Non-white Protagonists in Fantasy and Science Fiction

 

This list is basically a compilation of books I’ve read plus books I’m meaning to read at some point in the future. If you have a suggestion feel free to post in the comments section (and if you want even more books be sure to look at the comments!) Or if you’ve happened to come across any other articles, I would be happy to add them to the resources list.

Also, check the tag “inclusive” for books which I’ve reviewed.

I have not read all the titles on these lists. The ones I’ve reviewed are linked to.

Speculative Fiction with Asian Protagonists

  • Fantasy
    • Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho is a fantasy of manners set in Regency era England. The female lead is Indian and mixed race.
    • Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit is a fantasy story which is set in Japan. After being a huge hit there, it has now been translated into English.
    • The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard is set among the magical ruins of Paris. One of the three POV characters is a Vietamese man.
    • The Devouers by Indra Das is a literary fantasy novel about monstrous shapeshifters in India.
    • Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn is a light hearted story about two Asian American superheroines.
    • The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is a retelling of the Mahabharat, focusing on Panchaali.
    • The Ghost Bride by Yagnsze Choo is a historical fantasy set in 1800s Malaya.
    • The Archer Who Shot Down Suns by Benjanun Sriduangkaew is a short story anthology of Chinese mythology retellings.
    • The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu is an epic fantasy based on Chinese history.
    • The Goddess Chronicle by Natsuo Kirino is a retelling of Japanese mythology.
    • Full Fathom Five by Max Gladstone  has an Pacific Islander transwoman priestess and black teenage girl as its protagonists.
    • City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett is a about a high ranking intelligence officer who is investigating the death of a historian. She has brown skin and is from a country that seems to be based of India. Also look at the sequel, City of Blades.
    • Range of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear is the first in an epic fantasy series based around the fall of the Mongol empire. Both protagonists come from central Asian cultures.
    • The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson is a truly excellent novella in a setting based on Korea.
    • Daughter of the Sword by Steve Bein is an urban fantasy set in Tokyo.
    • Snake Agent by Liz Williams is an urban fantasy set in Singapore.
    • The Initiate Brother by Sean Russell is a fantasy novel in a culture based on Japan and China.
    • Fudoki by Kij Johnson is a fantasy set in ancient Japan.
    • Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay is a historical fantasy inspired by Tang dynasty China. There’s also River of Stars, which is set in the same world but later in time and inspired by the Song dynasty.
    • When Fox is a Thousand by Larissa Lai is a literary fantasy novel with three different timelines drawing on Chinese mythology.
  • YA Fantasy
    • Dragon Sword and Wind Child by Noriko Ogiwara is YA second world fantasy inspired by Japanese mythology. It was originally written in Japanese, but there is a translation available.
    • The Reader by Traci Chee is a YA fantasy adventure in a world where reading is magic.
    • Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon is a YA fantasy in an Chinese type setting with a female lead.
    • Huntress by Malinda Lo has two female leads and is in a setting based on China.
    • A Darkly Beating Heart by Lindsay Smith is a paranormal time travel story about a bisexual Japanese-American girl in Japan.
    • When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore is a magical realism story where one of the two protagonists is a transboy of Pakistani descent.
    • Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott is a retelling of Cinderella in a setting based on Japan.
    • The Night Itself by Zoe Marriott is an urban fantasy novel with a Japanese girl living in London as the lead.
    • Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale is a fairy tale retelling in a setting based on Mongolia.
    • The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi is a YA fantasy inspired by Hindu mythology.
    • Team Human by Sarah Rees Brennan and Justine Larbalestier is a YA story that satirizes vampires. The heroine is Chinese-American.
  • Science Fiction
    • China Mountain Zhang by Maureen F. McHugh is a science fiction/dystopian story with a Chinese American man as the protagonist.
    • Aliette de Bodard, On a Red Station Drifting is a science fiction set on a space station with Vietnamese influences.
    • Company Town by Madeline Ashby is a science fiction thriller starring a misec race Korean woman who works as a body guard.
    • Persona by Genevieve Valentine is a near future thriller with a Korean hero.
    • The Three Body Problem by Liu Cixin is a translated Chinese science fiction novel which I think has aliens.
  • YA Science Fiction
    • Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee is a superhero story with female protagonist who’s Chinese and Vietamese
    • The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna is a YA science fiction (dystopia?) with an Indian girl as the lead.
    • The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie has a Chinese heroine and genetically engineered sea monsters.
    • Extras by Scott Westerfeld is a sequel to his Uglies series. It is set in Japan.
    • Partials by Dan Wells is a YA dystopia. The main character is an Indian girl living in a small human settlement in the remains of New York City.
  • Resources:

