Thursday, January 12, 2012

Audiobook Review - Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi (5/5 stars)

Reading level: Young Adult/Adult
Genre: Science Fiction
Size: 304 pages
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: May 10, 2011
ISBN: 978-0765328540
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: Audiobook from
Rating: 5/5 stars

I listened to this book on audiobook. The audiobook was very well done. This is a great story that is fast-paced, fun, and deals with serious environmental and societal issues.

Jack Holloway is an independent contractor on a ZaraCorp planet. When Jack finds a huge vein of very valuable Sunstone material (after causing a major cliff collapse) he thinks his future is set. This all gets more complicated when the Fuzzys enter his life. Jacks ex-girlfriend is the ZaraCorp biologist and she thinks these Fuzzys might be sentient. If that ends up being the case then all bets are off for ZaraCorp's mineral claims and Jack's fortune.

This book is very well written and very well read. It's fast paced, funny, and talks about a lot of serious issues while providing a very engaging story.

Jack Holloway is a great character. At some points he is selfish and is just looking out for himself; but as the story progresses you find out that deep down he wants to do what is morally right...kind of. Jack legal speaks a lot and worms his way out of a lot of tight situations by referencing various cases and laws; he is an ex-lawyer with a chip on his shoulder so this comes naturally to him. In general I found it amusing and fun. Jack is really part of what makes this story great, as a reader you aren't sure where his loyalties lie; Jack is flat out unpredictable.

The other characters that really makes this book are, of course, the Fuzzys. There are described as adorable, very intelligent animals in the beginning. As the story continues you see they are so much more than that.

There really aren't any badly done characters in this book. Everyone from Jack's ex-girlfriend biologist, to ZaraCorp's lawyer and security staff are well-fleshed out and interesting to read about. There is a large court room drama type scene towards the end of the book, I know a bit crazy, but it was very well done and held some of the biggest surprises in the book.

Now you are thinking...yeah but is this just another story about a big bad corporation trying to take over the world? In many ways it is. ZaraCorp is trying to keep up a face of corporate responsibility while stripping planets of their minerals. They go to great lengths to make sure there get their money's worth out of a place. So yeah, issues about environmental responsibility are addressed, as are issues about a corporation basically owning a planet. For the most part ZeraCorp reacts how you would expect it to when a large portion of its income is threatened. That being said there are a lot of twists and turns to the story that are surprising and unexpected. There are a lot of different story elements being brought together here that make this a lot more than a story about an evil corporation taking over an alien world.

The story ends well and is complete. I would love to hear about more adventures between Jack and the Fuzzys in the future. The audiobook version actually has a version of the story that this book is based off of, Little Fuzzy by Henry Beam Piper, recorded after Fuzzy Nation. I have not listened to this original novel yet.

Overall I really, really enjoyed this novel. It was a fun, fast-paced novel, full of unexpected twists. The audiobook version was incredibly well done, so I recommend listening to it on audiobook if you like audiobooks. The book manages to address some serious issues but in a way that is interesting, incredibly engaging, and fun. Jack Holloway is a wonderful character he is so unpredictable, funny, and was a lot of fun watching him navigate his way through the story. The Fuzzys were adorable and much more than they initially appear to be. I highly recommend this book for all young adults and older. I especially recommend it if you are a fan of fast-paced sci-fi or interested in the "corporations in the future" type of story.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- 150+ Books Reading Challenge

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