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    Review of ARGONAUT by Stanley Schmidt

    TOR, July 2002

    When Lester Ordway spots a bug he's never seen before, he tries to grab it--and it stings him. But the sting isn't normal--and the bug isn't either. In the hospital where Lester is rushed, the bug releases hundreds of swarming micro-bugs that seem to suck the memories of everyone around it. Medical technologist Pilar Ramirez swears she'll find out what caused the infestation. As she and Lester explore the possibilities, though, the most unlikely seems increasingly possible. Could the strange bug be an alien probe send down to monitor Earth? If so, what possible motive could the aliens have?

    Pilar's investigation soon lands her in the government's hands. A U.S. shuttle has been destroyed investigating something orbiting the Earth in apparent stealth mode. What began as a bug filled with nanotechnology is starting to look like an alien invasion. Only Pilar, with her unique communication with the aliens, seems equipped to do anything about what is happening--whatever it is. But no one seems able or willing to listen to Pilar's bizarre theories.

    ARGONAUT has been labeled as a 'golden age' science fiction story and it's easy to see why. The 'alien invaders,' small band of ordinary people provided with unique insights and opportunities, and straightforward and linear plot all hark back to the earlier and simpler days of SF. Author Stanley Schmidt delivers a pleasant, if unexceptional, tale. It is sometimes hard to believe that the government would react the way Schmidt has it act, but Pilar's goals and actions are classic SF. ARGONAUT doesn't provide a lot of surprises, but it makes a fast and enjoyable read.

    Two Stars

    Reviewed 1/28/03

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