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10 thoughts on “Agent to the stars

  1. Lyn Lyn says:

    Agent to the Stars is actually John Scalzi’s first book, self published before Old Man’s War as a “practice” to see if he could write and then again later after he was established.

    The practice was well played, he can write, and this is a damn fine example of how well.

    Funny, often very funny, reading more like Christopher Moore or A. Lee Martinez than other science fiction or fantasy writers, this is an amusing twist on a first contact story. Scalzi demonstrates his imagination, his skill and his humanity; this is a good book in a number of ways.


  2. Stephen Stephen says:



    Then one day Mr. “Big Shot Hollywood Agent” is contacted by an ambassador from an alien species that wants him to arrange the introduction of their people to the World.


    Unfortunately, Mr. Agent is more than a little skeptical and things look really hopeless for the Alien visitors.







    ***It is amazing how accurate the guys from South Park were on this one***

    Intrigued by the words of L.Ron Hubbard, Mr. Big Shot Agent agrees to set up an appointment at the Church of Scientology for a “FREE” auditing to determine his thetan level.


    Mr. Big Shot Agent immediately calls his financial advisors and calmly discusses with them his desire to make a substantial donation to the CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY.






    And so Mr. Big Shot Agent, Mr. (skeptical) Ambassador and the Church of Scientology work to make conditions right for the introduction of aliens to the people of Earth....FACT OF FICTION?....You will have to decide.

    ........................THE END.....OR IS IT?................................................

    I have absolutely no idea what the above has to do with this book other than while I was reading it I was reminded of the whole Jerry Maguire to Tom Cruise to Scientology to South Park to Aliens connection. Plus I had a lot of fun putting it together so I thought I would share. Now for STEVE’S ACTUAL BOOK REVIEW.......................

    After being a bit disappointed with his last short story,The President's Brain is Missing, I am happy to say that I am once again in full-fledged fan boy status when it coms to Mr. Scalzi. I have heard that this book was his first novel and was actually written just to see if he had what it took to be a writer. If this is the case, that is pretty amazing because I thought this novel was fantastic. Well written, well plotted, well-paced and very funny.

    The basic plot involves movies star agent Tom Stein who winds representing a very unusual client. The client is an alien species who has been watching Earth for decades learning our culture and waiting for the right moment to show themselves. Their study of our culture has shown them both the human fascination with aliens, but also their natural fear of them (especially one’s that look AND SMELL like these aliens). Thus, they have decided that rather than show up on the White House lawn, they would be better off hiring an agent to help “market” them to the world.


    The first big prop I have to give Mr. Scalzi is that as crazy as the plot may sound, I was sucked in right away and everything seemed to make perfect sense within the four corners of the narrative. Second, the tone of the book was ABSOLUTELY perfect. It was mostly light and funny, but also had moving and poignant moments that really made you care about the characters. Third, the main character, Tom Stein was superb and it really felt like you were getting an inside look at the hollywood agent business. A fourth and final prop goes to Scalzi’s depiction of the aliens which was PERFECT. They were smart, funny, very, very alien and yet completely relatable to the reader. They are definitely a group that I would like to see Scalzi write more about in the future.


    Another superb story by John Scalzi and one that really highlights his lighter, funnier side. I had a lot of fun with this story and HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT!!

  3. Melki Melki says:

    Tom Stein is a Hollywood agent. He represents one super-hot actress. The rest of his clients are a collection of has-beens, never-weres, near-misses, and not-there-yets, the sort of folks that fill out the bottom half of every junior agent's dance card. He puts it quite philosophically when he proclaims - Someone has to play the second spear-carrier on the left, and someone has to represent them.

    That all changes the day Tom's boss asks him to a clandestine meeting.

    The aliens are coming! And they'd like us to get to know them.

    The Job, Carl said, implying the capital J with his voice, is to find some way to prepare the planet for the presence of the Yherajk. They're ready to show themselves to humanity, Tom. You have to make humanity ready for them.

