Book Review: Fuzzy Nation

After reading Little Fuzzy I decided to also check out the updated version of this story written by John Scalzi. Since I had already enjoyed the original story, Little Fuzzy, I felt confident that I would also enjoy Fuzzy Nation. For this book I ended up listening to the audiobook version, which after the fact I realized also contains the audiobook of Little Fuzzy. I tried hard to not compare the two books too much as I wanted a separate opinion of them.

The book starts off not entirely slow but not entirely quick paced either. I found myself quickly liking Jack Holloways character. Another character that stood out fairly early in the story was Jack’s dog Carl. I absolutely loved this dog and it just goes to show that humans/humanoid species aren’t the only characters that can make a book what it is and appeal to the reader. Now obviously if Carl wasn’t part of the story it still would have been enjoyable but certainly Carl adds a little something extra to the story. The other characters in the book weren’t as memorable, with the exception of the Fuzzies themselves, but I’m talking about the other humans. Some I liked, others I had a strong dislike towards, but overall their role in the story wasn’t as significant to me. I’m not saying they didn’t have important roles, in fact some of them played key roles in turning the events of the story, but as characters go they didn’t stand out to me.

The Fuzzies were as interesting and as adorable as they were when I read the original story. Their role and effect on the story is initially small but as things progress they become very important both to the story and to the characters for a number of reasons. It is their story that truly propels things forward once their sapience is being argued. And it was at this point I found myself fully draw into the story.

For the most part the story of Fuzzy Nation hold quite true to the original story. The planet in which the story takes place on, Zarathustra, is still a wild and dangerous place but things have been changed a bit. There are Raptors instead of Landprawn, as well as a few other changes to the flora and fauna shown in the book. The company, ZaraCorp, still plays the role of villain quite well in this book, however I didn’t feel as strongly against them as I did when reading Little Fuzzy. I’m not sure if it was because of the way things were portrayed or if it was simply because I was listening to the book instead of reading it. In the end I didn’t like ZaraCorp and what they were doing to the Fuzzies. There is also a reference to Star Wars in this book, which I found quite entertaining, when the Fuzzies are sitting watching the movie and get excited seeing the Ewoks.

Now one thing I can say I didn’t like was when the narrator, Wil Wheaton, spoke a bit too fast. There were a few occasions of this in the audiobook where there was a lot of excitement happening and obviously an accelerated tone of voice works perfectly for parts like that, but on a few of these parts Wil spoke a bit too quickly to keep up with what he was saying. Other than that I thought that he did a fantastic job of narrating this book and I’m not sure anyone else could have brought the story to life as well as he did.

While a number of things have been updated in this story I feel that it does still have all the elements that make Little Fuzzy a great story. Things have been updated and modernized, but the story itself is still very much what H. Beam Piper originally created. I think this book would appeal to those who have read Little Fuzzy and enjoyed it, as well as to those people who enjoy science fiction in general.

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