The Super Secret Thing That I Cannot Tell You About, Revealed: Introducing Fuzzy Nation
Posted on April 7, 2010 Posted by John Scalzi 204 Comments
So, that Super Secret Thing That I Cannot Tell You About? I can tell you about it now. It’s a novel, and it’s called Fuzzy Nation, and it’s a reboot of the Hugo-nominated 1962 science fiction novel Little Fuzzy, by H. Beam Piper.
And now, your questions:
Uh, “reboot”? Don’t you mean a sequel?
Nope, I mean a reboot, as in, I took the original plot and characters of Little Fuzzy and wrote an entirely new story from and with them. The novel doesn’t follow on from the events of Little Fuzzy; it’s a new interpretation of that first story and a break from the continuity that H. Beam Piper established in Little Fuzzy and its sequels.
Why did you do this?
Because as far as I know it’s never been done before. Science fiction TV and movie series are rebooted all the time — see Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek for recent examples of this — but I can’t think of a significant, original universe in science fiction literature in which this has been done, at least, not by someone who is not the original author. So I thought, hey, this seems like it could be a fun thing to do. So I did it.
Why Little Fuzzy?
Because I am a huge fan of the original novel and of H. Beam Piper’s work. It’s a good story and he’s a very good story teller; Little Fuzzy wasn’t nominated for a Hugo on accident, you know. And while the original novel is still, as they say, a “cracking good tale,” I thought there was an opportunity to revisit the story and put a new spin on it to make it approachable to people who had not read the original or did not know about Piper, and also to give fans of the original the fun of seeing some old friends in new settings.
While Fuzzy Nation is a “reboot” of Little Fuzzy, the idea behind it is not to replace the original, but to celebrate it and hopefully draw new readers to it and to other work by Piper. I hope that when people get done with Fuzzy Nation they’ll pick up Little Fuzzy, and compare and contrast the two approaches to the same story.
How can you do this? Aren’t there copyright issues involved?
Little Fuzzy itself is in the public domain, but its sequels are still under copyright. While it might have been technically possible to write Fuzzy Nation without the permission of the Piper estate, because of the status of the sequels there were enough (forgive the pun) fuzzy legal areas that I didn’t want to have to deal with them. Beyond this, because Fuzzy Nation is in many ways meant to be a tribute to Little Fuzzy and to Piper himself, I wanted the blessing, so to speak, of the Piper estate.
So, after I wrote Fuzzy Nation, my super-invaluable and incredibly awesome agent Ethan Ellenberg approached the rights holders to the Piper estate and started talking to them about it. The discussions took, well, a long time. But we reached agreement on it, and I’m happy to say Fuzzy Nation is an authorized work.
Wait. You said you asked for permission only after you wrote Fuzzy Nation?
Well, because I originally wrote it for fun. I was doing it mostly to see what a version of Little Fuzzy by me would be like. And when I was done, I thought, well, that’s not too bad, I wonder if I can do something with it? And that’s when Ethan started talking to folks.
What if you had asked for permission and the answer was “no”?
Well, then I guess Fuzzy Nation would be The Super Secret Project That You Will Never Ever Find Out About. But, you know, look. Sometimes you do things not for any particular profit motive, but because it interests you, and you enjoy it, and you have a good time with it, and it’s good for your outlook on life. I decided to write Fuzzy Nation right after I had a particularly contentious and annoying negotiation for a completely different Super Secret Project That You Will Never Ever Find Out About, and I needed to do something to sort of cleanse my palate, as it were. Fuzzy Nation was it. And you know what? I had a ball with it, and it reset my attitude and made writing fun once more. If it never saw the light of day, it still would have been worth writing for that alone.
So you had another Super Secret Project That You Couldn’t Tell Us About?
How many of those do you have going, anyway?
Quite obviously, I can’t tell you.
Fair enough. So when can we read Fuzzy Nation?
After it’s published!
And when will that be?
No idea. Because I was writing it on my own time, it’s not on any particular publisher’s schedule. It’s not even been sold yet. Ethan will start shopping it around now.
You mean to say you’re telling us you’ve written a novel but we can’t read it yet, and you don’t know when we can?
Yup, pretty much.
You are an evil little man, Scalzi.
Fuzzy Nation had better be good, man.
Oh, it is.
Update. 4/13: sold the book!
What if you had asked for permission and the answer was “no”?
Well, then I guess Fuzzy Nation would be The Super Secret Project That You Will Never Ever Find Out About
If that happened, you could still put it on the web as fanfic.
I liked Little Fuzzy a lot; I’m looking forward to reading this one. Soon?
Well hey, that’s pretty cool. I look forward to reading it at some time in the future.
Did you have lots of fun teasing us?
You have to ask?
Wonderful! Thanks for the head’s up. Here’s a link to the free Kindle edition of Little Fuzzy for anyone else who wants it:
YAY! I love Little Fuzzy – I used it to introduce a book club full of non-sci-fi readers to science fiction. They were VERY pleasantly surprised.
Good on ya!
Can’t wait for it to be published…so I can sell lots.
Even though we have to wait, or worst case scenario it is never published, you have already enlightened at least one person on H. Beam Piper and Little Fuzzy. I look forward to reading it and thank you for bringing it back to the fore.
I’d think that an established author releasing a full-length work as fanfic would ‘dilute the brand’ as it were…
To the subject at hand, interesting. I hadn’t thought of Piper’s stuff in years. I’ll keep an eye out for it.
I’m glad you didn’t announce this on April 1st, because I would have thought you were joking.
Not that that’s a bad thing.
Sweet! I’ve been a piper fan since the late 70’s and am still picking up John Carr books as a way to keep going. Can’t wait to see yours.
Is Jack Holloway still there? Oh man, I hope so. Jack ROCKS!
That actually doesn’t seem very obvious at all to me. Telling us how many projects you have that you can’t tell us about is different from, well, telling us about them. Especially because you’re already mentioned the existence of one of them.
Also, given that there were actually two, mutually exclusive, Fuzzy sequels written already (an authorized one by another writer, followed by a rediscovered Piper MS), couldn’t it be said that the franchise had already been rebooted once?
PS — BONUS THIRD THING: Yum. Scalzi does Fuzzy. Equals WANT.
Way cool. Like the Hardy Boy / Nancy Drew reboots that happen every generation. Let’s get you working the Stratmeyer syndicate and set you loose on Tom Swift.
Ooh, Space Viking reboot? What about the whole System States War? So many stories still waiting to be told there.
Piper’s Fuzzy books have been among my favorites since I was old enough to read ’em…very much looking forward to reading yours.
Heh. Glad to see there’s another Piper fan around here! Piper’s the guy who turned me into an SF reader in the first place.
I’ve always hoped someone would package up Piper’s notes on his future history and publish them.
When was the last time we had a new book based on Piper’s stories? Was it Great Kings’ War? Wow was that a long time ago.
“couldn’t it be said that the franchise had already been rebooted once?”
