Nutshell blurb: Jack Holloway works as an independent contractor for a company called ZaraCorp. He accidentally found some really valuable jewels which he may only claim if the planet isn’t inhabited by sentient species. But then he meets some little fuzzy creatures and there’s a huge debate about whether or not they are people.
Before I talk about this book, I’d just like to say that this is my 100th post. I can’t believe that I’ve written so many! I feel like I should be celebrating or something. Like, with cake. I really want some cake now…
I’m sure I’ve told you many times how much I love John Scalzi. If you don’t remember, then I’ll say it again. I love John Scalzi!
This book had me hooked in the first few pages where the main character taught his dog, Carl, to detonate some charges that he used in his work as an independent contractor. I love the amount of whimsy that exists within his books and I like that his characters feel like real people. There are times when the banter between the characters seems a bit forced, but it only happens occasionally and I can overlook it because the story is so good. Jack Holloway isn’t the best person in the world. I certainly couldn’t imagine myself being friends with him. I think that I would describe him as a lovable douche-nozzle. He does and says stupid things and he doesn’t really consider other people’s feelings when he makes his life decisions. He’s not loathsome, however, and I think that it takes quite a lot of skill to create a character like that.
There were only a couple of problems I had with this book. I felt like the main character was made out to be cleverer than he actually was. He had a lot of things up his sleeves and there were a couple of times when I had to force myself to suspend my disbelief. One of those times was at an integral turning point in the story.
(Don’t worry; there aren’t any spoilers!)
This turning point was hinted at in an earlier chapter so it didn’t come completely out of right field, but I had a moment when I was jolted out of the story (during a pivotal scene) and I was like ‘wait a minute…wuuut?’. That’s never a good thing.
However, I was able to shrug it off and go with it. Because I love him so much.
I love the worlds he creates and Zarathustra is no exception. I feel that I have to say here that I’ve never read Little Fuzzy by H. Beam Piper which is the book that this one was based on. This book is a reboot of Piper’s 1968 novel and I don’t know how much of his world was used in this retelling. It’s quite a scary world as it is inhabited by scary creatures (like dinosaurs) called zararaptors which means that our protagonist lives in a treehouse. And valuable gems were the result of millions of jellyfish-like creatures being crushed under rock for centuries. I like it.
If you’ve never read any of John Scalzi’s work, I would suggest reading a different one first such as Old Man’s War. I really enjoyed this book, but I don’t know if I would be as much of a fan girl if I had read this one before any of his others.