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."But what makes you think we won't get robbed blind there?"
"They're not crooks that way - at least not often. The Daal goes for the skinning-alive thing," Goth explained. "You get robbed, you squawk. Then somebody gets skinned. It's pretty safe!"
It did sound like the Daal had hit upon a dependable method to give his planet a reputation for solid integrity in business deals.
In this very funny pulp space opera from 1966, down-on-his-luck space Captain Pausert rescues three small psychic slave girls, or more precisely, they maneuver him into providing rescues that they very likely would have engineered themselves if he hadn’t conveniently come along.
Their owners are certainly all too happy to be rid of them, given that Maleen has food-poisoned the customers of one, the Leewit (not Leewit, the
Leewit) perches like a small, evil cat atop the shelves of another and uses piercing whistles to break his porcelain wares, and the grumpy teleporter Goth has reduced her own owner to a gibbering wreck by the time Pausert steps in.
Pausert returns the other girls to their home planet and has a series of adventures with Goth (to my regret, the Leewit and Maleen mostly drop out of the story) involving space pirates, space spies, Worm World, Pausert’s own developing psychic powers, time travel, invisible telepathic psi entities, and a robot-wolf-spider-assassin-rug thing. I love this sort of thing, and ate it up with a spoon. I don’t think I have ever before used the word “rollicking,” but this novel distinctly rollicks.
My only caveat is that I was mildly squicked by the several references to Goth (who is about fourteen) marrying Pausert (whom I pictured in his mid-thirties) when she grows up. I don’t know if it was more or less squicky given that all his actual interactions with her and the other girls were completely appropriate to their relative ages. However, that’s about four lines total in a book which was otherwise enormously fun.
I see that Schmitz is also famous for the Telzey Amberdon series, about a psychic girl. I can’t imagine how this has escaped me until now, but I will seek it out.
In print via Amazon: The Witches of Karres