LARRY MADDOCK – The Flying Saucer Gambit. Agent of T.E.R.R.A #1. Ace G-605, paperback original, 1966.

   The Temporal Entropy Rescue and Repair Agency sends the team of Hannibal Fortune and Webley to the year 1966 on Earth to stop Empire from using a new weapon capable of driving mankind insane. The trail leads from the plains of Kansas to the mountains of Arizona, where a last-ditch battle is fought in the cave headquarters of Empire.

   The basis of history, as expounded upon on page 56, is not that of individuals, but of social dynamics, determining a certain stability that makes temporal tampering difficult, although not impossible. It is Fortune’s job to maintain current time-lies, relative to the 26th Century, against Empire’s efforts to tyrannize the universe.

   All ends [of the story] are tidy, except for a lingering suspicion that time-travel should make warfare even easier. Or more complicated. The background seems well-researched, but the basic character of Hannibal Fortune does not yet seem settled – James Bond is a prototype, but the Bond of the books, or of the movies?

Rating: **½

–October 1967

      The Agent of T.E.R.R.A. series —

1. The Flying Saucer Gambit (1966)
2. The Golden Goddess Gambit (1967)
3. The Emerald Elephant Gambit (1967)
4. The Time Trap Gambit (1969)

Biblographic Update: Larry Maddock was the pen name of Jack Jardine, who wrote other SF novels and stories as Howard L. Myers. The comments following my earlier review of The Mind Monsters which he wrote under that name has quite a bit of discussion about him.