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Inherent Vice
Thomas Pynchon, Ron McLarty
The Best Horror of the Year Volume Five
Ellen Datlow, Laird Barron, Conrad Williams, Ramsey Campbell
Locus Solus (Alma Classics)
Raymond Roussel
Blackout (Newsflesh Trilogy, #3)
Mira Grant, Paula Christensen, Michael Goldstrom
Agent to the Stars - John Scalzi Tom Stein is a nice young Hollywood agent when his boss pulls him into a private meeting and lays a bombshell on him: the Yherajk, an alien race that has come to Earth to make first contact, needs representation. They've been watching our TV broadcasts for years, so they know what humans think of aliens, especially aliens who are amorphous blobs of bad-smelling goop who can, incidentally, insert tendrils into your brain and take over your body. So instead of landing on the White House lawn, they've decided that Hollywood, the true center of Earth's global media, should handle presenting the Yherajk to humanity.

This was John Scalzi's debut novel. It's available online for free, and it's a quick, light read. Tom Stein is an awfully nice and smart if somewhat bland fellow, and so are most of his coworkers and even the antagonists. The aliens, likewise, adopt human personalities with remarkable speed, which leads to Tom spending much of the book trading quips with a Yherajk named Joshua who's taken the form of a dog.

Scalzi is usually a 3 or 4-star read for me, and Agent to the Stars was no exception; actually, I liked it more than a lot of his other books. Scalzi writes like a TV scriptwriting hipster, which can be both breezily entertaining and somewhat lacking in substance. Agent to the Stars worked because the humor was actually appropriate. Scalzi populates both Hollywood and the universe at large with people who are reliably decent in improbable numbers, but this isn't hard sci-fi, it's something Scalzi wrote just to prove he could write a book. He previously had a career as an entertainment journalist, and it shows; the Hollywood subplot (which is really most of the plot) is full of verisimilitude, more than the alien biology and culture of the Yherajk, which is interesting enough if not expanded upon much.

Good read and probably would make a decent movie. Actually, it would probably turn into an awful movie.