I was wondering that myself. The blurb sounds a bit different than the original story, though it's possible they exaggerated the relationship between Jack and the company, but for the most part sounds exactly like the original Piper version. Not sure I would pick Scalzi to pick up the reins of this story in any case. Looking forward to finding out though.
Scalzi: "I took the original plot and characters of Little Fuzzy and wrote an entirely new story from and with them. The novel doesn't follow on from the events of Little Fuzzy; it's a new interpretation of that first story and a break from the continuity that H. Beam Piper established in Little Fuzzy and its sequels."
"As regards credit to Piper, the book features an author's note at the beginning which unambiguously gives credit to both Piper and "Little Fuzzy"; this is also noted in the book's jacket copy, and the for that matter the book is co-dedicated to Piper. Likewise, when I announced the book, I took care to note its relationship to the original and to Piper. I'm listed as the sole author on the cover because all the text is new and original to me; I'm not folding in passages or notes from Piper himself. That said, there has been no attempt to sweep the original under the carpet. Indeed, in that author's note I mention, I encourage people to read the original, because a) it's awesome and b) I think it'll be fun for people to see the differences between the two books."
Hopefully it won't be as bad as Golden Dream was, though I expect since it is a "reboot" as opposed to a spin-off the liberties taken with Piper's world will be far greater than even that earlier book. I'll buy it; I hope I can give it a good rating but we'll just have to wait and see.
I sadly expect mass quantities of "angst" as opposed to "drama" from the info provided.
Wow! Look at all the books that could use a rewrite...Lord of the Rings, anything by E.R. Burroughs, hmm what about Asprin's Myth series he's dead so he won't complain. Heck why wait till the authors are dead. Lets rewrite Anne McCaffery's Pern books dragons are so boring, Hamiltions Anita Blake series could definitely use a rewrite, and Butchers Dresden series should really be based in LA not Chicago. It's not like these authors breath life into their characters or have a vision of how the storyline plays out. Writing a followup or in-universe storyline is one thing, but to rearrange the actual guts of series. What are you thinking Mr. Scalzi?
When I first saw the title I thought, "OK they found a lost H. Beam Piper Manuscript". I read all the Fuzzy books years ago. I then saw that it was written by Scalzi and came to read the write up and was amazed that there was no mention of H. Beam Piper.
OK, I did some research. Without actually reading Scalzi's version, I can't say for sure, but the blurb about the story is almost word-for-word the description used to describe H. Beam Piper's seminal work from 1962. And it IS true that Scalzi bought the rights to the books from Piper's estate. However, I take great issue with him styling himself the AUTHOR of this book. In a fanzine, or in a world built for various authors to write in, you take the crux of the world, a quirk, a character, whatever, and create your own story. Scalzi has patently NOT done this. He has taken the meeting of Little Fuzzy and Jack Halloway, and the whole setup of both of Piper's books, and regurgitated under his own name. Since he owns the rights, I guess it is quasi-legal, but it certainly is NOT ethical, moral, or right in any way, shape, or form to put one's name on someone else's work.
A Zdunczyk, you are exactly right. The owners of Piper's estate HAVE licensed other books in the Fuzzy universe, and I thought that this might be another. But NO mention of Piper at all? Not even a "based on" comment? Not right, and Scalzi will never see a penny of MY money for prostituting some of the best sci-fi books -- heck, best books of ANY type ever written! I've written a fairly scathing message to Amazon about this mess. I urge others to do the same.
I think he was thinking it has been long enough since the original publication, and the death of Piper, to cash in on the story. That's what I think...money. Nothing in the above writeup or in the material Scalzi has let loose looks all that different from the original, except the writing isn't as good. Frankly, I think I'll just buy a new copy of the Piper book (since mine is falling apart), and tell Scalzi to go mess up some other universe!
"And it IS true that Scalzi bought the rights to the books from Piper's estate."
Actually, that's not true. The Piper estate gave me a license that allowed me to create a new novel based on Piper's work in "Little Fuzzy." I don't own the rights to any of the books that either Piper wrote, or that Ace commissioned once the rights to the series came to them. "Little Fuzzy" itself is in the public domain, although the other books in the series remain under copyright.
As regards credit to Piper, the book features an author's note at the beginning which unambiguously gives credit to both Piper and "Little Fuzzy"; this is also noted in the book's jacket copy, and the for that matter the book is co-dedicated to Piper. Likewise, when I announced the book, I took care to note its relationship to the original and to Piper. I'm listed as the sole author on the cover because all the text is new and original to me; I'm not folding in passages or notes from Piper himself. That said, there has been no attempt to sweep the original under the carpet. Indeed, in that author's note I mention, I encourage people to read the original, because a) it's awesome and b) I think it'll be fun for people to see the differences between the two books.
