Fuzzy Nation is the new book by John Scalzi, but it’s not original, rather a reboot of H. Beam Piper’s original Little Fuzzy. I’ve not read the original (or any of its sequels) and the main reason I ordered Fuzzy Nation is because I hugely enjoy the way John Scalzi tells a story, his Old Man’s War books are among my favourites. I started Fuzzy Nation with no expectations and only hoping to find a quick and enjoyable read. Not only did it deliver that, but it was a complete joy – funny, heartwarming and immensely entertaining!
Fuzzy Nation is a fairly straight forward story that focuses on the character of Jack Holloway, an independent contractor that searches out various minerals and fossil fuels for ZaraCorp, and his find of a huge Sunstone deposit on Zarathustra worth trillions to the company and, by extension of his finders fee, billions to him. But then the fuzzies show up at his home, animals that are smarter than anything else native to the planet, but also appearing to be without sentience, at least at first. Fuzzy Nation follows this discovery and the implications it has on ZaraCorp, all told through the eys of Jack Holloway.
Holloway is the main character here and the one that we follow throughout the story. He’s not instantly unlikable despite coming across as a little arrogant and self-righteous. But he’s got a sense of humour, and that takes his character into the grey area. His virtues are not always in the right place and he thinks of himself more often than not, but I enjoyed reading every sentence of Fuzzy Nation because of Holloway. A disbarred lawyer, Holloway stands his ground with added sarcasm pretty much throughout the story, but it’s so entertaining I forgot to question his motives and see what sort of character he really is most of the time. It’s when big things happen that you realise just how well Scalzi has portrayed Holloway, and how much you come to care and understand about the man. The other supporting characters add their own little flair to the story and take it from point to point (I can’t stand Wheaton Aubrey VII, but wouldn’t dare see the story without him!), but Fuzzy Nation is about Jack Holloway first and the fuzzies second.
Some of the scenes in Fuzzy Nation are great, despite the complete lack of action in the novel. You’ve got the introduction of the fuzzies and all their related antics, Holloway and his dog Carl blowing up terrain (a particularly important aspect of relations between some characters!), and, of course, plenty of courtroom stuff which is the highlight of the novel, without a doubt. I would love to discuss the fuzzies and everything about them, but because they’re so central to the plot and their scenes are so enjoyable I don’t want to spoil anything. However, Scalzi manages to add emotion, humour and facts into the book in abundance, and it makes Fuzzy Nation an excellent and hugely enjoyable read.
Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi is awesome. Go buy it, hire it, borrow it, whatever. This is a book you need to read.