Speculative Fiction with Black Protagonists

  • Fantasy:
    • The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin is a apocalyptic fantasy novel with imaginative world building and a black woman as the lead.
    • The Broken Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin is the second book in the series but can be read independently and has a black woman as the protagonist.
    • Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord is a fantastical story based off a Senegalese folktale.
    • The Root by Na’amen Gobert Tilahun is an urban fantasy novel where both the male and female protagonists are black.
    • Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson is a fantasy dystopian set in Canada with a Jamaican woman as the lead.
    • Will Do Magic for Small Change by Andrea Hairston is a novel that mixes science fiction and fantasy (aliens and ghosts!) to tell the story of an alien who arrived in West Africa and a black teenage girl in 1980’s Philadelphia.
    • The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps by Kai Ashante Wilson is a fantasy novella in a setting based on ancient Africa.
    • Wheel of the Infinite by Martha Wells is a stand alone second-world fantasy novel.
    • Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman could roughly be refereed to as urban fantasy. The major characters are black, and the story deals with West African mythology.
    • Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone is about a necromancer who’s been hired to revive the dead god of a city that depends on him. She also has to seek out the cause of his death.  The main character is black.
    • Two of the four leads of London Falling by Paul Cornell are black. It’s a really awesome urban fantasy/detective story set in London. I have a review of the sequel.
    • Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch is a police procedural urban fantasy set in London with a mixed race narrator.
    • Zoo City by Lauren Beuke is an urban fantasy mystery set in South Africa with a black heroine.
    • Full Fathom Five by Max Gladstone  has an Pacific Islander transwoman priestess and black teenage girl as its protagonists.
    • The Innkeeper’s Song by Peter Beagle is a very odd fantasy book that rotates between the POV of several principal characters, one of whom is a black woman.
    • The Gilda Stories by Jewelle Gomez is about a black lesbian vampire.
    • The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin is an epic fantasy based on ancient Egypt.
  • YA Fantasy:
    • Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor is a YA (or more likely middle grade) fantasy about an American-Nigerian albino girl who discovers that she has magical powers. It’s set in Nigeria.
    • Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older is an urban fantasy set in Brooklyn about a Puerto Rican girl of African descent.
    • Wake of Vultures by Lila Bowen is a fantasy Western about a biracial (black and Native American), bisexual, trans gender sixteen year old who kills monsters.
  • Science Fiction:
    • Dawn by Octavia Butler is about an African American woman who’s kidnapped by aliens after nuclear bombs destroy the earth.
    • Wild Seed by Octavia Butler is about people with X-Men sort of powers. Anwanyu, the protagonist, is an immortal African woman. Octavia Butler has a lot more speculative fiction novels with black women as protagonists, so if neither of these appeal you should check the others out.
    • Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler is a dystopian novel following teenage Lauren during the chaotic 2030’s.
    • The Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden is a science fiction novel set in future South Africa. One of the protagonists is a Zulu demi-goddess.
    • Smoketown by Tenea D. Johnson is a queer black post-apocalyptic science fiction novel with a touch of fantasy.
    • Rosewater by Tade Thompson is a science fiction story with aliens and psychics in a future version of Nigeria.
    • Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor is about aliens who make first contact with humans in Nigeria.
    • The Book of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor is about a genetically engineered woman who brings about the end of the world.
    • Planetfall by Emma Newman is set in a human colony on an alien planet. The narrator is either black or biracial.
    • Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson is a dystopian with fantastical elements set in Canada with a Jamaican woman as the lead.
    • Midnight Robber by Nalo Hopkinson is a dark science fiction story set on a Caribbean colonized planet.
    • False Hearts by Laura Lam is a science fiction thriller set in a future San Francisco. The protagonists are black and mixed race (also former conjoined twins who escaped a cult).
    • Clementine by Cherie Priest is a book in her Clockwork Century steampunk series with one of the two leads being a black man, Captain Croggon Beauregard Hainey, a pirate captain.
    • Earthrise by M.C.A. Hogarth is a space opera with a black woman as the lead.
    • The Coyote Kings of the Space-Age Bachelor Pad by Minister Faust is a hard to classify book brimming with pop culture references.
  • YA Science Fiction:
    • Orleans by Sherri L. Smith is yet another YA dystopia. It’s darker than normal for the genre, and features a society divided by blood types and an African American girl as the protagonist.
    • Binti by Nnedi Okorafor is a novella about a girl traveling through space to university.
    • On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis is about a mixed race autistic girl during the apocalypse.
    • The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm by Nancy Farmer is a science fiction novel set in future Zimbabwe.
    • The True Meaning of Smek Day by Adam Rex is a hilarious YA or middle grade book about an alien invasion. The main character is half black and journeying across America with an alien hitchhiker to try and find her mother.
    • Tankborn by Karen Sandler is a YA dystopian novel with a female lead.
  • Resources:

