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
One of the great moments of my adulthood was my discovery -- courtesy of Mark's posts here on Boing Boing -- of the incredible work that Ernie Bushmiller did on Nancy from 1933 until his death in 1982. He was succeeded by a series of station-keeping cartoonists, some of whom were very adept at aping his unique comic timing, sense of the absurd, and confident draftmanship, but none of whom every made me have that aha moment -- until 2018, when the mysterious, pseudonymous Olivia Jaimes took over, kicking off a run of astoundingly great new Nancys that have been collected into one of the greatest new comic-strip collections I've read in a decade.
Sesame Street continues its run of excellent, empathetic new muppets to help kids deal with a changing world: after introducing muppets experiencing homelessness, living with autism, and explaining marriage without recourse to gender norms, the show has introduced a muppet whose mother lost custody of her after becoming addicted to drugs.
Firstsecond (publishers of In Real Life, the bestselling middle-grades graphic novel Jen Wang and I made) have just revealed the cover for Poesy the Monster Slayer, my first-ever picture book, illustrated by Matt Rockefeller and scheduled for publication in July 2020.
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