Those books followed on the stories previously written, so they weren’t reboots, although they may constitute alternate histories within the established Fuzzyverse.
Interesting. Piper’s work is among those classics that I keep meaing to get around to some day, but haven’t yet. This will definitely inspire me to Get Right On That(tm).
After reading Old Man’s War and its sequels, and Agent to the Stars, (all multiple times!) I am pretty much up for ANYTHING that Mr. Scalzi writes. Its been a long time since I discovered an author with this much talent…
Haven’t read Little Fuzzy (but will now, thanks) but this post reminded me of one of my own favorite series – the Hoka short stories by Poul Anderson and Gordon R Dickson. John, I hope you’ve read those?
(yes, just discovered that Little Fuzzy is on Project Gutenberg! Now I know what I’m reading next.)
My first experience with cosplay was when I was about 18 months old, and my brother and I were Fuzzies with our Dad as Pappy Jack at Baycon in… must have been ’78.
I just got Little Fuzzy on my nook. I generally like what you recommend, and if you’re rebooting something and I’ll read your reboot, I want to know the original material as well.
I don’t expect your agent to have much of a problem selling it. But if he does would you try the self publish ebook route?
Hey John… you could self-publish. As an ebook. It’s EASY (or so i hear on the interwebs….. ).
This is pretty much the coolest SFnal thing I’ve read about since first hearing about Steven Brust’s Firefly fanfic, My Own Kind of Freedom. I’m a huge H. Beam Piper fan. My dad had most of Piper’s works and I came back to them often, from Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen to the Fuzzy series. I’m very much looking forward to reading your reboot.
John @5: Thanks for the Kindle link – I’ve been beating my head against a wall trying to find some of the classic SF/fantasy I grew up on, and those public-domain downloads will do the trick quite nicely…
The Fuzzies were created by man.
They look… and feel… Wuzzy.
Some are programmed to think they are Wuzzy.
There are many Fuzzies and Fuzzy Wuzzies.
And they have a plan.
“Sometimes you do things not for any particular profit motive, but because it interests you, and you enjoy it, and you have a good time with it, and it’s good for your outlook on life.”
Yeah, but what you did was the same as your job. That doesn’t hardly seem right.
Just kidding. I’ve been lucky enough to have a job doing what I would gladly do for free as a hobby.
@25 – don’t forget Project Gutenberg. Piper’s work (including Little Fuzzy) is here: http://www.gutenberg.org/browse/authors/p#a8301
Love this concept of the reboot, and of writing to rekindle (or is that reiPad) the love of it with no thoughts on how to turn a profit.
I never heard of H. Beam Piper or Little Fuzzy. Now you got me intrigued, so mission accomplished on that part of it.
Reboots. It’s nice to borrow ideas. As far as I’m concerned there are no original ideas.
“But if he does would you try the self publish ebook route?”
To be a little bit obnoxious about it, I am not in the least concerned about finding a publisher. It’s not to say that I might not consider self-publishing for another project at some point in time.
Yeah, well, given your track record, I suspect you’ll have a publisher for this book lined-up before I finish typing this comment.
I’ve been meaning to read the original for a couple of years now. Looks like I better get on that.
And did you have the cover art done just for fun, or is it possible it will be on the published version?
Well, you know I’m excited about this.
As someone who has not read Piper, is it necessary or helpful to read the original to fully appreciate this book? If yes, then should it be read before or after yours?
I guess this means you are not pregnant…
Although it is interesting that this was the 2nd place category in the vote totals.
The cover art was done because early on I had a specific reason to need it. Whether a publisher retains it will be up to them, but I should say I think it is supermegaultraawesome.
What about “Golden Dreams”? Isn’t that a reboot?
WOW!!! Little Fuzzy is one of my favorite stories, I’m so excited!!!!
What is the back story on having cover art prior to even selling the work to a publisher? Did you privately commission the work?
Since you already have a beautiful piece of cover art will the use of that artwork be a condition in negotiations for publishing?
For you iPad users, “Little Fuzzy” is also available in the iBooks store (as well as many other H. Beam Piper tales).
I did privately commission it. Because I wanted it, basically. I doubt highly publishers would allow that to be a condition for publication.
Golden Dreams isn’t really a reboot, but a telling of the story from a different perspective.
Reboots are done quite allot in comic books to. I prefer reimagination but I guess reboot sounds more sf, and maybe it’s the standard in tv.
But English is obv not my native language so I could just be complete weird in my taste.
I’m not familiar with Little Fuzzy, so I just picked up the e-book. In addition to being available from Amazon in Kindle format as mentioned above, it is available in other e-book formats from ManyBooks: http://manybooks.net/titles/piperh1813718137.html#
AWESOME! I loved those books growing up!
It’s really cool that you’ve rebooted a novel. It’s not often you get to be the first to do something.
Are there any other classics you’re thinking about redoing? You could position yourself as the Reboot Master….
Maybe I’m missing it: Where’s the trademark Little Fuzzy Glaive thing? To me it just isn’t LF without the neo-teddy-bear brandishing a glaive-thing. That thing gave them _gravitas_.
There are actually two authorised sequels by other authors:
William Tuning’s Fuzzy Bones, and Ardath Mayhar’s Golden Dream: A Fuzzy Odyssey. The two are consistent with each other, but not with Piper’s found MS for Fuzzies and Other People.
I for one am thankful the title of the story isn’t “Furry Nation”, because that would have been disturbing.
As it’s a reboot, reading any of the previous books in the series won’t be necessary. But it would be fun!
This is an interesting concept. I loved the original story, after finding it on Project Gutenberg. And after reading Zoë’s War in the Hugo voters’ pack I had to buy the rest of the Old Man’s War. So I’m trusting you to have done a good job with this!
Post the first chapter or it didn’t happen.
I’ll look forward to it. Just the other day, my niece was asking what she should read after TWILIGHT, and I pulled my foxed and worn copy of LITTLE FUZZY from the bookshelf to send to her.
John, I dearly love your work, including this blog, but please take it as a sincere example of the love that I have for the original source material when I say, if you screw this up, I will hunt you down…..and likely weep bitterly as I shout incoherent curses in your general direction.
No, seriously man, I mean it!
Understood. And another reason that I wanted the Piper estate sign-off; i.e., so they didn’t feel the original was being treated shabbily.
I just downloaded Little Fuzzy to my kindle from Amazon. It’s been over 30 years and I had forgotten about it. Reading the description brought it back. I will re-read and look forward to your reboot. So far I have loved everything you have written in a novel and know this won’t be any different.
I applaud this. Since I read it an hour or so ago I’ve kept coming back to the “writing it for your own pleasure” thing. As a full-time freelance writer, editor, and novelist, sometimes I have to just write something for the fun of it without thinking too much about whether it’ll eventually be marketable. I did it with a short story about a dwarf detective (Flatfooted) on my blog last year and I’ve been tinkering with an SF novel for a while now, and although I’d like both to be published eventually, I mostly focus on enjoying the writing process in a way that’s hard to do when it’s your bread-and-butter.