Speculative Fiction with Latino or Latina Protagonist

  • California Bones by Greg van Eekhout is an urban fantasy. The lead is Hispanic and described as brown.
  • Labyrinth Lost Zoraida Córdova is a YA fantasy novel about a Latina girl who’s a bruja and accidentally sends her entire family to another world. The book also contains a bisexual love triangle.
  • Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia is a vampire story set in Mexico City.
  • When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore is a magical realism story where one of the two protagonists is a Latina girl.
  • As I Descended by Robin Talley is a queer, paranormal YA retelling of Macbeth. The book’s version of Macbeth is a high achieving Latina student.
  • Santa Olivia by Jacqueline Carey is about a lesbian or bisexual Latina girl with special powers facing the army and gangs which control her town.
  • The House of the Scorpion Nancy Farmer is a YA dystopian set in a drug kingdom located between Mexico and the United States. The main character is a Hispanic clone.
  • The Young Wizard series by Diane Duane (starts with So You Want to Be a Wizard) are YA books on the boundary between science fiction and fantasy. The male lead, Kit, is Hispanic. Later on in the series, his sister becomes an important character as well.
  • Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older is YA urban fantasy with a Puerto Rican heroine in New York City.
  • Persona by Genevieve Valentine is a near future thriller where the heroine comes from a new country in the Amazon rain forest.
  • Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis is a YA fantasy where the male lead is Hispanic.
  • Ink by Sabrina Vourvoulias is a science fiction novel where immigrants in the United States are made to get a bio metric tattoo.
  • Luna: New Moon by Ian McDonald is a science fiction novel set on the moon that follows a Brazilian family.
  • Resources:

Speculative Fiction with Middle Eastern Protagonists

  • Fantasy:
    • Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed is an epic fantasy in a setting based on the Middle East and North Africa.
    • Fire Boy by Sami Shah is an urban fantasy novel set in Pakistan.
    • Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn by Dantelle Ackley-McPail and Day Al-Mohamed is a steampunk retelling of “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.”
    • The Steel Seraglio by Linda, Louise and Mike Carey is a story about a group of women who form their own community.
    • A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston is a fairy tale like fantasy novel influenced by The Thousand and One Nights.
    • The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay is a historical fantasy set on the divided Iberian peninsula. As such, there are a number of Muslim characters and characters of Middle Eastern descent, Ammar ibn Khairan being the main one.
    • The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker is the story of two fantastical immigrants to America around 1900. It’s set primarily among Jewish and Syrian immigrants..
    • The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate by Ted Chiang is a time travel story set in medieval Baghdad.
    • The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh is a YA retelling of the Arabian Nights stories.
  • Science Fiction:
    • Fool’s War by Sarah Zettel is a space opera dealing with Artificial Intelligence. The main character Al-Shei, the chief engineer and owner of the spaceship, and her cousin Resit, ship’s lawyer, are both Turkish Muslim women.
    • God’s War by Kameron Hurley is a military themed science fiction set on an Islamic planet. The major characters are likely Middle Eastern or North African in heritage – almost all of them have brown or black skin.
  • Resources:

Speculative Fiction with Native American Protagonists

  • Fantasy:
    • Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac is a YA dystopian with fantasy elements about an Apache girl who kills monsters.
    • Two Serpents Rise is in a city that’s similar to Aztec culture, and the protagonist is of that background.
    • Servant of the Otherworld by Aliette de Bodard is a fantasy mystery set in the Aztec Empire.
    • Wake of Vultures by Lila Bowen is a fantasy Western about a black Native American, bisexual, trans gender sixteen year old who kills monsters.
    • Tremontaine is a story that’s available through Serial Box, which creates stories that have a format akin to television (one “episode” is released a week). One of the main cast members comes from a Mesoamerican inspired culture.
    • The Way of Thorn and Thunder by Daniel Heath Justice is the beginning to a queer Amerindian epic fantasy series by a Cherokee author.
    • The Jaguar Princess by Clare Bell is a fantasy story set in the Aztec Empire.
    • The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong is a fluffy YA paranormal story with a Native American heroine.
    • Skinwalker by Faith Hunter is an urban fantasy who’s heroine a Cherokee vampire hunter.
    • Six Gun Snow White by Catherynne M. Valente is novella retelling the fairy tale Snow White with a mixed race Crow girl as the lead.
    • Bear Daughter by Judith Berman is set in a fantasy world based on the Pacific Northwest before colonization. Has issues with a white washed cover.
    • Time Trap by Micah Caida sounds like it’s either science fiction or fantasy.It’s definitely YA.
  • Science Fiction:
    • Hammered by Elizabeth Bear is a dystopian, hard science fiction story with a cyborg Native American woman as the lead.
  • Resources:

Speculative Fiction with Other POC Protagonists

  • Stranger by Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith is a YA post-apocalyptic story that has five protagonists of various different races including black, Hispanic, and Japanese.
  • World War Z by Max Brooks is told through the form of interviews with a multicultural cast from all over the world.
  • Magic or Madness by Justine Larbalestier is a YA urban fantasy with a mixed race Aboriginal Australian girl as its lead.
  • The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Ambelin Kwaymullina is a YA dystopian with a lead of Aboriginal Australian descent.
  • Zero Sum Game by S.L. Huang has a superpowered heroine who’s described as brown and looking sort of Middle Eastern.
  • The protagonist of A Wizard of Earthseas is described as having red skin and many of the other characters have brown or black skin.
  • The characters of The Mirror Empire don’t match up to any real world cultures or ethnicities, but most are described as nonwhite.
  • The male protagonist of Perdido Street Station by China Miéville is described as having dark skin. The book’s sort of a “grimdark,” other world, urban fantasy. I had some trouble with the treatment of female characters in this one.
  • The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin is a secondary world story about a young woman who’s named an heir to the ruler of the world. Yeine, the narrator and protagonist, is described as having brown skin.
  • Sunbolt by Intisar Khanani is a fantasy novella. Many of the characters are dark skinned and the setting is non-European. If I remember correctly, the heroine was mixed race with brown skin.
  • Sandry’s Book by Tamora Pierce (YA fantasy, multicultural cast)
  • An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir is a YA fantasy that I’ve heard qualifies. I don’t know much about it besides that it’s set in a desert city roughly based on the Roman Empire.

Because so many of the authors who get talked about the most are white, here’s a list of books with some more diverse authors. I’m including both books I’ve read and books I haven’t read.

