... es no. 2255
Written by Fred Patten, and intended for Apa L, 2255th Distribution,
LASFS Meeting No. 3703, July 31, 2008.
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|Denvention 3 in 2008!||Anticipation in 2009!||Salamander Press #2739|
Another old review:
The Fuzzy Papers, by H. Beam Piper. Garden City, NY, Nelson Doubleday/SF Book Club, February 1977, 309 pages, $3.50; SFBC 1188-2.
Suddenly the fuzzies have come into their own. Piper's two fuzzy novels were very popular when first published as Avon paperback originals in 1962 and 1964. Piper's death and litigation over his estate tied up rights to the books and made new editions impossible for the next decade. Ace Books recently reprinted them again as paperbacks. Now the two novels have been gathered together by the Science Fiction Book Club and given the hardcover edition they so well deserve.
An expanding humanity has colonized the frontier planet Zarathustra, with a free-enterprise society dominated by the monolithic Chartered Zarathustra Company. A prospector exploring new territory discovers the fuzzies, little hominids who have the combined charm and mischievousness of kittens and monkeys. The fuzzies are obviously smarter than most animals, and may be intelligent enough to qualify as sapient beings. Since the Company's charter rights are dependent upon Zarathustra being an "uninhabited planet," the Company faces ruin if the fuzzies are legally declared an intelligent species.
Little Fuzzy, the first novel, is a fast-paced melodrama which blends both humor and excitement. It tells of the maneuvers in court and the battles outside the law as the fuzzies' human friends and foes fight for or against their rights; while the fuzzies, who have the personalities of six- or eight-year-old children, go around being irresistible. The fuzzies win, of course. The second novel, titled either Fuzzy Sapiens or The Other Human Race, tells what happens as the fuzzies and humans both explore what their new relationship really means. Again, Piper goes for light melodrama. A genetic imbalance may mean the fuzzies' extinction soon unless human science can find a cure; and a gang kidnaps fuzzies to train them for crime. (They're small enough to easily slip through ventilator shafts into bank vaults.) This latter leads to a dramatic shootout when the good guys finally confront these 'fagins.' (For a lengthier analysis and critique, see the separate reviews of Little Fuzzy and Fuzzy Sapiens in DF&SFR, February and December 1976.)
Basically, the two novels are shallow but deliberately structured to be enjoyable reading for all ages and most tastes. Most of the characters are sympathetic and all are well motivated. One of the nicer touches is that Victor Grego, the lead villain in Little Fuzzy, is believably converted into a friend of the fuzzies in the second book and insists on helping out his nonplused former adversaries. There's courtroom drama, the lure of frontier ruggedness, a detective puzzler, some spy action, a romantic subplot between two of the supporting characters, philosophical intellectualism (what constitutes 'intelligence'?), and all those adorable fuzzies. The novels both read like stories the author really enjoyed writing, and he communicates his enthusiasm to the reader. Recommended for junior high libraries on up. Order several copies before it goes out of print; you'll have a continuing demand for this one.
A few words on the confusion about the title of the second novel. Piper was active in the s-f fan community during his lifetime, and let it be known that the sequel to his popular Little Fuzzy was to be called Fuzzy Sapiens. The original publisher arbitrarily retitled it The Other Human Race and Piper let his fans know his displeasure. Today we have two different groups of purists, one insisting that the novel's 'true' title is the author's own, and the other insisting that it's what the book was originally published as. Ace's editors have brought it out as Fuzzy Sapiens and the Science Fiction Book Club has retained The Other Human Race. But they are the same story. To add to the confusion, it's known that Piper had completed a third fuzzy novel only weeks before his death, to be called Fuzzies and Other People, but the manuscript is apparently lost. And that's the news on the fuzzy front.
If the third novel is found it'll probably be good news for Michael Whelan, who has painted the covers for all three of the new reprints. A good part of their commercial success is undoubtedly due to their appealing cover scenes.
Delap's F&SF Review #30, March/April 1978, pages 24-25.
The missing Fuzzies and Other People was found in 1984. I did not write the review of Fuzzy Sapiens in the December 1976 DF&SFR. My article "The Fuzzy Story" about all the Fuzzy novels, by Piper and others, is in Anthro #14, November - December 2007.
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-- Comments on Last Week's Distribution:
Cover - (DeChancie) What, no gag caption for this one?
Vanamonde #786 - (Hertz) This was good, but why is it worth publishing again?
De Jueves #1593 - (Moffatts) Frequent blood sugar checks is one of the reasons I am not allowed out of the nursing home now. ## Are any of the movies of popular TV programs not made by the original TV producers as good as the originals? I remember one of the nice throwaway touches in the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory movie was a split-second news photograph of someone who had counterfeited one of the golden tickets. The photograph was of Martin Bormann, Hitler's aide.
I Fandangoed on Walpurgis Night - (Gold) No, I meant Super Science Stories. The crest of the LASFS coat of arms was in the proper SFL colors as I recall. The star in the center of the coat of arms was green instead of gold as it should have been, and the blast from the spaceship in the "ad astra" part of the shield was red instead of gold. This may be more colorful but it is not the colors approved by the club. ## Most of the humor in the Cowboy Bebop episode is around trying to find anybody in the late 21st century who knows what a VCR is, much less the difference between a VHS and a Betamax. In fact, I wonder how many younger viewers today, only ten years later, would understand the differences between the two VCR formats.
Vanamonde #791 - (Hertz) So Edd Vick could have attended Corflus in the Seattle area. But I think that he attended several conventions there. Maybe it was Foolscap, the writers' convention, instead of Corflu. ## Thanks for the Schirm art. ## Harlequin Romances published the Laser Books, which were sci-fi. If they had published any Star Trek books, they might have sold enough that Harlequin would have continued to publish sci-fi.
Godzilla Verses #201 - (DeChancie) Aldair in Albion is worth reprinting; maybe not the other three. It stands up well enough on its own. I suspect the three sequels were written as afterthoughts based on the popularity of the first book. ## Congratulations on the republication of your first trilogy. Baen Books does good stuff.