn't sure how he was going to do it. His emotions toward the end of the story were well done.

The Fuzzys were cute but not nauseatingly so, like certain George Lucas creations that live on Endor that shall remain nameless. When the shit hit the fan, I was ready to charge in and give them a hand.

To sum up, The Scalz took a sf classic and made it funny. It's a good weekend morning read.

Topic for discussion: Is Scalzi's reimagining of an sf classic the forerunner of a new age where book execs go the route of Hollywood and commission people to rewrite old books instead of writing original ones? Discuss!

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