OMG! You just made my day! Will dive back for a look at Little Fuzzy, and will wait on your version on the horns of a damnthing.
I look forward to reading this. One of my favorite books as a child. I still reread it from time to time. The first book I can remember which made me emotional enough to cry.
Piper has been all but forgotten today and I love you are going to bring his work back into the spotlight.
I hope it is wonderful.
I can’t wait for the sequel, “Fuzzy Nation 2: Fuzzy Harder!”
A-ha! I looked it up. I have read at least one, possibly two of these books. I’ve definitely read Fuzzy Sapiens.
Sir, you are amazing. First you “create” my favorite peacenick, Private Senator Ambassador Secretary Thaddeus (teddy?) Bender, D- Mass. in “Old Man’s War”…I nearly peed my pants laughing when I his story. And now, you ressurrect (during Bright Week, no less!) “Little Fuzzy” from the graveyard of forgotten classics. WOW. If we weren’t both already married, I’d propose. Now if you could reintroduce Thorne Smith to the world, you’d be perfect. Who’s publishing? Subterranean?
No publisher yet. We only got the green light to start shopping it today.
You do realize that this tease-within-a-reveal puts you AHEAD of Ghlaghghee on the evil scale?
Fine, go ahead, don’t tell us. We’re just half-disemboweled moles twitching across the floor for your amusement. Feel free to bat us around playfully.
Yay! I look forward to reading it.
I’ll wait for this with nearly as much want as I am waiting for the iPad v2. (Which is to say, quite a bit.)
John Sandwich Guy @ 12
Ooooh, fun idea. If not Scalzi, then Cory Doctorow. Or they could do a team-up.
Masterthief @ 26:
You are an evil person and you will come to a bad end.
Thanks John. I actually do have a fair amount of faith that this will be pretty cool. Now that at least the tip of the cat’s nose is out of the bag, are there any other details that you might be willing to share? As a reboot, will any of the original characters be making it in, or are you going with a fully re-imagined cast? Will the technology retain a sort of retro-scifi sensibility (data tapes and the design of the original verdicators spring to mind), or will it be updated with a more modern take on scifi tech?
I should think just your announcement will bring the original rights holder some income. I just ordered Little Fuzzy since I had not read it. (I don’t have a kindle, so I ordered a real world book.)
I imagine many others will do the same.
You just made me very happy and I cried a little bit. I am very fond of the Fuzzies.
I will stand with Dan P. if you blow it though. Not that I think you will.
You’re playing a dangerous game…messing with my childhood! It’d better be good! I vividly remember devouring that book on a road trip to New York when I was twelve. I recently reread it and was impressed with how well it held up.
As far as covers go…they will always look like the Michael Whelan covers in my mind.
Anyway, I will look forward to it…though in the meantime, maybe it’s time to read the original to my kid.
For now I’ll note that there’s enough there that fans of the original will, I think, be happy, while new readers won’t feel like they’re anything they’re lacking context for.
So not a movie based on a video game based on a breakfast cereal? I won’t pretend I’m not a little disappointed.
Since this isn’t listed on wikipedia I fail to believe the truth of the matter. Anyone care to do the honors?
Also I now feel compelled to read the original before the reboot is published.
Little Fuzzy is also available on DailyLit (http://www.dailylit.com/books/little-fuzzy) for those of you who like to read in instalments.
This is really interesting idea, John – I loved the Piper books myself, and have been known to quote Little Fuzzy on occasion. Not that anyone notices, but still, *I* know where it came from.
Very excited to read it! Eventually.
I was hyperventilating there for a moment but I think I’m okay now.
I admit, I think I’d like to see a sequel to the original series (preferably one that ignored “Fuzzy Bones” and “Golden Odyssey”). However, an AU Little Fuzzy coming from you is one I think I can trust.
Get it done Ethan. NOW!
You better not kill off any fuzzies. I hated that part.
Huh, wow. Really?
Hi, cover artist here! I’m most honored and extremely jazzed about getting to do this art. Thanks gigatons for the opportunity, John! I hope your readers like it. Whether or not it gets used as the cover (something over which neither John nor I has any control), it was lots of fun to do.
I’ve put up a Picasa album of progress shots of the painting process, in case anyone’s interested:
I’ll also be putting this up in my artblog and going into depth about the work, but that’s gonna take a day or so to write, most likely. I have a deadline on other client work that I have to finish up first.
I’d also like to say (if I may) that I’ve read both the Piper original and John’s version, and the reboot is really great! You’re gonna love it, trust me.
I love this for a lot of reasons, but the one that pops to mind most prominently is all about the use of another’s ideas/writing/intellectual property/noun-of-your-choice to create something new.
Don’t take that as a dig or a smart ass remark. I think it’s wonderful that you’ve done this. That you asked permission from the estate is a mark (in my eyes) of your respect for the ideas of others, but that you did it before asking permission seems fine for me (you did it for the fun, not, as you point out, for profit. The idea of possible profit came after the fact).
Of course I’m treading around that sticky thicket about who owns an idea and if it’s possible to create something new with the pieces of someone else’s work, and there’s the ideas of ownership, profit, being derivative, territoriality, copyright, and all that. Still, I think it is very cool that you did this and the Piper estate approved it, and that you can both create something new while bringing attention to something that has perhaps faded from current attention.
I know I had a better point when I started this, but it got too complicated for a comments section and had some ugly spots.
Came across the original in the early 70’s when I was ten. It took me a few years to track down all of Piper’s other published works. While the other authorized sequels, etc., have been okay, none have equalled Piper’s wonderfully smooth, evocative language and storytelling ability. I’m not buying nearly as many books these days, but this one will go on the short list – I expect that you’ve managed to catch the things that made Piper’s worlds so fascinating to visit. Woe betide you if you’ve sullied his works, however…
John, I love your reasons for writing this. And can’t wait to read it, or course.
I love Little Fuzzy, as well as the rest of Piper’s work.
Any possibility you might be able to write us a story about some other aspects of Piper’s Terro Human future history? For example, I’ve always wondered why Poictesme and Merlin fell into the dustbin of history…
Oddly enough, it was a couple months ago I found the anthology of Little Fuzzy novels in my local library; they were quite good, I thought, although some of the technology in them made me giggle (see: “tape recorders in spaaaace”). I didn’t let it distract me TOO much.
Tell Ellenberg to get it sold, please. We’re going to be needing that. Sooner is better.
The cover? Where did that come from, if the book is not currently on a schedule?
Thank you for reminding us that we all need to write for ourselves to reset our mindsets about writing. It *is* a job. It should be a fun job.
This is a set of books I’ve missed, and I thank you for pointing to it and for writing something that encourages reading the original. (Reading YA SF for the first time as a WO* reader doesn’t detract from its coolness, at least for me.)
And special thanks to Dave @44 for pointing out that the Piper original was on ManyBooks.net (my favorite public domain ebooks site)!
My grandmother got me into science fiction when I was 6 or 7 by giving me Little Fuzzy and Zenna Henderson’s Anything Box and Holding Wonder.
