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Fuzzy Nation Hardcover – May 10, 2011

321 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

Product Description

Jack Holloway works alone, for reasons he doesn't care to talk about. Hundreds of miles from ZaraCorp's headquarters on planet, 178 light-years from the corporation's headquarters on Earth, Jack is content as an independent contractor, prospecting and surveying at his own pace. As for his past, that's not up for discussion.

Then, in the wake of an accidental cliff collapse, Jack discovers a seam of unimaginably valuable jewels, to which he manages to lay legal claim just as ZaraCorp is cancelling their contract with him for his part in causing the collapse. Briefly in the catbird seat, legally speaking, Jack pressures ZaraCorp into recognizing his claim, and cuts them in as partners to help extract the wealth.

But there's another wrinkle to ZaraCorp's relationship with the planet Zarathustra. Their entire legal right to exploit the verdant Earth-like planet, the basis of the wealth they derive from extracting its resources, is based on being able to certify to the authorities on Earth that Zarathustra is home to no sentient species.

Then a small furry biped--trusting, appealing, and ridiculously cute--shows up at Jack's outback home. Followed by its family. As it dawns on Jack that despite their stature, these are people, he begins to suspect that ZaraCorp's claim to a planet's worth of wealth is very flimsy indeed...and that ZaraCorp may stop at nothing to eliminate the "fuzzys" before their existence becomes more widely known.

Amazon Exclusive: A Q&A with Author John Scalzi

Q: Why Fuzzy, why now?

A: Mostly because I thought it would be fun. I wrote Fuzzy Nation when I was between publishing projects, mostly for my own amusement, and not as something I actually intended for publication. It was only after it was finished that my agent said "Hey, I could work with this," and started the process of getting it published. That said, any time is a good time to help people make the acquaintance of the fuzzies, and of H. Beam Piper, the author who originally thought them up.

Q: How are Fuzzies different from Ewoks, Plushies, and Softies?

A: I think they're smarter and more complex than, say, the Ewoks, who are basically just furry cavemen. I think in both Piper's tale and my own, the motivations of the creatures aren't always obvious or straightforward -- they can be devious for their own ends when it suits them. They're more than just adorably marketable teddy-bear-like objects, which is one of the reasons for their longevity.

Q: H. Beam Piper probably isn’t a household name to the new generation of SF/F fans coming up. Thinking back to your reading growing up, who else would you recommend that might not be hugely known these days?

A: In science fiction, I was a fan of Keith Laumer starting in my high school years; a number of folks see similarities between what Laumer was doing and what I do, especially in "The Android's Dream." Laumer had a sense of humor, and of irony, and a really nice way of getting across the fact that even in the future, some things will be absurd.

Q: If this is Fuzzy retro-fitted for the 21st century, what should we expect that’s the same and what’s different from the original Fuzzy fiction?

A: What's the same: The very general plot line and the name of the main human character (and the name of the main Fuzzy). What's different: The actual character of the main human character. My Jack Holloway is substantially different from the one Piper had, and many if not most of the changes between the two books stem from the differences between those characters. It makes for a fun compare and contrast.

Q: What did the book allow you to explore that you haven’t in your other fiction?

A: It allowed me to explore how another writer solved the same plot and character issues that I was encountering, because our tales were naturally so very similar. This was the writing equivalent of walking a mile in another writer’s shoes. Piper and I are different writers and I made different choices than he did in many places. But every change was another opportunity to walk with Piper and to learn a little from him. It was a very interesting experience.

Q: In what ways was Fuzzy Nation fun to write and in what ways was it hard work?

A: It was fun to write because it was no pressure--since I didn't initially intend to sell it I didn't worry about the commercial prospects of what I was doing; I just focused on the pleasures of writing for the sake of writing. It's an exercise I recommend every writer do from time to time. How it was hard: For many reasons, the contracts and business end of this novel were more complex (and sometimes more annoying) than it usually is with books. That was a lot of work to sort out.

Q: Do you have a favorite scene or situation in the book?

A: I like when Jack Holloway first meets a fuzzy. I play the scene for laughs in many ways (there's even a little bit of slapstick), but at the end of the day it's very much a "first contact" scenario, even if Jack doesn't know if this creature he's discovered is actually smart or not. Either way, it's new beginnings for both Jack and the fuzzy, and that's always a fun thing to work out in words.

Q: What’s up next for the Scalzi Juggernaut?

A: The Scalzi Juggernaut will continue to power through its tour, which ends in Phoenix in the end of May, and then it is going to spend a little bit of time doing nothing but relaxing with family and friends. Then polishing the novel slated for 2012 (already completed but not yet edited), and prepping the 2013 novel, not yet written. There are worse ways to live a life.


