I'll admit that a huge part of why I chose this book and listened to it on audio was the fact that Wil Wheaton was narrating. (and if you remember, it's not the fact that Wil Wheaton played Wesley Crusher that got me. It was READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline.) Anyway...
FUZZY NATION by John Scalzi (Tor Books, May 10, 2011)
Never based on premise would I have thought I would enjoy this book so much. But I picked it up and started listening, and it got to the point that I couldn't wait to drive from place to place so I could have an excuse to listen to my audiobook more. I had to find out what was going to happen to the cute little fuzzy creatures. I know, sounds silly but totally is not.
John Scalzi does a great job blending humor, drama, and sci-fi. I'm not a lawyer and in general, I don't lean toward books with lots of law jargon in them (so don't let the lawyer part sway you). But the way this whole book played out was masterful. And I have to mention that the main character Jack Holloway was flawed yet so immensely likeable and seems to live the funnest life :)
If you remotely enjoy science fiction, I'd highly recommend this one. Also, if you do audio books, this one should top your list. Loved!
Jack Holloway works alone, for reasons he doesn't care to talk about. Hundreds of miles from ZaraCorp's headquarters on planet, 178 light-years from the corporation's headquarters on Earth, Jack is content as an independent contractor, prospecting and surveying at his own pace. As for his past, that's not up for discussion.
Then, in the wake of an accidental cliff collapse, Jack discovers a seam of unimaginably valuable jewels, to which he manages to lay legal claim just as ZaraCorp is cancelling their contract with him for his part in causing the collapse. Briefly in the catbird seat, legally speaking, Jack pressures ZaraCorp into recognizing his claim, and cuts them in as partners to help extract the wealth.
But there's another wrinkle to ZaraCorp's relationship with the planet Zarathustra. Their entire legal right to exploit the verdant Earth-like planet, the basis of the wealth they derive from extracting its resources, is based on being able to certify to the authorities on Earth that Zarathustra is home to no sentient species.
Then a small furry biped--trusting, appealing, and ridiculously cute--shows up at Jack's outback home. Followed by its family. As it dawns on Jack that despite their stature, these are people, he begins to suspect that ZaraCorp's claim to a planet's worth of wealth is very flimsy indeed...and that ZaraCorp may stop at nothing to eliminate the "fuzzys" before their existence becomes more widely known.
Source of book: Purchased from Audible.com