Monday, June 8, 2009

Review: Agent to the Stars


Agent to the Stars was John Scalzi's first novel. As he explains in the book's introduction, he wrote it in 1997 as a "practice novel," never expecting it to be published. *
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 challenge. The Yherajk need someone to 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 entire alien race. To earn his percentage this time, he's going to need all the smarts, skills, and wits he can muster.
I thought this was just going to be a funny sci-fi book - which it was, mostly - but then it got all serious and I liked that, too. The first part of the book, the section that introduces Stein to the aliens and us to the problem, is campy and fun, with enough weight to the characters to engage the reader. The latter half of the book is still campy, but deals with some pretty heavy concepts in a somewhat lighthearted manner. I'm not really sure what I think about some of the decisions the characters made, actually, but I still enjoyed the book.

So, is Agent to the Stars worth reading? Yes, but especially for fans of Scalzi's work and anyone who loves a good sci-fi B-movie.

Buy Agent to the Stars on Amazon.

* If you Google around, you can find Agent to the Stars as a free online book, but its not quite the same thing as the published version. Scazi (as he explains in the book's intro) updated the story a bit for this addition.

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