There’s That Dated Sexism

I think I’ll reorganize my James H. Schmitz books slightly and stick Legacy in front of the Telzey Amberdon books.  It definitely takes place before those.  Agent of Vega and The Demon Breed will probably stay tacked onto the end, as they doesn’t actually share intersection points with the rest.  Legacy is the story of Trigger Argee, who makes an appearance in one of the Telzey tales found in The Telzey Toy.  I find it interesting that Trigger gets a full novel while Telzey has a series of shorter stories.

Trigger is a great name for the character, for while she is likely to think things through, when she does move, it’s as fast as she can pull the trigger.  There’s also a lot more focus on Trigger as female than I’ve really seen with any of Schmitz’s heroines before.  And let me tell you, it’s been rather enjoyable to read these works from the sixties and seventies featuring strong female protagonists.  In many of the stories, gender is almost an afterthought, for all it impacts things.  In Legacy…not so much.

There have been some hints of the sexism that was more common in those days in previous stories, but it becomes much more blatant in this book.  There’s a lot of discussion of fashion and some disappointingly common tropes and reactions concerning gender.  It’s not nearly as bad as some other books, but Legacy is by far the worst of Schmitz’s books for sexism.

Don’t get me wrong, this is still a good book and fairly enjoyable, but Trigger is much girlier than the rest and the sexism makes it a harder read for me.  I’ve had a good time discovering James Schmitz, but I’m going to hold off on reading the last book for now.  That is, of course, The Witches of Karres, the book that got me to grab the lot.  I figure I’ll read it once I get my hands on the sequel, though I’m in no rush.  I figure I can probably find The Wizard of Karres at the library or a used bookstore when I’m ready.  Speaking of libraries, I do have the second book to read, so that’s likely where I’ll go tomorrow.


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