In my continuing effort to read every book Scalzi has published, I picked Agent up from my local library. I actually read the foreword (normally I skip them – they tend to be boring) and was pleased to discover this is the first novel he wrote. It is a funny story, with a lot of Scalzi’s typical humor, which was good since that is a large part of why I read his stuff.
Agent to the Stars is the story of humanity’s introduction to an alien race for the first time. The aliens are highly intelligent, ethical, and just want to be friends. The problem is that they look like our collective worst nightmare – talking piles of goo – and they smell worse. They first became aware of humanity when they started receiving our television signals decades ago, and have been studying us based on tv ever since. So, of course, when they get here to meet us, they are aware that they have a PR problem. And what do you do when you have a PR problem in the television age? You hire an agent to sell you to the masses in the best light possible.
Enter Tom Stein, an up-and-coming young agent in LA. He gets the unenviable task of figuring out how to introduce humanity to these talking piles of goo that look like the bad guys in many a sci fi movie in such a way that humanity accepts themas friends. He also gets to be the 2nd person on Earth to make contact with actual aliens (his boss at the agency being the first). I’d say that’s a hell of a perk.
This is not an action book, and there isn’t a lot of high drama. But it is fun, and funny, and a quick read for a night relaxing at home. Or a day at the beach, which is where I read most of it.