Little Fuzzy by H. Beam Piper has been languishing on my “to-read” list for quite some time. I found it just after Audible announced the Audible Plus catalogue so I could pick it up for no extra credits, but because of this, it’s been sitting in the pile, just waiting to get picked.
I should not have waited so long! This was truly a slice of sci-fi excellence from the golden age of science fiction. Predictions of the future from around this time have always fascinated me. There are some allowances that must be given, of course, as some of the technologies are now very outdated, but I love seeing how writers of the time took what was around them and projected their ideas forwards.
This is a unique look at the concept of “first contact”. Our main protagonist, “Pappy” Jack Holloway, is a prospector making his fortune mining sunstones on the class 3 planet Zarathustra. It’s a class 3 planet because there were no sapient lifeforms there, so the Zarathustra Company could claim it as theirs and had a charter to essentially do as they pleased.
So when a little fuzzy creature pops in on Holloway’s homestead and starts acting in a way that leaves the other native animals for dust, well… the Company isn’t too pleased. If it is proven that a sapient indigenous lifeform of the planet exists, they lose their rights to the planet.
What unfolds is a simple yet heartwarming tale. Holloway and his friends must fight against the evil corporation that wants the fuzzy creatures deemed “not sapient” in order to spare their investment. This was a delightful story that will surely get another listen in the future.
Narrated by Peter Ganim who did a fantastic job. His range of accents must be near limitless, and they sounded perfect for each character he voiced.
In summary, this was a pleasure to listen to. I believe there are more stories in the universe though none that are on Audible, which is a shame. I’d definitely be interested in them should they ever be released.