Review: Fuzzy Sapiens by H. Beam Piper

First off, Happy Readers, let me say that the precursor of this book, Little Fuzzy, was excellent. It should be read and enjoyed by all sci-fi fans at some point. I wish that I could say the same for the sequel, but it just doesn’t equal it. It’s not bad, but it’s just not great.

I do have hopes for the third book in the series, but we shall see. I’m currently reading the next Frontier’s Saga entry, and should have that review up soon as well.

In the mean time, here’s my review of the book at hand.

Amazon’s Blurb:

The Pendarvis Decision had declared the Fuzzies to be intelligent beings—guaranteeing them protection and security. But just how much were those assurances worth?

The Fuzzies were about to find out. . . . Someone was going to make big profits by exploiting them, and there wasn’t much that could prevent the Fuzzies from becoming just another extinct species on Mankind’s conscience. . .

And now my review…

Fuzzy SapiensFuzzy Sapiens by H. Beam Piper
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book is an OK read, and being an OK read is not a terrible thing. I sincerely enjoyed Little Fuzzy when I read it a few years ago. H. Beam Piper is one of those ‘old school’ sci-fi authors that I found quite late, but have enjoyed immensely. This sequel to Little Fuzzy is only a mediocre read, however, because of its slow pace and lack of dramatic plot. It tends toward the analytical side of the developing Fuzzy situation which is boring. The only real excitement happens in the last 5% of the book.

One of the strangest quirks (It’s not necessarily a negative, but I didn’t like it) I encountered while reading this book is the anachronistic feel of it. I’ve seen this in other books, especially from authors of the 40’s, 50’s & 60’s who fail to generalize their scientific advancements enough to overcome the paradigm shift of the digital age. I usually can get past it, but this time the slow pace of things made it really stand out. I think I’ll coin a new genre term to describe it called Anachronistic Analog Punk… Ananapunk. Ananapunk is where futuristic technology is still based off of analog technology that is now obsolete, but the story is not focused on being that (as Steampunk is toward the Victorian Era steam technologies, etc.), it simply IS that by virtue of being written prior to the digital tech curve. It’s effectively Atompunk or Steelpunk, but written IN the era it depicts. I’ve seen it before. Sometimes I like it; sometimes I don’t. This time I didn’t. Thus the two star rating.

There’s also the issue of the social customs of the ‘era when written’ being carried over so far into the future, and being a focal point of the story. Cocktail hour and tobacco smoking are a highly overused personal action for almost every character. It’s the filler and transition to almost every scene. It is monotonous and cannot be avoided or ignored during the read.

But, still, the story of Fuzzies and the discovery of who and what they are, as well as human reactions to them are interesting enough to keep me reading to the end. In fact, the third book in the series looks to be more interesting than this one, so I will probably read it as well. It also has the benefit of being a ‘manuscript found in a trunk after the author’s death’ which means I’m already interested.

So, while not being exactly a superlative story, it was interesting, and I am glad to have read it, if for no other reason than continuity of the series leading to the third book. I give it two stars and call it a Semi-Descent Read.

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