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 downloaded the book as a no-brainer and was delighted to find it funny and well written, as well as with a terrific narrator. I will look forward to other books by both of them.
I knew agent to the stars had aliens in it. I knew it had a sci-fi twist. But it turned out to be much more different than I would have expected. Unfortunately, the part of the story I found most interesting was the part that took place solidly on earth without any aliens. I would have enjoyed the book much more without the distraction of Joshua and his space ship. Even so, the book was a fun change of pace and I can't say I'm sorry I took the time to listen. The performance was voice-rich without any truely annoying voices although sometimes I wondered if the reader was trying to channel certain celebrities. Funny.
Sci-fi smart com
This is not a typical Scalzi Sci-Fi fare but it was truly a blast to read. Scalzi's humor most definitely is evident throughout the entire story.
When the Yherajk first meet Carl. Scalzi is an awesome writer (can't believe this was his first novel, written not published).
This book made me laugh. I felt really good throughout the entire story because the characters make you feel good-aliens and surprisingly, humans alike. I loved Wil Wheaton reading this book...absolutely perfect performance.
Fun! Fun! Fun!
Yes, as a light hearted read.
The story ended in a "and the all lived happily ever after" moment. I would like to see how the aliens and humans learned to live together after the aliens came down in mass, not just after the first contact alien came down.
I did not read the print version of this book, but I can tell you that I love Wil Wheaton's narration! He keeps the characters vocally diverse, which adds tremendously to the depth of the performance!
The main character Tom Stein was my favorite. His character was really down to earth (pun intended!), someone who just gets it!
I loved Wil's portrayal of Joshua, just cracked me up!!
I would have loved to have the time and just sit and listen to this all the way through. As it was I think I knocked it out in 3 days!
Now to my but... I feel the story could have gone into more how the aliens would be integrated into society (2nd book?). The back story and character build up is good which leads to an "...and they lived happily ever after." type ending. Some may appreciate that, I just think it felt rushed.
Overall this is a very good book!!!
Profanity in less than 15 seconds. Obviously just reading the text the book but if he's willing to do it I don't like it
Not applicable. Didn't bother to listen to the book due to the profanity which I can't stand.
Stop with the profanity already.
yes, cause it was entertaining.
Not at all what I thought. It usually never is when it comes to Scalzi. It was very entertaining and just a over-all great story.
Summing up in three words: Sarcastic. Heartfelt. Powerful.
The conflict between the author's normal sarcastic voice and the unexpected introduction of a deeply heartfelt plot resonated strongly with me.
What did it I like? There's nothing to dislike; he did an incredible job.
My extreme reaction was enjoyment - and maybe a tear or two at the end.
I love writers like Carl Hiasson, Dave Barry and Tom Dorsey. I always hate to compare authors but this book satisfies my need for that genre. Wil Whaton's reading was a pleasant surprise, I bought the book on someone's recommendation thus I pass it on to you,
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