Agent to the Stars
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Agent to the Stars

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3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  5,836 ratings  ·  703 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 Hollyw...more
Hardcover, 280 pages
Published August 1st 2005 by Subterranean Press (first published December 8th 2004)
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Stephen
4.0 stars. SUPERSTAR AGENT WORKING FOR ALIENS....SOUND CRAAAAZY...MAYBE, BUT MAYBE NOT.......

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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.

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

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

Intrigued by the words of L.Ron Hubbard, Mr...more
Joel
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...more
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...more
Melki
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...more
Helen
May 17, 2012 Helen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: scifi
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.
Jim
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...more
Rob
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 this...more
David
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
Ron
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?
Michael
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...more
Steve
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
apple
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
Grumpus
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?
Troy Blackford
This was the most unexpectedly awesome book I've read this year. Totally recommended.
Clay
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...more
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
Olethros
-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...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...more
joanna
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...more
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...more
Wendy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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...more
Karissa
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...more
Mark
This was John Scaldi's "practice novel" to see if he could write one (he could, and has gone on to write award-winning SF), and this short novel has taken on a life of its own. Scaldi at first made it available for free on his Website and, when it garnered a loyal following and scads of favorable reviews, a publisher contacted him to release it more formally.

This tale is quite different from the military SF that Scaldi went on to make his reputation. It's comic, even a bit campy, and avoids most...more
Estibaliz79
Las cuatro estrellas están ahí porque, de buena fe, no creo que pueda decir que esta novela es tan perfecta o tan redonda como sus novelas de ciencia ficción "serias" (ya sean las verdaderamente serias, como la serie de 'La Vieja Guardia', o las más surrealistas dentro de la ciencia ficción más seria, como "El Sueño del Androide"); pero no obstante se trata de un libro muy bien escrito, tremendamente ameno y de lo más divertido, que a pesar de lo disparatado de su premisa y planteamientos, tiene...more
Susan
I really enjoyed this light, quirky story. A friendly alien would like to make a debut on earth and decides the best way to reveal themselves is to retain a Hollywood agent. Scalzi is so inventive with the sci-fi end of this, he made a smelly glob of goo cute, believable and endearing. The writing was smart and interesting in a tongue in cheek, funny sort of way and by far my favorite of his works since "Fuzzy Nation". Wil Wheaton did an outstanding job, I like that he has a faster reading pace...more
Wendy Browne
This book was selected for the April Read for my book club based on a member's inquiry:

I was thinking earlier today that it's kind of weird how I haven't really seen any major variances from the male/female paradigm in the sci-fi I've seen. Now, I'm not a sci-fi fan and am only recently starting to explore the genre, so it's possible I just haven't seen enough yet. But it seems like usually even if there's really no good reason for a species to fit those categories, they do anyway in some ways.

T...more
Steven
Agent to the Stars is one of the reasons why, despite liking John Scalzi as a person and deeply enjoying his work, I am also very, very jealous of him. It's his first novel (written so that he could see if he was able to do it), and succeeds fantastically.

Agent is a light, fun read. It's fast-paced, and while slightly dated at points (it refers to current events in 1999), it holds up very well. It pokes fun at both the movie industry and at first contact novels while still being respectful – a...more
Joel Pearson
Based on some really lukewarm reviews, I expected this book to be more of what I DON'T like about Scalzi than it would be of what I DO like. However, I found the mix to be a bit more skewed in the other direction.

Premise, essentially, is up and coming Hollywood agent gets asked to 'represent' an entirely unknown alien race, who had recently contacted his boss, a super-agent named Carl. Shenanigans ensue, and aliens are eventually introduced to the world. Makes sense, right?

The in-between is typ...more
Sandi
What would you get if you added space aliens to the HBO series "Entourage"? You'd get John Scalzi's "Agent to the Stars". This book had me rolling with laughter. I was up way too late last night finishing it. There's nothing deep here. It's a standard first-contact story in which gelatinous aliens hire a Hollywood agent to figure out a way to introduce them to humanity. They've been watching TV broadcasts from Earth and they realize that they'll have a serious image problem. You see, they bear f...more
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4763
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) Fuzzy Nation

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