Scalzi is not just recycling classic Heinlein. He's working out new twists, variations that startle even as they satisfy. (Publishers Weekly , starred review, on Old Man’s War)

If Stephen King were to try his hand at science fiction, he'd be lucky to be half as entertaining as John Scalzi. (Dallas Morning News on The Ghost Brigades)

Scalzi's captivating blend of offworld adventure and political intrigue remains consistently engaging. (Booklist on The Last Colony)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (May 10, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780765328540
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765328540
  • ASIN: 0765328542
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (321 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #825,010 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Scalzi writes books, which, considering where you're reading this, makes perfect sense. He's best known for writing science fiction, including the New York Times bestseller "Redshirts," which won the Hugo Award for Best Novel. He also writes non-fiction, on subjects ranging from personal finance to astronomy to film, was the Creative Consultant for the Stargate: Universe television series. He enjoys pie, as should all right thinking people. You can get to his blog by typing the word "Whatever" into Google. No, seriously, try it.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

76 of 86 people found the following review helpful By southernbadger on June 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I read "Little Fuzzy" years ago and absolutely loved it from the beginning. I couldn't get enough of the fuzzys and the people who grew to love them and protect them. I was excited when I saw this reboot because it gave me a chance to read about the world again and perhaps have more books afterward. This book is okay. I have to admit there were parts where I thoroughly enjoyed it but it didn't seem to have much depth and seemed rushed. I felt like there was much more "meat" to Piper's work even though it was shorter. My biggest problem with this book is the fuzzys and their relationship with humans. The fun of seeing humans start to interact with the fuzzys and learn about them and learn to love them was the amazing part of the book. Watching the fuzzys learn and adapt with their new humans was my favorite part. In this book the fuzzys just don't get talked about much until the end. They are a side note to an arrogant Jack Holloway, corporations and the legal process. Don't look for any extended writing about any of the humans interacting with fuzzys, it just doesn't happen. It's missing all the "heart" of the original. I was even disappointed that the names of the fuzzys have changed. You'll like this book if you've never read the original because you won't know what you're missing but if you enjoyed the original you'll be very disappointed.
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106 of 124 people found the following review helpful By Some Average Guy on May 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Other reviews speak to how good of a reboot this book is to the "Fuzzy" story by H. Beam Piper. To me that's irrelevant. How good of a book is this in and of itself?

Good if you're looking for: plot twists, political intrigue, long complicated plans you don't see at first all coming together in the end, and courtroom drama

Bad if you're looking for: Combat/battles, honor & glory, a powerful/epic underlying meaning, some unique take on first contact

This is a book you can read in a few hours even if you're a slow reader. It has a very long comprehensive ending not typical of most books these days, almost to the point of being disney-esque (happy ever after and all that). If you're desperate for more old man's war, this ain't it and you need to look elsewhere.

The book is a quick feel good story that is probably best for a young teen audience that haven't been exposed to a lot of sci-fi. The limited pages/material prevents creation of rich characters like those in multi-book arcs, so you're stuck with stereotypes like brainy scientist chick, loveable rogue main character, and arrogant corporate boss. The complicated plot gives away too much too soon via obvious clues if you've read tons of stories (the clues kind of stick out like sore thumbs... you find yourself stopping for a minute to say "That's odd, why did the author include that observation in the story? Oh, duh, it's an obvious clue he's beating me over the head with."

All being said, I don't regret the hours spent reading this story. It was a good one for the amount of time I had to invest, and Scalzi's writing is good considering the tale he was spinning. Given the book's length, it's probably perfect for a read during a flight.
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72 of 88 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan C. Moore on May 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Firstly, this is an update to the H. Beam Piper "Fuzzy" series of books. It's been nearly 50 years since Little Fuzzy hit the shelves and in that time the universe Piper created has aged technologically but Piper used solid ideas and fully formed characters and a concept we've seen utilized since War of the Worlds, technology has consequences, sometimes unintended, so the story was ripe to be retold.

Mr. Scalzi indicates he started this project as a writing exercise out of respect for the ideas Piper created and in this book there is an acknowledgement to Piper. Some people have been less than pleasant in their questioning of Mr. Scalzi's motivation but the proof is, as they say, in the steak tartar. Okay, no one but me says that. But I found Mr. Scalzi's effort to be both worthwhile and enjoyable. It was not Piper, but then, that's not a surprise since Piper's been dead for some time now.

Regardless, on the whole, I enjoyed this book. Most of the characters from the original story are gone in both name and motivation and replaced by a polyglot of merged identities and personalities that maintain the general feel of the story fairly well. Folks who have never read Piper will never miss Victor Hugo and Leslie Combes and Gus Brannhard and I will freely admit, including them would have clouded an already difficult task.

There are three substantial changes in this re-work of the Fuzzy story:

1) Jack Holloway
2) The Fuzzies
3) Society

Technology is markedly different, of course, but as with Piper, Mr. Scalzi uses technology in this story without the need to over "gee-whiz!" it and so it fades into the background as it should.
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32 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Linda Harms on July 1, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
Skalzi is a talented writer, but he misses the mark on Fuzzies. I liked his Old Man's War, but not this one. He re-tells the first contact story in our new century style, but without the affection and warmth of the original. I prefer the characters and emotions of the original books by H. Beam Piper.
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