John Scalzi is a science fiction author best known for his breakout novel Old Man's War
, which Tor editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden bought after John serialized it on his blog.
Old Man's War is a cracking adventure story, but Scalzi's career has been largely as a comedy writer (he's the force behind the Uncle John's Bathroom Readers), and now we have a comic novel to prove it: Agent to the Stars.
Agent to the Stars is the story of Thomas Stein, a junior agent in a cuthroat Hollywood agency who finds himself representing an entire alien race to humanity. The aliens are Frederic-Brown-esque wiseacres, and Stein's own voice is perfectly balanced on the edge between cynical and compassionate, making him one of the most likable characters I've encountered in a comic novel since Oliver, the hero of Bradley Denton's masterpiece Buddy Holly is Alive and Well on Ganymede.
I finished Agent to the Stars last night before bed. Like Old Man's War, the story has brilliant pacing -- often I'd sneak a chapter on the tube, and when I reached my stop I'd get off and keep reading, shuffling along the platform rather than stuffing it back in my bag.
I'm going on a family vacation next month and I'm going to pack this in my suitcase. It's the perfect book to cuddle up with during a relaxing holiday.
Update: Brent sez, "It should be added the cover is drawn by the brilliant Mike Krahulik, artist of the infamous webcomic Penny Arcade and well as a founder of the totally awesome Child's Play Charity. Child's Play raises money to put video games in children's hospitals around the world."
Update 2: Tyler sez, "Agent to the Stars is, and to my knowledge always has been, available free on Scalzi's website, as well."
Update 3: John Scalzi sez, "I would note that if people purchase A2S directly from Subterranean Press, 10% of the cover price goes directly to the Child's Play charity. It was our way of thanking Mike Krahulik for his awesome cover."
You’d be forgiven for thinking the videocassette format long-dead, but it turns out that Betamax is still around. Sony is finally going to withdraw tapes from sale, bringing a 40-year story to an end. The last recorders were sold in 2002. ベータビデオカセットおよびマイクロMVカセットテープ出荷終了のお知らせ [Sony; via The Verge]
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