I recently read the entire archive of Whatever simply because I like the way you write.
The combination of the two makes me tingly in my tingly bits. :)
As a fan of Piper and yourself, I will buy this sight unseen.
I’ll be in my bunk.
I’ll fess up: as one who deeply loves Little Fuzzy, my first response was WTF, and not in a good way.
Then I started remembering the many elements of Little Fuzzy that now scream painfully of the limitations of the era in which it was written — cocktail hour, whitebread culture, omnipresent embedded sexism and racism, Smoking Is Safe and Healthy and All the Cool Sentient Kids Do It — and I’m game for a reboot.
For years, I’ve continued to love the original while setting aside the dated elements that I would find unforgivable in any novel written today. Hell, I’ve used Little Fuzzy as an example of How Most Science Fiction Is Really About Its Own Present, Not the Future, using the elements listed above (and others). I’ll continue to love the original. And I’ll give your version a fair chance. I’ll trust you with the charm and delight of the original characters and situation, and see what you do with them. I salute your efforts to acquire the full blessing of the Piper estate, too.
And while I’m waiting for the publication, I’ll privately hope that the reboot doesn’t glorify smoking.
Slightly off topic, but not having read the original I did some digital poking around and saw several illustrations before settling into the text at Gutenberg. In none of those illustrations did Jack have a white mustache as described in the FIRST PARAGRAPH of the book. This happens all the time. Why can’t illustrators be bothered to READ the book and, you know, maybe take notes here and there as to how things are actually described?
Not that that applies to Fuzzy Nation. Since Zugale has to have read more of it than any of us.
Maybe Jack is explicitly described as shaving off his mustache later. I should hold my rant until I’m sure it’s applicable in this case, but I am certain of it with many other books.
I feel certain that during our back-and-forth while I worked on the painting, Mr. Scalzi would have pointed out that I’d left out the white mustache, if his Jack had one! :D
Now I’ll have to track down the original and read it: my “to read pile” is going to topple and crush me one of these days, I swear.
And I really like the idea of reboots for classic old SF past its time: I’d love to see Ken MacLeod’s “Legion of Space…” (:))
Mr. Scalzi… Which did you prefer as the third book, “Fuzzy Bones” or “Fuzzies ad Other People”?
I actually preferred Tuning’s story, but heck, I’m a sucker for romance.
Big Piper fan, big Scalzi fan; I think this could be pretty good. (I am with Dan P. @#54.)
I just hope the Fuzzies have not turned green. :)
Ben@60- I vote for “2 Fuzzy, 2 Furious”.
Looking forward to seeing this in my hands. I’m really curious to see what you’ve done.
Well, that is just cool! I loved the Fuzzy books back in the day…pretty depressing when I recently read about H.Beam Piper’s sad end. I think it’s great that someone cared enough about the series to pick it up, dust it off, and try their best to make a bright shiny new one.
In fact, I can think of a couple other authors I wish someone would do this for. It’s sad to see a great series languish and eventually fade away.
*does happy tappy dance*
Jeff @90: My point exactly. That back and forth is one definite advantage to commissioning the art before the novel is even sold instead of leaving the art liaising up to the publisher (who also probably hasn’t actually sat down and read it).
Just don’t let him tape bacon to you.
I read FUZZY NATION a while back, and I suspect everyone is going to be very happy when they have the chance.
Man. John, I have a huge amount of respect for your work, but I’m echoing Dan on this one. If you read John Carr’s biography, and then reread LITTLE FUZZY — in particular, the bits where Little Fuzzy has gone off to get his family, and Jack is missing him — you discover that it’s so emotionally affecting because it comes straight from Piper’s own guarded heart. He wrote that book after his marriage had fallen apart, and he was missing the hell out of his wife and their beloved dog. Their loss was his fault, and Piper knew it. He missed his family, so he wrote himself one.
I own Piper’s own signed copy of LITTLE FUZZY. Please have written something I’ll be proud to place on the shelf with it.
Jeanette @ 83
Note cover illustration. I would be unsurprised if the
iPadtablet thingy on the counter next to the Fuzzy has recording functionality.
@Michael Rawdon #15; John F. Carr’s been writing more Kalvin novels, all following off of Great King’s War. He’s also re-written Great King’s War and expanded it. They’re all small publisher stuff but available on Amazon and also from his hostigos.com website.
Thinking back on Star Trek reboot (alternate universe/different timeline), man, if there’s a ’67 427 ‘Vette in this Fuzzy novel, I am so there!
So, any hints as to how far off this reboot will go? I mean, the main story line of humans find ‘native’ sapiens on a colony world and have to figure out sapience rules, that’s still there?
What about main characters? Victor Greggo was a pretty cool non-evil bad guy. Don’t find that too often in fiction.
Allow me to join the throng of people who are looking forward to a new Fuzzy novel. I have read all of Piper’s Fuzzy novels and enjoyed them. But H. Beam Piper is important to me personally for another reason. When I was very (VERY) young, I read Piper’s short story “Omnilingual”. It was during the reading of the “Omnilingual” story that I realized that I am a science fiction fan. That epiphany is the most influential personal revelation that I have ever had. I credit H. Beam Piper.
Yeek! Yeek yeek yeek!
I loved that book as a kid. It had some interesting ethical and philosophical issues wrapped up in a tale about little fuzzy aliens with spears. Good luck with getting your book published.
Noted on the Little Fuzzy talk page at Wikipedia; I’m not sure that adding it to the content page is appropriate until it’s published.
John. If. You’ve. Messed. This. Up. … not going to worry about that until it’s been shown to have happened. I’ve recently re-read the Telzey Amberdon stories (wonderfully collected with the rest of James H. Schmidt’s tales of The Hub) and in some ways they’ve also dated. In other ways, humans just never learn, do they, and it’s horrible and boring. A modern Trigger Argee, now ….
Hasn’t Phillip Jose Farmer done a sort of an Oz reboot, with A Barnstormer in Oz?
This is too cool! I read the originals as a teenager. I’ll read them again and look forward to Fuzzy Nation.
Fantastic! I have been nagging John for another novel in a number of my posts until now & IT WORKED!!!!!!! John ain’t the only evil one!
tell Ethan to get busy and sell it. Can’t wait to read it.
See John you had so much fun writing it, you can now write another one! I told you I was evil. But remember, I will buy it, so it can go to Athena’s college fund or the carpet bill.
Best news all day. Quite chuffed actually.
I love, love, love Little Fuzzy and the sequals. I remember them as being some of the first Sci-fi I read once I graduated from the kiddie section. Since I also enjoyed the Old Man series, I’m thinking that I might just be looking forward to this…. However, I must admit that telling us about it with no actual date that we can read it is a little on the evil side. You will be forgiven, but only after I have enjoyed Fuzzy Nation to it’s fullest!
Meanwhile I think I need to make a trek down to my storage unit and unearth my copy of Little Fuzzy (and the rest) and maybe do a little re-read in anticipation! Now, this is where e-books would be so much of an advantage. If I had a reader and owned the book, I wouldn’t be trekking all the way into town and to storage. Sigh!
