Fuzzy Nation is a “reboot” of a Hugo winning novel from the 60s called Little Fuzzy, in the same way that the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica retooled the cheesy 80s series and J.J. Abrams rebooted the Star Trek universe in 2009 (Scalzi explicitly references these two films in his introduction to the book.) I haven’t read Little Fuzzy, but after reading Fuzzy Nation, I’ll definitely be checking it out, and since I knew virtually nothing of the story before reading, it’ll be interesting to see just exactly what Scalzi changed from the original story.
I feel bad for doing this because I really loved this book, but I am so behind in my reviews at this point that it’s actually stressing me out, so I’ve decided to just cut some corners and say the hell with it. Here’s the blurb from the back of the book:
Jack Holloway works alone, for reasons he doesn’t care to talk about. Hundreds of miles from ZaraCorp’s headquarters on planet, 178 light-years from the corporation’s headquarters on Earth, Jack is content as an independent contractor, 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.
Think eco-legal thriller with adorable fuzzy things and a leading man that is a mix of Jack McCoy and Sawyer from Lost (not coincidentally, in the movie in my head, he’s also played by Josh Holloway). There’s nothing particularly deep or surprising about this book (possibly because Little Fuzzy has influenced sci-fi writers since it was published forty years ago, in the same way there was nothing surprising about John Carter for moviegoers because the Barsoom series had been an inspiration for many of the filmmakers and authors in the 20th century), but it has great characters, great dialogue, and the story plows along like nobody’s business. Not to mention, you guys, THE FUZZIES ARE SO CUTE I WANT ONE. (Spoiler: The fact that I want a Fuzzy might mean that I completely missed the point of the book, which is in large part about how people take what we want and don’t think about the consequences . . . sidenote to the sidenote, I’m not a bad person, for realsies.)
Having finished this book, I’m slightly pissed off that I’m running out of new Scalzi books to read. (Redshirts this summer. WOOO!)