As a final note, I had originally written "Fuzzy Nation" not for money, but simply for fun -- I was between projects and decided to see what it would be like. Only after I was done with it did I approach the Piper estate to see if they would be okay with me trying to do something more with it. If they had not been, then no one would ever know it existed. But they were, and I was happy to then be able to sell it (as were they, because the Piper estate receives a significant cut of everything, which is of course only fair).
None of this, of course, will convince you to try the book if you've decided not to. But I do think it's useful to note that the Piper connection is in fact very clearly made, and that my obvious debt to him is acknowledged, early and often.
"The Piper estate gave me a license that allowed me to create a new novel based on Piper's work in "Little Fuzzy." "
The description above hardly fits that statement - it sounds like a re-write of the original work, something that simply does not need to be done. I don't have a problem with *more* Fuzzy novels - Bill Tuning's "Fuzzy Bones" was a great follow-up to the first two books, even if it ended up contradicted by the long-lost "Fuzzies and Other People," but why publish a book that is a retelling of the Fuzzies' origin? Bad enough we got "Enterprise" to screw up "Star Trek" - we don't need Piper's work diminished by attempts to reinvent it. And why would a publisher bother with this when the original isn't considered marketable to re-release?
Sorry, John - certainly nothing personal, but this is a poke in the eye of Piper fans who might have welcomed something truly new from you.
"it sounds like a re-write of the original work, something that simply does not need to be done."
It does indeed reinvent the original story. Did it need to be done? No, but it was fun and interesting to do, which is why I did it. I think some folks might enjoy it, as they may enjoy a cover of song they like, done in a different style. If they don't, that's fine too, since the original (both in the case of the song, and in the case of Piper's work) is still available for them to enjoy. I do recognize some people will loathe the idea of a Fuzzy reboot, just on principle; that's their right, and I wouldn't want to try to convince them otherwise. The book was written to be enjoyed, so if you're certain you won't enjoy reading it, please don't. We'll both be unhappy with the results.
As regards, "why would a publisher bother with this when the original isn't considered marketable to re-release?" consider that if my book is successful then it has the potential to bring the rest of the Fuzzy books, now out of print, back into the market. When I announced that I had written "Fuzzy Nation," I encouraged the readers of my site (which gets up to 45,000 visitors a day) to seek out the original, and I know anecdotally at least a few hundred who had not read him before did, via Project Gutenberg, the versions available on Amazon, and elsewhere. So from that, Piper has more fans than he had before, which makes me very happy. When I saw the folks from Penguin (which owns the rights to the sequels) at last year's Nebula Awards, I made sure to tell them about the interest from my readers, and campaigned for the release of the original and at least the Piper sequels. You can bet that if "Fuzzy Nation" does well, I'll be pushing them again.
Which is to say that if one of the benefits of "Fuzzy Nation" doing well is a resurgence of interest in Piper and his work, no one will be more pleased than I.
I'm looking forward to reading this. I liked the original Fuzzy books, and I liked the spin-offs as well. People use old to create new all the time. As long as proper acknowledgements are made, and necessary royalties are paid, what is the harm?
The only way I found Piper's books as a young teen was by being dead broke and browsing the local used bookstore with trade-ins for credit. It would be good for this work to 1) stand on its own as an interesting rewrite/project, and 2) bring attention to the originals, which could really do with a republish.
It amazes me how many people in the blog-o-verse have a negative opinion of this book before they had a chance to look at it (by definition pre-judging). I've read just about everything thatJohn Scalzi has written (in Sci-fi/fantasy) so I have high expectations - but I won't say the book is good or bad until I've read it. I will say to those detractors out there; Mr. Scalzi's announcing this project and letting me know that "Little Fuzzy" is out there was enough to get me to read it (and anything else of Piper's I could get my hands on) I now consider myself a fan.
I bought and read each and every book written by H. Beam Piper when I first found them in the '70's. Piper and Andre Norton are the main reasons I switched from mysteries and thrillers to Science Fiction. I personally will reserve comment about this one until I have read it.
I'll buy and read this new book and will almost certainly enjoy it, just like I enjoyed the other Fuzzy novels, whether written by Piper or not. On the other hand, I'm with the Piper fans above who think that his name should have been on the cover somewhere, if only in small print saying something like "inspired by H. Beam Piper" which wouldn't hurt sales, and would further that stated wish of the author to revive interest in his works. Who loses?
