Two lines from a story (or two stories), which I think was/were set in the asteroids, have stuck in my mind for many years.

There is someone widely suspected of piracy, though there's little solid evidence against him. His wife appears and someone says, “Speak of the devil—or at least the devil's wife.” She scolds him for such talk.

The pirate may or may not be the subject of this exchange: “Sounds like a colorful character.” “If black is a color, he's colorful.”

There's a loose association in my mind with Asimov's two juveniles about ‘Lucky’ Starr (which I read forty or so years ago).

  • Incidentally, there's more than just two Lucky Starr books. :) I read those as a kid too.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Nov 16, 2016 at 12:46
  • 1
    I just re-read a few of those. There's not a single woman character. Nov 16, 2016 at 14:20
  • @ImaginaryEvents: There was apparently one in the Oceans of Venus story, as per Wikipedia: "One unusual aspect of Oceans of Venus is the brief appearance of Lyman Turner's wife in chapter 7. Mrs. Turner is the only female character to appear in the entire Lucky Starr series."
    – FuzzyBoots
    Nov 16, 2016 at 16:44
  • @AntonSherwood: Does the answer look good to you?
    – FuzzyBoots
    Nov 18, 2016 at 19:30
  • I'm disappointed to get nothing to the second part, but yes. Nov 19, 2016 at 8:25

2 Answers 2


Rocket From Infinity by Lester del Ray. I was doing a Google search and wound up with a match on Google Books.

Then the door at the rear of the hall opened and Pete turned with the rest and saw three people enter.
"Well, speak of the devil," Jerry Sells said. "Or at least, the devil's wife. What do you want here, Rachel?"
The older woman in the trio was a plump, motherly looking person with mild blue eyes and an open, disarming manner. "Why, Jerry Sells," she accused. "That's a terrible thing to say about a body."

The context is not that someone has been accused of piracy, but that rather that someone claimed to have been jumped by pirates, and a general discussion of "claim jumping" on asteroid mining, partly that Rachel has been doing it.

Book cover

Summary from Goodreads

When Pete Mason's father is badly hurt in a space mining accident, eighteen-year-old Pete suspects that the injury was no accident -- that it was caused by his family's rivals, Rachel Barry and her children. Even so, when Pete receives an urgent call for help from Jane, Rachel's oldest daughter, he risks his life to save her, only to find that Jane's uncle has taken advantage of the opportunity to jump Pete's new mining claim. Pete is furious; he refuses to listen to Jane's story of a mysterious derelict rocket that appeared from nowhere to threaten her life.

But the two young people meet again, quite by accident, when they are both caught in the middle of a terrifying situation from which there seems to be no escape. The surprising explanation of the derelict rocketship, and the growing relationship between Pete and Jane, provides a fast-paced, thrilling climax to this beautifully written science fiction adventure.


Couldn't it be the gaps cycle from Stephen R Donaldson ?

From the wikipedia :

The Gap Cycle (published 1991–1996 by Bantam Books and reprinted by Gollancz in 20081) is a science fiction story, told in a series of 5 books, written by Stephen R. Donaldson. It is an epic set in a future where humans have pushed far out into space in the name of commerce and follows two concurrent story arcs. The first concerns an ensign in the United Mining Companies Police (UMCP), Morn Hyland, who is attempting simply to stay alive after being captured by a marauder named Angus Thermopyle. The second follows the fate of three people who are affected by the Byzantine political maneuvering of the head of the UMCP, Warden Dios, as he attempts to thwart the machinations of his boss, the CEO of United Mining Companies (UMC) itself, Holt Fasner.

  • 3
    If something about The Gap Cycle matches some point in the OP's story description, you should mention that in your answer. Especially, something besides "set in the future and involves space travel."
    – user14111
    Aug 25, 2016 at 7:43
  • 2
    I didn't finish Lord Foul's Bane, and have not attempted any other Donaldson. Aug 25, 2016 at 7:58

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