James H. Schmitz
Schmitz with his dog.
James Henry Schmitz
October 15, 1911
|Died||April 18, 1981 (aged 69)|
|Occupation||Short story writer, novelist|
|Spouse(s)||Betty Mae Chapman Schmitz|
Schmitz was educated at a Realgymnasium in Hamburg, and grew up speaking both English and German. The family spent World War I in the United States, then returned to Germany. Schmitz traveled to Chicago in 1930 to go to business school, then switched to a correspondence course in journalism. Unable to find a job because of the Great Depression, he returned to Germany to work with his father's company. Schmitz lived in various German cities, where he worked for the International Harvester Company, until his family left shortly before World War II broke out in Europe.
During World War II, Schmitz served as an aerial photographer in the Pacific for the United States Army Air Corps. After the war, he and his brother-in-law managed a business which manufactured trailers until they ended the business in 1949.
After the war, he made his home in California, where he lived until his death.
Schmitz died of congestive lung failure in 1981 after a five-week stay in hospital in Los Angeles. He was survived by his wife, Betty Mae Chapman Schmitz.
Schmitz wrote mostly short stories, which sold chiefly to Galaxy Science Fiction and Astounding Science-Fiction (which later became Analog Science Fiction and Fact). Gale Biography in Context called him "a craftsmanlike writer who was a steady contributor to science fiction magazines for over 20 years."
Schmitz is best known as a writer of "space opera", and for his strong female characters (such as Telzey Amberdon and Trigger Argee) who did not conform to the "damsel in distress" stereotype typical of science fiction of the time.
Most of his works are part of the "Hub" series. However, the novel that "is usually thought of as Schmitz's best work" is The Witches of Karres, concerning juvenile "witches" with genuine psi-powers and their escape from slavery. The Witches of Karres was nominated for a Hugo Award. In recent years, his novels and short stories have been republished by Baen Books, edited and with notes by Eric Flint.
In an introductory essay comparing Schmitz with contemporary author A. E. van Vogt, Dozois wrote, "Although he lacked van Vogt's paranoid tension and ornately Byzantine plots, the late James H. Schmitz was considerably better at people than van Vogt was, crafting even his villains as complicated, psychologically complex, and non-stereotypical characters, full of surprising quirks and behaviors that you didn't see in a lot of other Space Adventure stuff."
And his universes, although they come with their own share of monsters and sinister menaces, seem as if they would be more pleasant places to live than most Space Opera universes, places where you could have a viable, ordinary, and decent life once the plot was through requiring you to battle for existence against some Dread Implacable Monster; Schmitz even has sympathy for the monsters, who are often seen in the end not to be monsters at all, but rather creatures with agendas and priorities and points-of-view of their own, from which perspectives their actions are justified and sometimes admirable—a tolerant attitude almost unique amidst the Space Adventure tales of the day, most of which were frothingly xenophobic.
From 1949, when "Agent of Vega" appeared in ASF as the first of 4 stories later assembled as Agent of Vega (coll[ection] of linked stories 1960), he regularly produced the kind of tale for which he remains most warmly remembered: Space Opera adventures, several featuring female Heroes depicted with minimum recourse to their "femininity" – they perform their active tasks, and save the Universe when necessary, in a manner almost completely free of sexual role-playing clichés. Most of his best work shares a roughly characterized common background, a Galaxy inhabited by humans and aliens with room for all and numerous opportunities for discoveries and reversals that carefully fall short of threatening the stability of that background. Many of his stories, as a result, focus less on moments of Conceptual Breakthrough than on the pragmatic operations of teams and bureaux involved in maintaining the state of things against criminals, monsters and unfriendly species; in this they rather resemble the tales of Murray Leinster, though they are more vigorous and less inclined to punish adventurousness.
Greg Fowlkes, editor-in-chief of Resurrected Press, said, "During the 50's and 60's "Space Opera" and James H. Schmitz were almost synonymous. He was famous for his tales of interstellar secret agents and galactic criminals, and particularly for heroines such as Telzey Amberdon and Trigger Argee. Many of these characters had enhanced "psionic" powers that let them use their minds as well as their weapons to foil their enemies. All of them were resourceful in the best heroic tradition."
In an essay in the anthology The Good Old Stuff (1998), Dozois laments that the book Agent of Vega is "long out-of-print, alas, but one which – if you can find it – delivers as pure a jolt of Widescreen Space Opera Sense of wonder as can be found anywhere." However, the website Free Speculative Fiction Online freely offers Agent of Vega, along with several of Schmitz's other stories, including "Greenface", "Balanced Ecology", "Lion Loose", "Goblin Night", and many more.
