Sunday, July 15, 2018

Fuzzy Sapiens

H. Beam Piper
Completed 7/15/2018, Reviewed 7/15/2018
3 stars

This is the sequel to “Little Fuzzy”.  It begins right after the previous book ends.  It’s better written than the first book, but the story is not quite as interesting.  It’s still a quick read, just not nearly as fun or thought-provoking.  Since it is a sequel, the plot summary has some spoilers, so be aware if you continue reading this review.

The story begins with the building of the new non-corporate government now that the planet’s designation has been changed to Type IV due to the legal decision that Fuzzies are sentient beings.  The corporation that used to run the planet, the CZC, is now trying to transition into being charter-less, that is, it no longer has a monopoly on the planet.  One of the first actions of the new government is to allow the adoption of the Fuzzies by humans.  Of course, everyone wants one.  Interestingly enough, word has spread among the Fuzzies that the Big Ones (humans) are good and will feed and protect them, so they want to be adopted as well.  Even the head of the corporation, Victor, befriends and adopts one.  But the birthing of a new government is not easy, and there are some missing Fuzzies that everyone is looking for. 

I found this book to be a little drier than the first.  It doesn’t feature as much playfulness.  The focus is primarily on the humans, the government, and the CZC.  Much of the page time is devoted to the development and execution of the adoption service, which just isn’t that interesting.  In fact, I felt a little uneasy about the whole adoption thing.  It seems to me that if there are sentient beings, they should be left alone to develop on their own.  Adoption seems patronizing and pet-like rather than respectful of the Fuzzies as their own race.  Maybe I’m too used to the Star Trek Prime Directive for non-interference with indigenous races. 

However, it did seem like the writing was much stronger, less pulpy than the first.  I was surprised at how much easier it was to read this book than the first, even though I found it less interesting. 

While Jack Halloway, the original discoverer of the Fuzzies is still featured in this sequel, Victor is probably the main character.  He makes an easy transition from anti-Fuzzy to pro-Fuzzy.  This happens because he finds a Fuzzy in his bedroom one day, and the Fuzzy takes to him immediately.  Victor is hesitant at first but falls victim to the Fuzzy’s irresistible charms.  I found myself really rooting for him in his transformation. 

I give this book three stars out of five.  There’s a third book that was published about twenty years after the author’s death, though it’s not in e-book format, and at least one other author has continued the Fuzzy stories.  However, I’m looking forward to the Fuzzy reboot by John Scalzi, entitled “Fuzzy Nation”, which I hope to read soon.

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