Close Up: Agent of Vega

closeupJames H. Schmitz

I got this book as part of a package. I bought Sands of Mars from eBay and picked up this and The Vortex Blaster as extras.  If I look at this objectively from a purely fiscal point of view, I think I paid too much.  I picked up Sands for $74 on eBay (which I thought was pretty good) and paid $150 for Sands with Vega and Vortex into the bargain.  I split the difference and decided I paid $38 for each.

As I said a little earlier, I was a bit disappointed with the condition of both Vega and Vortex.  Both books exhibit similar issues, and we’ll have a look at Vega’s now.  Incidentally, notice that the author’s name is printed incorrectly on the dust jacket.  It should be James H. Schmitz, not James A. Schmitz.

Ok, you can see where the problems are straight away.  Some pretty serious foxing going on on the dust jacket – very prominent in the discoloration of what should be a white spine.  You’ll notice the overall yellowish cast to the entire book.  This is highlighted below where you can see the impact of the foxing quite markedly.

Significant block browning as per usual with the cheap acidic stock that GP used in their later years.  If we look at the top and bottom we can see this theme continued.

It does sit square though there is damage to the spine extremities and along the edges of the boards.  And if you look carefully below the dust jacket is wearing very thin at these points.  Thank goodness for dust jacket covers.

The boards themselves are succumbing to what must has been a damp environment at some stage in the past.

Some mildewey-looking spots there.  This is the worst area on the book, but it is all over the boards to a lesser extent.  And there is what looks to be an oil stain along the bottom edges.

Now that I’ve got all that out of my system.  A couple of cool things about this publication.  Check out the half-moon designs on only the odd-page upper corners and their sprinkling on the beginning pages for each story.

Nice.  I like this kind of thing and kudos to Gnome Press for these little touches.  Likewise the off-beat embossing on the spine.  The review will come soon, I’ve just about finished reading it.  Good read it is too.

Year: 1960
Paid: $38
Art: W. I. Van der Poel
Quantity: 4000 copies
Binding: Currey priority ‘A’ – Light blue boards with gold lettering to spine.
GP Edition Notes: 1st edition so stated on copyright page.
Comments: Looks great from a distance but unfortunately has those insidious flaws – foxing and staining.  Someone tell me, is $38 too much for this??
Expand Upon:, Internet Speculative Fiction Database



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