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Sci-Fi Review – Little Fuzzy

Little Fuzzy by H. Beam Piper

Review by Cyndi J. (cyndij)


On the planet Zarathrustra, the Chartered Zarathrustra Company pretty much owns it all.  They exploit the natural resources, develop what they want, and pretty much run the show without much interference from the Colonial Government. Jack Holloway is an eccentric miner, making his living from sunstones, an exotic fossil that glows with the wearer’s body heat.

Coming back from a day’s hard work, Jack surprises a little creature in his house. It’s cute, it squeaks at him, it’s not particularly afraid, and he feeds it a bit of pre-packaged rations which it really, really likes. Jack decides he wants a pet and calls it “Little Fuzzy”. Before you know it, Little Fuzzy has invited the rest of his family to enjoy the comforts of Jack’s home. But after observing them carefully, Jack thinks that these creatures are really intelligent beings, and he calls in a friend with the government to check it out.  We’re given POV from not just the humans but also Little Fuzzy, so we readers already know they’re intelligent, if childlike.

The Chartered Zarathrustra Company gets wind of Jack’s enquiry and alarm bells go off everywhere. Billions of dollars are at stake, because the Company cannot own a planet if there’s intelligent inhabitants. They hatch a scheme to murder the Fuzzies.  Of course this is going to backfire on them, and we get some tense moments of rescue along with an interesting court trial and vindication for the Fuzzies. To my mind, the trial is the highlight of the book. Justice in action, and the rule of law preserved.

The book veers between very one-dimensional villains and the overly adorable Fuzzies, and serious discussions about what intelligence actually is. There’s an evil corporation, with the government and the military stepping in to save the day, which is kind of odd for the 1960s.  The tone is also somewhat juvenile, but the characters smoke and drink constantly, not to mention the murder.  Despite some of the outdated references, I think this still holds up very well. John Scalzi “rebooted” it several years ago with FUZZY NATION, but this holds its own. It’s a fun, fast read with things to think about.






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