Posted by : Deborah Takahashi Thursday, March 8, 2012

Plot Summary:
For Jack Holloway, Zara XXIII, or Zarathustra, is home sweet home. As an independent surveyor for the ZaraCorps, he spends his time mining, and exploiting, planets for precious minerals and materials. The thing about Jack is that he is a very selfish and self-serving man who sold out his ex-girlfriend to protect his reputation. Despite these unflattering characteristics, Jack stick to himself and does his job well with the help of his canine buddy, Carl, who knows how to detonate explosives. One day, while excavating, Jack and Carl end up blowing up part of a mountain to discover that this planet is rich in Sunstone, which means that Jack is now a millionaire. However, all of this changes when a cat-like creature breaks into his home. Known as the "Fuzzies," Papa, Mama, Grandpa, Pinto, and Baby not only take over his home, but they steal his heart. Although Jack sees these creatures as intelligent animals, they more he gets to know them, the more he realizes that his early retirement is in trouble--if these creatures are not intelligent animals, they are evidence of a species of sentient beings, which are protected by the Colonial Authority, which can shut down ZaraCorps plans to mine the planet. With the help of his Isabel, his former flame, he slowly starts to learn that these creatures can do bring down ZaraCorps, which results in a series of events, and trouble, that even Jack Holloway can escape.

Critical Evaluation:
Based on H. Beam Piper's "Little Fuzzy," Scalzi revitalizes the story for the reader's of today. Since I am new to Science Fiction, I did have a hard time digesting all of the Sci-Fi aspects where a lot of dialogue is dedicated to explaining the gadgets, history, and culture of this generation. However, in any story where the future is unknown, these elements are necessary in order for the reader to envision what this world is like and what the characters are facing. Once I realized that this is pretty much the foundation of the genre, I continued reading this story and fell head over heels in love with the "Fuzzy Family." Although Jack Holloway is the typical "bad boy" who only looks out for himself, the Fuzzy Family has an unlikely impact on him, which actually forces him to re-evaluate his entire character. However, the real stars of this novel are the Fuzzies because it is through their presence that molds and shapes the story. Along with the Fuzzies, the dialogue is hysterical; in fact, since Jack is supposed to be a middle-aged grump, Scalzi has re-vamped the character to sound more like a cynical young person who needs a real kick in the pants. Scalzi's rendition focuses on serious issues such as ethics and what it really means to be "human" that actually pose lots of questions for readers to grapple with, which, along with the humor, is what makes this story an excellent read.

Information about the Author:
According to his blog, John Scalzi was born on May 10, 1969 in Fairfield, California. Growing up he lived in the San Gabriel Valley in a town called Claremont. He attended school in Claremont and attended University of Chicago. After graduating college, he came back to California and worked at the Fresno Bee as a movie critic where he met his wife, Kristine. In 1996, he left Fresno to work for America Online and eventually went on to become a freelance writer. After the birth of his daughter, in 1998, he started writing nonfiction and his first title was published in 2000. He now currently lives in Ohio where he published his first novel, Old Man's War, which earned him the Hugo Award.

Science Fiction

Reading Level/Interest:
Grades 11 & up

Books Similar to Fuzzy Nation:
Awards & Recognition:
  • Publisher's Weekly Starred Review (3/21/2011)
  • Kirkus Starred Review (5/1/2011)

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Deborah Takahashi
Pasadena, CA, United States
My name is Deb and I am a Librarian who absolutely loves to read and recommend books to teen and tween readers. In this blog, you will find reviews on a variety resources ranging from books, movies, video games, and much more. Please feel free to leave any feedback, especially book recommendations!
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