Author: John Scalzi
Medium: Shareware Web Novel
Found at: http://scalzi.com/agent/
John Scalzi, an ex-movie critic with a scathing editorial tone, is currently enjoying advertising up on Penny-Arcade due to his shareware format e-novel, Agent to the Stars.
And for very good reason.
Having read both of the Artemis Fowl novels as well as half of The Salmon of Doubt this weekend, my mind was still on the e-novel, which I did not have the computer access to finish. And I assure you, none of the 3 above novels are slackers.
Mind you, it's a first effort at a novel. The author himself admits in the preface that it's only about a B... but then goes on to expound on how the majority of science fiction being marketed these days consists of legacy work of dead authors, spin-offs from television shows, or military science fiction. And that of the little that is hitting the web, much of it strongly reeks of Sturgeon's Law.
So what is Agent to the Stars like?
Take a Spider Robinson novel, rip out all of the puns, and mix in one of Harlan Coben's Simon Bolitar novels, but without the frightful suspense bits, and you've kind of got the idea. It's very fun, and a very intelligent idea about first contact proceedings. I haven't seen this before, and I've read a fair amount in my time.
And what's it about?
Basically, aliens watch our television and movie broadcasts, figure out that we're intelligent and possibly worth getting to know, and find an agent (the acting sort) to represent them to the world. I can't really say much else, because it would give too much away. And really, exploring it is a joy that I wouldn't want to spoil for anybody.
So go ahead. Read it. And if you like it, feel free to send the guy a buck. It's a real link clicker.