Wednesday, March 23, 2011

T.D.I.H. - Mar 23

On this date in 1904, H. Beam Piper was born. He is, in my opinion, one of the most under-recognized seminal authors of American science fiction. I began my love affair with science fiction reading Heinlein, Norton, Asimov, Bradbury, Clarke, and McCaffrey. It was only years (and hundreds of used bookstores) later that I stumbled upon my first Piper book. I believe it was Space Viking. I quickly began to scour all the new and used bookstores for anything of his I could get my hands on. Sadly, he committed suicide just as he was on the cusp of becoming the success he should have been.

One small part of Piper's larger Terro-Human Future History universe is the Fuzzy saga. This group of books was both a source of great enjoyment and frustration for me when I first read them. First of all, they were extremely hard to find. People who owned copies of these books rarely put them in used book stores, and they were rarely in print. (I just ordered the book I linked to in my last link...all three of Piper's fuzzy stories in one edition!) Secondly, Little Fuzzy was published in 1962 and Fuzzy Sapiens was published in 1964 (the year piper died), however the third book, Fuzzies and Other People was originally lost and not published until 1984. In the meantime, two authors had written books in the Fuzzy series that were contradicted by the eventual publication of Piper's third book: Fuzzy Bones by William Tuning; and Golden Dream: A Fuzzy Odyssey by Ardath Mayhar. As a fan of the Fuzzy saga, I would love to read sequels to all three author's works, even though some would necessarily be inconsistent with others.

Well, I have partly got my wish. First of all, one of the more renowned modern science fiction authors, John Scalazi has written a book called Fuzzy Nation that is due out this May. This book is advertised as a "re-boot" of Little Fuzzy. I am opposed to such things philosophically. I have no problem with turning to another author's work for inspiration (Such as Flashman originating as a character in Tom Brown's Schooldays) or re-telling the story from another's point of view (such as Grendel which re-tells the Beowulf story from the point of view of the monster) or even writing sequels to another person's stories, either with the author's permission or after they are dead (such as happened twice to the Fuzzy saga as detailed above). However a re-boot is a whole different thing. That is taking the author's vision and altering it. Would we allow someone to paint over the Mona Lisa with their version of it? If Scalazi's book become popular, that is what will have been effectively done. Having said that, I have ordered Scalazi's book, and I hope to enjoy it. In fact I hope he writes several sequels and I enjoy them. (I frequently run out of reading material)

Then today while writing this post I learn that someone named Wolfgang Diehr is writing a sequel that is due to be printed this spring. Fuzzy Ergo Sum is described as a sequel to the original series, so I presume it will be faithful to piper's work and ignore the other two Fuzzy books. I can find very little information on it, it is not listed on Amazon, and the printer appears to be doing very small print runs. In a hopeful sign, the author appears to have worked with John Carr as an editor, who has done at lot of work in Piper's Paratime universe.

1 comment:

Wolf said...

"Fuzzy Ergo Sum" is indeed faithful to Piper's original trilogy, though some acknowledgement of Tuning and Mayhar should be made. New characters and situations are introduced, as well as new Fuzzies. Ms. Mayhar was kind enough to give her permission to the writer to use her expanded Fuzzy language. Tuning's book may have deviated from the Piper vision, but I give a cheer to anybody willing too bring more notice to Piper and his works. John Scalzi, too.

Oh, I should mention that a sequel to "Fuzzy Ergo Sum" is in the works. How do I know? Well, let's just say I know the author very well!