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Little Fuzzy Mass Market Paperback – May 1 1983


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Mass Market Paperback, May 1 1983
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Ace Books (May 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441484948
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441484942
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 10.4 x 1.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 91 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)


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By John M. Ford TOP 100 REVIEWER on Feb. 18 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Jack Holloway works alone in Zarathustra's wilderness, mining rare sunstones and looking after himself. Soon he finds himself looking after a tribe of newly discovered "Fuzzies" as they encounter humans for the first time. Things become interesting as Jack's new friends' appearance threatens the charter of a powerful corporation--and Jack shoots one of its employees defending them. The action moves from the jungle to the courtroom as everyone argues about whether to recognize Fuzzies as sentient beings.

This book is a classic and the first in a series of Fuzzy books written by H. Beam Piper and others. A good tale in its own right, "Little Fuzzy" also explores the overlapping boundaries of practical, scientific, legal and emotional definitions of intelligence. As a sometime psychology instructor, I have encouraged students to read this fairly brief book to stimulate discussion of how psychologists define intelligence. Such discussion also prepares students to understand how scientific psychology and the law have different conceptions of insanity and personal responsibility.

I read this book years ago and recently re-enjoyed it as an audio download. The audio experience highlighted the large number of supporting characters that crowd into the latter half of the story. It seems harder to track and distinguish between them in the audio version. This does not interfere with enjoyment of the story, but is slightly unsettling. I'd advise reading rather than listening for this one.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 92 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
What is the definition of a person in law? June 16 2005
By Michele L. Worley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
What happens when an obviously sapient species is discovered on a human colony planet - but the usual rules of thumb used to separate people from animals in law don't apply?

In the Federation, there really isn't a legal definition of sapience, just a handy criterion of talk-and-build-a-fire intended to keep greedy speculators, sadists, and other lowlifes from claiming they couldn't tell that an obviously inhabited planet *was* inhabited. Zarathustra is legally a Class-III planet with no native intelligent species, so the Chartered Zarathustra Company essentially owns it outright, and makes a *lot* of money on its resulting monopoly on sunstones, not to mention a long list of assorted exports the CZC extracts from Zarathustra's virgin ecology.

Then one day Jack Holloway, a freelance sunstone prospector, comes home to find his door open - and a tiny creature, no more than two feet tall and covered in golden fur, in his shower stall. Being an independent-minded bachelor of a certain age doesn't mean one can't get lonely, and Jack's inclined to let the gutsy little guy hang around. Jack names him "Little Fuzzy", and quickly notices that his new friend is bright. So bright that he doesn't need to be shown things twice. So bright that he can generalize.

So bright that he can not only use tools Jack makes for him, but brought some of his own with him.

He and the rest of his hunter-gatherer family just don't seem to be able to talk, and they haven't mastered fire yet. The scientists working for the CZC are soon tasked quietly with "proving" that Fuzzies aren't sapient, and when one group tries to "confiscate" the little family living with Jack, there's a tragedy: Leonard Kellogg stomps one of the female Fuzzies to death, and Jack shoots another of the invaders dead.

The main conflict, though, isn't the shootout but the subsequent pair of criminal cases, which the chief justice of the planet opts to try together almost in the form of a lawsuit since the resolution of either would prejudice the verdict of the other: Leonard Kellogg's trial for the murder of a sapient being, and Jack's trial (where his defence is that he was attempting to prevent someone else's murder). As Jack's lawyer Gus Brannhard puts it, this *is* a lawsuit, in a way, with the CZC's charter hanging in the balance.

Really great story, with a crackerjack legal circus at the end and a lot of Fuzzies throughout (who're much better at having fun than humans are, for all that they're little guys in a very big dangerous world).

IRRELEVANT NOTE: Michael Whelan's Fuzzy cover paintings are famous. However, one point that's sometimes overlooked is that the only human in the group on the cover of *this* book - "Pappy" Jack Holloway - has been depicted by Whelan as a likeness of Piper himself.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Brilliant, Delightful And Sometimes Haunting Science Fiction Great April 26 2006
By Stephen B. O'Blenis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Although quite short, the fast-paced, truly moving, and often very comedic "Little Fuzzy" is one of my choices for science fiction literature's truly great novels. The wit, the charm, and the brilliant characters will all stay with the reader long after the final page of this first of H. Beam Piper's Fuzzy Sapiens series.

