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Agent to the Stars | [John Scalzi]

Agent to the Stars

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.
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Audible Editor Reviews

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

Publisher's Summary

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.

What the Critics Say

“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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (3622 )
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  •  
    Hakes Wilkes Barre, PA, United States 05-28-12
    Hakes Wilkes Barre, PA, United States 05-28-12 Member Since 2009
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    "A delightful listen!"

    Wil Wheaton is my new favorite narrator, and I'm definitely going to be downloading more John Scalzi audiobooks. Agent to the Stars is what I consider light reading; pure entertainment. Mr. Wheaton's narration adds color (and texture?) to the story, and the result was 100% fun. This audiobook would be perfect to listen to on a long drive.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher San Diego, CA, United States 04-11-12
    Christopher San Diego, CA, United States 04-11-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Fun listen"

    It's not Faulkner or Hemingway, but it's very very entertaining and worth the credit. It's funny to think that it's read by Wesley Crusher. He does a great job BTW

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carl HUNTINGTON, WV, United States 03-25-12
    Carl HUNTINGTON, WV, United States 03-25-12 Member Since 2011
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    "A witty and inspiring first contact story"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This book is most recommendable because of it's easy listening. It operates similar to a sit-com so don't expect it to be something it's not. I've only recommended it to friends who I know are ok with a little bit of colorful language as there is a fair amount of it. The witty banter and clever considerations almost break the fourth wall with their analysis and exploration of the possibilities of this fiction. Though most of the book has you laughing, there are a handful of inspiring moments that make you glad to be human.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Agent to the Stars?

    The ending was incredibly well composed to be emotionally impacting and though it sort of slowed down in respect to the rest of the book, it was none-the-less very powerful.


    What does Wil Wheaton bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Wil Wheaton brings a range of emotions to the characters. He does a particularly good job with the high strung main character.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I had the most stupid looking grin on my face walking through the park listening to it as well as more than a far share of laughs. The ending gave me tingles.


    Any additional comments?

    The book is obviously science fiction, but the main theme is probably more anthropological than anything else.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Larry Warren, MI, United States 03-05-12
    Larry Warren, MI, United States 03-05-12 Member Since 2005
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    "Give this one an Emmy"

    Great creative story and loads of laughs. Wil Wheaton is an outstanding narrator and nails this one dead on. I listened to this following Ready Player One and while very different it was a good companion. Will be looking for more like this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian 12-27-11
    Brian 12-27-11
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    16
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    "Entertaining short story."

    I picked this story up to have something to listen to while waiting for the next part in a series to come out. It's short but very good; I couldn't stop listening and laughed out loud at some parts. The characters and story are very engaging, and, while it took a little while to hear Wil Wheaton's voice and not picture his character from Eureka, he does a great job of bringing it all to life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Florence, MT, United States 12-05-11
    Amazon Customer Florence, MT, United States 12-05-11 Member Since 2003
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    "Another great read from Scalzi"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Agent to the Stars to be better than the print version?

    While I love the feel of a book in my hands, listening to books requires me to hear every word the author intended. Scanning the page visually I read right past subtle shades of meaning and description the author included.

    I LOVE the extra enjoyment listening to an audio edition gives me!


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Retribution for stealing clients was swift and just... you'll know that scene when you hear it


    Any additional comments?

    The picture of the anti-hero lead as living in the Hollywierd world of multiple layers of meaning to every word, gesture, and action gave a flavor to the story that couldn't have come from any other place on earth!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shane ALEXANDRIA, VA, United States 11-29-11
    Shane ALEXANDRIA, VA, United States 11-29-11 Member Since 2010

    kinshane

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    "Better than expected"

    I bought this without seeing who the narrator was and then pressed 'play' at the beginning of a long trip. When I heard that the narrator was Wil Wheaton, I told my wife to switch to one of the other audiobooks because I had no desire to listen to Wesley Crusher for 8+ hours. It turns out that I hadn't plugged in my iPod since my last 3 purchases from Audible so this was the only audiobook available. I resigned myself to the fact that I would need to deal with it, but I was quite presently surprised.