Gardner Dozois has said, in prefacing the Schmitz tale "The Second Night of Summer", in which humans on the planet Noorhut face an attack from aliens and are, unbeknownst to themselves, saved by the actions of a single woman with psi powers, Granny Wannattel, with the sole help of a friendly alien she calls her pony:
Schmitz was decades ahead of the curve in his portrayal of female characters—years before the Women's Movement of the '70s would come along to raise the consciousness of SF writers (or attempt to), Schmitz was not only frequently using women as the heroines in swashbuckling tales of interplanetary adventure—itself almost unheard of at the time—but he was also treating them as the total equal of the male characters, every bit as competent and brave and smart (and ruthless, when needs be), without saddling them with any of the "female weaknesses"—like an inclination to faint or cower under extreme duress, and/or seek protection behind the muscular frame of the Tough Male Hero) that would mar the characterization of women by some writers for years to come. (The Schmitz Woman, for instance, is every bit as tough and competent as the Heinlein Woman—who, to be fair, isn't prone to fainting in a crisis either—but without her annoying tendency to think that nothing in the universe is as important as marrying Her Man and settling down to have as many babies as possible.)
With his popular equality-between-the-sexes fiction, Schmitz eased the way for later writers such as Joanna Russ, James Tiptree, Jr., Kit Reed, Connie Willis, Sheri S. Tepper, and other science fiction authors who used female protagonists and feminine point-of-view more than half the time. Of "The Second Night of Summer", Dozois went on to write, "the hero of the piece is not only a woman, but an old woman ... a choice that most adventure writers wouldn't even make now, in 1998, let alone in 1950, which is when Schmitz made it!"
Mercedes Lackey places her first meeting with science fiction at age 10 or 11, when she happened to pick up her father's copy of James H. Schmitz's Agent of Vega.
Listed chronologically, with month and year of publication, as well as the magazine, listed in parentheses.
Listed by title, with chronological publishing list.
Listed by title, with chronological publishing list.
This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1960.
– Mervyn Griffith-Jones prosecuting in the Lady Chatterley's Lover caseAce Science Fiction Specials
Ace Science Fiction Specials are three series of science fiction and fantasy books published by Ace Books between 1968 and 1990. Terry Carr edited the first and third series, taking the "TV special" concept and adapting it to paperback marketing. The first series was one of the most influential in the history of science fiction publishing; four of the six novels nominated for 1970 Nebula Awards were from the series.
The date given is the year of publication by Ace; some are first editions and some are reprints. Also given is the Ace serial number. The serial number given is that of the first printing in the Ace Special series (except for the reissue of Rite of Passage). Books with a previous first edition are noted as "reissue" below. The order listed for series one is the original order of publication; the price is given. Ace reissued many of these books outside of the Ace Special line with different covers and prices, and sometimes different paginations. Award winners are noted; many were nominated for awards.Agent of Vega
Agent of Vega is a science fiction novel by American writer James H. Schmitz, published in 1960. It is a collection of stories that originally appeared separately in magazines. It was republished in 2001 as Agent of Vega & Other Stories.
The tale began in 1949 as a longish short story published in the SF magazine Astounding. In 1960 it appeared as a book, along with three loosely related stories set in the same time and context: "The Illusionists", "The Truth About Cushgar" and "The Second Night of Summer".
In the far future, humans are building a "Confederacy of Vega" to replace the original fallen Empire of Earth. The new empire includes some mutated humans and also some non-humans. Enemies are also a mix of humans and aliens and it is very much space opera, featuring Vega's 'zone agents'. Combat involves both physical weapons and telepathic attacks. It clearly owes a lot to E. E. Smith's Lensman series.
Unlike the six Lensman books, the four stories are only loosely connected. Each features a completely different set of enemies. The non-human telepath Pagadan is the main connecting link, appearing a secondary character in the first story, the main character in "The Illusionists" and makes a brief appearance in "The Truth About Cushgar".
The book is currently available as Agent of Vega & Other Stories. This consists of the original four stories plus "The Custodians", "Gone Fishing", "The Beacon to Elsewhere", "The End of the Line", "Watch the Sky", "Greenface" and "Rogue Psi". None of these are set in the same universe as the Vega tales.Analog's Children of the Future
Analog's Children of the Future is the third in a series of anthologies of science fiction stories drawn from Analog magazine and edited by then-current Analog editor Stanley Schmidt. It was first published in paperback by Davis Publications and hardcover by The Dial Press in December 1982.The book collects ten short pieces first published in Analog and its predecessor title Astounding, together with an introduction by Schmidt.Assignment in Tomorrow
Assignment in Tomorrow is an anthology of science fiction stories edited by American writer Frederik Pohl. Originally published in hardcover by Hanover House in 1954 with jacket art by Richard Powers, it was reprinted in paperback by Lancer Books in 1972.J. Grant Thiessen
J. Grant Thiessen is a Canadian bibliographer and bookseller (Pandora's Books, BookIT Enterprises). He has worked primarily in the area of science fiction. His bibliographic fanzine, The Science Fiction Collector, has been collected into three hardbound volumes from Pandora's Books, and copies of all of the issues are still available from that source.
