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 will listen to NO boring book. Old Fav's,Card, King , Hobb. New Fav's, Hill, Scalzi, Sawyer, Interested in Lansdale, Crouch, Konrath
My first John Scalzi book, but it won't be my last. An alien race wants to meet us, but they know we won't find them pleasant, so they hire an agent from Hollywood. Thomas Stein the agent is extremely funny and the interactions between the aliens and humans are roll on the ground funny. The first 2/3 of the book is a five star novel. When JS gets down to actually solving his main problem of making these gelatinous and stinky aliens lovable to humans then the book gets less funny. The solution is very disappointing.
Will Wheaton gives a great performance, better then a lot of the more established readers. I had a couple of times when for an instance I was confused on which character was speaking. Some of the minor characters have the same voice as the main character. The voice for the alien is excellent. I believe WW's reading made the book a better experience then reading it in print.
Having Wil Wheaton narrating this audiobook was a brilliant move. He makes the characters come alive as you would expect them to be.
And the writing is top notch I have many many audiobooks and this is now my favorite, you will not be disappointed.
My second Scalzi novel, I was looking forward to seeing what he could do with what is a very intriguing idea ... how would an alien race introduce themselves to 21st Century humanity? The logic of Scalzi's approach is sadly unquestionable. It turns this bland and unexciting novel into a worthwhile read. Scalzi navigates the world of Hollywood stars and agents well, implying to some extent first-hand experience with the industry. His choice of alien species is different and certainly eliminates all stereotypical first contact scenarios right off the bat. Make no mistake, this book is not "Rendezvous with Rama." It's not even in the same solar system as that one. This is a fun little novel about the sad world of Hollywood and just how much the mere appearances of the people there impact our daily perceptions of humanity as a whole. The hidden messages regarding the Holocaust are an interesting twist. However, I think if you really want an alien race to understand humanity and why we're even worth making contact with you don't show them humanity at its worst and then expect them to come down as friends, no matter how popular they get. Scalzi's writing remains an abused victim of overusing "he said," "she said," and an unending supply of adverbs, but at least it didn't kill the overall experience. Need a break from typical first contact novels, give this one a go ... just don't go in with too high of expectations.
I had read Old Mans War by the same author and while it was good, it was nothing like this book. This one has a new take on the idea that aliens want to make themselves known to us, and it has engaging characters, witty dialogue, and great pacing.
The naration is excellent, adding to the overall experience.
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.
How can the characters in this year's True Detective be worse? Ferrill is asexual, drunk, corrupt, a child abuser and worse!
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.
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