Little Fuzzy – H. Beam Piper

Little Fuzzy is a fairly short science fiction story about a newly discovered species on a colonised planet. The majority of the book then revolves around the debate as to whether the species “Fuzzy” are sapient, and thus deserving of protection under Terran law, or not.

This is probably worth reading for the mental image of the Fuzzies alone, they are described and behave in such a way so as to be incredibly cute. There is then a look at how they could effect a major company’s profits, and how that employees of that company might behave in order to protect their own status and livelihoods.

Spoilers in the next paragraph!!!

The dilemma was well developed, with it being debatable for most of the book whether the Fuzzies were sapient or just highly intelligent monkeys. I therefore felt that the ending in which it is discovered that the Fuzzies do speak, just at an inaudible pitch, and letting them use a cigarette lighter to fill the basic legal test of “speaks and lights fires” was disappointing. I would much rather have seen the sapience beings whose only speech was “yeek” being discussed, as this was what was set up through the first 80% of the book.

The ending clearly sets up another book, and I will be searching the second-hand bookshops for this as it is too recent to be on Gutenburg.

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