I just finished listening to the Audio Realms audio edition of H Beam Piper's classic science fiction novel Little Fuzzy and fell in love with the book all over again. Little Fuzzy was the first book I ever bought for myself: it was on my first trip to Bakka, the world's oldest surviving science fiction bookstore, at the age of nine or ten. Tanya Huff -- now a bestselling writer in her own right -- was working that day and I asked her for some recommendations. She marched me back to the used section of the store and took down a copy of Little Fuzzy, promising that I'd love it.
Little Fuzzy is Piper's masterpiece, a tight, neat science fiction story that epitomizes the golden age of sf. It concerns a prospector on a distant world who discovers a potentially sentient aboriginal race (the "Fuzzies), and his ensuing fight -- fists, lawyers and even guns -- to get them recognized as sentient beings. Along the way, Piper explores the nature of colonial economies, the deepest questions of consciousness and intelligence, paternalism and self-determination, and the nature of the rule of law. All in a package that a nine-year-old will find riveting and delightful.
The Audio Realms 5-CD unabridged recording just won Publishers Weekly's annual Fantasy Audiobook of the Year award (why "fantasy" I'm not sure), and it's easy to see why. Brian Holsopple's reading brings the characters -- warm, human, flawed and passionate -- to life. The editing is not exactly perfect (there's a couple of pickup lines that Holsopple recorded that are left in, which is a little distracting), but the story is every bit as wonderful as I remember it, and the reading is a great match.
Little Fuzzy is in the public domain, so there's both a free ebook and a free recording available of the text. And for the record, I got Tanya Huff's job at Bakka when she retired to write full time.
Link to Audio Realms award-winning Little Fuzzy audiobook on CD,
Link to free, public domain reading of Little Fuzzy,
Link to free text for Little Fuzzy
For years, Anita Sarkeesian and her crew at Feminist Frequency (previously) have been striking terror into the hearts of reactionary assholes by saying calm, smart, funny, sensible and insightful things about how video games reveal our social attitudes.
I’m in the UK for the British Walkaway tour, which kicks off tonight at 7PM in Oxford where I’ll be in conversation with Tim Harford at Blackwells.
I took great advantage of my 36 hour hiatus from the Walkaway tour, but I’m back at it today, with a 2PM appearance at Burbank’s Dark Delicacies, before I go straight to the airport to fly to the UK for my British tour.
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