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Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi
Cover Artist: Pascal Blanchet
Review by Ernest Lilley
Tor Books Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765317711
Date: 28 October 2008 List Price $14.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Agent to the Stars (online version) / Show Official Info /

Here's an enjoyable and lighthearted romp through the star studded scene, both celestial and cinematic. Thomas Stein, a hot young Hollywood agent is tapped for a secret mission, to prepare the world for first contact with an alien race, which, unfortunately for Stein, looks pretty much like something out of a 1950s sci-fi flick. Can Stein put a positive spin on these saucer-men? Or will his career be consumed by a hideous blob of alien matter? Whichever way it goes, it's show business, Jim...but not as you know it.

Thomas Stein, hot young Hollywood agent is about the get the client of a lifetime. A friendly race of aliens wants to make contact, and they want to make sure first contact is a hit with humanity. The good news is that they're friendly, have a good sense of humor, and like people. The bad news is that they look like a nightmare out of a Steve McQueen movie (The Blob, 1958) and smell like dead fish. His client needs and extreme makeover of galactic magnitude.

While Tom's dealing with that, he's also got to keep his biggest human client, the hottest blond bimbette in the Hollywood universe, Michelle Beck, from putting herself into a decaying orbit. It seems she's not happy raking in millions as eye-candy...she thinks she's right for the role of a "40ish Jewish woman victimized in the Warsaw ghetto and Treblinka, who then fights racism in the United States", unfortunately Tom has to try talking her down, in as much as she's "...25...blonde...think(s) Treblinka is a shop on Melrose."

Sigh. If only he could have a client with her looks and the alien's brains. Of course, it could always go the other way, so maybe he's better off making the best of things as they are.

I'm not going to go deep into the plot here, because you get the idea. Agent to the Stars is a fun, quick read, brought to you by the man who taped bacon to his cat. John's posted it online (watch out, it's addictive) so you can jump right in, and I highly recommend it for anyone in the mood for some FTL (funnier-than-literature) reading.

Here's the bizarre part, and feel free to make fun of me after you've read the book. This is a comedy about the collision between galaxies. Hollywood. Aliens. Beautiful people. Victims of the Holocaust. It's told in an offhand manner with a healthy dose of show-biz-speak delivered in the form of Variety headlines and it's all great fun.

And the ending (I kid you not) choked me up. Totally...what a sap.

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