The Telzey Toy

by James H. Schmitz
Series: Telzey Amberdon 3
Reviewed date: 2018 Jun 28
175 pages
cover art
cover art

I found these Telzey stories to be interesting enough, but not great. They could use a little bit of editing; some of the transitions between scenes are a bit rough. What grated on me most, though, is the author kept using disinterested to mean uninterested. I know I shouldn't be a strict stick-in-the-mud prescriptivist when it comes to the meanings of words, but it still bothered me.

The Kelly Freas cover art is something else. I'm not sure which story it illustrates. Probably the first one, but it doesn't match any scene particularly well. It reminds me of King Kong. I wonder if that's what Freas was going for?

The Telzey Toy
Telzey Amberdon is a sixteen-year-old student with psi powers. She notices something strange: a woman who appears human, but her mind is wrong. She's a Martri puppet, an artificial person programmed to act out parts in a play. Martri puppets look human, but they aren't. But this one is acting as if she's human. When Telzey investigates further, she gets kidnapped.

Her kidnapper, Ti, whisks her off to a private island, creates a Martri duplicate of her, and holds them both prisoner. He has created a whole island populated with advanced Martri puppets to do his nefarious bidding, but he needs more. He wants a Martri with psi powers. Ti intends to create copies of Telzey, then use his powerful computer to program their minds to do his bidding. What, precisely, his bidding is, well, that's never explored.

Telzey and her duplicate take everything in stride. In fact, Ti is quite put out that he can't faze her--none of the horrors he shows her make Telzey lose her composure.

Eventually, Telzey uses her psi powers and manages to escape.

Resident Witch
Telzey lends a hand when a rich businessman, Larien Selk, kidnaps his brother Noal. Telzey invades Larien's mind and ferrets out the location of the kidnapped brother. Noal's been set adrift at sea to die. He's alive but it's too late to rescue him. Telzey uses her psi powers to accomplish an extraordinary feat: she rips Larien's consciousness out of his body, transfers it into Noal's dying body out at sea, and carries Noal's consciousness back to Larien's body. Larien dies in Noal's body. Noal lives in Larien's.

Telzey and Trigger Argee work together to solve the puzzle of the Siren Trees. The Siren Trees emit a psi field that works on people rather like a drug. Anybody exposed to a Siren Tree eventually loses interest in everything except being near a Siren Tree. And given that the Siren Trees have completely enveloped three planets, there's a real fear that these psionic forests will wipe out humanity.

It's tricky work, but Telzey eventually learns that the Siren Trees are an ancient race known as the Hana. Eons ago they fought a war against the Veen, a violent race of mobile creatures. The Hana presume that humans are more Veen--but once they realize the Veen are long gone, they agree not to threaten mankind.

Company Planet
On a visit to a plastic surgery planet, Telzey stumbles across a vast criminal conspiracy. So she helps solve it, if only to save her own life.

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