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)
First time ever reading this genre. I'm glad I started here, this is intelligent, funny writing and great narrating. So glad I found you!
Fast paced fun story presented by the perfect match of a narrator. Loved the witty dialogues and the characters. Listen to this when you feel down. It will pick you up.
I love a good chaotic adventure with creativity, heart and lots of laughs.
It feels a lot like other John Scalzi audio books narrated by Wil Wheaton. It's inventive and funny, a story about a Hollywood agent trying to figure out how to make aliens make a good first impression is bond to be, but most of the characters are sarcastically bickering in every single conversation to the point where the general emotion of any given situation within the story seems to have the same tone.
The story was okay. It even had some touching moments mixed into the sarcastic humor. What might have improved the story would have be more moments of Stein trying to adjust to Joshua's presence.
Wil Wheaton has a bizarre effect on this story. He can be a good narrator, but his character voices all seem to sound the same; snide and intense. When combined with Scalzi's writing style for this story, every character suddenly starts to sound like they all have the same personality. When the characters converse, this gets a bit confusing if the discussion involves more than two characters.
John Scalzi writes a lot of interesting and fun stuff. However "Agent to the Stars" seems to be an average sample of his work.
Probably not again as seldom listen to all but classics twice. Not sure I would gain anymore on a second listen
Not sure, but it would make a darn good movie if the producer got a good agency to cast it.
The humor is inimitable. The author is very, very clever. Wonderfully original plot and inside jokes right and left make this a delightful read (listen).
Joshua. His wry wit is captivating. Tom is a close second.
When Miranda walks in on Joshua doing his thing with Michelle. What a heck of a funny scene that would be in a movie.
Yes, but I listened to it in two sittings. It was tough to tear myself away from the listen.
I hope Scalzi's other books are nearly as original and entertaining.
This is about a low-level Hollywood Agent who is given a unique and challenging opportunity to introduce an intelligent and peaceful alien civilization to the people of earth. It's very funny and is narrated perfectly by Will Wheaten. Heading now to find other masterpieces from this awesome duo!
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