Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The Rough Guide to Space Opera: James H. Schmitz - Blue Tyson

James H. Schmitz was an occasional novelist who produced a significant number of short stories as well, and is indeed a space opera stalwart. Guy Gordon says Schmitz has 'That Certain Something' and I'd have to agree. Or, I like his work a lot more than the actual ratings I'd give some of it, in comparison, if that makes any sense.

His major work is a series of collected stories and novels in a Future History set in The Federation of the Hub. The best of these in general concern the adventures of a young woman named Telzey Amberdon. She's a genius, decent looking, tanned, looks good in a bikini, is athletic, well-off and goes to a fancy private law school, and is a powerful psi. So you should hate the little cow already. But no. She manages to be a charming little swot when she's not in danger of being killed by the bad guys. She's nice to animals, she gets around the bureaucracy, helps her friends not to mention oppressed aliens, opposes Big Brother and fights supervillains. She probably also holds the Hub record for helping little old ladies across the street. And our highly endearing superhero manages to do all this while a teenager.

As far as The Federation of the Hub goes, it has its dangers, crime and corruption, but as far as you can see it looks like it would be a decent place to live.

Agent of Vega is an earlier related group of stories, about a group of super agents and their adventures, and you can find that at Baen. A Pride of Monster is an earlier collection including some Hub stories. The Telezy Toy and The Universe Against her and The Telzey Toy and Other stories are earlier collections centred around the aforementioned character. Eternal Frontier is a Baen collection of a variety of Schmitz stories, including quite a few of interest. Telzey Amberdon groups the stories from earlier collections into a single volume. TnT collects the teamups of Telzey and Trigger Argee, an older troubleshooter. Trigger and Friends has her solo adventures, and those of other Hub denizens. The last three are all Baen collections and are purchasable at webscriptions and also available in some cases in the Baen Free Library - and even then you are free to donate money towards them.

For short stories, Telzey finds mind control very handy when escaping torture in Company Planet. Trigger needs Telzey's telepathic aid with some aliens in Compulsion. Demon Breed is a novel starring Niles Etland, a scientist who has be clever enough to fight off an invasion with the help of some friends, including some of the native people, who are otterlike. The End of the Line finds a return and different variety of human. The Lion Game has Telzey investigating murder, and on the run in a frantic wilderness chase via alien teleport portal. On her birthday. Lion Loose has Agent Heslet Quillan and partner in the middle of a gun battle with gangsters on an old space resort. Novice has Telzey protecting an alien cat type species with some unusual abilities. Planet of Forgetting has a man on a mission, with an amnesia problem. Second Night of Summer is an Agent of Vega problem, with the heroes: grandma and her donkey. Ti's Toys has a captured Telzey under the control of a mad scientist - who wants to copy her. No, he didn't think that through the best. There are many other good stories as well as the humourous novel The Witches of Karres that are relevant, these are just the cream of the crop.

Then some commentary by Schmitz of his own creation of this wonderful Universe.

Agent of Vega

A Pride of Monsters

The Telzey Toy and Other Stories

The Telzey Toy

The Universe Against Her

Eternal Frontier

Telzey Amberdon

TnT: Telzey and Trigger

Trigger and Friends

Company Planet


The Demon Breed [The Tuvela]

The End of the Line

The Lion Game

Lion Loose

Planet of Forgetting

Second Night of Summer

Ti's Toys [The Telzey Toy]

The Federation of the Hub Self-Maintaining Science Fiction Universe