Oh… And people who have had a chance to read it and have posted to gloat –*glares at said people in unfriendly manner*– that’s even more evil than John leaving us hanging with no actual publication date!
This is wonderful news! Love the way you’ve already introduced new folks to Beam’s yarns. Looking forward to buying and reading the published novel.
P.S. It’s a nice touch but I hardly think it was necessary to get permission from “Piper’s estate.” That portion of “Piper’s estate” that hasn’t transitioned into the public domain is owned by an international publishing conglomerate that never bothered to renew the copyrights on the vast majority of Beam’s work. . . .
… but has on the “Fuzzy” material (excepting the original, which I believe was in the public domain before the estate was acquired). Also, being able to say “no, there are no possible legal land mines around this novel” is worth being able to say to an interested publisher.
@Astaryth #111: Most of Piper’s work is available out at Project Gutenberg (http://www.gutenberg.org/browse/authors/p#a8301).
I’ve been re-reading my Piper for the last couple years this way. If nothing else, it eases wear on my Michael Whelan paperback covers.
John, when people ask me who my hero is, the answer will now be you.
I LOVED those books as a child, and getting your spin will only make it awesomer.
Well done sir, well done.
…A Fuzzy reboot. Interesting.
I’m in the liked-Tuning-and-Mayhar brigade (for one thing, Tuning was absolutely right about that damn titanium dependency), so am wondering if there’s any integration of that general line of plot into this one.
As for the cover art… well. It’s really good stuff, but the Fuzzy…
I could accept it as “generic small furry alien person,” but Michael Whelan has pretty much an absolute lock on my perception of what a Fuzzy should look like. Sorry :)
This sounds great. I can’t wait to read it.
Fun fact: I did a book report on Little Fuzzy in about 7th or 8th grade. I did a wood version of the Fuzzy tool as part of my report. My Dad did the rough cut of the tool and I did the rest. What fun that was. Both my Dad and I were impressed that the teacher let me do a SciFi book for the report. I think my appreciation showed in the effort I put into the report and the model that went w/ it.
I heartily agree that Little Fuzzy is a great book.
Josh Jasper @108 – There are still Oz books being written and published, although the official ‘canon’ is limited to the first forty.
Oz has been rebooted so many times it’s probably up to Windows 7 by now. The Farmer book is regarded as farther outside the “official realm” than most, since — as I recall — it included sex and murder, which might well land it too far outside the original concepts to be counted even as apocrypha.
Maybe it’s fanfic.
John Scalzi, you are a sneaky person, and I am going to blog just how sneaky you are by telling people all about your nefarious plan. So there.
For anybody who hasn’t read Ardath Mayhar’s Golden Dreams fair warning. It’s a Mary Sue with Fuzzy sapiens as a collective Mary Sue. She turns Little Fuzzy and friends into wonder critters and makes them out to be even smarter than the humans. Pray that John doesn’t pull that crap in Fuzzy Nation.
You. You !
I loved LITTLE FUZZY. I can’t wait to read your take on it.
I hope you find a publisher soon. If not, I hope you have the good sense to put it out as a free download under a Creative Commons license.
John, just thought of this; do the folks at the Organization for Transformative Works (OTW) know about this?
Astaryth @112: Not gloating, just letting fellow fans know you’re gonna love it!
Evil Midnight Lurker @117: No worries! I had to wrestle with following Whelan on the Fuzzy design, a tall order to be sure. Clearly we could not use that design without negotiating permission with Whelan, who’s happily still alive, well and cranking out art. Our time frame for this piece wouldn’t allow it.
We did know that we wanted the new version to look more realistic; Whelan’s is “illustration-y,” perhaps a bit “cartoonish” in some ways. I like the design we wound up with (the sketches are in the Picasa album) but very much respect Whelan’s original.
I suspect that once a publisher picks up this new take, Whelan will be on their list of preferred cover artists!
Well, it’s all those things that you can’t come out and tell us that are the grist for the Scalzi Code Project.
See, secretly John has been dropping hints in his posts all along about how he’s involved in thousands of sekret projects, including the attempted Hugo Chavez coup, heads the Neo-Illuminati, and is financing the development of human cloning techniques with enhanced human capabilities. Now with the new Fibonacci/Hanks decrypting algorithms we soon will suss out all those secrets.
That’s great news. I hope the process goes smoothly from here on out!
Having been a fan of Little Fuzzy and his friends since I was a kid, I’m excited to see a new take on one of the great, and i believe most under appreciated sci-fi tales of all time.
do want. Soon.
Also, please don’t ‘george lucas’ my childhood memories! (though i’m not worried about this aspect, none of your work has disappointed to date!)
Talk about synchronicity….
A couple months ago I found out that most of his stories were in the public domain. Just yesterday I finished rereading all of his stories posted on Gutenberg. It took me a couple of months to do it between other obligations and was well worth the time. I had read some of them but there were many that had never been published outside of magazines. As well as several versions of some of the stories.
His suicide was a great loss. He would have been one of the greats mentioned in the same breath as Heinlein, Asimov, and Clarke.
Pournelle had standing permission from Piper to write in his Terro-Human Future history and never used it.
Reading the comments I saw that Carr has continued the Kalvin stories and I am heading to Amazon to get them right after this – along with his Piper Bio.
I realized I was a fan the same way as Pip@104 via Piper’s collection “Federation” when I received it as a gift for my 12th birthday. I still have that dogeared copy.
Being a fan of yours I can’t wait to read this reboot of Little Fuzzy.
Last but not least I will repeat what Dan@54 said……
John, I dearly love your work, including this blog, but please take it as a sincere example of the love that I have for the original source material when I say, if you screw this up, I will hunt you down…..and likely weep bitterly as I shout incoherent curses in your general direction.
No, seriously man, I mean it!
# Gilmoure @13:
Jerry Pournelle has said he has official permission to write a sequel to “Space Viking” but as far as I know hasn’t done so yet.
# jas @89:
I know longer have my copy of the 1970s reissue, but the cover did show Jack Holloway with a white mustache:
Because as far as I know it’s never been done before.
Ah, but it has: Donald Kingsbury “rebooted” the Foundation universe. It just wasn’t official, but we all knew what he was doing.
That’s not an iPad it’s an Etch-a-Sketch! Obvious necessity for human-alien interactions.
I’ve seen H Beam Piper’s books in lots of second hand book shops here in the UK but nobody told me they were good and the author looked a bit too scary to me. Scalzi is as cute as he is talented so I’ll be reading these while I wait for his retelling.
How many words is it? Novel length (50K+), or novella length (between 20-40K)? How long did it take to write? Considering you can write thousands of words of copy per day, with your new elementary-school-hour writing sched, are we looking at around a couple of months of heavy wader-high writing? Or was this a crazy Keroaucesque three-week bender? And what prompted you to writing it, other than liking it as a young adult? Are you gravitating towards YA? Finally, how have you managed to keep it a secret for this long?
