When I posted my review of The Collapsing Empire, Narfna told me I had to read Fuzzy Nation. I can’t remember where that conversation happened, but while I was waiting for my next Audible credit, I would remind myself not to get distracted. Fuzzy Nation was my mission. Other than Narfna’s recommendation and the cover, I had no idea what the book would be about.
Fuzzy Nation is an eco-legal thriller in space. Humans still live on Earth, but they have expanded resource gathering to other planets. Companies claim planets and mine them for their resources, with the requirement that they do some environmental restoration when they are finished. Jack Holloway is a contract surveyor for ZaraCorp on it’s richest planet Zarathustra 28. He’s a sarcastic asshole, a disgraced lawyer, an all around pain in the ass, and he has a good dog named Carl.
In one day, Jack and Carl have two experiences that will change everything. Jack discovers a large seam containing the most valuable jewels in the Universe, and in doing so has his contract voided and then reinstated on much more favorable terms. When he and Carl return to their cabin in the trees, he meets a creature he calls a Fuzzy. Jack and Carl adopt the Fuzzy, and then the Fuzzy’s family into their lives.
It takes a certain kind of dog to willingly demote himself from alpha dog, and that dog was Carl. Holloway would have to speak to him about it, for what little good it would do, Carl being a dog and all.
Jack is about to become wealthy beyond his dreams, but he also becomes a target of ZaraCorp. Jack gets his ex-girlfriend Isabel, the planet’s lead biologist, and her new boyfriend involved in the discovery of the Fuzzies. If the Fuzzies are deemed to be people rather than animals, ZaraCorp must cease all operations on the planet and leave. The company will lose trillions of dollars over decades, and Jack will lose billions of dollars.
I listened to the audio book narrated by Wil Wheaton. It’s a quick and enjoyable story. I like Scalzi’s books, but they don’t often hit me in the feelings. Lock-In has been the only other book of Scalzi’s that made me cry a little. I highly recommend it for a few hours escape. Be warned though that humans are still assholes in the future.