Tor, Jul 2002, 25.95, 336 pp.
In the twenty-first century in New York State retiree Lester Ordway enjoys spending time in his garden. However, his repose ends when a weird bug stings Lester right between the eyes. Lester becomes dizzy and sees his memories flash past him before grabbing the insect.
Lester regains consciousness in a hospital where he releases the bug, which has multiplied into several insects. Medical lab technician Pilar Ramirez grabs one of the bugs so that entomologist Maybelle Terwilliger can study it. Maybelle declares that the insect is mechanical and probably otherworldly gathering information about humans. Soon a stranger comes after Pilar planning to silent her and her cohorts before they can persuade a skeptical government that an alien invasion is imminent.
Few stories start as creative as Argonauts begins with its intelligent but strange alien invades the earth premise. The story line bites the audience from the moment that the weird bug stings Lester through Maybelle's pronouncement that the bug is a form of a listening device. However, the tale loses its sting when it becomes standard “David/Davidettes” saving a disbelieving world from an alien invasion. Though overall unique and intriguing, fans will feel a bit disappointed that Stanley Schmidt turns this distinctive tale into typical sub-genre fodder.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner