Review: Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi

fuzzy-nation01Fuzzy Nation
by John Scalzi
Narrated by Wil Wheaton
Series: None
Genre: Science Fiction
Published by Tor, 2011
Audiobook, Purchased
303 pages
7 hrs., 19 min.
Grade: B+
Narrator Grade: B-
Synopsis: Jack Holloway works alone, for reasons he doesn’t care to talk about. Hundreds of miles from ZaraCorp’s headquarters on planet, 178 light-years from the corporation’s headquarters on Earth, Jack is content as an independent contractor, prospecting and surveying at his own pace. As for his past, that’s not up for discussion.

Then, in the wake of an accidental cliff collapse, Jack discovers a seam of unimaginably valuable jewels, to which he manages to lay legal claim just as ZaraCorp is cancelling their contract with him for his part in causing the collapse. Briefly in the catbird seat, legally speaking, Jack pressures ZaraCorp into recognizing his claim, and cuts them in as partners to help extract the wealth.

But there’s another wrinkle to ZaraCorp’s relationship with the planet Zarathustra. Their entire legal right to exploit the verdant Earth-like planet, the basis of the wealth they derive from extracting its resources, is based on being able to certify to the authorities on Earth that Zarathustra is home to no sentient species.

Then a small furry biped—trusting, appealing, and ridiculously cute—shows up at Jack’s outback home. Followed by its family. As it dawns on Jack that despite their stature, these are people, he begins to suspect that ZaraCorp’s claim to a planet’s worth of wealth is very flimsy indeed…and that ZaraCorp may stop at nothing to eliminate the “fuzzys” before their existence becomes more widely known.

“You’re an interesting person, Jack.” Sullivan said. “I wish I could figure out what you were thinking when you punched Stern and turned on Isabel.”

“Well, I think that’s the thing.” Holloway said. “I think it’s clear that sometimes I just don’t think.”

“I think you do.” Sullivan said. “It’s just you think about you first. The not thinking part comes right after that.”


  • A short and enjoyable book.
  • Jack is a complex character. You never quite know where you are with him!
  • Jack is a disbarred attorney and hearing about why he was disbarred is instructive! He does things which seem straightforward, but when looked at carefully has several hidden meanings. He seems very selfish much of the time–but self-aware and unapologetic about his character flaws!
  • The fuzzys seem like only smart animals at first. The fact they look cute and something like cats also makes us think of them as animals.
  • I like all the characters. They’re funny and human–except for the Fuzzies who are also funny and sentient!
  • The book has an old-fashioned feel to it. The story is straightforward, simple and optimistic.


  • ZaraCorps is stereotypical “bad.”
  • I like Wil Wheaton, but I don’t like some of his narration. His voice doesn’t change very much from character to character. When different characters are speaking there are lots of “Holloway said”, “Isabel said”, “Sullivan said.” That took me out of the story, was sometimes confusing and annoying.

And a few thoughts

  • H. Beam Piper wrote the original book–Little Fuzzies–this is based on in 1962. The book was nominated for the 1963 Hugo Award for Best Novel.
  • John Scalzi originally wrote this book for his own amusement. His agent felt it could be published.
  • The names of several characters are the same, but the character of Jack is different.
  • John Scalzi is one of my favorite authors after reading three of his books! I’ve enjoyed all his books so far!

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

I’m participating in the following reading challenges for this book:

Author: Jan

I love to read--especially mysteries, science fiction and fantasy. I also love blogging, photography, gardening, playing Mah Jonng, reading with a cat on my lap, throwing a ball for a dog, creating cards to send to family and friends, reading book blogs, using my computer.

8 thoughts on “Review: Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi”

  1. It’s a very cute book. The “old fashioned” feel might be because it’s based on the classic book “Little Fuzzy” by H. Beam Piper. Well, Scalzi likened it to a remake/reboot 🙂 I’ve always wanted to read the original just to compare, it’s available for free.


    1. I agree, Mogsy. I think it is because it’s based on Little Fuzzy. It would be interesting to read Piper’s book, but I have to admit I probably won’t…LOL


  2. The only John Scalzi book I’ve read was Redshirts and it was fantastic! It’s got a hilarious take on Star Trek, which I used to watch all the time with my dad when I was younger. Scalzi has a new release coming out soon, and I’ll definitely pick it up now that I know he’s got your endorsement. 🙂


  3. I totally need to read this book. The fuzzies remind me of the tree cats in David Webers books I’ve only read one tho. A Beautiful Friendship. I got to meet Scalzi several times and haven’t yet read one of his books! I know for shame. But I own this and Redshirts, Lockin and Old Man’s War.


    1. I have all the books by Scalzi you have, Tabitha, plus a few more! I’ve read a number of David Webers books, but it has been a long time. I think I remember the tree cats. I can’t remember that they were considered “people” though. Which is interesting!


  4. I was going to ask how much it differs from Little Fuzzy, but I see from the comments that you haven’t read that one either. I’ve been meaning to; it is supposed to be good. I’ve never read any Scalzi, either, but Redshirts is in my “hope I get around to it” list for Fall.


    1. From what John Scalzi says he took the basic premise and the names of the main characters, but changed Jack Holloway’s character which changed the story. Redshirts is good. I enjoyed that one a lot!


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