agent_of_vega_nv_aov agent_of_vega_nv_snos agent_of_vega_nv_sf agent_of_vega_nv_ttac agent_of_vega_bk_aov
Full Name: Agent of Vega
Nationality: Terran
Organization: DGZ
Occupation Agency

Creator: James H. Schmitz
Time Span: 1949 - 1960


Agent of Vega is a term used for operatives of the DGZ.

That acronym is mine and stands for the Department of Galactic Zones.

Obviously by the use of the word 'galatic', these adventures take place in outer space - well, some of the action is onboard spacecraft plying the void between star systems far out in space and happening way in the future. The 'setting' is the quite impressive Vegan Confederacy, a collection of eighteen thousand or so affiliated civilizations spread around a big chunk of the galaxy. Most of these star systems are human-based but enough are of different races, albeit most of them humanoid, to make things more interesting. Many in the Confederacy are eager to welcome these non-humans into the collection but there are some who are less than thrilled - and some downright hostile to it.

Performing security services on behalf all the worlds in the Confederacy is the DGZ, run ostensibly by a man holding the rank of Third Co-Ordinator of the Vegan Confederacy; no idea how that ranks in the hierarchy but he definitely wields considerable authority. The operatives working under his command are known as Zone Agents and from the sound of it, there are a good number of them to call upon. Each planetary system seems to have its own local Zone Agent and there are a good number of floating operatives who flit from one trouble spot to another. The over-all purpose of the DGZ was keep these thousands of civilization "out of as much dangerous trouble as it could, while nudging them unobtrusively, whenever the occasion was offered, just a little farther into the path of righteousness and order".

Interesting is the comment that follows that tidbit of information: "It was slow, dangerous, carefully unspectacular work, since it violated, in fact and in spirit, every galactic treaty of nonintervention the Confederacy had ever signed."

There are a good number of problem areas that the Zone Agents must deal with, each with some very nasty types who pose problems that need resolving. The variety is pretty good from individual world tyrants to space pirates reeking havoc on trade and transportation to other empires wanting to eat away at the edges of the Confederacy to some pretty nasty alien creatures (parasite, yeech!) who ... I don't want to talk about it!

The adventures of these Zone Agents are not of one lone operative despite the title indicating a single operative but of several; there is a connection between them all besides working for the same organization, and I will explain that thread after I talk about those agents.

The first Zone Agent we follow into action is Iliff, one of the Department's most experienced and effective operatives. He is "a small wiry man with rather cold yellow eyes" and would more likely perceived to be "a minor criminal or the skipper of an aging space-tramp". Do not let his unimpressive appearance mislead you, though, as it does some of his targets; Iliff gets the job done and has been doing so for a good number of years.

Next up is Pagadan, a member of the non-human race called the Lannai, described as "high type humanoids" (no clue) and the first of those alien people to join the Confederacy. While definitely not human, she is definitely a beautiful female humanoid, quite exotic with "huge silvery eyes with their squared black irises" and with hair "a silver-shimmering fluffy crest of something like feathers". She is a Zone Agent in training when we first meet her but will approved for solo duty and given her own adventure.

Zamman 'Zamm' Tarradang-Pok is a female member of the Daya-Bal, humans who inhabited a system way off the beaten path such that they have their own form of mutation to get a sort of pixie-ish look. Zamm did not plan on becoming a Zone Agent. She and her husband and son were on a luxury space liner when it was attacked by pirates and her family was taken as prisoners. She joined the DGZ to have a chance to search for them and in the process has become renown for her anti-pirate skills.

And finally there is Elisa 'Grandma' Wannatell, from the planet Noorhut. 'Grandma' is called that by most of those she meets because she is a Local Agent, committed to that one planet. She travels around the planet in a beast-drawn wagon selling medicinal herbs and liquids and keeping an eye on things as she does. This elderly woman has a few tricks to call on. Her wagon is really her spacecraft and the beast is a whole lot more than just a beast.

Now to the slim thread connects them. Iliff's recorded mission will be partner him temporarily with the in-training Pagadan. Pagadan and 'Grandma' will play small but interesting parts in the adventure headlined by Zamman. And Pagadan will have her own adventure to wrap things up.


Number of Books:1
First Appearance:1960
Last Appearance:1960

1 Agent of Vega Agent of Vega
aka Agent of Vega and Other Stories
Written by James H. Schmitz
Copyright: 1960

A collection of the four Agent of Vega short stories as well as other tales by the same author not set in the Vega universe.
The four Vega adventures are:
Agent of Vega
The Truth About Cushgar
Second Night of Summer
Space Fear
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Number of Stories:4
First Appearance:1949
Last Appearance:1951

1 Agent Of Vega Agent Of Vega
Written by James H. Schmitz
Copyright: 1949

Published in Astounding Science Fiction, July 1949. Collected in Agent of Vega
An alien species of 'noncorporeal parasites' called the Ceetal are engaged in a systematic conquering of the galaxy. These creatures can take over a human body and rule it from the inside and they have already inhabited the leaders of nearly a thousand star systems. Zone Agent Iliff is sent to the planet Gull where Zone Agent Trainee Pagadan, a non-human telepath, has uncovered the plot and together they must find a way to stop it.

2 The Truth About Cushgar The Truth About Cushgar
Written by James H. Schmitz
Copyright: 1950

Published in Astounding Science Fiction, November 1950. Collected in Agent of Vega
While on a many-year crusade to learn what happened to her husband and son when the luxury space liner they had been on was attacked by space pirates, Zone Agent Zamman Tarradang-Pok has become an expert on tracking down pirates. Her latest mission takes her to the Cushgar Empire which she and other Zone Agents are secretly installing Vegan governors on all of its planets.
Fellow Zone Agents Pagadan and Grandma Wannatel play small parts.

3 Second Night of Summer Second Night of Summer
short story
Written by James H. Schmitz
Copyright: 1950

Published in Galaxy Science Fiction, December 1950. Collected in Agent of Vega
Vegan agent 'Grandma' Wannatell is sent to the planet of Noorhut in preparation for an invasion by a very nasty alien race known as the Halpa. Her nearly impossible task is to not only stop the invaders from succeeding, she must do so without letting the populace know the danger they are in. If she fails, there are several Vegan Confederacy battleships nearby ready to 'sterilize' the planet of all living things.

4 Space Fear Space Fear
Written by James H. Schmitz
Copyright: 1951

Published in Astounding Science Fiction, March 1951. Reprinted as The Illusionists in the Andre Norton edited Space Police in 1956. Collected under its original name in Agent of Vega
Now a full-fledged Zone Agent, Pagadan is sent to the Ulphi system where the millions of inhabitants are being secretly controlled by a powerful telepathic weapon which has instilled in them all a dreadful fear of leaving the planet. Pagadan must find the person who has now set himself up as the unofficial dictator of that world.


The idea of an organization sending agents out to handle a variety of troubles, some of them using their authority to achieve their goals and some working undercover, is not new by any means. There have been a good number of such series over the decades that spy fiction series have been around.

This one from 1949 - well, that is pretty early in the game and definitely a few years before the British Secret Service with its Double-O agents became well known. For that reason alone this series deserves special attention. And throw in the fact that these tales were placed in the science fiction genre taking place far in the future and the uniqueness is even greater.

I love sci-fi. Not as much spy-fi, of course, but I do like a nice space adventure or four. My knowledge of what is good in that first genre is such that I can only say that I enjoyed these and would have loved for there to be more, especially with either Pagadan or 'Grandma'.


My Grade: B+


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