I wish they would reprint the old Piper "Fuzzy" Books, or (preferably) make the whole set (not just the first) available in ebook format. I read the originals in the sixties, and I retain fond memories, but the details are sketchy after 40 years - to say the least. I am not sure it needed rewriting.
I love Scalzi's "Old Man's War" series, so I anticipate I will purchase this eventually.
I'll grant that it may've been an interesting experience, but really? Have you run out of original ideas of your own, John? I generally have no problem with 'shared universe' kinds of stories, but this is a reboot, and I've rarely found reboots of any nature to be worth the effort. This is the road that Hollywood has followed, and while occasionally a remake is a worthy companion to the original, the vast majority are just examples of writers and producers having run out of original ideas - Hacks, in other and less-kind words.
Far better, in my personal opinion, to have done a NEW story following on Piper's lead. I can think of several storylines that would follow very naturally from Piper's work, and would have offered you a good opportunity to showcase your literary abilities, creativity, and range.
Now that you've knocked over this particular hornet's nest, I fear you're going to find yourself lumped in with the hacks - Not a happy place to be.
Hello John! Liked your continuation of the Fuzzy Novels and have also appreciated your work since. At the end of the day though,as am sure you have realized, science fiction fans are loyal to our authors and in this case H.Beam-piper has been disrespected,maybe not by you but that blurb on the selling sites and no show on the cover is alienating alot of people who might otherwise enjoy the story. It could be mostly erased by a simple "Inspired by the works of H.Beam-piper" on the cover and in the sell blurbs. Your points are mostly valid though can see you being a bit stubborn on some points like "all new story ect" the names are the same for main characters, the plot from the blurb appears the same and at the end of the day, you did not invent these characters. If you took Honor Harrington and rewrote on Baslik Station with the same title and characters from the main plot but said " I rewrote the story with all new points and things in it please read" do you think that you would be able to not put David Webers name on the cover or in the selling blurbs? Is simply a matter of respect, something that is owed to one of the greatest writers to have written a science fiction book who left our world far to early simply because he was born in the wrong era and the fact that he lived as he wrote. You are where you are in the writing field because you stand on the shoulders of giants and he is one of them. He not only demands but deserves the respect of front cover acknowledgemeant, no matter who's thoughts went into the marketing campaign. I would think there is a good chance this could become a major motion picture for you and the estate as well as being a very good seller and perhaps seiries in books, hope it happens. Anyways, good luck, look forward to book ( though do have to confess was the last piper book I read of his works and still bothers me from the stomping sequence in a way that plots and scenes in his other books never did ) and look forward to release date. Yours,William P.S. Don't be stubborn and give the public and his ghost a bone
It comes down to this - why would you re-write a classic story, one that exemplifies the best of a genre? Well, I suppose you think you can do it better - nothing is ever perfect after all. Or you have a new twist on the plot - maybe a time warp or other gimmick to expand on the basics (seeThe Beekeeper's Apprentice: Or On the Segregation of the Queen/A Novel of Suspense Featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes (Mary Russell Novels). Or you want to make a boatload of money without the work of creating anything new - just re-packaging it under your own name. I'm sure the estate would be happy to give you permission and to share in the profits. No, I won't buy it, and I'll urge my friends not to either. This just leaves a terrible taste in my mouth - disgusting.
I have had the good fortune to have an advanced copy of the book, and I have to say it is a great read. Yes, I have read the original as well. I found this to be an interesting take on the story and have recommended it to my friends, something I don't do lightly. It is just a fun, rollicking, heck of a good time read. Mr. Piper is well thanked, attributed and mentioned and I believe that this book will introduce a whole new generation to the Fuzzy books. It certainly brought me into the fold, as I read this book first and then went back and read the original. As an avid reader, I find it puzzling that so many are willing to dismiss this out of hand, state that they will urge others to avoid it and make other such sweeping remarks when they haven't so much as cracked the cover of the book. I have to wonder what other really great books they are missing out on.
You're going to catch a lot of flack from this, some of it deserved, some merely reactionary.
I have to say I am disappointed that the Piper estate would agree to such a thing. Piper as an author had one of the finest and tightest Future History series ever done, and even though the Fuzzy series is no landmark work, it does fill a cultural and socio-economic niche in his universe. Additionally, the reason Piper's work stands up so well now nearly 50 years later is that he wrote complete stories that just happened to be set in the future, often using the interstellar model to recreate specific historical conditions with additional moral questions and dilemmas.
I hope in your re-imagining you were able to preserve this feel to his universe because it would be a disappointment if it degenerated into a lackluster moral lecture as much of many current writers trend towards.