Fantasy and Science Fiction Books by POC Authors

Other Resources:

On the writing side of things, this tumblr post has a whole load of interesting links.

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38 Comments Add yours

    1. Thanks! I’ll try to keep it updated as I read more books.

  1. M.N says:

    Very good! Thanks for the list.

  2. D K Gaston says:

    Changa’s Safari, Meji, Walaji damu (the Blood Eater), Woman of the Woods (Meji Novel), Griots, Oya’s Daughter. Category: Fantasy. Author: Milton Davis

  3. gibsonauthor says:

    Great list! Thanks for this. Feeling a Way has a Native American girl main character and African-Indian male main character in a future California without modern technology http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29080610-feeling-a-way

  4. D K Gaston says:

    Subject 82-42, Chronicle of the Liberator, Warriors of the Four Worlds. Genre: Science Fiction. Author: Ronald Jones

  5. mikevp says:

    “Starship Troopers” by Robert Heinlein. The protagonist, Jonny Rico, is Filipino.

    Also “The Cat Who Walks Through Walls”, Campbell is black.

  6. seawasp says:

    My own Balanced Sword trilogy (Epic fantasy: Phoenix Rising, Phoenix in Shadow, Phoenix Ascendant) has Kyri Vantage and Tobimar Silverun; Kyri, if you read the descriptions, has a complexion and other features of particular Polynesian Islanders, while Tobimar is a very dark Middle-Eastern type.

    _Castaway Planet_, my YA collaboration with Eric Flint, features a family where all the children (all of which are girls) are half-Japanese; the mother is Caucasian, the father is Japanese.

    In my Grand Central Arena series, the female lead (Ariane) is white, the first male lead (DuQuesne) has the name of a fictional character and is a genetic construct described as having “dark olive skin”, and the second male lead (Dr. Simon Sakuraba Sandrisson) is half-Japanese.

    Whether these qualify at all is up to you.

  7. BC says:

    Have you checked out Rosarium Publishing?

    http://rosariumpublishing.com/

  8. brigidkeely says:

    Speaking of Aliette de Bodard, her “House Of Shattered Wings” has a protagonist from the setting’s version of Vietnam (it’s very AU) and his culture/experiences heavily influence the story (and the way he works magic).

  9. poshratpro says:

    I’m a mixt ethnicity writer who writes from my Choctaw heritage as well as my rromani. I’m on Amazon and facebook – Cheryce Clayton.

    Here’s a lit review of two of my novelettes:https://journals.kent.ac.uk/index.php/transmotion/article/view/192/755

  10. lenaboo3 says:

    HI there! Awesome list. The trilogy I’ve written alongside my two co-authors features a diverse cast of characters including a POC heroine. It’s called The Seeds Trilogy (sci-fi/dystopia) and can be found under the pen name K. Makansi. Available in print and e-book 🙂

    Looking forward to diving into some of these titles!

  11. Thank you for the list. You should add Carole McDonnell’s Wind Follower.

  12. Steve. says:

    Muezzinland, Beautiful Intelligence, No Grave For A Fox.

  13. Sam says:

    George R. R. Martin’s novel Hunter’s Run has a Chicano working class main character, and deals a lot with issues of race, class and masculinity. Ironically proving that he knows exactly how misogynistic and racist the Game of Thrones universe is.

  14. Nick Wood says:

    UmZulu protagonist Sibusiso Mchunu in Azanian Bridges (to be released April 2016) http://www.newconpress.co.uk/info/book.asp?id=62&referer=Hp

  15. “Dragon in Chains” by Daniel Fox is set in a fantasy analogue of dynastic Taiwan, and all the characters are Chinese. (And my own Tower of the King’s Daughter et seq, the Books of Outremer, are set in a Middle-East analogue in the time of the Crusader kingdoms, and feature Muslim characters. (There’s also gay elements in both series, which has upset some readers.)

  16. loganbacon says:

    George Alec Effinger’s Budayeen Cycle – SF with Mideastern setting and characters. Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series – Urban Fantasy, half Native American protagonist.

