Agent to the Stars

By John Scalzi

Rating: 4 stars

I was slightly dismayed when I read the author’s note at the start of this novel which said that this was written as a “practice novel” with no intention of selling it, and then a series of events happened (one of which, I suspect, was that he wrote some some stuff which sold very well) that involved this being published. I’m not sure if I was more or less dismayed at the end when it was clear that not only was this his first, practice, not for sale, novel, but that it was actually pretty good!

Tom Stein is a Hollywood agent, low ranking, but rising, when suddenly he get the client of a lifetime: an alien species that wants to initiate first contact with Earth but doesn’t want to cause panic.

That’s a decent premise for a story, and I like the idea of how you would do first contact without causing a worldwide panic, stock market crashes etc etc. I liked the fact that most people in the book, despite being very much Hollywood people, are mostly likeable as well, up to, and including, the head of the agency that Tom works for (described as one of the most powerful men on half a continent).

Sure, it’s not as polished as some of Scalzi’s later work, but it’s very readable, it’s well written and, damn, it makes me jealous! Although the characters don’t get a vast amount of fleshing out, there’s enough to them that you do care about them (even poor, dumb Michelle, the actress that Tom’s representing).

So not just of interest to Scalzi fans, this is definitely worth reading for its own sake.

Book details

ISBN: 9780765357007
Publisher: Tor Science Fiction
Year of publication: 2004

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