Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Agent to the Stars” as Want to Read:
Agent to the Stars
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Agent to the Stars

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  7,705 ratings  ·  867 reviews
The space-faring Yherajk have come to Earth to meet us and to begin humanity’s first interstellar friendship. There’s just one problem: They’re hideously ugly and they smell like rotting fish.

So getting humanity’s trust is a challenge. The Yherajk need someone who can help them close the deal.

Enter Thomas Stein, who knows something about closing deals. He’s one of Hollywoo
Paperback, 365 pages
Published October 28th 2008 by Tor Books (first published December 8th 2004)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Agent to the Stars, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Agent to the Stars

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details


Then one day Mr. “Big Shot Hollywood Agent” is contacted by an ambassador from an alien species that wants him to arrange the introduction of their people to the World.


Unfortunately, Mr. Agent is more than a little skeptical and things look really hopeless for the Alien visitors.







***It is amazing how accurate the guys from South Park were on this one***

Intrigued by the words of L.Ron Hubbard, Mr
Yes, I know this was John Scalzi's "starter novel," written as an exercise, just to see if he could do it. I know it wasn't traditionally published until years later, when his subsequent better books had already earned him name recognition and numerous Hugo nominations. I know that. I don't really care though: this book cost me the same $7.99* as his other stories, and I don't feel the need to give it the benefit of the doubt.

Besides, if one thing is clear, it is the fact that Scalzi got a lot o
Agent to the Stars is actually John Scalzi’s first book, self published before Old Man’s War as a “practice” to see if he could write and then again later after he was established.

The practice was well played, he can write, and this is a damn fine example of how well.

Funny, often very funny, reading more like Christopher Moore or A. Lee Martinez than other science fiction or fantasy writers, this is an amusing twist on a first contact story. Scalzi demonstrates his imagination, his skill and h
Midu Hadi
May 11, 2012 Midu Hadi rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sci-fi fans
Shelves: singles, 212books, aliens, humor, sf
Loved the book.

The humor was just my style-the way the Yherajk communicated was a hoot.

What I also liked was that even though the MC was a smartass, he wasn’t made out to be a jaded guy or an agent who took advantage of other people to survive.

I was expecting a romance between Tom and Michell but Miranda was a far better choice.

The book wasn’t too long but just the right length which always wins points with me. Joshua was my favorite character.

Loved how the ending/unveiling was handled, as well
Tom Stein is a Hollywood agent. He represents one super-hot actress. The rest of his clients are a collection of has-beens, never-weres, near-misses, and not-there-yets, the sort of folks that fill out the bottom half of every junior agent's dance card. He puts it quite philosophically when he proclaims - Someone has to play the second spear-carrier on the left, and someone has to represent them.

That all changes the day Tom's boss asks him to a clandestine meeting.

The aliens are coming! And the
This is light, feel good science fiction with huge heart. What starts off as a funny attack on Hollywood with lots of inside references and jokes every line, eventually morphs into a terrific little story about humanity coming together to celebrate some new friends on the block. Scalzi is just a terrific storyteller, and he just has a way of keeping you turning the pages and smiling. That is more than enough to satisfy me.
Feb 24, 2012 Jim rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jim by: Kaethe
Simply put, it's brilliant.

I agree in every detail with the comments about this book in the wonderful review by Kaethe that put me onto it. Her review provides a series of very good reasons to read the book, without spoiling the fascinating and intricate story that lies within. As I discovered, it provides a second set of points that will make much more sense after you read the book.

The dialogue in this book is among the funniest I have ever read. It is hugely successful as a satire of major pl
Executive Summary: A decent, but not great sci-fi story. You can see the early signs of Mr. Scalzi's work, but not nearly as developed as in his later works.

Audio book: This is the third audiobook I've listened to read by Wil Wheaton. I think it might be his best of the three. He does a much better job with voice variation for the characters in the book. Voices aren't his strong suit, especially female voices. I still enjoy him as a narrator however.

Full Review
If taken in a vacuum, knowing thi
Jul 15, 2012 David rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Hollywood beach blondes, amorphous bad-smelling aliens
Tom Stein is a nice young Hollywood agent when his boss pulls him into a private meeting and lays a bombshell on him: the Yherajk, an alien race that has come to Earth to make first contact, needs representation. They've been watching our TV broadcasts for years, so they know what humans think of aliens, especially aliens who are amorphous blobs of bad-smelling goop who can, incidentally, insert tendrils into your brain and take over your body. So instead of landing on the White House lawn, they ...more
Stuff "first contact" into a blender churning with Hollywood culture, economics, and psychosis, and what do you get? A fast, fun, and funny, rollicking, off-the-wall sci-fi shot of adrenalin. What more can you ask for? Scalzi is probably insane, but he's a smart insane, and, accordingly, he's immensely entertaining. On top of that, his irreverent, rapid-fire, smart-alec dialogue works for me. This isn't the most cerebral sci-fi you'll ever read, but - despite its levity (and, at times silliness) ...more
Haven't read a bad John Scalzi book yet.

