Agent to the Stars

by John Scalzi
Reviewed date: 2013 Sep 24
Rating: 2
400 pages
cover art

The Yherajk want to make contact with humanity, but they have an image problem: they look like The Blob. So they do what anybody with half a brain would do: hire a Hollywood agent.

Tom Stein is a junior agent at Lupo Associates. He agrees to represent the Yherajk, on the condition that he can keep his other clients as well. Here the book stalls: Tom has no workable plan on how to introduce the Yherajk, and no idea how to manage their image problem. So he putters around Hollywood, mainly taking care of his only star client, Michelle Beck. She can be a handful, but she's the hottest star of the moment, so Tom scores her 12 million for a sequel to her last hit.

As much fun as Hollywood antics are, what we really care about are the aliens. So to get back to the main story, Michelle Beck suffers an untimely accident and ends up on life support, completely brain dead. Tom convinces the Yherajk to take over her body. "Michelle" makes a miraculous recovery. Tom gets her cast in the world's best-ever Holocaust biography, where her dramatic performance stuns the world and wins her an Oscar.

During Michelle's acceptance speech in front of the whole world, she reveals herself to be an alien. You see, she had to win the Oscar to prove to humanity that the Yherajk aren't bug-eyed monsters from outer space. An Oscar win proves that the Yherajk are thinking, feeling, intelligent beings; they are humanity's brothers from another star.

I didn't rate Agent to the Stars highly, but I enjoyed it. Tom Stein didn't actually do much in the book. Actions sort of happened around him. That kind of passive protagonist weakens the book. And killing off Michelle was rather cruel. But on the whole, it kept my attention.

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