  17. Barry Hughart’s BRIDGE OF BIRDS and sequels THE STORY OF THE STONE and EIGHT SKILLED GENTLEMEN are set in a fantasy version of ancient China with all Chinese cast. Lian Hearn’s TALES OF THE OTORI series is set in a world based on feudal Japan. And my YA fantasy novel NORTH OF THE DRAGONLANDS has an African female protagonist.

  18. Mat Menswear says:

    Larry Niven’s Ringworld. Nebula award 1970, Hugo 1971

  19. Amanda Ryan says:

    The Lotus Wars series by Jay Kristoff.
    It’s been a while since I read it, but I think the protagonist in The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong is Navajo.

    1. I’ve heard there’s some issues with how the author of the Lotus Wars series treated Asian cultures.

  20. *ends up here via Mention*

    My military SF book Spots the Space Marine has a Hispanic woman as the main character and my romance, while taking place in a secondary world, is cross-racial (medium-dark gold skin and pale).

    I am also a Hispanic, so most people think of me as a POC author. 🙂

    Thanks for this list! *goes to read lots of new things!*

  21. In Tad Williams’ Otherworld series, both main characters and the villain are non-white, and it’s set in South Africa.

  22. Tsevyn - says:

    Thank you so much for compiling this list! ❤

  23. JC Kang says:

    Thank you for this list! I’d like shamelessly self-promote my book, the Dragon Scale Lute, which features a multicultural cast and two female leads.

  24. Aniqah says:

    Thank you SO MUCH for making this list! I can’t wait to read urban fantasy books with PoC 🤗

  25. Ray Wright says:

    No Trail Behind Me, a rare very urban very magical fantasy featuring POC’s, also has a teen female lead character.

  26. cyndin says:

    Fabulous list!!

    Here are some I suggest as additions:

    You have 2 novels already by Octavia Butler in Black Science Fiction, but I would also add Kindred. It may go under young adult and is a time travel story.

    Binti now has a sequel!! Home. Should be out 1/31/17.

    The Sea Is Ours: Tales from Steampunk Southeast Asia, by Jaymee Goh (Editor) and Joyce Chng (Editor), is a collection of short stories all with Asian protagonists. A lot of very interesting ones.

    Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements, by Adrienne Maree Brown (Editor/Contributor) and Walidah Imarisha (Editor/Contributor) (and many others) is a great collection with a variety of POC protagonists.

    The Hummingbird’s Daughter, by Luis Alberto Urrea, is a fantasy (magical realism) novel about a Mexican (half Indian) woman with magical powers to cure people. I’m halfway through the sequel, Queen of America which, so far, is not nearly as strong. The first book is quite good.

    1Q84, by Haruki Murakami, is a somewhat confusing but compelling (and excellent) science fiction story from Japan.

  27. Amy Marsh says:

    Samuel Delaney. Please! Both as a writer and as someone who has protagonists who are often (mostly?) black and/or queer. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_R._Delany

  28. dennisjerz says:

    Not the same thing, but I noticed while reading the Gregor the Overlander series that the race of the protagonist and his siblings is never specified. Plenty of fans assume Gregor is white, but the cover art never shows what he looks like, beyond having dark hair), and there are scattered references to a sister who has what seems like dark skin (at least to the underworld characters who never see sunlight) and dark curly hair.

  29. Robert Krawitz says:

    David Weber’s Honorverse has a lot of characters (such as Queen Elizabeth of Manticore and her cousin, eventually Admiral Michelle “Mike” Henke/Countess Gold Peak) who are mentioned in passing as having extremely dark skin; that was a characteristic of the royal family from when the planet was first settled.

    The series has branched out. The original protagonist, Honor Harrington (any resemblance to Horatio Hornblower is, well, not exactly accidental), is noted as having very pale skin IIRC, but many of her friends in the Royal Manticoran Navy (such as Admiral Gold Peak) take on much more leading roles in some of the branches.

    It is also more or less entirely gender-neutral, as are many of his other works.

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