And so to my first forays into my husband’s library (which is great, but I’m still looking forward to the rest of my books arriving)! He does have lots of classic science fiction I haven’t come across before, however…
I’ve been dithering between writing about these individually or together, but seem to have chosen to do them together. Even just two months after reading them altogether it becomes difficult to necessarily be distinct about exactly what happens in each novel. (The whole series covers only a few months.)
Still, I really enjoyed the complete story. Yes, there are a lot of attitudes and practices that are decidedly dated and uncomfortable these days (let alone however many millennia into the future the series is supposed to be set), but it’s of the time it was written (the 1960s, although the third book was lost on Piper’s death, and not found and published until 1984, by which time other authors had written some versions of their own – William Tuning‘s Fuzzy Bones is coming up on the list shortly) and there is recognition that some of these attitudes could and/or should be challenged, even if it isn’t prioritised within the series.
By the end of the series several of the Fuzzies themselves have rounded characters, as do many of the humans who are stereotypes and ciphers in the first volume. The potential of all the people of Zarathrustra (the planet where these books are set) has been challenged to develop both technologically/educationally (the Fuzzies) and morally/socially (the humans). While all the women who marry give up the (often prestigious) jobs they held before they married, they do at least move into expert posts alongside their husbands (luckily the Fuzzy bureau and research divisions have plenty of openings). Certainly the treatment of the Fuzzies as children to be adopted and continuously looked after should be no model for any real human behaviour.
In a way, this is television morality. Huge issues are raised, and sometimes trite solutions are given, which if you give it too much thought are not satisfactory, but all that could be expected (perhaps) in an hour, or 150 pages. It is up to us to not only enjoy the story and its wrap up, but to consider the real issues as they apply to our world, and ensure that the best solutions are put into practice, despite their necessary complexity.
(Well, this should go out at 11:35pm, which is a little closer than I’d like for NaBloPoMo posting, but counts. I’ll go by the time of this initial posting however, rather than when I finish any later tinkering with links or typos!)