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 decided to split the difference for my overall rating. Wheaton's voice work was great and several times he had me laughing out loud in public. He really did a good job giving every character a unique voice so you can always tell what character is talking. He was great. The story is pretty average. I think if I'd been reading it myself, I probably wouldn't have finished it. One small point that bugged me as a historian was the total misrepresentation of what it meant to be in the Judenrat. I think Scalzi should really have done some more research. The book presents a very old historiographical viewpoint that Trunk shattered in the 1970s with his still very relevant work entitled Judenrat. This is, of course, a very minor point in the story but it bothered me quite a bit. I'm sure most people would have overlooked it.
I read books, fix computers, read books, fix my truck, read books, enjoy time with my wife and kids, and I read books.
This is an enjoyable read for the premise of the plot. It makes you think about how would you react to aliens?
Agent to the Stars is probably one of the top audiobooks I have listened to. Wil Wheaton is a fantastic narrator and I have purchased other books that are narrated by him because of this book.
I'm not sure.
Wil Wheaton displays appropriate emotion throughout the story, capitalizes on sarcasm in his characters, and creates a vocal setting that you can visualize.
Wil Wheaton brings this already good story to greater heights with his terrific narration. You almost believe he *is* each character as he reads their words, and makes each one audibly different from each other.
A fun and light read. Humorous and insightful, it takes the premise as well as the reader on a ride through the more accessible corridors of Hollywood on its way to a satisfying (if somewhat rushed) conclusion.
I love to read a well written book! Audible has made my life ever better by having process that allows me to enjoy a good book on the road!
This was a well written book that I enjoyed very much all the way tell the end. It made me laugh many times!!! Great job John and Wil!!!!!
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