Jake Forbes's Reviews > Fuzzy Nation

Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi
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Jun 30, 11

Read from June 17 to 25, 2011

As a kid browsing the sci-fi shelves of my favorite used book store, I was fascinated by the covers of the original Fuzzy books but never actually purchased one to read. When I found out about this franchise reimagining, I was excited to visit the Fuzzy world at last.

The original Fuzzy books were thin, but then so were most sci-fi novels of that era. Fuzzy Nation is longer in page count by half, but it's a breezy read that feels padded at 300 pages. Scalizi's prose and his protagonist Jack Halloway are affable enough, but the rougish swagger falls flat with dragged out gags and repetitive banter. The core conflict is rich with potential but shallow in execution. Too much hinges on sitcomesque courtoom scenes and last-minute reveals. Despite the titular "Nation," we never know the Fuzzies as more than a handful of individuals. They are certainly cute individuals, just not very interesting. Fresh off of reading Embassytown, which featured some of the most alien, yet grounded, non-human creatures I`ve ever encountered in sci-fi, I guess I was primed for more xenobiology and alien anthropology. The Fuzzies are really just hairy Smurfs who can haz sentience.

With all that criticis, I feel a bit like a guy kicking a puppy. Fuzzy Nation is a fun read. It served me well as something to kill time on a long plane ride. But it never surprised me, made me question my assumptions or values. There was no awe and no joy. Scalzi's books have satisfied on all those levels in the past, which is why ultimately Fuzzy Nation was a big disappointment.


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