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)
If mister Will Wheaton did not do the read I would of still got this book , but it would have never been as good love some of the little twist's
Simply wonderful. Story and reading by Wheaton both superb. Campy romp. Could make a "Earth Girls Are Easy" style movie.
This is a middling read made excellent by Wil Wheaton's performance. This book was written early in Scalzi's career, when he relied totally on sarcasm to keep you turning the page. If you read it, it is funny until it isn't, which happens fairly soon. Wheaton is able to add depth to the characters that truthfully, isn't on the page.
I really like the combination of John Scalzi and Wil Wheaton, and John Scalzi is a really good writer but this story never really caught my interest and the ending seemed too convenient for the main characters. I would believe that if you have aliens from outer space as clients you would invest more time in them instead of just going on with your everyday life, or maybe that is just me. The story should be called "A couple of weeks in the life of an agent - with a sprinkle of alien lifeform"
...But I totally loved it! The concept of this book is, let's just saw, out of the world. However, I enjoyed it greatly!
And Wil Wheaton's narrative is spot on! Who knew?
In short, I definitely recommend the audiobooks version. Go for it. You can thank me later.
It's highly entertaining and starts strong with a lot of potential. However the scifi part of the story doesn't get very developed and misses out on the potential a little bit.
Still a very nice way to spend about 9 hours and I admit that I kept listening to it even after I got off the train which I don't usually do.
This was a delightfully fun book. Don't get me wrong - you need to suspend a lot of belief, but nonetheless, the writing is clever and the reading full of snark, making it a great listen.
Absolutely loved this one. The problematic but friendly aliens, the smooth-talking agents, the crazy clients. The writing is superb, and Wil Wheaton brings the perfect narration. Will listen to this one again for sure.
It is a fresh look at alien interaction. I was pleased with the story and recommend it. The narration was well done, and not something I would have thought Will would do - I was surprised and would listen to any other narrations he performs. It earns 5 stars in all categories from me.
Practicing Idealist, Dabbling Realist ;)
An entertaining audiobook, with enough references to current famous personalities and the movie making world to make it fun.
"Good aliens make good stories too"
This is the first book by John Scalzi I encounter. It's a first person tale of Hollywood agent who will be handed the difficult task to present to the human public a race of benevolent though physically unpleasant, smelly, blob-like aliens. Scalzi offers delectable characters engulfed in a story full of humour and humanity. Wheaton's performance is outstanding and probably one of the most enjoyable I've heard on audiobook so far.
"A "must listen to"."
One of the most original stories in a very long time. The characters were totally believable and well painted. Excellent plot development, and amusing dialog. Brilliant narration. Cannot wait to download another by John Scalzi.
"Not What I Expected - Pleasantly So."
Unexpected. Grounded. Enjoyable.
The lead, closely followed by Joshua.
Yes, and I'm not going to spoil it for anyone else.
There's a TV series called Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Watch the first five or six episodes and you'll form an opinion of the show and may dismiss it, which would be a shame as it takes a suddenly side-step down a different path. Agent to the Stars very much reminds me of that.
Starting the book with Will Wheaton's excellent narration I found it an engaging albeit somewhat unremarkable story. Nice idea though and it has left me wondering whether John Scalzi has either close connections to the world of reps or is simply very thorough in his research; in itself a compliment to the book. But the story took a bit of a left turn and disappeared down a somewhat darker and more intriguing path.
Lots of concepts here and now looking to pick up one of his other works, perhaps Red Shirts or Lock in.
This is a nice book, it's light and funny and very enjoyable. Wil Wheaton's performance makes it all the more better.
Honestly Scalzi has much better books but this one is quite fun to read in between bigger more complex books.
"Enjoyable comedy fiction"
Fast paced, with Scalzi's trademark witty repartee. A Hollywood agent is tasked with representing a new and very important client: an alien. The dialogue reminds me of Buffy for some reason. I guess it's that "say it fast enough and throw in some snarky rejoinders and it'll be funny" thing. Except it is actually funny. I like that stuff, so I don't have to be convinced.
"The perfect audiobook"
The combination of Wil Wheaton and John Scalzi is awesome.... A fantastic book by The Big S, full of his typical wit and dialogue, narrated by the imperious Wheaton,who makes these books come alive ....For some odd reason I missed reading this book for a long time but having read the entire Scalzi oeuvre it was a pleasure to have this one left.
Whether it's audio or written, Scalzi is perfect.
"Sweet (?) Smell of Success"
Behind the scenes of a Hollywood agent, antsy wannabe actresses, irritating reporters, devious colleagues, repulsive looking (and smelly) aliens keen to make a friendly approach to the people of earth - and John Scalzi's fabulously comic dialogue : what's not to like? It's a great, funny story delivered perfectly by Wil Wheaton.
Buy, listen and enjoy.
"Lots of in car chuckles"
The narration was superb, Wesley Crusher nailed it.Good story well written
I really enjoyed this book, it was punchy, funny, and I looked forward to getting in the car every day for the next installment
"gripping, funny, emotional rollercoster"
John Scalzi has yet to write a book/story that I havemt enjoyed
and with the pairing of will wheatons performance makes this book amazing
"One of the most unusual stories you will ever read"
Its an original idea, very well executed and is hilarious at the right moments
I couldn't possibly spoil the subject matter
See above - would be a spoiler
Its absolutely hilarious. Its different and the end is simply a riot. Just wow !
Highly recommended !!!!!
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