Sunday, May 07, 2006

Fuzzy Sapiens, by H. Beam Piper

(pb; 1964: second book in the Fuzzy Sapiens series)

From the back cover:

“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...”

Review:

A week has passed since Judge Pendarvis adjudged the Fuzzies (who actually call themselves “Gashta”) to be sapiens. Now, a plethora of new dangers has arisen, ones that their human friends have to deal with.

First, there’s the question of a limited food supply – the Extee Three (military rations) that the Fuzzies eat is running out. Not only that, but new questions about the Fuzzies’s birth mortality rates have come into play – why are their successful birth rates so low?

Last, and certainly not least, there’s Hugo Ingermann, a corrupt criminal lawyer who’s agitating the masses for profit – and political position. (Given author Piper’s descriptions of Ingermann, one wonders if Piper didn’t model Ingermann after the character Willie Stark, played by Broderick Crawford, in the 1949 film, All the King’s Men.)

The Zarathustra Company, now the Charterless Zarathustra Company, and its employees are no longer the bad guys. They’ve joined the rank of “Fuzzy lovers,” and are fighting to help them, too.

Just as enchanting and ecology-minded as the first novel, Fuzzy Sapiens is a worthy sequel.

Followed by Fuzzies and Other People.

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