enhanced] DD-B

Book Note: H. Beam Piper, The Other Human Race

I read this book about 12-Jan-2006. I've read this book before. The book is copyright 1964. This note was last modified Thursday, 29-Jan-2015 21:02:59 PST.

This is book 2 of the "Fuzzy" series.

This note contains spoilers for the book.


Carrying on the story of Zarathustra, Little Fuzzy, Jack Holloway, etc. Most or all of the Company executives have become good guys, which is a nice twist. Once they stopped struggling against the sapience of the Fuzzies and accepted it as a fact (established by the Pendarvis decision, so there's not much they can do about it; and it's obvious once you get to know fuzzies a little), they like them.

Okay, I actually read these two out of an SFBC omnibus.

There's major excitement over the discovery that fuzzies actually do talk -- just so high-pitched humans hear only the characteristic "yeek". They build hearing aids for the humans, and then fuzzyphones for the fuzzies, and then they discover the fuzzies can train themselves to speak in the human range (they can hear all through the human range and quite a ways on either side). The Company factories gearing up to produce those new inventions may be kinda disappointed.

Some clever criminals had the idea of using Fuzzies to steal the sunstones from the company vault, and they nearly get away with it, until one of the fuzzies goes astray (probably deliberately) and turns up in the police headquarters. (Our heros were looking for those fuzzies all over the place for weeks.)

There's also the scientific drama of finding why the Fuzzies like "Extee Three" so much, and why they hunt land prawns so compulsively (titanium; only accidentally included in the Extee Three), the mystery of the Fuzzy birth rate (90% still-births due to titanium deficiency), and the story of a hide-bound controlling laboratory director.

There are a lot of troubles getting the civilian govermnent going, ranging from money, to politics (they need to hold elections to a constitutional convention soon) to personalities (some of the fuzzy friends haven't really forgiven the company executives yet). Luckily level-headed people are in charge on each side (and how believable is *that*?).

The Fuzzies all seem to want to have their own Big People, and while the process is thought of as adoption, the history of how people treat their pets is not encouraging. Fuzzies, though, don't need to be restrained for safety, and are capable of escaping from restraints much more effectively than most animals (having both intelligence and opposable thumbs).

Altogether a fine sequel. The twist of the bad guys turning good is nice, and the problems faced in this book are nice, and the characters (which are what really carry both books) continue to work well.

There's a third book, completed by somebody like Jerry Pournelle after Piper's tragic suicide, which doesn't seem to be on my shelf, though I'm sure I own a copy. Bah, humbug.

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David Dyer-Bennet