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The Witches of Karres    by James H. Schmitz order for
Witches of Karres
by James H. Schmitz
Order:  USA  Can
Orion, 2000 (1966)
Hardcover, Paperback
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Witches of Karres is a marvellous mix of spaceship and sorcery. I first read it in the sixties and am delighted to see that it has been recently re-issued. It is my favorite of Schmitz's space adventures, which I have always appreciated for their strong heroines. You have to feel sorry for its hero. Pausert is a simple space captain, a commercial traveler from the Republic of Nikkeldepain, trying to re-coup losses from a previous venture when he rescues a small slave child on Porlumma. When Maleen inveigles him into buying her sisters Goth and the Leewit as well, the disaster quotient expands exponentially.

Fortunately these three sassy young witches have talents to match the trouble that tags along with them, in particular the ability to invoke the Sheewash Drive, to premote danger, and to tap in on telepathy (even poor Pausert's thoughts are not his own). The captain takes them home to the seemingly deserted world of Karres. When he leaves he finds out that he no longer can (or wants to) go home himself, and, along with stowaway Goth, enjoys lightning-paced adventures across the universe and through time.

En route the captain develops some klatha abilities of his own, starting with pulling in a powerful vatch from another universe. It's just as well, as he and Goth are soon in over their heads, up against ancient war robots, evil Worm Worlders ruled by a monstrous megalomaniac machine brain, and a variety of assorted spies and villains after the secrets of the Sheewash Drive but at cross purposes with each other. To top it all, the big vatch is playing omnipotent games. Enjoy The Witches of Karres; it's quite a ride!

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