Agent to the Stars, John Scalzi

I found this one via Boing Boing and grabbed it from the library, although the author published it for free online.

A very fun first novel, very breezy to read. Some nice ideas presented, and some embarrassing public snorts on the bus riding home brought about by his sharp wit. The plot gets a bit thin, and some points get picked up and dropped, but these things are nit-picky and only really seen in hindsight. The act of reading the thing was very enjoyable.

After all, who can resist the idea that an alien race who communicates mostly through odors befriends an aging Golden Retriever who also lives his life via the snout?

Interesting that Scalzi’s other published books are more serious sci-fi, I would have thought he would venture more into comedy. Here’s hoping he returns to the form, although I may have to sample his other stuff as well.

As a side note, because I’m obsessed with word count currently after NaNoWriMo, I copied the blog and took a look at the length of this work: 96,533. Or, a double NaNo, although I suspect he took a little more time than two months to write it. It certainly feels like he paid more attention to his prose than the average NaNo contestant

I grinned more widely. “That’s the problem, you know,” I said. “When I was a kid, I remember seeing this 1950s science fiction movie on channel nine. Three guys went to the moon and discovered it was populated by women. One of the Gabor sisters was the ruler. Here was humanity’s first contact with life on another planet, and they all looked like fabulous dames. And of course the guys from Earth were having no problems with it at all. It would be much simpler if you looked like that.”

“I don’t know if I’d want to look like a Gabor sister,” Joshua said. “Although it could have interesting ramifications. ‘People of the Earth! Surrender now, or we will slap your policemen!’”

My enjoyment rating: 70 outta 100

Posted by: Martin McClellan
On the date of: November 30, 2005 10:10 PM
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