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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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.
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.
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.
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.
Joshua Finnis This is a great discussion point. It never occurred to me that Chris was black until the book mentioned it. Until I read these comments, it never occurred to me that Chris's gender could be anything but male, yet I don't remember the book ever specifying. Why do we have these preconceived notions? This would be a good question for a book club meeting about this book.
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by John Scalzi (Goodreads Author)
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