The Witches of Karres
is a science fiction adventure-comedy novel by James H. Schmitz
When Captain Pausert buys three children out of slavery, he finds himself in a universe of trouble. The sisters Maleen, Goth, and the Leewit are psychics from the mysterious planet Karres, and every other planet in the galaxy (including, as he soon discovers, the planet he had hitherto called home) either shuns them or wants to capture them for their powers.
And then there's the vatch.
Half a century later, it spawned two sequels published by Baen Books
: The Wizard of Karres
by Eric Flint
, Dave Freer
, and Mercedes Lackey
; and The Sorceress of Karres
by Eric Flint and Dave Freer.
The Witches of Karres provides examples of:
- Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder: Captain Pausert became a trader to impress a girl he was keen on; when he gets back from his first trading expedition she's married to his rival.
- Annoying Younger Sibling / Bratty Half-Pint: The Leewit.
- Badass Crew: At the end, Hulik and Vezzarn join the crew permanently.
- Bad Guy Bar / City of Spies: Uldune is both of these on a planetary scale.
- The Captain: Captain Pausert, owner of the requisite
- Cool Starship: The Venture, an elderly but very fast and well-armed starship.
- Captain's Log: Parodied. Pausert makes a laconic entry about battling space pirates to explain a bit of unauthorized target practice on an asteroid.
- Child Mage
- Competence Zone: Averted. Goth is incredibly competent, and Karres children are apparently expected to take care of themselves, but the captain very quickly pulls ahead as he develops his powers.
- The Empire
- Enfante Terrible: The Leewit again.
- Free-Range Children: The titular witches can and do travel between planets on their own. At the ages of five, eight, and twelve.
- Functional Magic: The "Klatha".
- Great Gazoo: "Big Windy" the vatch.
- Here We Go Again: The trope is name-dropped word for word as the Captain leaves to sort out a vatch tormenting The Leewit.
- Hyperspace Is a Scary Place: The Egger Route, a scary hyperspace which results in a brief period of gibbering madness followed almost complete amnesia right after you come out of it. All someone remembers after going through the Egger Route is that it was absolutely terrifying, but no details as to why — which is one of the creepiest things about it.
- In the Blood: Pausert had to listen to Councilor Onswud saying he'd known Pausert would go bad (as Onswud saw it), "Just like his great-uncle Threbus! It's in the blood, I always say!" And then Threbus' daughter told Pausert her father had predicted Pausert would break with his home planet — and he said it was in the blood.
- Lady of War: Hulik do Eldel
- Like Parent, Like Spouse: Goth (aged nine or ten) announces that she is going to marry Pausert (twenty-eight) when she grows up. It is noted by several characters that he very much resembles her father. ( They're distant cousins.)
- Little Miss Badass
- Little Miss Con Artist
- MacGuffin / MacGuffin Girls: The Sheewash Drive, and the witches, who operate it.
- Made a Slave: The three sisters at the beginning of the story.
- Make Me Wanna Shout: The Leewit's whistles.
- Mama Bear: Toll. Even Big Windy (see above) is afraid of her.
- May-December Romance: Goth (nine or ten) informs Captain Pausert (twenty-eight) she's going to marry him when she grows up. The Captain later explains to Goth's father that while he's fond of her, he has no intention of taking her seriously. Goth's father indulgently replies that he didn't take his wife's declaration of intent to marry him seriously, either.
- Negative Space Wedgie: the Chaladoor.
- Parental Substitute: Pausert to the three sisters, to some extent. (Note that they haven't suffered Parental Abandonment; they have both a mother and father at home, it's just that they're currently a long way from home.)
- Planet of Hats:
- Karres is the planet of witches.
- Uldune is a world-sized City of Spies.
- Planet Spaceship: The so-called witches use their "Sheewash drive" to move the entire planet of Karres around when they need to.
- Psychic Powers: Karres' Hat.
- The Spymaster: Sedmon of Uldune.
- Space Pirates: Who prey on...
- Space Trucker: Captain Pausert
- Spell My Name with a "The": The Leewit.
- Swirly Energy Thingy: Can be found in the Chaladoor.
- Take a Level in Badass: When the captain learns to control his powers.
- Traveling Landmass: The planet Karres.
- Unfortunate Name: Goth
- Wise Beyond Their Years: Goth
- World of Badass: Karres.
- Wretched Hive: Uldune is a True Neutral version.
The sequels provide examples of: