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)
Agent to the Stars is funny and sweet, full of likable characters, and age-old questions: what IS life?...what does it mean to be human?...what exactly makes us human?...how much STINK can the human olfactory system tolerate?
I really enjoyed the basic 'goodness' of the characters, the story was clever and we'll written, and Wil Wheaton's narration was spot on!
...by which I don't mean to denigrate the story or Mr Wheaton's performance. Instead, I mean that this audiobook was a fun, pleasurable romp through a modern sci-fi story from a modern master mix maker of the genre with a narration that was an excellent performance. This was a great time and I highly recommend it to anyone who has discovered similar books (Divine Misfortune, Emperor Mollusk, etc. )
A great Scalzi--quirky story, lovable characters, slimy aliens.... Enjoyed Wheaton's narration. Thought the ending was predictable but I enjoyed getting there.
Photographer, Traveler, Ponderer, Philosopher, Blogger
Not a very heavy book, it was lighthearted and whimsical, with laughs mixed in at the right moments. Kind of Jerry Maguire meets Space Aliens.
I was having a hard time getting into this one. Once the story and characters were becoming interesting, they wrap up the book in about 20 minutes. It seemed like the author got in a rush at the end and slam dunked it with a headline montage covering a years time. Wil Wheaton was great as per the usual.
Wil Wheaton made this bearable, but there is nothing unique or interesting in the story. I kept listening hoping it would get better, but sadly it did not.
Voracious reader who loves fiction -- mostly SciFi, crime novels, mystery and suspense.
The narrator, Wil Wheaton. I actually chose this book because of him! He always makes the characters come alive so well.
Wil has a real talent for conveying snide comments and sarcasm in a way that highlights the humor the author is going for. He simply IS the protagonist. And the alien. And the diva. AND, AND, AND. He's delightful.
It's a fun book, and an enjoyable escape. Because of it's predictability and meandering in spots, I wouldn't say it's great literature ... but then again, it's Scalzi's first novel and one shouldn't expect "Ready, Player One".
I only got this book because Wil Wheaton was the narrator and I'm a big fan. His performance did not disappoint. The plot summary looked pretty stupid to me, but I'm so glad I listened. I'll definitely be reading more Scalzi books. He had me laughing at loud at points. This is one book where the writing and characters really make the story.
The combination of John Scalzi and Wil Wheaton seem to always make for a book that I will listen to more than once.
Wil Wheaton is a fantastic narrator. He captured the full intent of the story.
NO I had not listen to other performances by Wil Wheaton. But I will in the future.
I loved his presentation. I was totally absorbed in the book.
Oh yes, I laughed and in some parts it brought a tear to my eye. I cant say enough about the book of AGENT TO THE STARS. John Scalzi really nailed the story, and the background of Hollywood agents. FANTASTIC LISTENING PLEASURE. THANK YOU JOHN AND WIL.
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