During the 50’s and 60’s “Space Opera” and James H. Schmitz were almost synonymous. He was well known for his tales of interstellar secret agents and galactic criminals, and particularly for his heroines. One of the most engaging of these is Trigger Argee, a young, beautiful, and resourceful agent in the Federation’s Precolonial Department.
When the novel was first published as A Tale of Two Clocks in 1962, spies were all the rage. James Bond was just coming into his own in the movies while television had shows such as “I Spy,” “The Man from Uncle,” “Secret Agent,” and “The Avengers.” The theme of the lone agent (or pair of agents) fighting against the forces of evil resonated with the readers and viewers of the time. Make the agent a beautiful young woman to add some sex appeal and how could you go wrong.
Schmitz was to use the motif of a young woman caught up by forces beyond her control in a number of novels and stories. Not only was there Trigger Argee, but Telzey Amberon figured in a number of works beginning with the story “Novice,” and the alien telepath Padagan appears in the “Agent of Vega” stories. The appeal to a readership dominated by young men is obvious.
Schmitz captures the pacing of the spy story perfectly. Trigger races from one dangerous situation to another all the while trying to decide who is her friend and who is her foe. Throw in the concept of organic artifacts left behind by a vanished race of mysterious aliens and a three way galactic power struggle and there is plenty to keep the reader entertained.
Resurrected Press is proud to bring you this new edition of Legacy in our efforts to keep the best of science fiction in print. And, if you find yourself wanting more, be sure to check out our collection of his short stories, James H. Schmitz Resurrected.