This does sound like a ton of fun both to write and to read! I read Fuzzy Nation when I was a kid, and now I want to reread it. Hope you find a publisher so we can read yours, too.
I admit I’m one of the people who really disliked Fuzzy Bones. Its ‘solution’ to where-Fuzzies-came-from really stuck in my craw; it ruined the childlike innocence and sense of fun that were one of my favorite bits about Fuzzies, it demolished the whole ‘sentience’ issue from Little Fuzzy, and it handled a cliched idea in a very unoriginal – and, well, cliched – fashion. I also thought it lost one of the best things about Piper’s writing – spare, uncluttered prose and storytelling, without a gaggle of subplots. The characterization also struck me as off. Combine all of this, and I didn’t think it felt like Piper at all.
Golden Dreams did much better for me, in spite of being based off of the Fuzzy Bones origin I hated; there was enough distance from Fuzzy Bones that it wasn’t nearly so irritating, and Golden Dreams did a much better job of capturing Piper’s storytelling and the feel of his writing.
Here’s hoping John tops them both!
@128: Yeah, that cover is very much my picture of both the Fuzzies and ol’ Man Jack. :) The Michael Whelan cover linked in @70 isn’t bad, but they’re a little too hairy, especially around the head – that’s definitely going to get caught in the bushes. :)
My wooden choppo-diggo was replaced with a steel one quite some time ago. I keep it polished and it is in fine fettle since (dang it) there aren’t any land prawns around these parts.
I’m gonna have a smoko now and think about this.
Great! I can think of no one that could do a better job than you, John. I loved the Old Man’s War saga.
The second and third Fuzzy books are clearly still under copyright. Just who IS the Piper estate now? Ace would never answer any of my questions, not even a form letter reply. John Carr didn’t know when I bugged him, and he’s one of the authors still writing in Piper’s universes.
Man that “cover” illustration has one intent, intense little Fuzzy. Almost looks like a hairy Vulcan — a definite contrast to the cute, cat-eyed Whelan version. If your writing pulls off a competitive, logical Fuzzy that is still “just past the threshold of sentience” that will be quite a read.
I am about the same age as you and I have never heard of Fuzzy Nation. I guess I will have to check it out. That whole name Fuzzy Nation would have turned me off without someone saying “hey this is pretty good”. In my opinion you need a better cover.
It sounds like you tell people you have super secret projects to create hype for yourself. If it is so secret, then why else tell people you have a super secret project? Alot of authors work on multiple works and don’t talk about them. I don’t have a problem with hype.
I thought that already published authors can sell a book to get an advance based off of a few chapters or an idea for a book. Did you want to wait to sell the book or did you have trouble selling it before you had something done?
@Bozo the Clone #137:
I wonder how well the sentience question will play out now compared to back then (early ’60’s). There’s a lot more popular literature, studies, and stories about alternate intelligence now.
“Did you want to wait to sell the book or did you have trouble selling it before you had something done?”
As already noted, I wrote it primarily for my own benefit. That’s why I didn’t try to sell it first (that and I didn’t have permission to write in the universe).
Beyond that, yes, at this point I frequently find it less annoying to write a book and then sell it, then to sell it and then write it.
@ #136 (Greg Weeks). It’s still the Penguin Group:
P.S. Thanks for all of your efforts to get Beam’s public domain work up on Project Gutenberg.
@ #114 (John Scalzi): I understand your rationale; it was a wise move.
Actually, the Penguin Group didn’t renew the copyrights on the latter Fuzzy novels either. It was done by congressional fiat that simply extended the copyright period for works published after 1962. Without that arbitrary change to copyright law, it’s likely all of Beam’s work would be in the public domain today.
Thanks again for this marvelous reintroduction of Beam to new folks!
Yes, Ace is Penguin. Does Ace own the “estate” or does someone else. I’ve never been able to find anything documenting it one way or another and Ace would never reply to me. Their automated copyright system only claimed copyrights on the collections.
Never heard of Little Fuzzy. Went ahead and got it. Now I get to add another book to my pile. Thanks! my wife hates you a little more now :)
Congratulations on successfully lifting the Veil of Secrecy! (And on a book that should be a lot of fun.)
I see my own knowledge of the Piper estate is somewhat deficient — and shared with a couple of other commentors above — since I’d thought that Ace did own everything that was still in copyright, and that thus any approval to write in that universe would come bundled with a contract for that specific publisher.
So either Ace/Penguin/Pearson isn’t the secret rights-holder that you just successfully negotiated with, or your agent has Jedi Mind Control powers even beyond those of most agents. Either way, a good deal for you, and I hope this book ends up being published more quickly than the usual.
re: #113: “That portion of “Piper’s estate” that hasn’t transitioned into the public domain is owned by an international publishing conglomerate that never bothered to renew the copyrights on the vast majority of Beam’s work”
I suspect some Low Level Minion neglected, or Ace et al was between Low Level Minions, to do the necessary paper work for copyright renewal at the time.
I tend towards Hanlon’s Razor: “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.”
Anyway, I do look forward to reading your reboot.
So does this mean J.S. is not pregnant? That’s the other big news, right?
So when can we read Fuzzy Nation?
After it’s published!
And when will that be?
Fuzzy Nation had better be good, man.
Oh, it is.
I just read some reviews of Little Fuzzy on amazon. Seems like a good premise. This is a horrible title. It makes it sound like a childrens story. I would never pick this book up if I didn’t get someone telling me it was good first.
to anyone else who wants to check this out. Little Fuzzy is a novella by todays standards. There is a book called The Complete Fuzzy that has 3 stories in it.
I stumbled on this when I noticed my library did not carry Little Fuzzy, but does carry the complete fuzzy.
“Little Fuzzy is a novella by todays standards.”
No it’s not. A novella is generally understood to be under 40,000 words. Little Fuzzy clocks in at upwards of 50,000.
It’s a novel, just a short one by today’s standards.
I’m intrigued. Piper was one of my early influences and I’ll look forward to reading this when I can.
The only thing there is to talk about is the cover art, since that’s the only bit we’ve seen. There seem to be a number of changes in Little Fuzzy compared to the Piper books. (Nothing serious, just “projects that are speculative don’t have art directors to request changes” stuff).
This fuzzy seems bigger than Piper’s. His feet seem to be gripping feet instead of walking feet. The body fur is less than I’d expect. And I’m not sure about the head ridges/fauxhawk look.
Is that accurate to Fuzzy Nation?
#159: “Little Fuzzy is a novella by todays standards.”
No … it’s a novel. 59,000 or so words according to Word. 58,000 according to WordPerfect.
“Section 3.3: Categories.
3.3.1: Best Novel. A science fiction or fantasy story of forty thousand (40,000) words or more.”
I suspect that the Nebulas given out by SFWA are similar.
Granted, comparing it to the bug crushers being published these, it verges upon being a short story … perhaps almost a Feghoot.
as a fan, I really can’t keep track of how many words translate into how many printed pages. it is easier for fans to think in terms of number of pages.
