Audiobook Review: Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi

14 05 2011

Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi

Read by Wil Wheaton

Audible Frontiers

Genre: Science Fiction

Quick Thoughts: Fuzzy Nation is a fast, clean, straight forward science fiction adventure with a well plotted and satisfying ending. Wil Weaton again shines as narrator for one of John Scalzi’s tales.

Grade: A

John Scalzi is a writer. He writes science fiction novels, short stories, compelling blog posts, quirky tweets about his cat and his views on sci-fi film. Not only is John Scalzi a writer, but he is also a science fiction fan. You can see that on his writing. The love of the genre shines through his work, with shout outs to modern writers, and past greats as well. John Scalzi’s latest work, Fuzzy Nation, may be his ultimate love letter to classic science fiction yet, a re-imagining and updating of H. Beam Piper’s Little Fuzzy. Now, I have never read the source material, something I plan to rectify, so my take on the novel will not be a comparison to its predecessor, but a look at how it stands on its own. I don’t feel this is a negative, you don’t have to have seen the 70’s version of Battlestar Galactica to appreciate the more modern version. Yet, I do think it is important for readers and listeners to understand the origins of the work.

Fuzzy Nation is just simply a wonderful novel. It has so many thing I enjoy in novels that it’s almost like someone decided to put something together just for me. Science fiction, with cute fuzzy beings, an awesome dog, a snaky anti-hero, some courtroom drama, and a whole bunch of twists both in characters and plot. One of the things I loved so much about the book is that while at heart it’s a simple science fiction tale about discovering a sentient species, it doesn’t rely on cliché and overused tropes. Jack Holloway is my favorite types of character, not someone whose essence is inheritably good battling against the evil corporate entity, but a selfish schemer who finds ways to make his moral ambiguity actually do a little good. I especially like the fact that our typical bad guy, the exes’ new boyfriend, is actually more of a true hero type than Jack will ever be. Add to that, Carl, the wonderful dog who can set of explosives (for a treat) and we already have a winning basis for a novel. Then we get to the Fuzzies. Oh, those adorable, yet smart creatures that are the heart of this tale. You just cannot help but like them. Yet, they are not just smart teddy bears, they are intricate and active members in driving the plot forward. Through the Fuzzies we see the true nature of the characters, and humanity as a whole. Fuzzy Nation is a fast, clean, straight forward science fiction adventure with a well plotted satisfying ending.

Scalzi and Wil Wheaton are quickly becoming one of the better author/narrator pairings in the business today, on the same lever as Butcher/Marsters. Like James Marsters, Wheaton has a simple reading style not cluttered down with bells and whistles. He was brilliant in Agent to the Stars, which was #5 in my top 20 audiobooks of 2010, and continues to impress here. Wheaton finds the right tone for each character, not overacting, just allowing their voice to shine through. Where Wheaton really shines is the courtroom scenes where he finds the right rhythm for the process of the hearing, and provides a truly great moment, that I don’t want to spoil for the listener. Fuzzy Nation is a great adult Science Fiction Tale, yet it also has enough heart and humor to appeal to even non-science fiction fans.

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2 responses

15 12 2011
My Top 20 Audiobooks of 2011 « The Guilded Earlobe

[…] My Review […]

29 05 2012

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