Fuzzy Nation

John Scalzi


It feels weird to rate this higher than the original it’s based on, H. Beam Piper’s Little Fuzzy. I’m not sure it’s actually a better book, but it is more enjoyable, largely because it’s written in a more modern style and to today’s sensibilities. The characters are more distinct, the personal stakes are higher, the corporate malfeasance and environmental exploitation are amped up, and the twists are carefully set up instead of dropping in out of nowhere.

Fuzzy Nation tells largely the same story as Little Fuzzy: a prospector on a company-owned planet encounters a cute animal species that may or may not be sapient, in which case the company loses its license to exploit the world, finishing with a courtroom drama over murder charges and whether the fuzzies are people or animals, with a major breakthrough in communication settling the question. But it takes a different enough path that you can read it without knowing what’s coming next.

I’d recommend reading both if you have time, but space them out to let the first one you read settle.