Jon Scalzi’s book, Fuzzy Nation, is based on H. Beam Piper’s 1962 novel, Little Fuzzy, which was nominated for a Hugo Award in 1963. Scalzi calls it a reboot, which he talks about on his blog Whatever. (Careful—his blog is addictively amusing. It’s hard to read just one post.) He’s modernized the story a bit, tuning it to our 21st century sensibilities. Fellow science fiction author Paul di Filippo has an interesting discussion of the differences between the original and the reboot here.
Provenance aside, Fuzzy Nation turns out to be quite a fun scifi read. If you enjoyed Dream Park, which I recommended a couple months ago, you’ll probably like Fuzzy Nation too. The main character, Jack Holloway, is a disbarred lawyer/prospector drawn along the lines of Han Solo from Star Wars—a selfish smartass with a personal code of honor and a deeply buried heart of gold. Holloway’s smarter than Solo, however, and quicker with the wit. He loves animals, as evidenced by his relationship with his dog Carl, who blows stuff up. When Holloway and Carl discover a new animal on the planet they’re prospecting, Holloway quickly welcomes it into his home—only to start wondering if it might be more than just an animal.
The little guy vs. Evil Corporation, compassion vs. greed, and man vs. himself most of all—this is not so much a book about humans meeting aliens as it is a book about humanity trying to control its own worst impulses. Sound heavy? It’s not—it’s action-packed with fist-fights, skimmer crashes, zararaptor attacks, sabotage, and banter. Good fun all around.