Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi is about a stereotypical large corporation that exploits planets for its natural resources. Jack Holloway, a disbarred lawyer, now a contractor for the ZaraCorp, is mining a claim on the planet Zara XXIII. He’s been in some trouble not just as a lawyer, but as a contractor as well, accused of letting his dog set off explosives. But his luck is about to change when he discovers a sunstone seam (the diamonds of the future, that the ZaraCorp has a monopoly on already). In a paperwork snafu, he’s entitled to a share that will make him very wealthy. But his discovery of a sentient race on Zara XXIII puts that in jeopardy.
Think of this as a Law & Order/Erin Brockovich of the future. There are a lot of courtroom antics which I found surprising for a Sci-Fi book. But it was still engaging and I found I couldn’t put this book down.
Jack Holloway is an interesting character. He is selfish and rude but there is an honorable streak in him. Being a lawyer in the past, he can manipulate the system to get what he wants. It’s often hurt people in the past but he’s learned his lesson and you can’t help but root for him when he stands up for himself and the fuzzys.
You will also fall in love with the fuzzys, the sentient creatures discovered on Zara XXIII. My favorite parts of the book was their interaction with Jack and his dog; the way they just made themselves at home, making sandwiches, taking over Jack’s bed.
The dialogue in this book is great too. It flows easily, sounds natural, it’s interesting and funny. It felt like it could easily transfer to screen. Another big plus are the names. You can actually pronounce them out loud and not feel silly!
The courtroom scenes had me biting my nails wondering what Jack was up to and what would happen to the fuzzys. Overall the book was paced nicely. It didn’t have a lot of action but the character interactions, plot and dialogue made this a real page turner.