December 23, 2010
Every once in a while, I find a book that is a pleasant surprise. Agent to the Stars is just such a book.
Face it. Most first novels are just not that good. They may show a lot of promise and be fun, but the majority of authors hit their stride as professional storytellers after two or three novels. Not so with this fun read. Now I’ll grant you that this isn’t the first publication. By Scalzi’s own admission in the foreword, it has been edited and updated for the current Tor mass-market paperback. It’s still a lot more fun than it has a right to be.
This is a first contact story with some very enjoyable twists. The aliens are good guys that look like large blobs of Jello and stink. They stink a LOT. Although they can hear sounds and see in our visible light spectrum, their main form of communication is olfactory. They can speak and hear smells. Most of these smells stink to humans.
That is just the setup for a humorous read that actually had me laughing out loud on several occasions. The aliens are not dumb. They have been studying us for years and know that despite their good intentions, most humans will just be grossed out at first sight. They decide they need a Hollywood agent to help get the word out and establish good public relations.
If you are looking for a fun read that will leave you with some memorable images and a huge smile, then pick up a copy of Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi.