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John Scalzi – Agent to the Stars

July 21, 2017

27. Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi (2005)

Read By: Wil Wheaton
Length: 8h 49min (365 pages)

Genre: Science Fiction

Started: 22 June 2016
Finished: 27 June 2016

Where did it come from? Audible.
Why do I have it? I haven’t gone wrong yet with Scalzi as read by Wil Wheaton, and it was Audible’s deal of the day.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 08 June 2016.

Gross aliens want
to be friends, but first they must
clean up their image.

Summary: Tom Stein, a young Hollywood agent, thinks he’s just closed the biggest deal of his career for one of his starlet clients. And then he meets his new client… a member of the alien race called the Yherajk who goes by the name of Joshua. The Yherajk have been monitoring Earth for a while, and they’re ready to make contact, but they’ve seen enough movies to know that when you look like you’re made out of snot and you stink like rotting fish, you’re going to have a bit of a PR problem on your hands… or your slime tentacles, in this case. So the Yherajk have hired Tom’s firm to represent them, and Tom is tasked with finding a way of introducing the Yherajk to humanity, and with keeping Joshua under wraps until they do — not the easiest thing in an industry where everyone is always looking for the next big thing.

Review: This book was utterly silly, but in the really fun sort of way. It’s the first book that Scalzi wrote (although not the first one that he got published), and it is admittedly not quite as polished as some of his later books, although it’s quite a bit better than many other first novels I’ve read. Agent to the Stars is one of Scalzi’s “zany farce”-style books, although it’s not as intricate as The Android’s Dream (where the idea of aliens who communicate through smell reappears), and doesn’t have the more serious ethical underpinnings of Fuzzy Nation. That’s not to say that there isn’t *anything* serious about this book; one of the things the Yherajk can do is take over the bodies and share the minds of other organisms, although they will only do so under strict conditions of consent; Scalzi dabbles with this idea as it applies to things like bodily autonomy and life support / the right to die. But mostly this book is full of a lot of zany alien adventures and fast-talking Hollywood agents. Scalzi’s characteristic rapid-fire snarky dialogue is certainly already present in this book, and Wil Wheaton again is the perfect match to read the audiobook – his voice just fits so well with Scalzi’s sensibilities. There’s not a ton of character development (although there is some, mostly in conjunction with the times this novel brushes up against more serious subjects), but deep multidimensional characters aren’t really the point of this novel. The point is: Gross aliens need an agent, wacky misadventures ensue. And sometimes, some wacky misadventures and some good laughs are all you really need. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: Fans of Scalzi’s later works will find the same sensibility and some germs of his later ideas here. Although it’s not quite as good as his later novels, it’s still a solid pick when you need something fast and fun to read.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Other Reviews: The Guilded Earlobe, My Books My Life, and more at the Book Blogs Search Engine.
Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

First Line: “Fourteen million and fifteen percent of the gross? For Michelle Beck? You’re out of your fucking mind, Tom.”

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