Another Starred Review for Fuzzy Nation
Posted on April 18, 2011 Posted by John Scalzi 25 Comments
w00t! Kirkus Reviews is the one handing out the star this time, and says this about the novel:
An acclaimed modern sci-fi writer adds depth and unexpected poignancy to a “reboot” of H. Beam Piper’s classic 1962 novel Little Fuzzy… In a genre flooded with bloated epics, it’s a real pleasure to read a story like this, as compactly and directly told as a punch to the stomach.
Well, then. The entire review is here. Check out the particularly amusing last line.
Also in: The review from Library Journal. The whole review is here (scroll down), but here’s the verdict:
Scalzi readers as well as Piper fans should enjoy this modern throwback to sf’s early years.
I’ll take that.
There’s also a fine review of the book at Stomping on Yeti, which reads thusly:
In Fuzzy Nation, Scalzi executes flawlessly, proving that Piper’s core concept is just as relevant today as it was fifty years ago with a pitch perfect summer sci-fi novel that both embraces and enhances the source material.
Excellent. It’s nice to have reviews starting to come in on this one.
Had I chosen the correct number, or posted at the correct time, there could be an earth shattering review on a certain geek’s website.
Although admittedly, my last line may not have been as good.
I would totally review this for my tens of ones of followers on twitter. It is mainly not having fuzzy that is the drawback though. Any more arc competitions coming?
Congratulations John! Fuzzy Nation is next in my queue.
Quick question – what exactly does a “starred review” mean?
I actually did try googling this but couldn’t get a clear answer. Some implied that the star meant it was a postiive review (like a 4 star restaurant), others said the star meant it was the featured review in that magazine (like a starring role), other said the star meant it was a noteworthy book (possibly to separate new releases from established authors that readers may be more interested in).
I couldn’t figure it out, but I have a hunch you know…
To commemorate this joyous day, perhaps you should give away another ARC? Preferably to me, of course, but I trust your judgement.
Matthew in Austin:
A starred review means that the magazine wants to single out the book as being really excellent.
Punch-to-the-stomach fun! Got it.
That certainly is an odd closing line to the review. I have already pre-ordered my copy, and am currently reading “Fuzzy Sapiens” now, with “Fuzzies and Other People” next in my queue. Figured I’d knock out the whole original trilogy before yours comes out.
In other news, Unnecessary But Enjoyable is the name of my Abba cover band.
“SF’s early years”????? “Little Fuzzy” was published in 1962. If we just date back to John W. Campbell’s ascension as editor of Astounding Science Fiction, (1837), modern science fiction was already 25 years old at the time. This is “early years”?????
You may have addressed this earlier, and if so, apoligies.
In your opinion, how necessary is it to have read Little Fuzzy in order to appreciating your new book?
Ack – damn comments with no spell check.
I’m hoping the author will contribute a Big Idea piece.
So I am buying Fuzzy Nation either way, but I was wondering if you think I might enjoy it more if I first read Little Fuzzy?
Nice review but a seriously weird last line.
Do you know when the audiobook will be available? Already pre-ordered the ebook so it’s not like I’m going to be Fuzzy-less but I want both.
I don’t give out Starred Reviews but if I did, Fuzzy Nation would get one.
Zanzibar: It is necessary to read Little Fuzzy, full stop.
That said, John has noted before that it’s not at all necessary to have read the original to appreciate the reboot. But hey, (1) you can read the original at Project Gutenberg for the low, low price of nothing and (2) it’s a quick read and (3) it’s hella fun. So why not?
I, of Stomping on Yeti (Third Review Above), read the book after reading Little Fuzzy. I still enjoyed it immensely despite being familiar with the overall plot structure. I can’t comment with regard to reading Fuzzy Nation w/o reading Little Fuzzy but I’d imagine it to be as enjoyable if not more.
@Dan – I read Fuzzy Nation before Little Fuzzy, and enjoyed both very much. There isn’t really a need to read Piper’s first, though it is interesting to read both. I have to agree with the reviewer who said that Fuzzy Nation has richer characters, not a slam to Piper’s work, but I think John’s characters are perhaps more relevant to the current time, which just makes sense. It is just a really fun read (and no, my brothers still haven’t been allowed to touch the Holy ARC Of Fuzzy).
An ounce of Kirkus Review is worth a pound of Publisher’s Weekly.
Oooh! Philosophical debate on the necessity of ANY writing other than “No user-serviceable parts inside / Refer servicing to qualified service personnel” and the like, anyone?
(Also: A few chapters in to both versions of the Fuzzy story; each is interesting in its own way, but it’s both entertaining AND informative to see how Scalzi handles specific dramatic challenges differently than Piper.)
What more need be said?
Geoffrey Kidd @9: Considering that it has been 49 years since Little Fuzzy was published, and SF as a publishing category shows no signs of disappearing, I think it’s reasonable to call 1962 the “early years.” Human space travel was in its infancy, and the New Wave of SF was still a few years away. If that’s not “early years,” then you must consider modern SF some sort of literary Methuselah.
Hey, good going. Kirkus is not an easy place to get a good review!
Thanks! I think it was the first time I was ever reviewed in Kirkus, in fact; they’ve completely passed me by until now.