Our Man in Space – Bruce W Ronald (1965)
‘THIS FUTURE JAMES BOND WAS AN INTERSTELLAR MISSILE. Bill Brown was a second-rate actor who happened to look enough like a dead spy from the planet Troll to qualify as one-fourth of Earth’s Interplanetary Secret Service. His assignment was simply to impersonate Harry Gordon, the dead agent, plant false information as to the length of time it would take Earth to die of population suffocation, and return to Earth 10,000 credits richer. It was only when Brown-Gordon got to Troll that he realized things were somewhat more complex. It turned out that Brown had been sold out by his government; that Earth didn’t give a hoot about the life of its new amateur spy… and there was a little bomb inside Bill Brown’s head that Earth was 80% sure would go off!’
Blurb from the 1965 M-117 Ace Double paperback edition.
Bill Brown, an actor, is recruited for a new and potentially deadly role, since he has been signed up to be one of a handful of interstellar espionage agents.
Earth, overcrowded and near the point of collapse, has been refused permission to join the sixteen alien races of a galactic confederation, and therefore has also been refused the chance to unburden her surplus population on new planets.
Brown happens to be the spitting image of Harry Gordon, one of the few humans allowed to work on the planet Troll. This unfortunate has come to a sad end, but has not been pronounced dead since henceforth Bill Brown will be slipping into his shoes, quite literally at times.
And so begins a fairly complex spy thriller, complete with feisty villains, femme fatales, double-bluffs, red herrings and a thrilling denouement.
In my version of the Ace Double paperback, there appears to have been a misprinting, since Chapter II should have been, I suspect, Chapter VII.