It was interesting to read this after finally having read Little Fuzzy, the original novel Scalzi reimagined, that forms the basis of the story of this book. They were essentially the same story, but had key differences that made them entirely different reading experiences. Scalzi’s version of the story is much less sweet, for one. It’s much more anti-capitalist, though I wouldn’t quite say anti-colonial, and it’s less about answering the central question of “What is sapience?” and more about how the Fuzzys find a man who is capable of helping them get what they want, and what happens after.
I had forgotten how much of a self-interested guy Scalzi’s Jack Holloway was. I remembered him as being a sort of rascal with a heart of gold, and that’s true if you take gold to mean “money,” rather than kindness or compassion (though he is capable of both, if doing so will work to his advantage). I like the way that Scalzi has him earn a sort of redemption not by changing his personality, but putting his unique “skills” to use on behalf of something that is worthy for once.
It was also very interesting to see Scalzi’s interpretation of the Fuzzy’s themselves, who are much more intelligent and evolved than the Fuzzy’s in the original, and for the first time reading this story I didn’t come away thinking “I want a Fuzzy.” This book really is designed to make you see the Fuzzys as people, and to want them to be treated that way. SPOILERS The scene where Papa Fuzzy breaks down in the courtroom over the death of Baby, his child, is heartbreaking END SPOILERS. The twists and turns in the story remain exciting and fun, even on a third read. This is much more of a legal drama with elements of thrillers than the original, which was much more quiet and straightforward.
Upping this to five stars.