If I wasn’t sure before, I am now. The Telzey books, Agent of Vega, The Demon Breed and probably at least one more book I have not yet read are all part of the same universe. This isn’t necessarily a good or bad thing, just something that I like to know for a fact, instead of a feeling or suspicion. Actually, it’s probably far more a good thing than a bad, because this is a great way for the author to explore different aspects of the same universe while not having to reinvent the wheel every time. A lot of my favorite series use this approach, and it is a classic.
The Demon Breed was today’s book and I think this is the first James Schmitz book I’ve read that was written as a complete novel and not as shorter stories that were later combined into a single book. Even the publication dates only say that it was originally published in Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact magazine, not that it was serialized as with previous books.
We have yet another alien species encroaching on human space here, and yet they almost seem afraid. At least, of specific humans known as Tuvelas. They appear to be secretive superheroes in some ways, and are obviously the only true threat humans pose to this alien race.
The aliens also have a human captive, Dr. Ticos Cay who is desperately hoping for a rescue from his friend Nile Etland. He’s hinted to the aliens that Etland is one of the mythical Tuvelas and will wreck their shit for them when she arrives…but he hasn’t had a chance to get a message to her and tell her that. What are her chances of survival when the aliens have decided to test the validity of Cay’s claim? Well…that’s the rest of the book you see.
The few spots of darkness in The Demon Breed are all easily explained away. Typos…well…those happen, though not usually more than once, but there’s very little that can be done about a book nearly fifty years old. There were a couple little twinges due to concepts that have fallen out of favor since the sixties, but that’s very rare in these books. Schmitz has done a great job of writing about a future that isn’t dated, and I appreciate it.
Overall, this was a great adventure story. Most of Schmitz’s books have been science fiction thrillers, with lots of spies and intrigue. This one was an adventure in trickery and rather enjoyable.