Speaking of Little Fuzzy
Posted on May 6, 2011 Posted by John Scalzi 24 Comments
While you’re counting down the days waiting for Fuzzy Nation to come out, why not pick yourself up a copy of the book that inspired it, and whose story my novel reboots? It’ll be fun for you to compare and contrast the two novels — and best of all, because Little Fuzzy is in the public domain, you can check it out for free. Project Gutenberg has the novel in ePub, Kindle and other electronic formats, and you can also find a free version directly on Amazon (Barnes & Noble doesn’t have it for less than 99 cents).
If you find yourself enjoying Little Fuzzy (which I suspect you will), Project Gutenberg has other public domain Piper titles for your perusal. It’s a good way to get (re-)acquainted with one of science fiction’s past masters.
I so much prefer Michael Whelan’s cover art for Little Fuzzy.
ABE has a ton of used in print as well. Missing out on Piper is a terrible fate!
I read Little Fuzzy through PG but did not look into his other titles. Which do people recommend?
And if you prefer listening: http://librivox.org/little-fuzzy-by-h-beam-piper/
Thanks for pointing this out, John! Yay, free book!
That is a /very/ period piece of artwork.
@PeterS: I’d suggest the other two Fuzzy books by Piper, though they’re not quite as good as the first. (Fuzzy Sapiens, and Fuzzies and Other People.) I’m also fond of Cosmic Computer (aka Junkyard Planet) and his collections of short fiction. Space Viking has an horrific title and treats nuclear warfare with appalling causalness, but is something of a textbook example of space-opera.
I personally think that his best work ever was the short story “Omnilingual”, collected in various anthologies.
It’s still in copyright, but Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen was IMO some of his best work.
Until John first announced Fuzzy Nation to my eternal shame I’d can’t recall ever having heard of Piper. So I went straight over to PG and downloaded it. This week I finally got around to reading it. I expected it to be all quaint and old fashioned but so far I’m thoroughly enjoying it.
I’ve already read Little Fuzzy, and I’ve noticed that it’s on Gutenberg. Gutenberg is careful enough about these things that if they say it’s public domain I’m inclined to take their word for it.
What I don’t understand is why it’s public domain. US copyright law is complicated, but I was under the impression that in most cases the term is either 95 years after publication or 70 years after the author’s death. I don’t see how a book published in 1962 would be public domain either way. So either I’m completely wrong about how long copyright lasts, or Little Fuzzy is public domain for some unusual reason.
I’m sure you know more about the copyright status of Little Fuzzy than most people. Can you say something about why it (and some but not all of Piper’s other works) is public domain?
The length of copyright was not always as long as it is now, and the copyright had to be renewed. So the LF copyright expired and was not renewed; thus it is in the public domain.
I just downloaded the Kindle version. Can’t wait for your version, so I can compare and JUDGE HARSHLY!
I picked up all three Fuzzy books in one volume and am halfway through.
Wow, it is really a period piece, but it does have some interesting charm.
While it makes me cringe in a lot of ways as a reader in 2011, since I grew up way back when it was out, I see lots of things in the novels that are familiar and dated. Yes, it was like that, and ohmigosh, yes, that was how things were.
It is interesting to me the way Piper is very multicultural with Humans, having them be all different ethic origins and names, but how parochial the treatment of Fuzzies appears to be. It is a very interesting mental perspective shift, and one that would be skewered today, but was probably very cutting edge for the time.
I am really quite enjoying it on many levels and it is letting me revisit some ideas and stuff from my youth… very cool!
I will get Fuzzy Nation when I am done with Fuzzies and Other People… Yay, fun!
The Paratime stories are a lot of fun. Try Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen or Last Enemy.
Oh, and Space Viking!
Ugh. I’ve always hated that cover.
Multiethnic societies were not unknown in SF of that time period. Heinlein was certainly doing it earlier. Though PK Dick was the first that I know of who had a non-white protagonist. Much more common was to have random bit parts given ethnic names.
Lord Kalvan is also titled Gunpowder God. It’s excellent. Four-Day Planet is pretty good too.
PS, GG is reasonably serious science-fiction: Four-Day Planet is not (nor is Lone Star Planet with which it is coupled in the edition I have). But both, although pulpy, are fun reads.
For those interested in Piper I suggest his collected works (Kindle) for $1.99.
I’m intrigued by the eyes on both covers. They’re very human. Of course, the new cover fuzzy has larger eyes and they’re BLUE.
40 cents new. Sigh.
Japanese version: http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~yu4h-wtnb/database/sogen/68501.htm
Thank you for the link. After downloading it I got side tracked with some of Andre Norton free Kindle editions.
I’m flying to London tonight for work & just downloaded the original story from Project Gutenberg to my phone. I’ll be picking up Fuzzy Nation in hardcover soon.
Just finished reading Fuzzy Nation.
Thanks, was waiting with trepidation for this, but was greatly pleased and impressed with the reboot.
If you are open to suggestions for other H Beam Piper titles, how about the story Planet for Texans (Lone Star Planet ) as there is an enormous missing back story of the hooligan diplomats.
Now that you have started me thinking about other authors and stories that would benefit from your skills, how about:
Gone Fishing by James H.Schmitz
Odd man in by Rick Raphael