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Way too overrated
am 22. Januar 2014
One of the works of contemporary Science Fiction which is, in my opinion, far too overrated. Okay, Scalzi knows how to write and his craftsmanship as an author is not too bad. But the novel itself lacks of imagination – maybe because it is based on a work of juvenile fiction, 'Little Fuzzy' by H. Beam Piper, which was published in 1962. While the setting of both books starts quite interesting, Scalzi's remake often reads like a 'How to' of establishing first contact with an alien life form and how to expand 'human rights' on them. The fact that about a quarter of the novel takes place at court, where the questions of intelligence and personhood are discussed in every detail, adds a very theoretical and quite lengthy component to the book.
Another thing I didn't like were the well-known stereotypes: the (good) aliens are cute, fuzzy, cat-like people, and the hero who brings civil rights to them is the cool, but notorious troublemaker, the lone wolf, who manages to save the world by his nonconformist way of living. I really wonder why there has been no Hollywood director yet to make a major movie on the basis of the novel: The story itself is quite simple, the are no hidden depths, no meta level and cute, Ewok-like creatures play a major role. In my opinion, especially Science Fiction should try to cross borders, to open up new spaces, not only in a technical, but imaginative, mind-expanding way. If you like hard SF where there's no further meaning exceeding the printed word, 'Fuzzy Nation' may be the right book for you.