    Now, Tom Stein is in charge of making 40 pounds of smelly gelatin palatable to the people of the earth.

    First he must get to know Joshua, the Yherajk emissary. Together, they manage to strike up a beautiful friendship (I would say bromance, but Joshua is neither male NOR female...), learning to accept one another's foibles and awful smells, and working together to solve a crisis.

    I don't think it's any kind of spoiler to say that happy endings abound in this fun book that gives Hollywood the rogering it so richly deserves.

    Or, maybe we're to blame for the entertainment we're served.

    After all, we've accepted the Kardashians. Can watching see-thru aliens digesting pizza be any stranger than that?

  4. unknown unknown says:

    Yes, I know this was John Scalzi's starter novel, written as an exercise, just to see if he could do it. I know it wasn't traditionally published until years later, when his subsequent better books had already earned him name recognition and numerous Hugo nominations. I know that. I don't really care though: this book cost me the same $7.99* as his other stories, and I don't feel the need to give it the benefit of the doubt.

    Besides, if one thing is clear, it is the fact that Scalzi got a lot of use out of his little starter novel, so why should I discount it just because he wrote it first? After all, he seems to have mined it for material for pretty much all of his subsequent work: this is the fourth of his books I have read, and the fourth that stars a self-assured, witty sarcastic guy who is usually the smartest person in the room, or thinks he is. There is, once again, an acerbic love interest there to share in witty banter. There are cardboard villains who exist solely to have rings run around them by the protagonist's verbal alacrity. There's also a dog. And this book was apparently the genesis of all that, so good on you, book! You launched the career of a best-seller, sort of.

    The thing about Scalzi is, he is very easy to read. His prose his simple, his stock characters are fun. He puts in a lot of acerbic humor and jokes, even though I don't think he's very funny (times this book made me smile, let alone laugh: 0**). He makes for good bath time/plane/commuting reading. That's not a bad thing.

    But this book... oy. It starts off really well, with a fun premise: benevolent aliens want to make first contact (benevolent, even though they are also basically Futurama brain slugs,

    but no spoilers); choose to do so with the help of a slick Hollywood agent. But once the premise has been established, it suddenly becomes an insider Hollywood comedy with a talking alien dog appearing in the background of a few scenes. Seriously, the space part of this book is about 1/3 of its length; the rest is a zippy but largely uninvolving merry go round of movie biz satire, starring a really annoying smartass that the book tries to convince us is, in so many words, a good man way more often that it should have to. Instead of actually working on the alien issue, he just does his regular job for 300 pages until the perfect solution to his problems just falls right into his lap. I mean, don't get me wrong, salary negotiations are almost as exciting as first contact with aliens.

    And then wow. Because the last half of the book suddenly transforms from lightweight comedy to... Holocaust drama, medical tragedy, and discussions of a coma patient's right to live or die with dignity. Oh, also suicide. But then there are still jokes and wacky antics, like hahaha, how will we get the brain dead woman out of the hospital without attracting the attention of the paparazzi? It is a weird shift, to say the least.

    The story also gets really silly, but it seems dumb to complain too much about that when you're talking about a sci-fi comedy. But it is silly in a way the book didn't necessarily intend, I think? It is hard to tell.

    Anyway, this book isn't very good, but it is very Scalzi.

    *a lie; I paid $.79 at a going-out-of-business Borders.

    **number of times this book made me shake my head in disbelief at how dated some of the pop culture references are, even when taking into account that parts of it were written in 1997, especially because elements have indeed been updated since it mentions Heath Ledger's death: 4+ (Oh that Roseanne and her Star-Spangled Banner shenanigans...)

  5. Char Char says:

    4.5 *

    I don't want to give away anything about this story away-I think everyone should go into it as blindly as I did.

