A lot of people make resolutions about improving themselves at this time of year, and that usually includes a reading list. People will buy weighty tomes, books on self-improvement, or important and serious novels. I won’t be doing that.
It’s not that I don’t appreciate serious literature, but it’s January. This is the month that I recuperate from the holidays, and I just can’t face Middlemarch right now. I'll come back to the serious reads, but for now, I want something light and funny.
I haven't read science fiction in years. I burned my way through a lot of the genre in high school and sort of lost interest afterwards. It's not that I don't find speculating on the future interesting, but there are a fair number of sci-fi novelists who forget that the point of literature is to tell a story, not to numb me with detailed explanations of physics, number theory, or (yet another) dystopian future. So it was complete chance that I stumbled on Agent to the Stars online, and after reading the synopsis I had to buy it.
It’s about a junior Hollywood agent who has the ultimate PR problem: How do you go about introducing an alien race to the world? Without causing widespread panic and riots?
As an added complication, the aliens are really ugly and they smell.
It also contains some sharp observations on the entertainment industry, and the negotiations are masterful. On one hand, he's a complete bastard, on the other, you can't help but admire how well he does it. It’s funny, intelligent, and I enjoyed it immensely. If you want a fun and satirical read, I recommend this one highly.
Bonus for the true sci-fi fan: the Audible version is read by Wil Wheaton!