I must admit that when I heard hugely popular SF author John Scalzi, a multiple Hugo Award finalist, was writing a novel entitled Fuzzy Nation that riffed off of H. Beam Piper’s iconic creation, I was a little, dare I say it...fuzzy...on the details. It’d been awhile since I’d read H. Beam Piper, but I did remember liking the stories.
So if you’re thinking “Wait. What? Fuzzies?”, you may not be alone. Although Piper is known to core science fiction fans, his last Fuzzies book came out in 1964, the year of his death, with a posthumous collection published in 1984. Two additional Fuzzy books have been written, by Ardath Mayhar and William Turning, but Scalzi’s is significant for being a reboot of the original franchise—taking as its source material the original book, Little Fuzzy.
The Fuzzy books were part of Piper’s Terro-Human Future History series, which provides a detailed account of about six thousand years of human history, dating back to 1942, the year the first fissoon reactor was created (or, in Piper parlance, year 1 A.E., Atomic Era). In Piper’s future, part of it now our past, a nuclear war lays waste to Earth in 1973. This catastrophic event leads to the creation of a Terran Federation and the invention of anti-gravity space technology. In exploring the stars, humankind eventually comes across the Fuzzies: first contact with an intelligent alien species.