Top 10 Books of 2020: Number 4

Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi

I suspect that this one of Scalzi’s lesser-known novels. He has a couple bigger series, and wrote Redshirts, which is a novel that parodies shows such as Star Trek. (Okay, it mostly parodies Star Trek. But it’s a brilliant book.)

Agent to the Stars is fairly self-explanatory. Tom is a Hollywood agent to a few c-list celebrities, when he’s offered the opportunity of a lifetime – to represent the first alien actor on Earth. But here’s the catch: the yherjk aren’t exactly easy to sell. They’re extremely foul-smelling blobs – friendly, sure, but not exactly America’s Next Top Alien.

One thing I appreciate about Scalzi’s writing is that for being a sci-fi writer, his books are extremely approachable. He doesn’t get caught in the weeds with high tech detail that average folks like me don’t understand. It’s sci-fi that is very readable, and I love him for it. He’s also cheeky, in a way that kind of reminds me of Terry Pratchett.

So it always disarms me when Scalzi pulls a hard turn and suddenly the story becomes poignant and thoughtful.

I listened to this novel via Audible, and let me say, it feels like a great choice. Wil Wheaton is a great narrator, and does Scalzi’s books justice.

Because it was a great, engrossing read (listen) and one of the most straight up fun reads for me this past year, Agent to the Stars makes my top 10 list at number 4.