Monday, March 28, 2011

Little Fuzzy

I just got through reading all three of Piper's stories about the Fuzzies in an omnibus edition called The Complete Fuzzy. In a previous post I discussed the Fuzzy books and expressed my opposition to the Scalzi re-boot called Fuzzy Nation. Well, after re-reading the original books I begin to understand.

First of all, I am officially predicting a movie project, probably something CGI dominated like Avatar.

Secondly, the original books are obvious artifacts of their time. The first two were published in the early 1960's, but I'd be willing to bet that they had been originally written in the 1950's, they definitely have a 50's vibe to them. The main "corporate" characters in the book could have come straight out of Madmen, and almost every chapter has a reference to "cocktail hour". The most "objectionable" part to most people however is the relationship between humans and fuzzies. It is pretty condescending and patronizing. ( I seem to remember the Mayhar book dealing with this and attempting to disarm it) I could easily see some Phd writing a monograph comparing the humans to Europeans and the fuzzies to those colonized by the Europeans. I fully expect Scalzi's fuzzies to be much more "mature" and capable than Piper's fuzzies.

Thirdly, Piper's vision of future technology was severely limited. In fact I can see a viable argument that Piper's fuzzy books aren't science fiction at all. I seem to remember Tuning's and Mayhar's books being more science fiction, however they are no longer cannon since the publication of the third Piper book. It will be interesting to see if either Scalzi's book, or the Diehr book include any part of Mayhar's or Tuning's work.

I would also be interested to see if Piper's fuzzies had anything to do with David Weber's treecats. If I ever get a chance to ask to Weber about it I will.

1 comment:

Wolf said...

Does this mean that you are now pro-Scalzi? Many of Piper's works would seem severly dated in light of today's technology, but so would many other author's earlier works. I think Piper wanted his stories to be more relatable to the readers at the time he was writing. However, he did imagine a sort of internet, video conferancing, hyperdrive, contra-gravity and alternate realities. The first two have come to pass in our lifetimes. The idea of traveling to new worlds yet still clinging to gunpowder based weaponry is fairly realistic. A .357 magnum will kill you just as dead as a phaser, and cost a lot less and be easier duplicate.
Granted, Fuzzies were patronized and fawned over by the Terrans. Easy to do when you have a primitive species the size of an infant to watch over. At least the didn't get the Native American treatment and nearly wiped out. Still, the Fuzzies need to grow up a bit and the Terrans to treat them less like children and more like partners.