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Agent to the Stars

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  19,804 ratings  ·  1,841 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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Thomas Land I listened to this (audiobook) then watched the Orville. Yaphit is exactly what I envisioned.

I know the Orville team drew from a huge amount of scien…more
I listened to this (audiobook) then watched the Orville. Yaphit is exactly what I envisioned.

I know the Orville team drew from a huge amount of science fiction - and a lot of science fiction has amorphous blobs. I guess there is so much you can do with a species of amorphous blobs?

But I agree, even the language Yaphit uses is extremely similar. (less)

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Mario the lone bookwolf
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scalzi-john
For a first work, this is both so weird and hilariously funny at the same time that I am absolutely not sure what to think about it.

It´s as if it was Scalzi´s intent to write some crappy elements in this one, because he usually doesn´t do this, I don´t know, intending to write less pro. Ok, it was his first novel, subjectively I am pretty sure that this is a bit of an experiment and not meant really seriously, just a kind of test balloon to see how his writing might be accepted by the audience,
Apr 17, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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


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 wo
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!
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
Nov 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 *

I don't want to give away anything about this story away-I think everyone should go into it as blindly as I did.

I thought this book was hilarious and fun, while also providing a little social commentary regarding the civil rights movement and the Holocaust, among other things.

I listened to the audio and Wil Wheaton nailed this one down tight.

My only issue was the "he saids, she saids." They started to stand out for me towards the end-by that I mean they were irritating. "He said" doesn't
Jun 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Re-read with my other half.
As hilarious as the first time :O)
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 l
Jun 30, 2016 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. ...more
Feb 16, 2012 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
Paul O’Neill
May 18, 2015 rated it really liked it

So frigging funny. I love Scalzi. Great for some comic relief.
Sonja Arlow
2.5 stars

So, aliens have finally arrived, and for a change they are friendly, however because they look like blobs of snot and only communicate via smells, they first want to uplift their personas before making contact with humanity.

They decide to work on their public image with the help of a celebrity agency.

The author could have done a lot more with the idea behind the story, yet he settled for a fluff piece that focuses as much on the vapidness of being an agent to celebrities as it did on
Dawn F
Aug 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Alright, first of all this is not a bad first contact story at all. Scalzi is amusing and gets right to it with a plethora of pop culture references understood by everyone who were young in the 90s.

What I want to give it 2 stars for (but ultimately didn’t) is how stereotypical it is in its portrayal of men and women, and men versus women, and even more so, the large part where the characters justify why it’s totally okay for a 25 year old white, blonde woman to play a 40 something Jewish holocau
Midu Hadi
Sep 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sci-fi fans
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
Aug 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
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.
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
Marianna Neal
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
The Captain
Aug 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Ahoy there mateys! Members of me crew may remember that I have a love for John Scalzi as he was featured in Broadside No. 5, tidings from the crew fer the dispatcher, and on the horizon fer the miniatures. As I work me way through all things Scalzi, I realized I had never read his first written novel.

His author’s note talks about how this book became published and states:

“It began in 1997 as my “practice novel” – that is to say, the novel I wrote to see if I could write a novel . . . I had no in
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
John Scalzi is one of my favorite sf writers and (as you have probably noticed) I am reading trough his older books until something new is published.
Agent to the Stars got my attention with an unique and quirky premise. The aliens hire Hollywood agent to introduce them to the humanity. :D
While I enjoyed the idea, the execution left me feeling somewhat unsure of my feelings. The pace was uneven. The humor was there but was not in full Szalzi mode. The characters needed a bit more to make them rea
Jul 03, 2012 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
Timothy Boyd
Aug 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I haven't read a John Scalzi book that has disappointed me. They are always a fun and humorous read. Great story plots that sweep you through the book. My only complaint is they end to soon, or maybe I just read them to fast! I am looking forward to trying his Old Man's War series. Very recommended ...more
Troy Blackford
Dec 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was the most unexpectedly awesome book I've read this year. Totally recommended. ...more
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 t
Julie Davis
May 22, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Agent to the Stars is John Scalzi's first book. I predict great things and much success for him. No, this isn't a peering into the future. Though Agent to the Stars is definitely science fiction, it could be happening right now. And, full disclosure, reading this book now gives me no awards for prognostication since Scalzi has had over a decade of big hits to put on his rap sheet.

For the most part, Scalzi has us sitting in the shoes of Tom Stein, a junior agent at a big SoCal firm representing
Mar 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: funny, audiobook, fiction
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?
Jul 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, sci-fi, 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
Ashley DiNorcia
May 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
4.5 stars. This was fun. So much fun. It should be a movie.
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
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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.)

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