Bookshelf spotlight: The Complete Fuzzy

As I collect Sci-Fi faster than I read it, Sci-Fi Saturday continues to showcase what is on my bookshelf but unread. This week it’s the latest addition to by collection. I first came across Little Fuzzy by H. Beam Piper in a Sci-Fi group on Facebook, where it was nominated as the group’s classic read for the month (alas, it didn’t win). I was curious and looked it up.

The chartered Zarathustra Company had it all their way. Their charter was for a Class III uninhabited planet, which Zarathustra was, and it meant they owned the planet lock stock and barrel. They exploited it, developed it and reaped the huge profits from it without interference from the Colonial Government. Then Jack Holloway, a sunstone prospector, appeared on the scene with his family of Fuzzies and the passionate conviction that they were not cute animals but little people.

Sounded like an interesting story about first contact and sentience. It’s now in the public domain, but when I saw there were two more books published in the series, I had to get the complete set.

The Complete Fuzzy by H. Beam Piper

The sequel, Fuzzy Sapiens, is about the Fuzzies’ fight for survival against extinction. I’m not sure what the third, Fuzzies and Other People, is about, only that it was a manuscript that was discovered after the author died. I’m expecting it to not be as strong as the first two since the author didn’t finish, and therefore polish, it.

Other authors have written Fuzzy stories that come after the first two, and I have seen criticism of Piper’s third book in that it negates theirs. An odd argument since he was the original author and knew how he wanted the Fuzzies’ future to go. I’m also nervous about reading books by authors continuing others’ series. If I love a world, it is the original author’s vision that I love, and this is something that is difficult for other authors to continue, unless they were collaborating with them all along. And this is often seen by the production of weak facsimiles. Whether I read them or not will depend on how desperate I am for a conclusion to the series, and so is a case by case basis. In the case of the Fuzzies, given the criticism I have heard about Fuzzies and Other People in the context of other authors’ contributions to the series, I’m leaning towards no.

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