Zarathustra is a planet classed as uninhabited, which means the entire planet can be owned by a corporation, which it is, by the Zarathustra Company, which enjoys a high profit by mining the resources-rich planet. One day gem prospector Jack Holloway comes across a member of a previously undocumented species - a tiny, golden-furred little biped who he dubs 'Little Fuzzy', and shortly thereafter encounters Little Fuzzy's family. The fuzzies are cute, adorable, and often hilarious, and they're also quite socially advanced, including in the use of tools they themselves make. Holloway is convinced, and soon some of his human friends are too, that the Fuzzies are fully sentient and entitled to all the rights of any other sentient species.

Which means the Fuzzies would be the owners of their own planet, and the Zarathustra Company's deed would be automatically null and void.

The unscrupulous Zarathustra Company is determined not to see that happen, at any costs.

And thus we enter into a meeting of the science fiction novel, the legal courtroom drama, and an indepth examination of ethics. The book skillfully tackles these subjects seriously without forsaking the fun, playful side of its other main facet, represented so well by the gregarious Fuzzies themselves. I would say that there's heavy corporate satire at work in much of the book, but I belive satire is supposed to be an exxageration of the 'real' world, and sadly, I can see a corporation behaving this way if this kind of thing were to happen some day off in the future. Although the book is often a ride of wonder and fun, things can get very heavy and dark at times, including a plot thread dealing with the death of a Fuzzy. The courtroom scenes are a pinnacle of their type, not just for science fiction but for any novel.

An excellent tale; extremely recommended.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
There is Little Wrong with "Little Fuzzy" April 24 2000
By Peter MacDonald - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Little Fuzzy is written by H. Beam Piper and is the first in a series of many books on the fuzzys. The Plot of the book is simple enough, old man finds little furry people, old man keeps little furry people, old man trys to get little furry people recognized as sapient life forms. If you can get past the first 2 pages of scientific mumbo jumbo that has nothing to do with the story the you will be fine. The book is great! I generaly do not read sci fi, but I made an exception for little fuzzy, and you should to!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Of Politics and Pipes Jan. 24 2008
By Paul Camp - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I wonder how many readers have given attention to how many H. Beam Piper characters are smokers. In "Omnilingual" (_Analog_, 1957), the heroine, Martha Dane nervously chain-smokes cigarettes as she worries about whether she will solve the problem of the Martian language. Her fellow archeologist, Dr. Selim von Ohlhorst, smokes a carved pipe. The head of the expedition, Col. Hubert Penrose, smokes cigarettes from a silver case. In _Junkyard Planet_ (1962), the hero, Conn Maxwell, and his father puff cigars. (They prefer the tobacco from their native planet over Terran tobacco.) In _Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen_ (1965), Verkin Vall and his wife smoke cigarettes, as does Hadron Dalla. In _Little Fuzzy_ (1962), Pappy Jack Holloway, the sunstone prospector, smokes a pipe-- a trait that the Fuzzies find fascinating. (To Pappy Jack's credit, he does not allow the Fuzzies to smoke his pipe.) I invite you to find other examples.

I don't know whether Piper himself was a smoker, nor do I know what were his personal thoughts about tobacco. But certainly many of his characters smoke. I suspect that it was simply a matter of characterization. What his characters smoked and how they smoked dramatised whether they were young or old, insecure or calm, laid-back or aggressive. In the same vein, shaving habits or table manners can reveal something about a fictional character.

In any event, _Little Fuzzy_ is hands down Piper's best novel, and the secret is not hard to find. It lies in the delightful characterization of his little natives of Zarathustra that immediately have you rooting for them from the very begining. Of course, we understand the motives of the Zarathustra Mining Company. They began operations believing that there was no native intelligent life on the planet. Once the Fuzzies have been discovered by Pappy Jack, the company is in danger of losing its charter. So it is in its best interests to get the Fuzzies declared non-intelligent and to quickly exterminate them.

The scenes between the Fuzzies and Pappy Jack are marvelous, and there are some dandy courtroom scenes in which lawyers for both sides draw on an arsenal of dirty tricks. _Little Fuzzy_ probes the question, "What is human?" I am reminded of a story by Robert A. Heinlein called "Jerry Was a Man" that deals with the same theme. Heinlein's story is blatently sentimental. Piper's novel is less so. But I think both authors intended us to see that what makes somebody "human" is something that goes beyond the courtroom arguments, something emotional, something elusive... but nevertheless, something real for all that. If you pass this novel over, you will be cheating yourself.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Classic Fuzzy June 17 2011
By Steve Nelson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I picked up Little Fuzzy when I heard about John Scalzi's remake. Even though I've plowed through many of the classics of science fiction I had never come across H. Beam Piper. I'm very glad I gave it a try and will certainly be back for more. I found the story intelligent and thought provoking and I recommend it highly. In fact when my 12 year old picked up my kindle looking for something to read I recommended this story to her and she loved it too.

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