I’ll be completely honest, I don’t read a lot of science fiction. What I have read in the past tends to fall in two categories: dystopian YA and stuff written by John Scalzi. (The two circles of this specific Venn Diagram are not connected, but I think the result of such a connection would be very interesting.) I should probably make more of an effort to expand my science-fiction horizons, but that’s a discussion for another time. Today, it’s all about Scalzi.
Agent to the Stars was the third Scalzi book I’ve ever read, after Old Man’s War and The Android’s Dream. (In the nine years since, I’ve read all of his published novels, and a few of his short stories, too.) It follows a Hollywood agent named Tom Stein, who gets the client of a lifetime: a group of friendly but offensive-to-the-senses Yherajk (yee-heer-aahg-k). He needs to find a way to introduce the Yherajks to humanity in a way that won’t start an intergalactic war, hide from a pesky tabloid journalist, and keep his other clients happy. The first part of the job might just be the easier one.
The first thing I loved about this book was the cover. Not the one I’ve pasted on top of the page (from the trade paperback, the copy I own). The one from the limited edition hard cover that I borrowed from the public library. Look at that:
So pulpy! I love it. I matches the story perfectly well. A little kitch, but so much fun and so happy. I love all the Hollywood references, and how Scalzi updated them with the 2008 edition, because Hollywood has changed a little in the 10 or eleven years since he first published the book. I also love that Tom solves all of his problems, and all of the Yherajk’s as well, with a little bit of cleverness, a lot of really good connections in his friends/family/coworkers, and a shit-load of good luck. That’s sort of a recurring thing in Scalzi novels, and I really like it.