Agent to the Stars: comic sf about an alien race's Hollywood agent

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. Link

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."