Archive for September, 2011

Fuzzy Ergo Sum Review

September 14, 2011

This was too good not to share.

Fuzzy Ergo Sum

Lately there’s been something of a vogue for posthumous sequels to classic SF works. (This sort of thing happens every few decades, often when the economy turns sour and publishers are looking for “sure things” that don’t require massive payments to living big-name authors.)
H. Beam Piper’s original 1962 novel Little Fuzzy is one of the most beloved books in the field. And since Piper and his heirs weren’t careful about the arcane copyright registration procedures of the time, the book is now in the public domain (i.e.: anyone can write a sequel without owing Piper’s heirs one red cent).
This isn’t the first Little Fuzzy sequel; the history of the series is convoluted at best. Piper himself wrote one direct sequel, Fuzzy Sapiens (1964). Much later, Ace Books continued the series with Fuzzy Bones by William Tuning (1981). Golden Dream: A Fuzzy Odyssey by Ardath Mayhar (1982) retells the original story from the viewpoint of the alien Fuzzies.
Subsequently, a lost manuscript for a third Fuzzy novel was discovered among Piper’s papers; it was published in 1984 as Fuzzies and Other People. The events of this book contradicted those in Fuzzy Bones (of course), so the latter book is considered as part of an alternate universe.
To make matters even more confusing, by the time you read this Tor will have published Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi, which is supposed to “reboot” the whole Little Fuzzy universe and start over from the beginning.
And where does Fuzzy Ergo Sum fit in? It picks up where Fuzzies and Other People left off, continuing the story of explorer Jack Halloway (who discovered the Fuzzies), CEO Victor Grego, and Little Fuzzy himself. It’s been a quiet few years on the peaceful planet Zarathustra, but now a new bureaucrat touches down on an unexplained mission. Then Zarathustra’s worst criminal escapes from jail, the Chief Prosecutor is kidnapped, and the Fuzzies and their human friends have more than enough problems to deal with.
Of all the commissioned sequels, Wolfgang Diehr’s most captures the voice of H. Beam Piper. One gets the feeling that he is a fan of Piper, and he’s also a good enough writer to pull off the right mix of homage and originality.
At $38.00 the hardcover is pretty steep, but the e-book is well worth the asking price.


How cool is that? Of course, I am the only non-Piper writer to try to stay completely in the canon, so that may have given me an edge. Still, AWESOME review. Now if it would just translate to sales…

I should point out that I was not commissioned for this book. I started it as a piece of fan-fic back in 2006. It was partially reviewed by my Creative writing class back in 2007. I was asked to get it ready for publication in 2010 by Pequod Press, the number one publisher of Piper related sequels, but a very small firm. Not a giant like Tor.

If you haven’t read “Little Fuzzy” by H. Beam Piper, go to Project Gutenberg and download a free copy. In fact, check out all the other Piper stories while you are there. Well worth the time. Also, try haunting some used book stores for the other Fuzzy Books and the Paratime collection featuring “Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen.”