I should know better than to start a book late in the evening when I know it is going to be good. This is a problem I have had ever since I became a veracious reader. As a child I would read well into the night and far past my bedtime. By high school my world had become a book. In an ultimate case of geekery I once stayed up all night reading Startide Rising by David Brin (still one of my favorite books of all time) and didn’t get it finished. The next morning was the very first time I ever cut school. I had to stay home and finish the book. It was too good not to know how it finished.
Even with all of this history of late night reading I couldn’t help myself when at 12:01 am Tuesday morning Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi downloaded to my iPad. The book is based on Little Fuzzy by H. Beam Piper. Mr. Scalzi was a big fan of the original and decided he really wanted to take the characters and the shell of the story and give a modern sensibility. In a lot of ways it started off as a professional writer doing fan fiction. He wasn’t really thinking about publishing it. I am glad he changed his mind.
Little Fuzzy was one of my favorite books in high school. It is one of the first books I can remember making me cry. When I read that John Scalzi was updating the story I was excited. I am a big fan of Mr. Scalzi. I knew he would do the original proud and looked forward to seeing what it was going to look like. So as the book downloaded I thought to myself, “I am only going to read one chapter and then go to bed.” Again, I should have known better.
After the first highly entertaining chapter I thought, “just one more chapter.” Then it became, “I need to read until the first Fuzzy appears.” Five hours later when I crawled into bed to get a whopping two hours of sleep before work I was done with the book. I absolutely adored it. It was funny, heart warming, sad, and flat out entertaining. My favorite book by Mr. Scalzi since Android Dreams (and I frakking loved Android Dreams).
I can give no higher compliment to the book then to say I couldn’t put it down. He took the original idea and made it his own without losing the gentle kindness of the first one. The story becomes less black and white. The giant corporation is still the evil bad guy but our good guys feel more human. More capable of making a mistake or being greedy. It adds a nice touch to the story.
If you like science fiction, I think there is a good chance you will like this book. Here’s the thing I think, there is a good chance you will like this book even if science fiction isn’t your thing. It doesn’t go real heavy on the world building. Instead it is a simple story about friendship, love, and what makes us human. Go get it now but don’t start reading it late or you could be up all night.