Agent to the Stars, by John Scalzi
Before I read Scalzi’s Hugo-nominated novel, Old Man’s War, I thought I’d read the first novel he’d written and which, following Cory Doctorow’s example, he made available online for free (although I read the hardcover version. The experience was a delight.
This is a very silly, irreverent story. But then, I’m attracted to silly and irreverent, so I fell into the book with a big splash then swam to the end in a few hours.
Tom Stein, a young Hollywood agent, is hired by aliens to figure out a way to introduce them to the human race without said human race freaking out. There’s reason for that: the Yherajk, although intelligent and polite, look like the Blob on a good day, and communicate by farting. They need an image.
Despite being a first book, the story feels polished and is full of delicious details on the biz. The tone, as I said, is irreverent and Hollywoodian: gossippy, a bit mean, biting and sharp. The story has no pretension. It’s just plain fun.
Well worth reading, especially as a pick-me-up end of winter blues.
Correction of entry above, made at 16:00: John mentions that he offered Agent in 1999 online, before Cory Doctorow ever offered his first novel. See John’s comment attached to the entry.
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