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The Witches of Karres (The Witches of Karres #1)

4.15  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,823 Ratings  ·  105 Reviews
Volume 7 of the collected works of James H. Schmitz. Captain Pausert thought his luck had finally turned-but he did not yet realize it was a turn for the worse. On second thought, make that a turn for the disastrous! Pausert thought he had made good with his battered starship, successfully selling off odd-ball cargoes no one else could sell. And then he made the mistake of ...more
Paperback, 344 pages
Published 2000 by Victor Gollancz (first published 1966)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dec 29, 2009 Melody rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Melody by: Kiri
This was a swooping delight of an old-school sci-fi adventure. It was written back in 1966 and I'd never heard of it until last week. The writing was inventive- so inventive, in fact, that whenever Schmitz found himself at what could be a sticky plot point, he invented a new word/entity/force to get his heroes out of the jam. So just rell the vatch and go along for a dizzying, ridiculous and enjoyable ride. Goofy like Pratchett, only with less internal coherence. And I don't mean that in a bad w ...more
Jan 21, 2008 Leslita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have lost count of how many times I've read this book. It is fairly old school sci fi, a "cult classik" , with a goofy Captain of a starship junk freighter who rescues 3 sisters. They sisters are young and have magic powers and are from the Witch Planet Karres. They have adventures. That's about it. There is a sequel made from notes much later that is ok, but not as much fun. If you want depth and literature, look elsewhere, but this is a fun and charming book. It goes in and out of print.
2.5 stars. Decent but not great. It could be that since I had just finished Santiago by Mike Resnick (which I thought was fantastic) and another good Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett (Sourcery), this book suffered from the comparison between those other books. I may re-read this in the future as I seem to be in the minority of not loving this book. Still, it was fairly entertaining.

Nominee: Hugo Award Best Novel.
Dec 14, 2008 A.C rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, classic
This is one of my favorites!!! A dazzling adventure with witches, spaceships and a dangerous species from another dimension.
And in the midst of it there is the Captain who only wanted to make enough money and gain a good reputation to marry his secret fiancee. But there is a little witch who has other plans ....
This book is just a lot of fun, very good written and with an original storyline.
Jackie "the Librarian"
This one's an old SF classic with a little bit of witchcraft mixed in. It's been a while since I've read it, but there was space travel, and some kind of special warp drive, powered by magic. The magic comes from three sisters, who are the witches of the title. They meet a pilot, and he is helpless in their clutches. He falls for one of them, but they have other plans.
Lots of fun, I love the mix of SF and witchcraft, and the sly sense of humor the sisters have.
Feb 21, 2015 Emre rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dropped
Truly horrible.

There aren't any structure or order in any of the story elements. It was like I was swimming in a torrent of meaningless words and sentences which do not connect with each other to form a shape to suck you into the story. The story itself was interesting but the execution fails miserably. Most of the time I had a hard time figuring out what was going on since the logic and flow of the story made huge jumps. Most of all, there are not any explanations behind the mechanics. Even th
Kirsten *Dogs Welcome - People Tolerated"
Excellent! A wonderful - I guess the word would be rollicking - read. In many ways, it reminds me of those old sci-fi serials. It seemed like they'd gotten through one life-threatening crisis when another one hit!

It's hard to believe this was written in 1966! I felt like there was nothing that really dated this. It was fun, humorous, exciting... I loved it.
Jan 26, 2015 Leons1701 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, pulp-sf, owned
This is one of those semi-forgotten underground classics that, like many people, I'd heard of but never read or indeed even seen available anywhere. So I was reasonably pleased to find a copy on my most recent foray to the used bookstore.
Calling this science fiction is really to distort the term beyond all meaning, this is a perfect example of what is sometimes referred to as science fantasy. Sure, there are spaceships and ray guns and various unexplained technological devices but there are als
Peter Plantec
Mar 29, 2010 Peter Plantec rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Schmitz started this series of two books finsihed with "The Wizard of Karres." I first read the Witches when I was a young person and remember that I liked it very much. I decided to read it again, maybe 40 years later and I still liked it. That says something. It certainly isn't any great piece of literature, but it has lasting charm. It's about a scifi piece about a spaceship captain that rescues three little girls who have been enslaved on a miserable planet. He buys them and then takes them ...more
Dec 20, 2012 Robert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
I can't tell you why this is such a good read. I can only say that it is. The Witches of Karres is a funny not too serious space romp about a happy-go-lucky "captain" and his association with the outlawed witches.

Look I don't want to spoil any of it for you but nothing was what I expected. Nothing.

