Jack Holloway thinks he’s got the best luck: he’s found a big strike that could earn him billions. Then he finds something else: a native race of furry creatures that may be sentient. Now it seems like he has two options: be ethical and lose everything or lie and keep it all. Fortunately, or unfortunately, Jack works by a unique set of rules. Whether this will be enough to keep him alive, and leads him to save the fuzzies, remains to be seen…
This could be a stretch, but in some ways Jack makes me think of Snape from the Harry Potter series. In both cases it can be argued that why the character does something is as important as what he does. Jack’s character is multiple layered: the reader isn’t totally sure what his motivations are until the end of the story when he reveals them. This makes Fuzzy Nation worth reading for his character alone because the reader wants to figure him out. In terms of storyline, it can work for the reader who wants to think or the reader who wants a story of facing down bad guys against dangerous odds. The reader who wants to think can debate what makes a person a person, what is fair to native peoples, whether means are justified by the ends and what makes a good person. The reader who wants the dangerous odds experience gets plot twists, unpleasant bad guys and a humorous-serious mix. The interesting creatures and mentions of science create a world which can appeal to those looking for a world similar, but different, to our own. For instance, how ex-lawyer Jack feels in the courtroom made me wonder how lawyers feel when they make arguments in the real world. Fuzzy Nation can be a good choice for those wanting to think or those who want a good against dangerous odds story.
Interested in Fuzzy Nation?
This story was inspired by H. Beam Piper’s Little Fuzzy, so it could be interesting to read that story. This story can be found in an omnibus of stories called The Complete Fuzzy which has the complete adventures of Piper’s Holloway and his fuzzies.
Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl has a bleaker tone, but also involves a corporate exploitation in the future and has a character which causes pondering on what makes a person a person.
Curious about whether alien life could exist? Books such as Piers Bizony’s The Search for Aliens : A Rough Guide to Life on Other Worlds examine this question.