Book Review: Agent to the Stars
June 16, 2010 book reviewI've been reading (and re-reading) a bunch of mind-twisting fiction lately. I'm one of those people who likes to take their brain, shove a bunch of stuff into it, make it fit together oddly, and then twist 93 degrees. (Serves 4.)
But this review isn't for one of those deep, dark books. It's for Agent to the Stars, by John Scalzi.
Agent to the Stars is one of the reasons why, despite liking Mr. Scalzi as a person and deeply enjoying his work, I am also very, very jealous of him. It's his first novel (written so that he could see if he was able to do it), and succeeds fantastically.
Agent is a light, fun read. It's fast-paced, and while slightly dated at points (it refers to current events in 1999), it holds up very well. It pokes fun at both the movie industry and at first contact novels while still being respectful – a cute trick. The characters are fun and likeable, and the plot's good – if a tish predictable at points.
And yet it still fits into the mind-twisting category.
The aliens aren't little green men. They don't think like we do. They have a completely novel (and actually alien) culture and way of communicating. When you stop to think about it – usually a day or two after you've finished the book – there's some really out-there ideas.
And you never noticed, because the rest of the story was so much fun.
That is why I am jealous of John Scalzi.
You can read the book for free (in a variety of formats) on John's website, or get a dead tree (or Kindle) version at Amazon.