That was refreshing and engaging in a genre where everything is usually by the numbers. The characters were so UN-endearingly endearing it's ridiculous,(yeah try to wrap your head around that and you'l
Jul 04, 2012 Ian rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Dear me, 1967 can't have been a good year if this got onto the Hugo shortlist. Humorously incompetent space captain inadvertently rescues three young girls, and then discovers they are from the titular planet, where everyone has magical powers. His life falls apart as a result, it turns out he has relatives from Karres, and he goes off on adventures, which brings him into conflict with some evil worms. This is complete nonsense, and not even very amusing. It's bad mainstream thinly disguised as ...more
Dec 15, 2010 Kernos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This is classic '60's space opera, which hold up well today. It takes place in a universe in the far future when humans have spread throughout the galaxy and have speciated to some extend, most obviously those humans known as the Witches of Karres. The Witches seem to have magic, or to be able to sense and manipulate a strange force in the universe enabling them to manipulate matter in various ways. Sounds a bit like Star Wars, no? Indeed, one wonders if George Lucas was familiar with the novel. ...more
May 20, 2009 Nicole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Young Capt Pausert is like the proverbial the duck out of water in dealing with three young women he rescues. In trying to return them to their parents after freeing them from slavery he discovers they really are members of a group he had considered urban legends. Maleen, Goth, and the Leewit direct him to their home world where he finds they are witches from the not so mythical planet Karres.
Now he finds having actually met the witches he is subject to laws concerning contact with this group an
Manuel Alfonseca
Seventh and last volume of the complete works by James H. Schmitz published by Baen Books, edited by Eric Flint. It contains the novel of the same title, which starting from a simple idea (the protagonist's meeting with three witch sisters, children of the witch planet of Karres) goes through always more involved adventures and convoluted solutions until a wild crazy ending beyond all probabilities, where the protagonist solves all the problems of the galaxy, invaded by aliens from another unive ...more
Ian Wright
Aug 24, 2015 Ian Wright rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Book
The Witches of Karres started life in 1949 as a short story, and then in 1965-1966 Schmitz expanded it into a full novel by adding a couple of short novellas. In 2005 Eric Flint did a bit of editing work (Mainly removing a lot of references to smoking and some other points that badly dated the story) and it was released as part of Baen's reissue of Schmitz's most popular works.

Witches of Karres is classified as a space opera, but really it's more like a space operetta - Light, fun, and f
Mar 02, 2014 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Product Description

Captain Pausert thought his luck had finally turned-but he did not yet realize it was a turn for the worse. On second thought, make that a turn for the disastrous! Pausert thought he had made good with his battered starship, successfully selling off odd-ball cargoes no one else could sell. And then he made the mistake of freeing three slave children from their masters (who were suspiciously eager to part with them). No good deed goes unpunished, and those harmless-looking yo

May 06, 2013 Eric rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Captain Pausert is just minding his own business (and making a tidy profit while doing it) when three witch girls decide to turn his life upside-down and inside-out. What do you do when suddenly the fate of the galaxy hangs in the balance and death seems inevitable? You bring extra sandwiches!
This is a typical J. Schmitz adventure, not stuffy sci-fi, very charming. It didn't disappoint. (78/100)
If anyone is going to give Schmitz a try, read Demonbreed/The Tuvela first, it's even better!
Apr 11, 2014 Asher rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I bought this on the generally very good reviews, but was quite dissapointed, really.
There are no glaring flaws with this novel, solid structure and competent writing.
However it simply didnt do anything for me, i felt no connection whatsoever to any of the characters or really cared what was going on.
Also the science aspect of the science-fiction is pretty much non existent, only serving as a cardboard cutout backdrop to the story, the same with the fantasy/magic aspects
D.L. Morrese
Jul 02, 2011 D.L. Morrese rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This reprint of the 1966 classic is a thoroughly enjoyable and hard to put down book. When Captain Pausert of Nikkeldepain rescues three children from slavery, he has no idea what he is getting himself into, nor does he realize they are witches from the proscribed and mysterious planet of Karres. All of the major characters in this novel are very engaging and the adventure Schmitz crafts for them is as fresh today as the best of any current books in this genre. Read this book!

With a title like 'The Witches of Karres', you might expect a fantasy novel revolving around fairytale magic with perhaps some unicorns, a shining knight, damsels in distress, and an evil wizard or two thrown into the mix. Instead, what we have here is an old-fashioned space-romp complete with alternate universes, evil aliens, a run-amok space-ship AI, time-travel, cosmic entities dabbling in the affairs of humans and... yes, a planet of witches. Don't worry. It all works wonderfully.

