Charles Shepherd

This is a rare books which it's ethnic characters aren't acknowledged through some kind of stereotype or uneccessary physical description. I had wondered if Chris Shane was African-Amer. when they said his dad played basketball but appreciated not knowing for sure until later on in the book. Does anyone think this was deliberate to emphasize the Haden world or is it just Scalzi's style?

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Dan There's definitely a line in the book where his dad is referred to as "an angry black man with a gun" It stuck in my mind as I had an unconscious visualisation of him as a white man until that point. His mother is referred to as having ancestors who ran guns for the Confederacy which more than likely makes her white and Chris mixed race.

Its a wonderful book for making race, gender and sexuality completely irrelevant to the story. I wish more SF&F could do that. I never picked up at all that the gender of Chris isn't specified so great work John.
AnjaM I agree, this was a pleasant surprise, I was wondering if this was his writing style as well. Also, I liked how he randomly included homosexuality without making a big deal about it. And - a very important one - is anywhere in the book even stressed out that Chris Shane is a male? It could be short for Christina. I believe this was deliberate as well because Scalzi avoids ever mentioning gender in connection to the Agent.
Savannah I rec reading Scalzi's blog- It's an intentional move on Scalzi's part to have his writing style and depictions better embody his beliefs about diversity, inclusion, and equality.
Jose Ayala I think it's a mix of both. Scalzi definitely has these elements in other of his books but it's never a plot point or defines a character, it's kind of a "just is" feel to it and it's great because it doesn't make the character a stereotype. I also think it adds to the idea that we, as a society, will move beyond race and sex. Haden's was something so detrimental to the way of life that I think people of that world had to move on from race or gender issues to come together and really focus on the issue at hand. In a sense I felt that the Haden syndrome caused people to grow up and mature.
Tyler I thought the exact same thing; I didn't even ponder to what race Shane / his father was until the book explicitly mentioned it. At this, I paused and thought about the implications behind a society such as this. Race ceases to be a rift in the post-Haden society being replaced instead by 'threeps' / 'Dodgers' / one's level of affection by the Haden syndrome. That's at least how I interpreted and walked away from it.
Katarina I really liked this too. There's not much physical description in general, which makes sense - for Chris and many of the other characters, their physical form is temporary and not really "them".
And it never even occurred to me that Chris could be a woman. That's interesting!
Teresa I agree with everyone's comments...Scalzi is great at this type of thing and I, too, pictured Chris as a white guy until it was clarified that he's biracial. I also completely pictured Chris as male and it never even crossed my mind that the character might be female. I even seem to remember references to Chris as he/him but, based on other people claiming that such words were never used, that must be my own mind filling things in based on my personal interpretation while reading. That's...disconcerting. But really fascinating.
Jon Chris Shane is mixed race and female.
Mitch Davidson As a reader, I was intrigued by how much Chris' race (is he/she black, biracial) both factored and did not factor into how I quantified the character. Similar to the debate about Chris' gender, I agree with Dan's answer that Chris' race and gender were irrelevant to the development of the overall story. I found that race and gender as nonissues a true embodiment of the lack of Chris' functioning body.
Catty K Forget about the book being set in the future, I assumed Chris was my age which meant his dad played ball in the 1970s, so being white made some sense 🤦‍♀️
Marisa N Interesting point! I thought Chris was a man, but I think that was in part because I listened to the audio book narrated by Wil Wheaton. I found a blog post where the author states he left it ambiguous.

"I decided one important thing about the protagonist, Chris Shane: I decided that I would not know, and would not seek to know, Chris’ gender"
Stefanie MagMag I know I am super late to this party but I'm reading this now and am on page 29. Chris says to Davidson: 
'...I nearly pissed myself because I had no idea how to do it like you guys do...'
I know it could mean like guys as in those not locked in, but going in with fresh eyes after stupidly reading this thread I am more aware of clues. I also started reading it like he/she was a white male, which is awful that that is where our minds usually conclude immediately. (less) 
David Bernardi I believe this is Scalzi's style, as I've wondered about the race of his characters a few times. Makes sense. Since they're often set in the future, why should there be racial cues that we would recognize in the present day?

It's similar to how Tuvok's "race" was a complete non-issue in Voyager. I don't think it was mentioned, and he was arguably the best Vulcan ever depicted on screen. (I doubt the new series will handle these issues with such subtlety.)
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by John Scalzi (Goodreads Author)
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