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Agent to the Stars

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  12,534 Ratings  ·  1,276 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

Paperback, 365 pages
Published October 28th 2008 by Tor Books (first published December 8th 2004)
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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.


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
Apr 17, 2014 Lyn rated it liked it
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
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
Jun 22, 2013 Melki rated it really liked it
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
Paul O'Neill
May 18, 2015 Paul O'Neill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

So frigging funny. I love Scalzi. Great for some comic relief.
Midu Hadi
Sep 04, 2011 Midu Hadi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sci-fi fans
Shelves: sf, aliens, 212books, humor, singles
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
Feb 16, 2012 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Jun 30, 2016 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, audio
This was my first book by John Scalzi, and I listened to the audio narrated by Wil Wheaton - what a winning combination! The humor in the book was right up my alley, Wil Wheaton's narration fit perfectly, and this book was just pure fun. I would have willingly listened to this from start to finish in one sitting if it had been possible. Add to my TBR list - more Scalzi and more Wil Wheaton audio.
Aug 27, 2011 Helen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Marianna Neal
Jan 09, 2016 Marianna Neal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
4.5 out of 5 stars

I can't believe this is John Scalzi's first book! Agent to the Stars is an imaginative, unique, and funny work of science fiction. In this novel one of Hollywood's hottest young agents is tasked with introducing a very unappealing alien race to humans - you don't encounter a premise like this one every day. While I expected this to be smart and entertaining, things eventually took a turn for something more serious making me consider a more philosophical and ethical question for
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 03, 2012 David rated it really liked it  ·  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
Mar 04, 2014 Grumpus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, audiobook
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?
Ashley Brooks
May 19, 2015 Ashley Brooks rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy, owned
Humorous sci fi is so much my thing, so obviously I loved this. The tone reminded me of Hitchhiker's Guide so if you liked that book you'd probably enjoy this one.
Troy Blackford
Dec 18, 2013 Troy Blackford rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 27, 2015 Juliette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, 2015, i-want-him
For months, my coworkers who read have been telling me to read Old Man's War. It sounds like a depressing, overly macho book, and Amazon has had it priced at $10. I'm unwilling to take the risk.

Agent to the Stars, though, was $2.99, and the plot sounded nice and fluffy. An alien race has been observing human culture via our television shows, and, now, they want to make contact with us. The problem is, they're not exactly our idea of attractive: they're gelatinous blobs who communicate via noxiou
May 20, 2013 Steve rated it really liked it
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
Dec 18, 2010 Ron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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?
Lindsey Rey
I don't even have the words for how much I adored this!
Julie Davis
Good Story #87. Scott and Julie hire an agent but he spends all his time with a water bottle full of talking jello.


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 l
Aliens come to Earth but because they are hideously ugly and smell like rotten fish. They need to carefully plan their first contact, they don't want the human race to be repulsed by them. So, they hire a Hollywood agent to mange them. Sounds like a crazy version of 'Clarke's Childhood End'? Well in basic concept it's similar.

This is one of Scalzi's comedic books and falls into the same category as 'The Android's Dream'. If you have read any of his other funny stuff you know what to expect. A to

Let’s just start by saying that this is a very silly book (just read the blurb for proof) - but Scalzi did it with so much skill and gusto that, would you believe it, it achieves greatness.

By combining an atypical first-contact story with the cut-throat Hollywood world, and adding a good dose of banter while not taking itself seriously, the author offers us a hilarious and compelling tale.

Silly yes but not stupid. You just have to look at the plot, once you’ve read it of course. Pretty ingeni
Apr 20, 2010 Michael rated it liked it
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
May 21, 2016 Ally rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Aliens are awesome


This was my first Scalzi but it certainly will not be my last. I adored this book. As in seriously adored. It totally helped that Will Wheaton narrated. He's on my perfect list. Right up there with homeboy-husband-to-be-Nicholas Boulton.
will wheaton

If you like aliens coming to earth and hiring a PR firm to help introduce them to humans and you like sarcasm, you will like this book, A LOT.
Oct 26, 2011 apple rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
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
Apr 25, 2016 Andreas rated it really liked it
This was my first time reading John Scalzi and it was so good. Such a funny, sharp and witty novel! I'll definitely read more of his books and I highly recommend this.
Clay Kallam
Jul 01, 2009 Clay Kallam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy
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 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
Feb 14, 2009 Sandi rated it liked it
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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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...

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“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 ?” 4 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.” 3 likes
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