Oct 13, 2007 Thannasset rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this for fun, it's a romp--no pretensions to being great literature, just out to sell/tell a fine story. recommended for lovers of classic sf.
Jack White
Jul 15, 2014 Jack White rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone over 12
James Schmitz was a solid writer of 1940s and 1950s space opera, in that genre's most entertaining form. This book is rather outlier in his usual work. It's full of charm and wit, together with high adventure. Captain Pausert of the Republic of Nikkeldepain is actually a formidable man, but he's not quite aware of that he is. Chance (or is it klatha?) leads him into a galactic crisis in which he plays a decisive part, carrying it off with courage and resolve. And anyone in their right mind would ...more
E.T. Ellison
Jan 24, 2015 E.T. Ellison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dated, but so what? A classic scifi-ish adventure tale and a personal feelgood fave. Each time I read it I really, really, really want to find a way to move to Karres and be able to manipulate klatha energy (can I mommy, please can I?). I first read it as a short story in one of the scifi magazines in way-back-when. Not sure how many times I've read the book, but it's a bunch. I still read it every few years when I feel the need for something that delivers a reliable dose of pure fun. Do I care ...more
Daniel Shellenbarger
Oddly enough, this book first caught my attention because I've been tearing through Eric Flint's 1632 series and noticed Sorceress of Karres shelved alongside them at my local library. Out of curiosity I did some checking on goodreads and was surprised to find that the book was not only a sequel to another author's work but to a book that is now almost 50 years old. Doubly intrigued I reserved a copy and I'm certainly glad I did. This book is a rare gem among older science fiction, particularly ...more
Dec 09, 2010 Rosewin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"...might have begun to develop some other perception. At any rate, he was receiving impressions of another kind here; and the impressions had kept getting more definite. The best description would have been to say he was aware of a speck of blackness which seemed to be in a constant blur of internal motion...

...And there it was, he thought. Something he was neither seeing—it couldn't be seen—nor imagining, because it was there and quite real. It came closest to being a visual impression of a pa
Charlotte Hunter
The best space opera thriller ever written. Bar none. Pausert, a ship's captain (and sole crew member) rescues three young sisters from slavery, on the planet Porlumma, and agrees to take them to their home on Karres. Suddenly Pausert is the focus of unwelcome attention, and slowly he realizes the citizens of Karres possess abilities desired by many, understood by few. Chased from one star system to the next, Pausert and one of the sisters, Goth, must stay alert, alive, and figure out how to han ...more
Kate Farrell
Here I am, thinking for about 30 years that I have read The Witches of Karres by James H. Schmitz. Here's the current cover: The Witches of Karres by James H. Schmitz.

I decide I'd like to re-read the book, since what I recall of the book wouldn't fill a book. Lo and behold! Apparently I read an excerpt of the book from the first chapter, wherein the Captain rescues (or is captured by) three young witches. Ware the Leewit. I am now reading the rest of the book for the first time, and reveling in it. These witches from Karres certainly
Vanessa Grant
James H. Schmidt won the Hugo award for The Witches of Karres in 1967, and it's one of my all time favorite SciFi novels. It's been termed a space opera and I'd say that's an appropriate description.

If you love character-driven novels, magic, and a great trip of the imagination, take a journey into space with Captain Pausart and the three witch children he rescues from slavery in The Witches of Karres.

... and watch out for the vatches!

Jim Mcclanahan
Jun 25, 2014 Jim Mcclanahan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good old fashioned space opera with some likeable and interesting characters. I know I read the novella version of this many years ago because a couple of the early scenes leapt out at me in deja vu fashion. But the bulk of the remaining story dealing with action and intrigue seemed fresh and enjoyable. The direction of the plot and the involvement of the three "witches" change drastically as the tale progresses. But it's great fun anyway.
Jonathan Palfrey
May 29, 2015 Jonathan Palfrey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is based on a novelette written in 1949, which is charming and unique, and takes up the first two chapters of the book. In 1966 the author decided to extend it into a novel. The extension is readable and acceptable, without quite managing to maintain the spirit of the original story.

The story of the young Captain Pausert's meeting with the even younger Witches of Karres is delightful. By now some details are dated, but much of the story is timeless.

The book as a whole basically describes th
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James Henry Schmitz (October 15, 1911–April 18, 1981) was an American writer born in Hamburg, Germany of American parents. Aside from two years at business school in Chicago, Schmitz lived in Germany until 1938, leaving before World War II broke out in Europe in 1939. During World War II, Schmitz served as an aerial photographer in the Pacific for the United States Army Air Corps. After the war, h ...more
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