RogerBW's Blog

Fuzzies and Other People, H. Beam Piper 10 February 2020

1984 science fiction, re-read. For the Fuzzies to be able to testify against the people who kidnapped and enslaved them, they need to be veridicated… which means they need to be able to lie. But that's not a thing that Fuzzies do…

Well, eventually we get to that. Much of the first part of the book is just slice-of-life, with nothing particularly happening but seemingly endless recaps of what has gone before, mixed with chapters devoted to a band of un-contacted Fuzzies as they interact with the edges of the human footprint on the planet Zarathustra. Finally these strands merge, and all is made perfect.

This is famously the novel that was discovered nearly twenty years after Piper's death. There seems to be a bit more to the story than that: it appears that the book was in the process of being shopped around to publishers when Piper's agent died, and Piper killed himself shortly thereafter. Which means that this book didn't get an editorial pass (unless someone at Ace did it in the 1980s); certainly it never went back to the author for revisions. And, alas, that shows. There's repetition and sloppiness, and the story lurches at times while the earlier books glide. (In particular, when Little Fuzzy has become lost in the wilderness, then meets and travels with the un-contacted band, there's far too much emphasis on compass directions, when Piper can't even be consistent about whether the big river is flowing north or south.)

There's good stuff here, but the book as a whole is regrettably weak, with all the paternalistic problems of Fuzzy Sapiens continued (and that "permanent minor child" legal status gets increasingly creepy as it's being written with a less sure hand). There are no female characters (except for a few of the Fuzzies). The theft plot that was a major part of the second book is "revealed" actually to have happened entirely differently from what was described then, with the Fuzzy involvement merely a pointless and expensive blind, in a paragraph that makes no sense and which I'm sure would have been modified had the book been made properly ready for publication.

Bah. There is some good stuff, particularly looking at the life of Fuzzies in the wild. And as a completionist I'd have re-finished the series anyway. But it's a pity this couldn't have had the same normal polishing treatment that the other books got.

[Buy this at Amazon] and help support the blog. ["As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases."]

Previous in series: Fuzzy Sapiens | Series: The Fuzzy Papers

Comments on this post are now closed. If you have particular grounds for adding a late comment, comment on a more recent post quoting the URL of this one.

Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action advent of code aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio audio tech aviation base commerce battletech beer boardgaming book of the week bookmonth chain of command children chris chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup covid-19 crime cthulhu eternal cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi economics en garde espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 essen 2018 essen 2019 essen 2022 essen 2023 existential risk falklands war fandom fanfic fantasy feminism film firefly first world war flash point flight simulation food garmin drive gazebo genesys geocaching geodata gin gkp gurps gurps 101 gus harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo 2018 hugo 2019 hugo 2020 hugo 2022 hugo-nebula reread in brief avoid instrumented life javascript julian simpson julie enfield kickstarter kotlin learn to play leaving earth linux liquor lovecraftiana lua mecha men with beards mpd museum music mystery naval noir non-fiction one for the brow opera parody paul temple perl perl weekly challenge photography podcast politics postscript powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha python quantum rail raku ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs ruby rust scala science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans smartphone south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance the weekly challenge thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel type 26 type 31 type 45 vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1