The most frequently referenced work from these volumes is the guide to the Ace Books sf doubles; books bound dos-à-dos. The non-double sf, fantasy, and horror titles were also listed. This bibliography appeared in the first issue of Science Fiction Collector. Other paperback publishers whose output is documented by Thiessen includes Ballantine Books, Monarch Books, Curtis Books, and Lancer Books. The volumes also contain individual author biographies; authors covered include James H. Schmitz, Jack Williamson, E. C. Tubb, A. E. van Vogt, and Charles L. Harness.
Thiessen also published "The Tanelorn Archives", a bibliography of Michael Moorcock, and has made many contributions to bibliographic reference works, magazines, and price guides, as well as producing several hundred book catalogs.
He was born in 1947 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He acquired his CMA (Certified Management Accountant) degree in 1973. In 1977, he formally incorporated as Pandora's Books Ltd.
In 1995, Pandora's Books was an early retail entry on the internet, and still operates their website to this day, although under new management since 1999.
He is now a bookseller and software developer, under the company name BookIT Enterprises Inc.More Than Superhuman
More Than Superhuman is a collection of science fiction short stories by Canadian-American writer A.E. van Vogt, published in 1971.NESFA Press
NESFA Press is the publishing arm of the New England Science Fiction Association, Inc. The NESFA Press primarily produces three types of books:
Books honoring the guest(s) of honor at their annual convention, Boskone, and at some Worldcons and other conventions.
Books in the NESFA's Choice series, which bring back into print the works of deserving classic SF writers such as James Schmitz, Cordwainer Smith, C. M. Kornbluth, and Zenna Henderson.
Reference books on science fiction and science fiction fandom.New Writings in SF 3
New Writings in SF 3 is an anthology of science fiction short stories edited by John Carnell, the third volume in a series of thirty, of which he edited the first twenty-one. It was first published in hardcover by Dennis Dobson in 1965, followed by a paperback edition by Corgi the same year, and an American paperback edition by Bantam Books in February 1967. Selections from this volume, together with others from volumes 1-2 and 4 of the series, were later included in The Best from New Writings in SF, issued by Dobson in 1971 and Corgi in 1972.
The book collects eight novelettes and short stories by various science fiction authors, with a foreword by Carnell.Schmitz
Schmitz is a common German surname (smith), which may refer to:
Bob Schmitz (1939–2004), American football player
Bruno Schmitz (1858–1916), German architect
Danny Schmitz (born 1955), American college baseball coach
Eugene Schmitz (1864-1928), Mayor of San Francisco, California at the time of the 1906 Earthquake
Greg Dean Schmitz (born 1970), American online film journalist
Hector Aron Schmitz or Ettore Schmitz (1861–1928), birthname of the Italian author Italo Svevo
James H. Schmitz (1911–1981), American science fiction writer
Jim Schmitz, American college baseball coach
Johannes Andreas Schmitz (1621–1652), Dutch physician
John G. Schmitz, American presidential candidate
Johnny Schmitz (1920-2011), American baseball player
Joseph E. Schmitz (born 1958), former US Department of Defense official and Blackwater executive
Kim Schmitz (born 1974), German entrepreneur
Leonhard Schmitz (1807–1890), German-born classical scholar and educator active mainly in the United Kingdom
Oliver Schmitz (born 1960), South African film director
Ralf Schmitz (born 1974), German actor
Richard Schmitz (1885–1954), mayor of Vienna, Austria
E. Robert Schmitz (1889–1949), a Franco-American pianist and composer
Sabine Schmitz (born 1969), German race driver
Sascha Schmitz (born 1972), German pop singer
Sigrid Schmitz (born 1961), German behavioral physiologist
Sybille Schmitz (1909–1955), German actressThe following places bear the name Schmitz:
Schmitz Lake, a lake in South Dakota
Schmitz Park (Seattle)
Schmitz Park CreekTelzey Amberdon
Telzey Amberdon is a fictional character in a series of science fiction short stories and two short novels by American writer James H. Schmitz, taking place in his "Federation of the Hub" fictional universe, presumably in the mid-4th millennium. She is introduced as a fifteen-year-old genius, a first-year law student, living on the human-settled planet Orado (whose name comes from Eldorado by a pun). Through interaction with alien psychic animals on a resort planet, she discovers that she has psychic powers. Upon her return to her home planet, her abilities are recognized by a mechanism at the spaceport reentry gate and she is effectively made an agent of the Psychology Service.
