Author: James H. Schmitz
Book: The Witches of Karres (The Witches of Karres #1)
Published: November 2005 (first published 1966)
Genre: Science Fiction
Captain Pausert’s life was on the way up. He had taken his battered starship, the Venture, and successfully sold off an odd-ball cargo. Then he made the mistake of buying the freedom of three slave child from their masters. His first clue should have been how eager the masters were to see the back of them. In the humorous vein of “no good deed goes unpunished” the three adorable little girls turn the good Captain’s life upside down, for they were three of the universally feared Witches of Karres. His fiancé and his home planet now consider him a mortal enemy. The Empire has declared him a criminal.
Now, with two of the three back with their mother, Captain Pausert sets out for the far reaches of space to seek his fortune. The middle child, Goth decided to keep an eye on him. Besides, she plans to marry him when she grows up. Now they have come to the attention of the Worm World, the darkest threat to civilization. No wonder he can’t give up smoking.
In 1967, The Witches of Karres was nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Novel. The story is told somewhat tongue in cheek. Captain Pausert only wanted to do the right thing and free three innocent girls from slavery. Yet they had abilities that many in civilized space covet and dread. For an innocent girl, Goth knows a lot about how things work in the universe. She also controls a space drive that can pick a ship up and put it down somewhere else. Everyone wants the technology, even if they won’t understand how it works. When the pair agree to take an adult witch in a catatonic state and his mysterious cargo to Emiris, the dark and deadly Worm World takes an interest. A fun, humorous story that is difficult to put down.