Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Fun, Again: Fuzzy Nation

John Scalzi's Fuzzy Nation is an odd bird. It's a revisiting of H. Beam Piper's Little Fuzzy, which I recently reread in honor of Scalzi's new book. So reading it, I knew the basic outline of the plot, but the flavor of the path and many of the twists were completely new. For one thing, Scalzi's characters have a lot more depth than Piper's. The society has moved on as well, so that the people in the future seem more like people today rather than mimicking my parent's generation in terms of roles of women, favorite cocktails, and attitudes towards pets.

I liked how he kept a lot of the elements of the original, but gave them all new spins. Both books have important courtroom scenes, but the laws involved and the tricks (by both good guys and bad) were all new. The fuzzies themselves got more agency and women didn't quit their jobs to get married. There was still a spy, but I admit I didn't figure it out in advance. The highest compliment I can pay is that while reading it I soon became sucked into the story and forgot the play the game of "spot the connections to the original." I did wonder if Scalzi's dog ever set off fireworks, though.

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