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)
John Scalzi is so out of the norm for what i normally read but i stumbled onto his audible book Redshirts and loved it. Agent to the Stars is not quite as good as Redshirts but i really enjoyed it. It is a fun story - nonviolent which is hard to find these days. And i can't say enough about Wil Wheaton. I wonder if i would enjoy these books as much if i had read them versus listening to Wil read them. I think he really adds to the characters through his voice. They are a great combo.
Despite the story telegraphing it's punches at times, I enjoyed it all the way - especially with the exceptional skill that Wil Wheaton brings to the job. I particularly enjoyed his reading of the Chicago newspaper quote (da Bears!). A great listen.
If you've never listened to Wil Wheaton you are missing out on something great. He is one of, if not the best male narrator on audible.
Agent to the stars is a fun listen. Pure entertainment for the ears. Alien species invaded Hollywood...who knows maybe it's not that far fetched. Regardless it's an enjoyable read.
An nice imagination vacation. Enjoy a clever view on humanities shouts to the universe and what they bring to our doorstep.
its smelly, sarcastic. and alot like your uncle Joe.
How do you get people to accept nice aliens that come to earth? Get them an agent!
The story was great and Wil Wheaton made it excellent! I'll definitely give it a second listen.
I've read several of Scalzi's books, this is one of the better ones. Interesting premise, not cliche, unique perspective. A couple of deus ex machina events that were telegraphed a bit too easily, but overall a fun and enjoyable read.
Apparently there's a requirement that any book that references Star Trek in any way must be read by Wil Wheaton. I'm 100% on-board with that policy. He has a very engaging presence and pretty much nails any sarcastic nuance that the stories have.
Scalzi's has zoomed to the top in my list of favorite authors. This one starts interesting, and only gets better. Don't miss this book, and if you haven't read, or listened to Lock in, and also the entire Old man's War series, don't deprive yourself any longer. You, too, will understand why Scalzi's has piqued my interest. Happy reads.....
This was a fun listen, Wheaton does a great job narrating and in fact I purchased this in part due to his performance on Ready Player One. Overall it is an original and entertaining listen, however it's not as humorous or madcap as the description implied. in fact it could be considered a philosophical work in places. Still a good and a bit offbeat light sci-fi.
I enjoyed the first part of this book, I was sure that as it went on, my enjoyment would elevate. However, the plot and characters turn from believable in a weird way, to contrived and ironically superficial. Definitely give credit to the author for the uniqueness of the story. But, I think it was slightly off in execution. Good performance from Wil Wheaton of course. I've heard him better though, so I couldn't give him a 5.
This was my first Will Wheaton narration and he did an awesome job bringing this totally crazy and hilariously creative story to life. One of those that you never wanted to end. Thankful to audible for introducing me to Scalzi!
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