Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Fuzzy Nation - a review

Fuzzy Nation - John Scalzi - 304 pages

For regular readers of my blog you know that when I read a book--or watch a movie or TV show--I automatically compare it to Star Wars. I try not to do that. I really, really try not to. It is really hard for me to not compare Four from Divergent to Luke from Empire.

Speaking of Empire, or in this case, Return of the Jedi this book has talking cats in it that are similar to Ewoks. I was going to completely avoid my Star Wars inspired review by not bringing it up but John Scalzi wrote in a scene where the Fuzzys watch Jedi. This book is even based on an earlier book that has now entered public domain: H. Piper Beam's Little Fuzzy.

So the whole upright talking cat thing has been around for a while and to compare them to Ewoks is a bit asinine, because I should be comparing Ewoks to Fuzzys because the Fuzzys got here first.* So take that, George Lucas.

Freakin' Ewoks, man.
Fuzzy Nation takes place on a planet called Zarathustra 23. Zarathustra Corporation has been strip mining the planet for several years. Jack Holloway has just made a big discovery; a huge deposit of minerals that could make him a billionaire. Jack also discovers the Fuzzys and soon realizes that they could be sentient. But if the Fuzzys turn out to be sentient then Jack is out of money and Zara Corp will be forced to leave the planet.

We know how this goes. Jack has his doubts upon discovering the Fuzzys, the corporation puts a hit out on him, and they end up in court discussing whether or not the Fuzzys are sentient?  Really? Court? Had this been modern times we would've just bombed the local population, took their resources anyways, and called them savages. Forget the courtroom.

Fuzzy Nation is half Law & Order and half Jedi. There's action but there's also courtroom drama. There's little furry critters but there's also Smart Ass Extraordinaire Jack Holloway. There's an evil, ominous corporation, but there's also justice. (There's also a dangerous jungle planet that in no way reminded me of Dagobah.)

John Scalzi can write a good story. Fuzzy Nation isn't great. It's good. The writing is good. This is an all around good book. If you're a fan of the science fiction genre: go read it. If you're not? Don't. I can see why it made a few top of 2011 lists last year, though.

After I finish a book I normally ask myself what I've walked away with. In this case I did not walk away with higher ideals about how people should be treated. I didn't miss the point, I just didn't want to be reminded of it.

Full Disclosure: I read this on my Kindle.

*I edited out a part here that I still want to include but couldn't get it to fit. "I need to stop reading books with talking animals in them. I only read them because I myself want my pets to be able to communicate with me. Actually, I just want to feel less like a nutball when I talk to my cat."


  1. This book looks crazy. But the little fuzzy guy on the cover is cute. I totally understand the comparison to the Ewoks who are also cute.

    1. I liked the concept, which is why I read it. Other than that... Ewoks!

  2. I am all for comparing things to Star Wars, because...I mean, it's Star Wars. BUT this one reminded me more of Avatar. Replace the blue people with Fuzzys, and there you have it. Yeah?

    I've always thought of Ewoks as bear-like creatures. You say upright talking cats; I say miniature bears. Potato, Potahto.

  3. I did think of Avatar while reading this but the more I read the more I realized it wasn't like Avatar at all. More like Fern Gully, actually.

  4. This is the first John Scalzi novel I’ve read but it won’t be the last. It is great. The characters, the settings and the action are all fabulous. The story is compelling and entirely realistic. The dialog is clever. And the fuzzies are as cute as the Ewoks. A must read for any fan of science fiction.

  5. EXCELLENT and well thought out re-boot of the original, with a lot less smoking. This was good enough that I bought it in paper when it came out, then started reading it aloud to Hubs on a long trip, and then we bought it on audible - which was a wonderfully well done edition!


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