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Music video by Rihanna performing Rehab. YouTube view counts pre-VEVO: 19591123. (C) 2007 The Island Def Jam Music Group.
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1962 Avon edition cover
|Author(s)||H. Beam Piper|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover & Paperback)|
|Followed by||Fuzzy Sapiens|
Little Fuzzy is the name of a 1962 science fiction novel by H. Beam Piper, and is now in public domain. It is generally seen as a work of juvenile fiction. It was nominated for the 1963 Hugo Award for Best Novel.
The story revolves around determining whether a small furry species discovered on the planet Zarathustra is sapient. Along the way a gentle kind of libertarianism that emphasizes sincerity and honesty is advocated.
During a book signing at Strand Book Store, Piper alleged that the Little Fuzzy series was inspired by an acquaintance named Kevin "Fuzzy" Sheffield. Piper and Sheffield first met while in a common literary club in central Oregon. They exchanged names and kept in loose contact for several years thereafter. When asked about Sheffield, Piper described him as "a bizarre character, capable of writing little more than a couple of vaguely-legible remarks in each letter. While I'm sure he's full of insight and great ideas, it seems impossible to effectively communicate with him on a conventional human level...terribly nice fellow however."
The book was followed by a sequel, Fuzzy Sapiens (original title The Other Human Race) published in 1964, the same year that Piper committed suicide in November.
In the wake of Piper's suicide, rumor spread of a lost "second sequel"; eventually Ace Books hired William Tuning to write one; he produced the critically acclaimed Fuzzy Bones. Tuning announced plans to follow up on Bones; however, at this point, Piper's lost manuscript was discovered, and published as Fuzzies and Other People.
Ace also hired Ardath Mayhar to write Golden Dreams: A Fuzzy Odyssey, which tells the events of Little Fuzzy from the viewpoint of the Fuzzies (or Ga'shta, as they call themselves) rather than the humans.
A new volume in the series, Fuzzy Ergo Sum by Wolfgang Diehr, was published by Pequod Press and made available on Amazon.com in April 2011. A second book, Caveat Fuzzy was released in August 2012.
In 2011, John Scalzi published Fuzzy Nation, which he described as a "reboot" of Piper's original.
- Jack Holloway – Sunstone prospector who discovered the Fuzzies.
- Ben Rainsford – Xenobiologist, first scientist to meet Fuzzies.
- Gerd van Riebeek – Company Xenobiologist. Quits company to join Jack.
- Ruth Ortheris – Company psychologist and Federation spy.
- George Lunt – Constabulary lieutenant.
- Victor Grego – Chartered Zarathustra Company CEO.
- Juan Jimenez – Company naturalist.
- Gustavus Adolphus "Gus" Brannhard – Lawyer and hunter. Defended Jack for murder.
- Leonard Kellogg – Killed the Fuzzy known as Goldilocks. Charged with murder.
- Leslie Coombes – Chartered Zarathrustra Company lawyer. Defended Kellogg.
- Ernst Mallin – Chief company psychologist.
- Little Fuzzy – the first Fuzzy discovered
- Mamma Fuzzy
- Baby Fuzzy
Plot summary 
Jack Holloway, a sunstone miner, lives a solitary life in a wilderness area of planet Zarathustra. The planet is basically "owned" by the Chartered Zarathustra Corporation (under Victor Grego), which installed basic services and colonial outposts initially, and now reaps the benefits of new discoveries, such as the valuable sunstones.
One day, Holloway returns to his little shack to discover a tiny humanoid, covered in golden fur. The little creature has armed itself with a chisel from his workbench, but is peaceful and mostly unafraid. The miner gives the "little fuzzy" (as he calls it) some Extee-Three, a kind of canned emergency ration cake, and the Fuzzy devours it greedily. It is soon apparent that the creature is highly intelligent, and he soon brings his family band to join "Pappy Jack" at the shack.
Victor Grego soon tries to intervene, claiming that the Fuzzies are just animals, not sapients. If they were ruled sapient, the entire planet would be declared a protected aboriginal zone, and the Chartered Zarathustra Company would lose its exclusive rights to the resources there. Leonard Kellogg, one of Grego's staff, kills a Fuzzy and this leads to a court case which hinges on whether the Fuzzies are animals or sapients.
After much discussion of what it means to be "sapient" (speech and fire use being one definition), the matter goes to court. In the midst of the proceedings, the Terran Navy commander reveals that his people have been studying Fuzzies, and that they can indeed speak. The tiny people use ultrasonic frequencies, which to human ears sound like "yeek." When processed with the proper electronics, the sounds are rendered as a complex language. The Navy experiments prove that Fuzzies have at least the mental capacity of a ten-year-old human, and are therefore protected under Terran law. Judge Pendarvis declares them to be aborigines, and the Charter of the Zarathustra Company is immediately invalidated.
Kellogg has his worst fears confirmed; he killed a sapient being, not an animal. He commits suicide in his cell.
The second book, Fuzzy Sapiens, deals with the new 'Charterless Zarathustra Company' and how it eventually begins to work with the new governor to ensure control over the planet. Victor Grego becomes the affiliate of a Fuzzy he names Diamond. It becomes clear that criminals are using the irregular status of the government and of the company to attack it and even to steal sunstones.
The third book, Fuzzy Bones by William Tuning, suggests that the remarkable demand by all Fuzzies for the ration-pack 'Extraterrestrial Type Three' (aka 'ExTee 3' or 'estefee') does not fit with the composition of Zarathustran soil. A third significant Fuzzy character is developed called Starwatcher. Little Fuzzy, Diamond and Starwatcher become the clear leaders of the group in working with humans.
Golden Dream fits with these three books in terms of the general plot and relationships.
After these two official sequels, the original third book by Piper himself was found and of course this offers an alternative future.
On April 7, 2010, John Scalzi announced the pending release of a reboot, authorized by the Piper estate, with the prospective title Fuzzy Nation. Fuzzy Nation was released by Tor Books on May 10, 2011.
- "The Super Secret Thing That I Cannot Tell You About, Revealed: Introducing Fuzzy Nation", post on Scalzi's blog "Whatever", April 7, 2010