Jack Holloway is a prospector on Zara XXII, contracting for the giant ZaraCorp. On one momentous day, he is fired, discovers a huge seam of sunstones worth trillions, and meets the first members of a new species, the fuzzies. Since he was fired before he discovered the sunstones, he now has an enforceable claim—and he’s a disbarred lawyer, so you can bet he’s following through. The fuzzies are delightful and they’re pretty smart—so smart that they might just be sapient. And if they are, that’s a huge problem for ZaraCorp, since the fuzzies would own the planet and the profits. Even if Holloway didn’t have the sunstone claim and the potentially sapient fuzzies, he would never be ZaraCorp’s favorite person because Holloway can be a major jerk, who delights in getting under people’s skin.
Fuzzy Nation is a “reboot” of H. Beam Piper’s novel, Little Fuzzy. It’s a fun read, with an entertaining if exasperating lead character.