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)
Fun Smart Approachable
Not sure.. Kind of stands on its own.
Wil brings out the characters John creates like no one else. A Scalzi book read by Wil is an instant buy for me.
Not extreme just fun and funny.
Red Shirts is on sale now. In the middle and its quite good.
Fun Predictable Non-climactic
To me the book seemed to be too flat emotionally. The difference between the highs and lows was not large enough. The Climax of the story seems to be just another chapter
I like how Wil handles the quick dialog between characters that are engaged in informal conversation.
I would not make of movie of this.
Yes. It was an easy, fun listen. Good story that keeps rolling along. I thought Wil Wheaton as the reader was outstanding, I would definitely seek out more of his work. I also plan to get more John Scalzi books.
While the narration is a bit whiny sometimes, I have been a Wil Wheaton fan for a long time and I think his style suited the story well. I found myself laughing out loud and appreciated the mixture of sci-fi with the ever present media we live in today. It's not too intense so it's an easy listen, and I'd probably listen to it again.
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.
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
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.
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.
Wil Wheaton brings a range of emotions to the characters. He does a particularly good job with the high strung main character.
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.
The book is obviously science fiction, but the main theme is probably more anthropological than anything else.
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.
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.
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!
Retribution for stealing clients was swift and just... you'll know that scene when you hear it
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!
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