A Rogue Librarian's Reading List











{May 30, 2014}   Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi

Agent_to_the_StarsPlot: Tom Stein is a rising talent agent representing a famous actress when his boss presents him with a new, unusual client, one that is literally out of this world. The alien species known as the Yherjak have been observing Earth for quite some time and have determined that our most influential power is Hollywood. They hire Tom to handle their introduction to humanity.

This review is based on the audiobook narrated by Wil Wheaton.

This is my least favorite Scalzi book. It is his first and lacks some of the sophistication and philosophical depth of his later books. But that does not mean that I didn’t enjoy it, far from it. The book is entertaining and quite funny with the type of three dimensional characters I’ve come to expect from Scalzi.

I found that the narrative dwells too much on the minutia of being a talent agent to the detriment of the actual sci-fi elements. In Scalzi defence, all of this – problem clients, auditions, paparazzi – come to be quite important to the denouement of the plot. But I was more interested in the aliens than the actresses. Fortunately, Scalzi delivers again with carefully thought out and completely inhuman aliens. They resemble nothing so much as goo, converse in disgusting smells and have a mode of reproduction that you need to read to believe. It’s no surprise they need an agent. But I was fascinated. Scalzi offers just enough of their life styles, their ethics and their art to leave me wanting to learn more.

Wheaton once more did a great job with his narrations. I now actively look for books that he’s narrated. If there was one thing that I found did not translate well to audiobook format, it was one of the penultimate scenes. The fates of the various characters and the introduction of the aliens are revealed through a series of newspaper articles. It is the perfect device for a novel about Hollywood stars, but without the visual support, the bite sized bits of news got a bit confusing at times. I don’t know that I could remember what did happen to all the characters.

I think a little Scalzi hiatus is now in order (4 books in less than 2 months), though I have another audiobook narrated by Wheaton on my virtual pile. But I’m really looking forward to his new novel Lock In. I hope they release the audiobook soon after the book.

2014 (#18)

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