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Agent of Vega [4-story collection] (1960)

por James H. Schmitz

Outros autores: Ver a secção outros autores.

Séries: Agents of Vega (1-4)

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What an interesting little book. The stories seem like straight up adventure, but they have odd misdirections, often where some personal goal is the real story instead of the obvious political spy adventure.

These stories were first published in 1949-51, so I expect that readers would have immediately recognized the planet-wide dictator as Hitler. He uses mind control and is slowly going insane. He's started mass murders, but they populace doesn't know it yet. That makes me think that these (and maybe other spy stories) are a reaction to the experience of WWII -- is there some way to defeat a powerful dictator without millions of casualties?

But you don't have to think that hard. You can just enjoy these. ( )
  wunder | Feb 3, 2022 |
I found this French copy in a free library at work, one of those free libraries where everyone can leave books and take others to read. James H. Schmitz is an unknown author to me and the only chance to read something by him was, at the moment and overall, this French translation of 1970.

The book contains 4 Vega stories and 3 short stories by other authors:

Agent de Véga - James H. Schmitz
* Agent de Véga (Original: Agent of Vega)
* Les Illusionnistes (Original: The Illusionists)
* La Vérité sur Cushgar (Original: The Truth about Cushgar)
* La Seconde nuit de l'été (Original: The Second Night of Summer)

* Tout au fond de moi, je pleure - [a:Clifford D. Simak|23012|Clifford D. Simak|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1193507980p2/23012.jpg] (Original: I'm crying all inside)
* Drame intérieur - [a:Charles Van de Vet|17627619|Charles Van de Vet|https://s.gr-assets.com/assets/nophoto/user/u_50x66-632230dc9882b4352d753eedf9396530.png] (Original: Wheels within)
* Les Étoiles répondent - [a:T.K. Brown III|2934019|T.K. Brown III|https://s.gr-assets.com/assets/nophoto/user/u_50x66-632230dc9882b4352d753eedf9396530.png] (Original: When the stars answer)

--------------------

The four Vega-stories are stand-alone, though are part of the same, expanded universe, which contains lots of planets and what not. Some stories offer a bit of background info, but I found it hard to imagine the scenery and setting.

They're all action/police stories, more or less, with female robots and other kinds of characters securing the space-ways, intercepting and disabling perpetrators. In the first story, telepathic communication is a vital ingredient, next to battling aliens. In the second story, Pagadan also plays a role. This character is also present in the first story. And again, mental communication is an important element.

The other two stories are different from the first two, with for example The Second Night of Summer being about preventing alien invasion, by undercover Agents.

I do know that external circumstances prevented me from really getting into the stories. However, I do think it's either the French translation or maybe Schmitz's writing style itself that were a bigger burden for me. I experienced some nice reading moments, but overall I can't really recommend these stories, at least in their French version.

For a review of the original versions of the Vega-stories, I'll gladly direct you to the reviews of Robert Wilfred Franson on Troynovant.com (direct link). Do shorten the link to its main url (like so) to see the entire website, as it's designed in frames.

On a side-note: Due to a printing error, all copies of this French version have a blank page 197.

--------------------

Regarding the three short-stories:

Tout au fond de moi, je pleure - [a:Clifford D. Simak|23012|Clifford D. Simak|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1193507980p2/23012.jpg] (Original: I'm crying all inside) is about poor and rich people. The rich take off into space, to seek new places to live; the poor decide to take control of the rich people's premises, but don't really know what to do next with their lives, since they were in service of said rich people.

Drame intérieur - [a:Charles Van de Vet|17627619|Charles Van de Vet|https://s.gr-assets.com/assets/nophoto/user/u_50x66-632230dc9882b4352d753eedf9396530.png] (Original: Wheels within) is about seeking your true identity, whilst being in a sort of coma and reliving a life of a very long time ago in order to remember who you really are. A strange, but nice story.

Les Étoiles répondent - [a:T.K. Brown III|2934019|T.K. Brown III|https://s.gr-assets.com/assets/nophoto/user/u_50x66-632230dc9882b4352d753eedf9396530.png] (Original: When the stars answer) can be summarised as so: Should we really send out a message into space to seek alien contact? What if one of them does visit Earth? What if they are more advanced than us, human beings?

All in all, a nice acquaintance with other unknown authors. These three stories are short enough reads for a quick reading in-between.

--------------------

In short: James H. Schmitz will not feature any more on my reading list. It's nice to once in a while encounter new authors, new stories (no matter how old they are), but when there's a lack of reading pleasure and insight into the events... :/ The added short stories were a nice bonus.

A change in style, setting, themes, even if it wasn't the smoothest French read so far. I'll put the book back next week - it wasn't mine in the first place -, so someone else can make a trip into the future via the past. ( )
  TechThing | Jan 22, 2021 |
This is a tough one for me. I really loved "The Witches of Karres" but I did not especially enjoy these stories. It's 60's space opera in in Schmitz's style but it was all a little rushed. Like all good SF the stories are written with the assumption that the reader will pick up the rules of "this world" as you go along. Sometimes it would be better if this author did a little more "show and tell" as not all readers are fully invested in his world. There are a few "how thing work" sprinkled throughout the stories but if you haven't cared about the protagonist by the middle of the story it's to late to salvage it.

The best of the lot was "The Truth About Cushgar". I was less impressed with the telepath centered theme of other stories. ( )
  ikeman100 | Nov 5, 2019 |
I want to be a Zone Agent from Vega. Agents from Vega are the coolest law enforcement dudes ever. You can keep your lightsaber and mind tricks. I don’t want a Lawgiver and a fancy uniform. All that gimmicky stuff out of the Applied Sciences Division of Wayne Enterprises can’t hold a candle to the gear that a Zone Agent has access to.

Complete review at: The Great Gnome Press Science Fiction Odyssey, and a close-up examination of the book itself.
( )
1 vote raisey | Feb 10, 2010 |
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Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Schmitz, James H.Autorautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Poel, W.I. Van DerArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Vallejo, BorisArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Woolhiser, JackArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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This four-story volume does not belong to the Federation of the Hub series. There is also an expanded version, Agent of Vega & Other Stories (ISBN 0-671-31847-0), that has seven additional stories, not belonging to the Vegan sequence.
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