A major pattern in the stories is the development of her powers. Eventually she teams up with the redheaded secret agent Trigger Argee. The series ends inconclusively; in the last story, a villain makes a duplicate of her, who gains a separate identity and name.
The series features one of the few imaginings (the "ComWeb") of the internet before its existence—although the system takes a half-hour to download a document of modest length.
The Telzey stories were originally published in Analog Science Fiction and Fact between 1962 and 1972. The series was quite popular, often getting the cover illustration. Most of it was assembled in three books: The Universe Against Her (short story collection, Ace Books 1964), The Lion Game (short novel) and The Telzey Toy (short story collection) (both DAW Books 1973).
In 2000 all of the Telzey and Trigger stories were republished by Baen Books, "edited and compiled" by Eric Flint into three collections with some connecting material by Flint: Telzey Amberdon, T'nT: Telzey & Trigger (where both heroes feature) and Trigger & Friends (dated January 2001, for Trigger only). The books remained in print as of June 2007. They were made available for download at Baen Free Library in 2005, but are no longer downloadable in 2016.The Circus of Dr. Lao and Other Improbable Stories
The Circus of Dr. Lao and Other Improbable Stories was an anthology of fantasy stories edited by Ray Bradbury and published in 1956. Many of the stories had originally appeared in various magazines including The New Yorker, Charm, Graham’s Lady’s and Gentleman’s Magazine, Harper's, and Unknown.The Demon Breed
The Demon Breed is a 1968 science fiction novel by James H. Schmitz, originally serialized in Analog in a shorter form as "The Tuvela". It was first published in paperback in the Ace Science Fiction Specials line, with a Science Fiction Book Club edition following in 1969. MacDonald & Co. issued a British hardcover the same year, reprinting it as a Futura paperback in 1974. A Dutch translation, Des Duivels, appeared in 1971, and a French translation, Race démoniaque, in 1973. Ace reissued its edition in 1979 and 1981. In 2001, Baen Books compiled the novel in its paperback omnibus The Hub: Dangerous Territory.Part of Schmitz's "Hub" sequence, The Demon Breed centers on the conflict between the Parahuans—a "physically powerful, resourceful, technically advanced and fearfully cruel" nonhuman species—and a human-colonized water world. It shares characters and setting with Schmitz's 1965 novella "Trouble Tide".
James Blish praised the novel, writing that its protagonist is "very well realized" and that "Schmitz's style is a joy -- precise, flexible, colorful, and frequently witty". He noted that the novel's title was double-edged, because Schmitz was exploring a theme "dear to the hearts of both Heinlein and Campbell . . . that human beings are the toughest, most vicious race anyone is ever likely to encounter".The Witches of Karres
The Witches of Karres is a space opera novel by James H. Schmitz. It deals with a young space ship captain who finds himself increasingly embroiled in wild adventures involving interdimensional alien invaders, space pirates, and magic power. The story is unrelated to the "Hub" series of stories by Schmitz.The Wizard of Karres
The Wizard of Karres is a novel by Mercedes Lackey, Eric Flint, and Dave Freer that was published by Baen Books in 2004, as a sequel to The Witches of Karres by James H. Schmitz.The book uses the same characters as the original novel, and starts about where the original ended. The story describes how Captain Pausert is found to have klatha (psionic) powers that increase over the course of the story, where he is called a witch, a "hot witch", and finally a wizard.Trigger Argee
Trigger Argee is a fictional character in a series of science fiction short stories by James H. Schmitz, starting from 1958. As her first name implies, she inherited the ability to be a crack shot with the sidearms of her day from her father. In the novel A Tale of Two Clocks she even operates powered armor in an assault upon alien beings which have infested a spaceship. Instrumental in the discovery of a hidden alien race, the Old Galactics, she serves as a secret agent of the Hub Overgovernment. Eventually Trigger teams up with a younger woman, Telzey Amberdon of the fictional planet Orado. The stories were originally published in Analog Science Fiction and Science Fact. The series was quite popular. Some issues had covers featuring this character.
In recent years all of the Telzey and Trigger stories have been republished, with additions, by Baen Books, and are currently in print.