I just looked at the Fuzzy Nation cover art again and had an epiphany*. It’s so obvious now that each sentient is pondering how the other would look with bacon taped to it.
*And we all know how painful that can be.
Has it sold yet?
Insert Mervyns commercial here.
open. open. open.
Dude. It’s been, like, a day.
Well that is all kinds of awesome. As a huge fan of HBP’s work (and yours), I will be buying this one the minute it comes out. Thanks you just made my day . . .
Just noted that “Little Fuzzy” is #77 on Gutenberg’s top 100 list for yesterday. Koinkydink?
As yet another one who loves the original, I’m looking forward to the reboot.
However, this is what Pappy Jack and Little Fuzzy really look like!
That’s great! We may have to get Grandma to put together a onesie like that for the soon-to-arrive young Zugale!
@123 (Jeff Zugale): Your take on Little Fuzzy is better than his original incarnation:
And much, much better than his British:
And Swiss incarnations:
The French did a better job:
Dave Johnson linked a bunch of covers. While many are … er … not good, this (for a Bujold novel) is perhaps one of the more “awesome” …. for some value of awesome:
Thank you. I’d never heard of this book, but devoured it since your announcement. It was wonderful, and I can’t wait to read more – including your book.
So? Your point?
You had your fun, I want mine!
In case it wasn’t obvious I am just expressing my enthusiasm for this project. I know it will be quite a while befor it hits the shelves.
Thanks David! :)
Heh… I just got back from my cartoonist group’s monthly meeting, where I announced this and showed the cover to the group – many of whom are big fans of the Fuzzyverse.
Imagine my chagrin when Stan Sakai says: “That’s NOT what Fuzzies look like!”
Thank you so much for introducing me to Piper’s work! I just inhaled Little Fuzzy, and loved it. Got all of his public domain work on my iPhone and it’s just great.
And you know what? I can see a definite kinship in Piper’s writing to yours–I’ve read all the OMW books, and TGE, and yeah, something about Piper’s language use and especially his characterization really seems to resonate with yours.
Anyway, awesome. I can’t wait to read your take!
“Imagine my chagrin when Stan Sakai says: ‘That’s NOT what Fuzzies look like!'”
Yes, well. My Fuzzies are different!
I did try to explain that, but turns out Stan is a hardcore fan of Whelan, hehehe. Ah well, can’t please everyone.
I think it would be a kick to the Piper fans if you could subtly sneak in a reference to Paratime.
Fuzzy Nation would simply exist on a different sector of the Fourth Paratime Level than the original novels.
Piper’s work are far more amenable to rebooting due to his own extensive use of alternate timelines. Heck, you could argue that “Fuzzies and Other People” and “Fuzzy Bones” are both the “actual” third novel – the split point in that universe was the end of “Fuzzy Sapiens”.
I can’t tell you how excited I am to hear about a new Fuzzy! I found “little fuzzy” as a fluke in the late 70s (same last name & all) and have been trying to collect H Beam’s works ever since.
So thanks and can’t wait to eventually read it!
As it so happens I’m reading Fuzzy Sapiens right now with the 11yo. She chose the Fuzzy series out of the next book pile over Good Omens, Stainless Steel Rat, The Light Fantastic and The Girl Who Could Fly because of the cuteness of the characters and the cover. One gets the feeling that Whelan might be tempted out of cover retirement for another Fuzzy book… 8-)
I’m trying to decide if we’re going to read Fuzzies and Other People or go straight for Fuzzy Bones. It’s not like the level of cursing is beyond current prime time tv…
Y’know what would be cool?
An Ace Double of this with Little Fuzzy.
@174 Richard. So very very cool!
I don’t see how this is any different from fan fiction. 13 year old girls do that with Twilight all the time. They write new stories, new interpretations and break from continuity — without calling it an industry innovation. I’m skeptical about this.
Molly needs to visit the next entry.
I read the Fuzzy books when i was quite a bit younger…great stuff! I look forward to your reboot!
Loved the original as a kid – can’t wait for this version! I don’t think you’ll have any trouble placing it.
I hadn’t read Little Fuzzy before but this prompted me to track it down and I am really enjoying it so far. Looking forward to your version.
I’d have to say I prefer Michael Whelan’s interpretation of what Fuzzies look like.
But the scene in this piece of cover art is more interesting, because there’s more going on here than an action scene or a dramatic pose. The characters (Jack Holloway and Little Fuzzy, I presume) are both seated much like Rodin’s The Thinker. That directly addresses the question of defining sentience in the original book. The human’s expression is both puzzled and amused, (cute things do amuse us) while the Fuzzy’s expression appears uncertain or suspicious. The human’s raised eyebrow is reminiscent of Mr. Spock’s typical “now you don’t see THAT every day” expression. The poses are sufficiently different that the Fuzzy isn’t merely doing “monkey see, monkey do.” The ration boxes on the counter behind the Fuzzy implies he’s already been fed some XT-3, which Fuzzies find to be yummy enough to make whoever gives them some their new best friend…so why the uncertainty?
And the dog lying on the floor is too smart to get involved.
I don’t think that’s Jack. I can’t make out what’s on the patch but I figure that’s either Gerd Van Riebock (sp?) or a Fuzzy at a police station.
Gilmoure, maybe Jack is younger in the reboot.
Space Viking remains my fav of all his novels. Really wish some would pick up the federation series and write some more.
Can not wait to read your take on the fuzzies
I must say you’re a brave man. For a similar “reboot a book” idea occurred to me, but I couldn’t decide it to be a terrible or a marvelous idea. I had posted the concept on my blog. (LINK)
I, too, have experience dealing with another author’s characters. Using J.M. Barrie’s notes and musings for more about Peter Pan, I created another adventure for the enternal boy: Peter Pan’s NeverWorld. I’d done it as a college Honors Project and didn’t originally intend to publish it either. But when Peter Pan’s Centennial approached, I tried my luck. I didn’t fare as well as you, though. In short, despite having an agent deem it brilliant and his superior’s connection with Great Ormond Street Hospital (who owned the rights) it could not be published at the time. Since then, GOSH held a contest and the book which won has inconsistencies with Barrie’s works on Pan. I’m sure that displeases you as much as it does me, given your strong sense of remaining faithful to Piper. When the window of opportunity opened again, I flew in with mine via POD, a route I’m using only in this case.
Good to hear such a thing worked out for you, and I’m very curious to see how well a “book reboot” fares.
Best of luck!
Sacriledge. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. As if ‘They re-boot movies and TV all the time’ is a good excuse. I for one hope you don’t start a trend. Please, please, please, leave the books alone.
I am not familiar with the original. But I have loved everything you have written so far. If I may, for a moment be excited, as I just bought and am halfway through enjoying (new copy from the bookstore) “Androids Dream” I have been reading your blog daily now, its on my Firefox bar right next to Fark. Then I found out you work with SGU (Favorite new show).
