Friday, November 18, 2011
Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi
Fuzzy Nation is a fast, fun read--much more fun than I expected. Jack Holloway is a contractor for ZaraCorp, and a wiseass. Everyone likes his dog, though. Jack's in prime position to become a multi-millionaire--even a billionaire--after he discovers a motherlode of sunstones on a planet he's prospecting for his employer. Then he discovers something else, a species of animal native to the planet that he calls fuzzys. The trouble is, the fuzzys may be more than just animals. And if they're sentient, Jack's billions may go up in smoke--along with the fuzzys themselves.
The writing is easy, confident, and fast-paced. It's also frequently funny. The fuzzys are appealing as well as believable SF creatures, and no one I know of writes dogs as well as Scalzi does. And there are moments in the book when I wanted to jump up out of my chair, do a fist-pump, and shout, "YES!" It's a really fun book.
In tone, Fuzzy Nation is very similar to Scalzi's Agent to the Stars, which I read earlier this year and liked okay. But the flaws in that book are not found in Fuzzy Nation, which has a tighter, more believable plot. I really need to read some of Scalzi's other books, because at this point I'm wanting to say that he basically only has a few characters and he recasts them over and over, but I'm probably wrong. This one just feels an awful lot like Agent to the Stars.
I thought I'd read Little Fuzzy by H. Beam Piper when I was a kid, the book on which Fuzzy Nation was based, but I must be wrong because nothing about Scalzi's book rang any bells. I'm probably thinking of a different book. After reading Little Fuzzy, though, I'm definitely keen on reading Piper's original story to compare the two.