Monday, March 30, 2009

Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi

Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi
Copyright 2005
Tor - Science Fiction
365 pages

I've been wanting to read a John Scalzi book for a long time. I read his blog regularly and he's an awfully witty man, so I figured his fiction had to be good. A few months ago, I saw Agent to the Stars on the "New Books" shelves at our library. "New" being a relative term. This copy was published in 2005 and is new to our library as of November, 2008. Sometimes it takes a while before my library acquires books, and sci-fi seems to be pretty low on their priority list.

Last week, I was in the mood for something unusual and, hopefully, funny. The cover definitely gives you the impression it's a light-hearted tale, doesn't it? Plus, Scalzi's made me chuckle plenty of times, so I was banking on a smile or two.

I finished Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi by flashlight during Earth Hour because I was so into the book that I couldn't stop. Nobody else on our street appeared to have turned off lights, but that's not surprising. Our newspaper didn't even mention Earth Hour till after the fact.

Agent to the Stars is the massively entertaining story of a Hollywood agent who is chosen to represent the first alien life form because . . . well, it looks a bit like the blob and in all the movies blob aliens are bad. It's his job to figure out how to introduce them as a harmless race. It's funny but also has some very moving bits, believe it or not. I just loved it. This was Scalzi's first book and it was originally published online. He asked people to just send him $1 if they liked it and he chalked up $4000 by doing so. Then Agent to the Stars was published by Subterranean
Press (a small publisher) and finally Tor picked it up. Pretty neat story, eh?

I highly recommend it, whether you're a sci-fi fan or not because I think a lot of readers would appreciate the more serious parts. The story has heart.

Also finished:

Who by Fire by Diana Spechler
The Ever-After Bird by Ann Rinaldi

And, I still have a few others I haven't gotten around to reviewing, so I'm going to try to play catch-up and get some of those knocked out, this week. Hope everyone had a terrific weekend! We had fun. We went biking! Also, I photographed some water droplets in a fountain and they reminded me of Joshua, the alien life form, so here you go:

Happy Monday!


  1. This sounds like a sci-fi book I might like. Thanks for this review. I wonder if the hubby has it on his shelf?

  2. Your review makes me want to read this one. We seemed to be the only family on our street to participate in Earth Hour too. :(

  3. Ok...I'm salivating over this book now :p That's exactly how Old Man's War is..funny, yet touching, meaningful, and moving at times. I really think you'd like it ;)

    Our library is the same way...often I'll find three books in a series all on the "new release" shelf...the first having come out years ago...especially with sci-fi...*sigh*

    That water droplets photo is incredible! I love it! What kind of camera do you use again?

  4. LOL - love the "robot annihilator" comment. You'll be happy to know that I am human, and you have won a book on my blog! Congrats. Come on over to for more details :)

  5. I look forward to getting to this book at some point down the road!

  6. Yep, another to add to the wish list. I think that cover alone is enough to sell me!

  7. I love Ann Rinaldi. I have been reading her books since high school. I have not read this one though. Looking forward to your review. :)

  8. Must've been a weekend for bike riding. My hubby got out on his, too. I was going to, but I took Annie-Dog for an hour-long walk through the park instead.

    Happy Spring! :)

  9. Scalzi is one of Carl's favorites; I keep intending to read his Old Man's War series, but haven't yet. Thanks for another positive review of Scalzi's work; maybe it will inspire me to follow through!

  10. Mari,

    I hope your husband already has it. Then you can tippy-toe over to his shelf and quietly remove it. And, when you're done, you can confess because you'll probably want to talk about it. :)


    It was fun participating in Earth Hour! I think the deal here is that our newspaper reports on what has happened. They don't bother writing about upcoming events. It's really annoying. There was a C130 cargo plane in town but they printed the photo and "If You Go" on Sunday morning. In the "If You Go" box, it said the plane would be leaving at 8am, but you could visit up until an hour before departure. IOW, even if you got your paper by 7am, it would have been too late. Weird reporting. I learned about Earth Hour from Twitter.


    That's what I figured! I'll probably have to keep doing what I did with AttS. Check it out, look at it longingly, return, check it out, look at it longingly, read a chapter, get hooked, stay up all night finishing. Whatever works, right? I do love his writing.

    I think the librarian who does our ordering dislikes sci-fi. Kiddo was following a particular series that he loved and after the second book, we had to start buying them. The rest of the series never arrived!!

    My camera is a Sony Alpha. It's pretty okay. I think I'll keep it. :)


    Thank you! I have dashed off a note to you. :)

  11. Kailana,

    I figured if you hadn't read it already, this one would grab you. :)


    Me, too. I love that cover! It's a happy, tantalizing cover.


    I'm having trouble wrapping my thoughts around this particular book. I liked it, but I didn't love it. It's written simplistically, for the age group, but thematically it can be very adult. That bugs me. I've only read one other Rinaldi book and I loved it: A Break with Charity.


    It was excellent weather, here. We can't ride our bikes in the neighborhood, of course, but David finally got out the bike rack and we rode around his work facility. It was great. My thighs are still killing me and I need to get one of those gel seat covers. Biking makes me very sore. I'm sure Annie was happy you went walking, instead. :)

    Happy Spring to you, too!

  12. Jenclair,

    I'm not surprised Scalzi is one of Carl's favorites. I don't get to his blog often, but he seems right up Carl's alley. You should definitely give Scalzi a try!

  13. AGENT TO THE STARS sounds like a fun read and I love the cover!!!

  14. Amy,

    It's very fun. Why do I always fall in love with the library books and want to own them? :)

  15. I don't read a lot of sci'fi but this one sounds like I would enjoy it. Thanks for the recommendation.

  16. How fun that I JUST heard of this author about five minutes ago. Guess I need to get on track and add him to my wishlist. Boo to the verification. :( I've noticed other bloggers suddenly getting spam recently.

  17. Framed,

    It's awfully fun. I think you might be able to handle the sci-fi aspect because the meat of the story is really pretty amazing.


    That's funny! I always think that's a sign that I'm supposed to try an author, when I hear about them twice in just a few minutes (assuming their books sound interesting).

    Yeah, boo to spammers. I had this one character repeatedly trying to post nonsense -- strings of characters that apparently meant absolutely nothing, so I guess they were harmless (I never looked at their entire posts, so I can't say if there was any actual written material). I was deleting so many spams that I decided to just give up and put up word verification for a while. That usually shuts the robots down flat -- and it did work. I can't imagine what anyone gets out of spamming.

  18. wow, this sounds amazing! I'm new to Scalzi (I've only read Old Man's War), but he's an author who could easily become a favourite of mine, I think. Thanks for the fabulous review - I'll have to check this out!

  19. Nymeth,

    I'm actually surprised that you haven't already read everything Scalzi has written because he certainly does seem like your kind of author. I'm sure you'll love Agent to the Stars. :)

  20. Thanks for the review ... and the reminder to go dig out my husband's Scalzi novels!

  21. You're welcome, Terri. Have fun reading!


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