    I thought this book was hilarious and fun, while also providing a little social commentary regarding the civil rights movement and the Holocaust, among other things.

    I listened to the audio and Wil Wheaton nailed this one down tight.

    My only issue was the he saids, she saids. They started to stand out for me towards the end-by that I mean they were irritating. He said doesn't need to be stated at the end of every sentence-and sometimes it felt like that's exactly what was happening. For this I subtracted half of one star.

    Other than that one picky thing, (which probably would only bother me, I'm weird like that), I have no criticisms of this book at all. It was funny and creative and rather light on the science, which was fine by me.

    Highly recommended to those who prefer their science fiction light, with big chunks of humor on the side!

    *I bought this audiobook with my hard earned cash and this opinion is my own.*

  6. Veronique Veronique says:

    Re-read with my other half.
    As hilarious as the first time :O)
    Let’s just start by saying that this is a very silly book (just read the blurb for proof) - but Scalzi did it with so much skill and gusto that, would you believe it, it achieves greatness.

    By combining an atypical first-contact story with the cut-throat Hollywood world, and adding a good dose of banter while not taking itself seriously, the author offers us a hilarious and compelling tale.

    Silly yes but not stupid. You just have to look at the plot, once you’ve read it of course. Pretty ingenious. And then the characters! These are not only funny but well-drawn, with more depth than expected (the mains cast that is) and even break some stereotypes.

    Knowing Scalzi, I knew he would weave a serious topic somewhere in the background of his story, and he did - the Holocaust and the ethics of life, of saving/taking a life!

    I could wax lyrical but ultimately it is best to go blind and just enjoy it. Definitely going in my Feel Good Books for future medication when I need a dose of happy :O)

  7. Manuel Antão Manuel Antão says:

    If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

    The Rubber Duck: Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi

    A friend of mine a few years ago bought a leaf blower. I kept objecting: 'but, but, the wind will blow them all back again.' He was determined, used it once, have never seen it used again. I could understand a leaf sucker but a blower. Therein lies the road to madness. So true! Gone are the days of quiet contemplation leaning on a lawn rake. There is something about a rake, garden broom, shovel, you spend more time leaning on it looking skywards. The leaf blower: a tool to make it look like you've tidied up but all you've done is spread the mess around over a larger area. Leaves though - why bother?

  8. Linda Linda says:

    This was my first book by John Scalzi, and I listened to the audio narrated by Wil Wheaton - what a winning combination! The humor in the book was right up my alley, Wil Wheaton's narration fit perfectly, and this book was just pure fun. I would have willingly listened to this from start to finish in one sitting if it had been possible. Add to my TBR list - more Scalzi and more Wil Wheaton audio.

  9. Paul O& Paul O& says:


    So frigging funny. I love Scalzi. Great for some comic relief.

  10. Jim Jim says:

    Simply put, it's brilliant.

    I agree in every detail with the comments about this book in the wonderful review by Kaethe that put me onto it. Her review provides a series of very good reasons to read the book, without spoiling the fascinating and intricate story that lies within. As I discovered, it provides a second set of points that will make much more sense after you read the book.

    The dialogue in this book is among the funniest I have ever read. It is hugely successful as a satire of major players in Hollywood filmmaking, and I would have loved it for that element alone. But Scalzi’s talent is such that he can develop very heavy/consequential themes, with characters that seem at first to be very superficial. He does this with a science fictional framework that is woven, very convincingly, into real-life settings, and makes you laugh so hard that your ribs ache while you are taking it all in.

    It works beautifully. And, speaking for myself, the rib pain was worth it. (Check with your doctor first before trying this at home)

    Some reviewers have noted a few issues with continuity in topical references that were updated in this edition. I noticed some of that, but it didn’t bother me.

    Very highly recommended.

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Agent to the stars [PDF] ✅ Agent to the stars ✈ John Scalzi – The spacefaring 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 The spacefaring 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 Agent to PDF/EPUB or 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.