Review: Telzey Amberdon, by James H. Schmitz

(Originally posted on Amazon 8/24/2003)


I first read the Telzey Amberdon stories back when Ace Books reissued them in the early 1980’s. Unfortunately, I lost my copies over the course of several moves, and for a long time was not able to find replacements. Well, thank goodness Baen (which is gaining a good reputation for reissuing old classic SF authors) has stepped in, with the first volume of its compendium of the works of James H. Schmitz. Telzey Amberdon is back, and the stories are just as good as I remember them.

For those who are unfamiliar, Telzey is a rather precocious 15-year old girl who, over the course of several stories, discovers that she is also a rather powerful telepath. And not just any telepath, but one who can read the minds of non-humans as well as humans. This brings her into contact with a number of alien races, and hence forms the gist to some very good adventure writing.

In “Novice”, Telzey’s abilities are triggered by a race of psionic cats who no one knows are intelligent; in “Undercurrents”, Telzey uses her new-found abilities to try to thwart both the Psychological Corp and some unsavory people who are trying to kill her best friend; “Poltergeist” offers an unusual turn on an old ghost story idea; and the “Goblin Night”, “Sleep No More”, and “The Lion Game” sequence (probably the most well known of the Telzey Amberdon stories) puts Telzey in the middle of a power struggle between multiple alien factions. This collection also contains two other Schmitz stories, “The Blood of Nalakiaï” and “The Star Hyacinths”, neither of which contain Telzey but do provide background for many the stories in the series (Schmitz, after all, set nearly all of his novels and short stories in the same universe).

All together, this is a very good collection of short stories from an author who is unfortunately not as well known today as he should be. Perhaps this and the subsequent volumes in Baen�s series will rectify that matter; one can hope. In the mean time, pick this book up and read; you won�t be disappointed. Highly recommended.

5 Stars out of 5 Stars