Always funny and clever, this is no exception. I enjoyed the concept of aliens making first contact on Earth through a Hollywood agent. Makes sense since aliens can listen in on all of our broadcasts. Intuitively, those in Hollywood then must be the ones who control and influence our species. Rrriiight? Right?
At least four stars.

What a hoot! This may not be great fiction, but it was an unusual approach and a fun read.

I have no idea if Scalzi accurately reported how Hollywood works or he was just playing to stereotypes, but I laughed so hard I cried.

Everything worked out too neatly and I could see a lot of the plot turns coming, but what the heck?
Julie Davis
What do you do if you are an alien race who wants to open friendly relations with humans but knows from watching television and movies that we are likely to see them as "bad aliens" due to outward appearances? If you are as steeped in pop culture as these aliens are, then it is obvious. Hire a Hollywood agent! John Scalzi takes us on a light-hearted romp that also is a keen look at pop culture and how it shapes our lives, as well as making excellent observations about human nature in general. I ...more
In the preface, Scalzi talks about his being his "tester" novel--the one he wrote to see if he could do it. It's the story of an alien race that decides to come to Earth after intercepting our broadcast signals. They've decided not to invade but instead hire a Hollywood talent agent to help them make their big debut. There's just one small problem--the aliens are gelatinous and smell pretty foul.

The story takes off from there, alternating between the alien (whose name is Joshua) trying to find
Phone home, E.T and get the mothership to haul your wrinkled little butts out because the Yherajk (pronounced yee-heer-aahg-k) has arrived and they got the best agent in Hollywood to engineer their first contact. Although desperately lacking in the looks department –- Yherajk will slob and glob their way into your unsuspecting heart while releasing fumes of weapon-grade B.O. and dropping cheesy movie lines along the way. Seriously, this book is so funny you shouldn’t read it while consuming hot ...more
Troy Blackford
This was the most unexpectedly awesome book I've read this year. Totally recommended.
Sept 8 2011

I stayed up too late last night because I didn't want to stop reading this. First, it's entertaining as hell. There's an insider's view of movie-making as a business, there's science fiction, there's romance, there's a very complicated plot, there's snappy repartee, but just like His Girl Friday, there's also an examination of what duty we owe to humanity, of what fair play looks like. In this, Scalzi's first novel, as in his most recent one Fuzzy Nation, there is thoughtful considera
Pop culture is often dismissed as simply low culture – in contrast to the high art of opera or classical music or abstract expressionism. And there’s good reason: As long-ago scifi author Theodore Sturgeon once pointed out, “Ninety percent of everything is trash.”

A simple tour through the cable channels, or spin of the radio dial, will prove Sturgeon right, and in the mass of modern pop culture it’s much harder to filter out the signal from the noise. In classical music, for example, the bad sym
This was the first novel by Scalzi I read. The story was thoroughly entertaining. The type reminiscent of comedy television of the 1960's - Bewitched, I Dream of Jeanie, My Favorite Martian. That sort of innocent and happy thing. This one is a cute first contact story. Thomas Stein, one of Hollywood's hottest young agents is hired to represent an extraordinary "special client". But then, as Scalzi did with "Redshirts" he adds more serious content to balance the comedic aspects of the novel. In t ...more
Stephen Gallup
Five years ago I read another book by Scalzi, which impressed me as having a very original idea but also disappointed me by handling its characters as if they were pieces in a checkers game. So reading other titles by him has not been a priority since then. However, this one overcame my resistance because the idea behind the plot is just so delicious.

Friendly aliens have hired a publicist to help them make a good impression when they introduce themselves to Earthlings. Before proceeding, they ne
This is Scalzi's first novel, which he was unable to sell and instead self-published online. It is actually still available for free here, with an introduction detailing his process writing it, where he writes:
I offer it freely to give new readers a sample of my writing (perchance to tempt them to pick up one of the other books), and to say "thanks" to those who picked up another of my books and were curious enough about the author to find their way here. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I
Was unsure about this one at first. Thought it might be too science fiction-y, and lacking in the human interest sector. But then! I was totally wrong! It's got everything - humor, aliens, Hollywood, intrigue, romance, the Holocaust, talking dogs. I laughed (a lot), I cried (single tear). It had levels. It was great!