I am just here to say how exciting it is to me to finally follow a writer who is not only still alive, but also interacts with his constituency regularly. It just makes you that much more fun.
Don’t know how I just tumbled to this post now, but I will be watching for the book. Little Fuzzy and its sequels/companion books are still some of my favorites. I have the illustrated children’s book of Little Fuzzy. I have three signed posters of various cover art. (And concur with the others who say they prefer Whelan’s intepretation, but that’s just aesthetics.)
In the 90’s I coded “Fuzzies” as an NPC species for DartMud, which moments ago I discovered is still up and kicking. It still has a link to a very lame “book” I wrote for the Mud player library, giving a brief history of the Fuzzies and where they came from. I need an ice pack now, thanks.
Looking forward to reading your reboot.
I love the works of H. Beam piper and really look forward to this.
The whole bit with tiny folks who (as it turns out in a third book) have a spaceship also has suspicious resonances in Terry Pratchett’s Bromeliad Trilogy (Truckers; Diggers; Wings); and, considering the first book starts with them living in a shop’s walls, it might reasonably have been titled Shoppers — but the sequence “Shoppers; Diggers;…” might have given the game away.
Pretty much like if someone took the world of LOTR and wrote his own interpretation. Excellent idea.
Mr. Scalzi … you said you did a reboot because it had never been done before … are you unaware of the book written by Ardath Mayhar entitled “Golden Dream: A Fuzzy Odyssey”?
does not this book qualify as a reboot?
btw, i ALSO **MUCH, MUCH** prefer whelan’s visualization of the fuzzies
I just saw this on another site and had to comment.
The conception of reboots in any media is idiotic to start with. It’s not “neat” but a roundabout cheat and smacks of laziness. Your idea to reboot another author’s novel diminishes my opinion of you. I have never cared for sequels created by other writers, but this brings the idea to a whole new level of absurdity.
I have liked some of your novels but I wouldn’t touch this with a ten foot pole.
Of course, I’m sure you don’t care, but just wanted to let you know to mark me down in the “Rather have a poke in the eye with a sharp stick” column.
“The conception of reboots in any media is idiotic to start with. It’s not ‘neat’ but a roundabout cheat and smacks of laziness.”
Meh. Reboots can be lazy cheats. Sometimes they’re not. This one isn’t.
That said, I’m not going to go out of my way to try to convince you of that. If you don’t want to read it, don’t read it. Other people will.
“If that happened, you could still put it on the web as fanfic.”
Maybe….but only if he wanted to be a complete douchebag after asking for and not getting permission. I think he went the non-douchebag, highly ethical route here.
It was great meeting you in Chicago and I can’t wait to read your take on the Fuzzies. Along with their ursine brethren (and sistern!) the Hokas, they rank at the very top of my list of favorite furry fiction!
However, I am afraid you are incorrect about this being the first reboot of a major SF novel.
David Kyle did three books in the Lensman universe that focused on the non-human Second-Stage Lensmen, which would seem to be a reboot, even though it focuses on stories outside of the original series.
Buck Rogers, of course, which started as a novella, has seen numerous rebootings, including a complete retelling by Martin Caidin – Buck Rogers, A Life In the Future (TSR 1995), which is based on the original story, directly, along with the following:
Mordred by John Eric Holmes ( Ace, January 1981, ISBN 0-441-54220-4 )
Warrior’s Blood by Richard S. McEnroe ( Ace, January 1981, ISBN 0-441-87333-2 )
Warrior’s World by Richard S. McEnroe ( Ace, October 1981, ISBN 0-441-87338-3 )
Rogers’ Rangers by John Silbersack ( Ace, August 1983, ISBN 0-441-73380-8 )
All of which were based loosely on an outline co-authored by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle and which start with an 86 year-old Buck being reanimated to take on a new invasion of the Han (now renamed the Pr’lan.
Of course, if you want to include fantasy, there’s the Lin Carter, L. Sprague de Camp and Catherine Crook de Camp Conan novel as well, done in 1982.
But all that aside, I am really looking forward to reading your take on the Fuzzies! May I suggest taking a shot at Wasp as well? (Sneaky is always fun!)…
I love your work.
I hate that you didn’t even acknowledge H. Beam Piper.
It was good…. But not good enough to ‘seem’ to be stealing ideas.
The material was recycled enough that it was far beyond homage, and into plagarism, as you didn’t even give a nod.
It will make me think twice before dropping cash on your books, all of the fiction which I have purchased new… including this- which I read literally two weeks after having read Little Fuzzy from Manybooks…
“I hate that you didn’t even acknowledge H. Beam Piper.”
Well, except for that part where he’s directly acknowledged on the jacket copy of the book, and in the author’s introduction to the book, and the book is co-dedicated to him, and when I acknowledge him in just about every interview I do, and how I acknowledge him several times in the very entry you’re commenting on, and how I actively sought out the permission of the Piper Estate when I strictly didn’t have to (because the book this one is based on is in the public domain) and gave the estate a cut of every single dollar I make from the book.
But yes, aside from that, I don’t acknowledge H. Beam Piper at all.
Honestly, Jesse, if you’re not seeing how often I’ve acknowledged Piper, it’s because you aren’t paying attention, not because I haven’t done it. At this point, I find such a criticism both mystifying and insulting.
Damn. Now I have to go get this, and the whole Old Man’s War series.
Curse you, Scalzi!!!
*plans another bank robbery*
Hey, wasn’t there a new Space Viking sequel published recently?
Hah! I KNEW the super secret project that must not be named was going to turn out to be Fuzzy Nation.
Of course I had the advantage of learning about it in your archives from the vantage point of 2012, and pretty much right after reading Fuzzy Nation.
Seriously speaking, did not bother much about sci-fi before because some people are built that way however much other scifi die hard fans may consider these non sapient being’s illogical reasons for burdening this earth because they are missing out on SO MUCH FUN…
And then yesterday I downloaded H. Piper Beam’s Little Fuzzy as an audio book (LibriVox) and YEEEEEEK, I am a Believer. Funny, it was considered juvenile fiction when first published. And now need to download scifi books from manybooks.net!
The cover artwork- Words fail me. Sounds fail me. All Systems Failed. Crash landed into Zarathustra. Yeeek. (Or in Little Fuzzy’s language- Magnificent.)
If any publisher does not keep this cover, he definitely does not have Mr. Scalzi’s best interests at heart.
(In fact Mr. Beam’s publisher was such a one. He forgot to tell Mr. Beam that his book was a bestseller- with tragic results.Rather sad.)
I was first introduced to H. Beam Piper with “Little Fuzzy” and LOVED the story.
I started your book wondering if it could be anywhere near as cool a story to read.
Well, you caused me to lose almost an entire night’s sleep because I couldn’t stop reading it. It was a wonderful journey and I thank you very, very much. You certainly made your chops with me. Thanks! Signed a tired but happy fan.
I find it shocking you count yourself a fan of Piper, to say nothing of devoting the time to write a reboot, given that his POV about the world is so diametrically opposed to your own.