Nichelle Nichols: An icon and inspiration

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On this International Women’s Day, I was presented with a picture of this famous woman and asked what she meant to me.

Nichelle Nichols

Nichelle Nichols, sitting in the Captain’s chair of the starship Enterprise.

This was an easy one. Continue reading

A (backhanded) slap at the concept of “races”

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Mark O'Bannon

The depiction I used for character Mark O’Bannon in the original cover for The Kestral Voyages: The Lens.

Years ago, for one of my first writing projects (The Onuissance Cells), I decided that I wanted to make a statement about races and nationalities in science fiction.  A few years later, I decided I wanted to repeat the statement, and I chose The Kestral Voyages to do that.  though neither series was connected, they used the same character type and (approximate) basis.  The character types were represented by Commander Thomas Beak in Onuissance, and Mark O’Bannon in Kestral.

In both cases, I postulated a period previous to the story’s time, when corporate researchers had tried to figure out a way to biochemically alter human skin in order to make it more resilient to UV rays.  In Onuissance‘s case, the UV rays were reaching the Earth’s surface via the thinning ozone layer; in Kestral, the UV rays were shining down on the first Martian colonists through Mars’ much thinner atmosphere and lack of ozone layer. Continue reading