I think some have critique'd the credibility - that the story wrapped up a little too easily/happily, but when you pick up a book about a Hollywood agent introducing an alien race t
Wiebke (1book1review)
This was a rather funny story. It follows Tom Stein, who is an agent for movie stars, and two of his major clients. One is a young actress who recently had had some success and is trying to change her image and also an alien race who want to meet the human race and become friends.

Yes, it is as random as it sounds. The writing has you sucked into the story immediately, it is rather quiet but straight to the point. At times I found myself laughing out loud (yes, sometimes in the middle of the road
Jeff Miller
Not sure how I missed this one, but saw it on sale at Audible and it has Will Wheaton as the narrator.

I found this to be rather funny with some elements reminiscent of his earlier book The Android's Dream.

First off the idea of a repulsive alien race seeking a Hollywood agent to represent them to make them more acceptable is pretty funny and mostly the premise works well here. Although at times I felt the plot was getting sidetracked and as I neared the end I was wondering how it was going to get
-Sátira y ficción a partes iguales.-

Género. Ciencia-Ficción.

Lo que nos cuenta. Tom Stein es un agente de actores de bastante éxito. Cuando su jefe le encarga ocuparse de un yherajk, raza alienígena de aspecto mucoso y olor a pescado, para que comience a trabajar en su futura presentación a la raza humana desde una perspectiva que les haga más agradables a los ojos de los hombres, tendrá que afrontar una tarea bastante difícil. Novela publicada por primera vez en 1997 en la web personal del auto
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lindsey Rey
I don't even have the words for how much I adored this!
Matt Allen
Scalzi always has such a unique idea. You can see that all the way back to his first novel, Agent to the Stars.

Agent mixes Scalzi's usual brand of clever, fun dialogue with compelling plot premises and sets you spinning through the narrative. It's a wide swath of memorable characters and does a solid job and wrapping you up right away. That momentum carries through the first third, but then Scalzi lets his foot off the gas with a sharp, sidetrack flashback from a different POV, that looking back
I'm a fan of John Scalzi, but even so I found I couldn't bring myself to finish this book. It's his first novel, I think. Not the first one published, but the first one he wrote. He describes it, I believe, as a "practice" book and I'm afraid I agree. (I am most fond of his most recent stuff--Redshirts and Lock In, say.) He has ideas--here the idea is some aliens want to make contact with us but they're pretty distasteful in appearance and smell so they are working with a Hollywood agent--but it ...more
Previously I have read Scalzi’s books Red Shirts and Fuzzy Nation and really enjoyed them all. This was another hilarious, yet sincere book by Scalzi...I enjoyed it a lot.

I listened to this on audiobook (as I have with all of Scalzi’s books that I have read). Wil Wheaton is the narrator (as with the other Scalzi books I have listened to). He does an excellent job with character voices and is just an excellent narrator overall.

Tom Stein is an agent to Hollywood stars, well he actually doesn’t hav
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Emperor Mollusk versus The Sinister Brain
  • Little Fuzzy (Fuzzy Sapiens, #1)
  • WWW: Wake (WWW, #1)
  • Dimension of Miracles (Dimension of Miracles #1)
  • An Unwelcome Quest (Magic 2.0 #3)
  • Borders of Infinity (Vorkosigan Saga, #5.3)
  • Extremes (Retrieval Artist, #2)
  • METAtropolis: Cascadia
  • The Sheriff of Yrnameer
  • Click-Clack the Rattlebag
  • Year Zero
  • The Jennifer Morgue (Laundry Files, #2)
  • Kiss Me Twice
  • Doctor Who: Dead Air
  • Eifelheim
  • The Callahan Chronicals (Callahan's Place Trilogy, #1-3) (Callahan's Series, #1-3)
John Scalzi, having declared his absolute boredom with biographies, disappeared in a puff of glitter and lilac scent.

(If you want to contact John, using the mail function here is a really bad way to do it. Go to his site and use the contact information you find there.)
More about John Scalzi...
Old Man's War (Old Man's War, #1) Redshirts The Ghost Brigades (Old Man's War, #2) The Last Colony (Old Man's War #3) Lock In

Share This Book

“Look,” he said. “We’d like you to return the salary.” “Oh, is that all?” I said. “Heck. That’s easy. The answer is no.” “What?” “No.” “No?” “What part of that two-letter word don’t you understand, Brad?” I asked. “Was it the vowel that threw you, or the consonant ?” 2 likes
“Are we there yet?” I asked Joshua. “No,” Joshua said. “Are we there yet?” I said. “No.” “Are we there yet?” “No.” “Are we there yet?” “Yes,” Joshua said. “Stop the car.” 2 likes
More quotes…