Fiction Friday – The Space Opera



James H. Schmitz

James Schmitz was best known for writing the “Space Opera”. This genre was known for its strong female roles. His life was one of service to his country and prolific writing, his two passions. Well over 100 novels and short stories were penned between 1940 and 1981 and his writing remained in print late into the 20th. century. Unfortunately, now his work is almost forgotten. His novelized series, The Demon Breed, The Eternal Frontiers, The Universe Against Her, and The Witches of Karres are classics worthy of remembering and rereading.

Presented today, “An Incident On Route 12,” a short story about a desperate man in a world he cannot comprehend:

He was already a thief, prepared to steal again. He didn’t know that he himself was only booty!

Phil Garfield was thirty miles south of the little town of Redmon on Route Twelve when he was startled by a series of sharp, clanking noises. They came from under the Packard’s hood.

The car immediately began to lose speed. Garfield jammed down the accelerator, had a sense of sick helplessness at the complete lack of response from the motor. The Packard rolled on, getting rid of its momentum, and came to a stop.

Phil Garfield swore shakily. He checked his watch, switched off the headlights and climbed out into the dark road. A delay of even half an hour here might be disastrous. It was past midnight, and he had another hundred and ten miles to cover to reach the small private airfield where Madge waited for him and the thirty thousand dollars in the suitcase on the Packard’s front seat.

If he didn’t make it before daylight….

He thought of the bank guard. The man had made a clumsy play at being a hero, and that had set off the fool woman who’d run screaming into their line of fire. One dead. Perhaps two. Garfield hadn’t stopped to look at an evening paper.

But he knew they were hunting for him.

The rest of the story can be found here.

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