    The story is good, with only a few plot holes I won't get into. Wheaton does a very good job with the material. Every now and then, he tends to emote at times when it is inappropriate, but those instances are few and far between. Overall, he does well by the material and made me feel like a schmuck for being so reflexively averse to him as a narrator.

    I also have The Android's Dream read by Wheaton and I'll be listening to that in a few weeks.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mara United States 11-12-11
    Mara United States 11-12-11 Member Since 2010

    Mara P

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    "What a surprise!"

    I hadn't heard of this book before and don't remember what made me buy it, but I'm so glad I did. The story is wonderful and Mr. Wheaton is superb. My only complaint is how the last few chapters are formatted, giving us only snapshots of the action. But well worth the money and time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dann Los Angeles, CA, United States 10-06-11
    Dann Los Angeles, CA, United States 10-06-11 Member Since 2009

    My preference for a good story is something totally unusual and not run of the mill stuff. Give me something I haven't heard before.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good read, Wil!"

    Wil Wheaton gave a GREAT performance reading this story and the parts. He's really good at comedy and gives great inflections.

    The story seemed well thought out and the hollywood parts researched good enough. But I have a bone to pick with Scalzi ... LATEX is not a mask making material you use for making molds on people's faces directly , John Scalzi. It's too thin and liquid in it's normal state and it shrinks. You'd have to apply layer after layer to build it up to a thick enough mold, taking days to do. It's latex foam injected into a final mold set that makes the appliances and it has to be cooked for hours in the mold. If you're using a spatula to put latex on it wouldn't set in 3 hours either, more like days and it wouldn't be a good thing to use if it was that thick. It's Alginate we put on faces to make molds because it sets in minutes, not hours. Sorry John, you lose a star for getting your info wrong. Today they use a lot of silicone for appliances.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Regina Seattle, WA, United States 98109 09-24-12
    Regina Seattle, WA, United States 98109 09-24-12 Member Since 2007
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    "Wow"

    Great story with a fascinating premise. If an alien came to earth, who would it contact? A politician? Someone from the legal system? A reporter? No, if that alien had been paying attention, it would get an agent. a great. up-and-coming agent to the stars. The details here are fabulous, smart and laugh-out-loud fun. And the narrator is awesome. The ending might have fallen apart a little, at least for me, but by the time I got there, I was in a very forgiving mood.

    3 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 261-270 of 277 results PREVIOUS1262728NEXT
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  • Clement
    London, United Kingdom
    4/2/13
    Overall
    "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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Robert
    Teignmouth, Devon, United Kingdom
    3/1/11
    Overall
    "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.
    Throughly recommended.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Laura
    Newbridge, Ireland
    11/17/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "One of the most unusual stories you will ever read"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Its an original idea, very well executed and is hilarious at the right moments


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Agent to the Stars?

    I couldn't possibly spoil the subject matter


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    See above - would be a spoiler


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Laugh lots


    Any additional comments?

    Its absolutely hilarious. Its different and the end is simply a riot. Just wow !
    Highly recommended !!!!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Annika
    Tallinn, Estonia
    3/31/13
    Overall
    "Weird aliens and a good story"

    Very weird aliens, catching story, a lot of fun and a surprising ending.

    I always thought the aliens stories have to have a full ending. In this case however I was surprised in several ways. It was interesting what he decided to with the aliens and how he integrated them into human world and what happened in the end. The full book was an amazement from beginning till end and that in a good way. It was interesting and non-predictive till the last pages. I loved it and recommend it to every SciFi fan. :)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Derek
    Whitehaven, Cumbria, United Kingdom
    4/2/11
    Overall
    "My first John Scalzi selection."

    I hesitated when choosing this book as I have nothing in common with the Hollywood scene in which the story is set but I wasn't disappointed.
    I thought that the writing style was witty and the story well paced and easy to follow. I loved the humour as it came as much from the well constructed characters as from the situations in the story. The narration is very good too. I highly recommend this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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