301. Cyan in the Making (2)

This is a continuation of the Cover Design Questionnaire for Cyan.

Describe the main characters and their physical appearances.

Okay, I cheated a little on this one. When I first sat down to outline Cyan, I intended the crew to be truly multinational, and made sure that no two were from the same country. As I continued writing, it became clear that the Earth from which they came would not be that cooperative, so I transferred the crew to a single country, a successor of the US, and that’s how I described them here.

Also, when you see xxxxx xxxxx below, that is me restricting what you can read to avoid spoilers. 

All the ten original explorers are athletic, but normal looking. Like the original astronauts, they are of compact build; none are above 6 feet. They were chosen to be racially mixed, a goal made easy since their home nation is the USNA (formerly USA) after it has absorbed Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. The women of the group are independent souls. If an artist were to put one of them in a damsel-in-distress pose on the cover, she would hunt him down and beat the crap out of him.

Keir Delacroix, groundside crew leader, French ancestry, the most physically active crew member, survivalist, a generalist whose main job is keeping everyone else alive

Stephan Andrax, spaceside crew leader, Danish ancestry, more slender, he spends little time on Cyan

Tasmeen Rao, second in command in space and on the ground, Dravidian ancestry, from Trinidad, very dark smoky grey skin, darker than Leia, strong but so slender as to appear frail

Ramananda Rao, meteorologist, married to Tasmeen, similar in appearance, but without her seeming frailty

Leia Polanyi, paleontologist, African ancestry, of medium dark skin (think Uhura), small

Gus Leinhof, biologist, German ancestry, slightly older than the other crewmembers

Uke Tomiki, Japanese ancestry, powerful but slender body of a martial artist

Debra Brunner, biologist, mixed caucasian ancestry, movie star beautiful and hates it because it gets in the way of her work. No hipshot poses if she appears in illustration

Petra Crowley, geologist, xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx

Viki Johanssen, anthropologist, Scandinavian ancestry, 6 feet tall, a powerful, lanky amazon, dirty blonde hair (really blonde, chopped short, and always dirty). xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx

On Cyan, as explorers and later as colonists, they wore khaki and denim, with 12 mm automatic pistols in cross draw holsters on the left side – out of the way but easily accessible. If you need to draw Gus, he also carried a long barreled .22 revolver in an open holster low on his right. As the crew biologist, he used this to gather specimens without blowing them apart. Yes, it is a cowboy look, but it is how field biologists actually used to gather their specimens, before eco-consciousness and electro-miniaturized high tech equipment was available.

Who is your favorite/ Why? I like them all. Even the villain Curran has redeeming characteristics. Tasmeen is the one I would most like to meet, if she were a real person.

What sparked the book? Over the years, tales of exploration have always been my favorite kind of science fiction, but they are rare, and I couldnʼt think of one that took a planet all the way from initial exploration through colonization. It was the book I had always wanted to read, but I had to write it myself.


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