Saturday, May 7, 2011

Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi

I usually start my reviews out with a brief, spoiler-free, plot-synopsis but I'm having a hard time doing so with this novel. The synopsis offered on the jacket takes you through about the first 2 chapters, and they're short chapters. Suffice it to say, there doesn't seem to be much to the plot that isn't spoiler-y. On top of that, Fuzzy Nation is a reboot of H. Beam Piper's Little Fuzzy, which I haven't read (yet), meaning I have no idea how much of the original work was incorporated into Scalzi's book beyond what I've read on his website and in the promotional materials provided by the publishers.

What can I say then?

I can say that, after reading Fuzzy Nation, I can't wait to read Little Fuzzy; yet I also have no desire to pick up another book tonight. To me one of the mark's of a good story is that it leaves you reluctant to let it go. In this case, I know that I can read more of this world easily (Little Fuzzy is in the public domain and therefore one need only head to Project Gutenberg to read it) and yet I know that the world will be different from the one I just left. The characters (at least some of them) will be the same, but they will have someone else's voice. The story will have the same over-arching ecological theme, but will have fundamental differences, otherwise there'd be no point in rebooting it.

I'm also still busy digesting Fuzzy Nation. Like Scalzi's other works, Fuzzy Nation forces the thinking reader to recognize that its events aren't completely outside the realm of possibility. Certainly we're well on our way to depleting Earth's natural resources and if we were to head into space and discover planets brimming with those same or similar resources, what would we do? Likewise, I can see the reaction to discovering sentient life on one of those planets could be exactly what happens in Fuzzy Nation. Add to that the moral ambiguity of the main character and it's enough to leave anyone feeling just slightly uncomfortable.

And still, I loved the book. I laughed out loud multiple times and I cried more than once too. In fact, I finished the last sentence with a smile on my face and tears in my eyes.

I have no idea how fan's of Piper's will feel about this new interpretation of his world, but I feel confident that fans of Scalzi's will love it. As for those who consider themselves neither, I'd encourage you to pick it up when it's released on May 10th, the story itself is wonderful and the underlying theme important to remember.

I was provided with a completed copy of Fuzzy Nation for review by the publisher, no guarantee of a positive review was given.

1 comment:

  1. I'm guessing your book was greener than the original Fuzzy tales. I remember one part in particular making my young environmentalist self cringe at the stupidity of men. Also, yours was probably a bit more PC. One of the biggest problems I have when I go back and reread sci-fi from my teens is suddenly noticing the womanizing attitudes in a lot of these books.



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I'm human, so I've got some issues, but all things considered I guess I'm reasonably normal. My parents are still married. My best friends are my sisters...okay, so I'm normal for the 1850's whatever. I'm opinionated and nerdy. I'm walking the line between tweener-style pop culture love (witness my ever-burning New Kids love and inexplicable Twilight obsession) and elitist culture snob (I can't seem to get enough 19th century British Lit and historical biographies) but, after 30 years, I'm finally learning not to give a crap what anyone else thinks about me. Oh, and those are my feet in the picture. The socks were made by a friend.

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