Jared Millet's Reviews > Little Fuzzy

Little Fuzzy by H. Beam Piper
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's review
May 07, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: aliens, other-worlds, science-fiction
Read from May 07 to October 13, 2011

Here's an oldie that I never got around to, but finally did thanks to the Scalzi reboot (which I haven't read yet - had to clear this one out of the way first).

Little Fuzzy is cute. Seriously, this has got to be the most soft-hearted, chipper, and downright adorable science fiction novel I've ever read. If that was Piper's intent (and I think it was) then he succeeded. In a era of rip-roaring pulp adventure, HBP took the time to write a gentle, slow-paced book examining the impact of humans on an environment, first contact with an alien race that is neither all-powerful, militaristic, nor malevolent, and even by the end examining the very nature of "sapience" itself.

If the book has a failing - and it does - it's that there isn't enough narrative tension to sustain the story. The good guys are too competent and the bad guys are all bumbling idiots (except for the Big Bad, who completely disappears before the last third of the book - I guess he got while the gettin' was good). As a result, there's never any real sense of jeopardy for the characters and never any doubt as to how the issue of Fuzzy Rights will resolve itself.

On top of this, the book basks itself in Fifties kitsch, complete with highballs and nonstop smoking. It'll push a few nostalgia buttons for some, but others might find it anachronistic and jarring. That's just something you have to accept with the classics of SF. In the end, Little Fuzzy was a pleasant, thought-provoking read, despite being about as suspenseful as an episode of The Andy Griffith Show.
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01/30/2016 marked as: read

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