Wil Wheaton, a Star Trek: The Next Generation alum, is a canny choice for narrator of this intersection of science fiction and Elmore Leonard-esque Hollywood farce. In addition to being a rather prominent footnote in sci-fi history, Wheaton’s also got a great voice sonorous, with an inflection similar to a late-night radio DJ who’s bemusedly sharing an anecdote on air between tracks. His voice also carries a hint of that lilt peculiar to many native Angelenos, which comes in handy when he exaggerates it to Valley Girl-proportions to portray starlet Michelle Beck, former cheerleader and current box office draw.
Hollywood agent Tom Stein is the book’s hero, and when the story begins, Michelle is his most important client. That is, until Tom meets Joshua, an extraterrestrial whose alien race hires Tom and his boss, superagent Carl Lupo, to represent them. The Yherajk have decided their best hope for a peaceful first contact between their race and all of humanity is to out themselves via the movies, and they know if they want to make it in Hollywood, they need good representation.
Wheaton’s voicing of Joshua, who has traveled to Earth as the Yherajk’s representative, is another highlight. Joshua, like his kinsmen, looks like a gelatinous blob, gives off a noxious odor, and slithers around amorphously. He’s also incredibly educated when it comes to human pop culture, having logged countless hours watching sitcoms. Wheaton delivers Joshua’s line, “We look like snot. And we smell like dead fish,” in a nasally deadpan that suits a one-liner-delivering alien to a T.
Even when Scalzi veers into semi-philosophical territory as when he explores why an alien race would choose a Hollywood debut over staging their premiere in Washington Wheaton keeps the narration moving with his just-right character voices. Look out for the both silly and spot-on sounding Quebecois accent he uses to portray Roland Lanois, an art-house film director with a critical role in the novel, and for his Buddha-like turn as Gwedif, a Yherajk storyteller. Maggie Frank
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 Hollywood's hottest young agents. But although Stein may have just concluded the biggest deal of his career, it's quite another thing to negotiate for an entire alien race. To earn his percentage this time, he's going to need all the smarts, skills, and wits he can muster.
©2005 John Scalzi (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
“Narrator Wil Wheaton animates the slapstick text with a tone that is appropriate for the story of a young Tinsel Town agent whose other clients are either equally deranged or aren't making him much money.” (AudioFile)
I've listened to just about every John Scalzi novel available on Audible and I've never been disappointed. While this is billed as science fiction, it had two story lines, one decidedly sci fi and the other modern fiction. Surprisingly, I found both equally intriguing - the tale of a young Hollywood agent and a budding, superstar actress and then there's an alien race looking for representation in how to best introduce itself, politely, to Earth. It just worked!
Having heard every book John Scalzi have released trough Audible, i expected as usual a good experience. What i didn't expect was that it was so much fun, entertaining and absolute ingenious view of how to introduce Friendly aliens to the humans.
Wil Wheatons narration was so good and enjoyable that i will from now on vertainly look for his name in future Audio-book releases.
What a treat!!
Excellent audiobook in story (absurd, fun, fantastic) and narration (just perfect)! One of the best I've ever listened. Highly recommendable.
From 4/12/15 on, I will only rate a book 5 stars if it so good I will listen to it again. To date, the Bino series tops that list.
My first Scalzi experience was Red Shirts. It was funny and extremely fun to read. Agent To The Stars is all of the above, but a bit less complicated.
You don't have to like science fiction to enjoy this book. But I wouldn't advise either book if you don't like the humor of Woody Allen. I loved both books, laughing all the way through...
I loved this one. I really loved. It was funny, clever, witty. The people were oddly believable even in a story that was totally wacky. It stands out as one of the best science fictions books of my last decade and one of my favorite ever sci fi audiobooks. One of the mast interesting things about Scalzi is his ability to write well in a wide variety of styles. He can be serious, funny, a mix of both. He can be wild and crazy and highly technical ... and he makes it work. No one in the genre today works harder or produces more. This was the first of his books I ever read, but it hooked me like a fish on a line. Read it. If you like sci fi or just appreciate well-written and witty stories, this one will not disappoint you.
No vampires. No zombies. No self-help. Find me on BookLikes. Audible Member since 2002!
What else can I add to the conversation? What a thoroughly enjoyable romp through space aliens and Hollywood. Wil Wheaton is a fantastic narrator--and no, you won't be haunted by Wesley Crusher.
I really need to start proof reading my Reviews before I post them.
this story is so many things. wonderful, warming, inspiring, omg why did you make me cry, and witty, funny, clever.
The idea for this book, the characters, the pacing, the conflicts and the humor is spot on. Of course nice aliens would go through Hollywood to win the hearts and minds of the world. It makes perfect sense. And great listening. Wil Wheaton knocks this one out of the park from a narration standpoint.
Say something about yourself!
This is very well written, both with regard to story arc and prose, as is usual of John Scalzi novels. This one is also full of clever humor and made me laugh out loud frequently. I also have to say, as someone with family in the Hollywood agent business, that Scalzi totally nails this industry. Finally, Wil Wheaton is the PERFECT narrator for this novel. He has the tone exactly right.
An old broad that enjoys books of all types. Would rather read than write reviews though. I know what I like, and won't be bothered by crap.
This is a fun read, but there are some very serious issues discussed. Isn't that what the best Science Fiction is about?
In the here and now, if you were an alien how would you present yourself to earth? You'd need an agent, right? That is the premise for this quirky book about Hollywood and aliens. Some things to think about: Is it okay to take over a dog's body who died of a heart attack? How about a human's?
Wil Wheaton, (John-boy of the Stars) is the narrator to this work and he does a stand-up job. He's funny when he needs to be and serious when it counts. Well done, Mr. Crusher!
I had never read any of John Scalzi's books and it looks like I will keep an eye out for more of his nerdy humor and timely stories.
Worth the time to listen!
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