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Old Jul 8 2014, 02:27 PM   #1
D. M. Domini
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Default Green vs. Yellow

In the short story "The Lady in the Tower" (if I recall correctly...it's that or "A Meeting of Minds"), Afra is described as yellow-skinned. In the later novel Damia, Afra definitely becomes green-skinned. The original cigarette that Afra smokes becomes a piece of cake (lol) as well, between story and book.

Why do you guys think that happened? (The skin color, that is. Unless you have an opinion on the cake!)

Personally, now that I'm older, and the more I muse on it, I think Afra was originally intended to be of Asian descent, and probably Japanese in particular. The Method, despite superficial similarities to the word "Methodist", strikes me as derived from bits and pieces of Eastern culture; family honor is paramount, individuals are supposed to conform and subsume their personal needs, arranged marriages are practiced, and emotional control is strict. Also, Afra's hobbies are origami and calligraphy, which are certainly Japanese art forms. The only oddball is his surname, which is French. (And, his first name, which is feminine. And the name of a female saint.)

But why was Afra changed from someone with yellow skin, to someone with green skin? Why was he taken from plausibly non-white, to someone from an "alien" planet? Capella COULD have heavily been colonized by Japanese, yet when the book came around, Afra ends up a green-skinned (presumably white, if the cover art is any indication) kid who just happened to pick up unusual hobbies from a Japanese freighter guy passing through the Tower. So why did that change? Any theories or insights?

(I think the cigarette to cake change just reflects modern morals changing. The short story was written at a time when smoking was very, very commonplace everywhere. The novel came out when public smoking reforms were gaining a lot of momentum.)
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Old Jul 8 2014, 08:27 PM   #2
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Default Re: Green vs. Yellow

I always took the green skin as being an environmental side effect - something in the water, or the light of that sun triggered a mutation in skin tone... I don't know.

It's not mentioned much outside of the first half of Damia, is it? It's been a while since I read it.

And I don't believe it's ever mentioned in their children.
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Old Jul 8 2014, 09:44 PM   #3
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Default Re: Green vs. Yellow

One of their kids had is which book I don't recall at the moment
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Old Jul 12 2014, 02:57 AM   #4
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Default Re: Green vs. Yellow

It could be in "Damia's Children" or "Lyon's Pride" that Kaltia was mentioned as having Capella-yellow eyes.
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Old Jul 12 2014, 10:22 AM   #5
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Default Re: Green vs. Yellow

Kaltia is mentioned as having inherited her father's yellow eyes.

None of them are said to have inherited his skin.

My pet theory is that Capella has an invasive bacteria-like organism present on it that photosynthesizes, and which becomes integrated harmlessly with human cells, as an extra pigment and energy producing organelle. But perhaps it's passed on to offspring by women only, because an egg will have present one of those organelles from conception, and sperm will not.
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Old Jul 12 2014, 08:47 PM   #6
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Default Re: Green vs. Yellow

I sometimes got the impression with the description of Afra and the 'Methody' way of Capella that somewhere along the line Anne was subconsciously channeling Vulcan,
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Old Jul 12 2014, 09:07 PM   #7
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Default Re: Green vs. Yellow

For a time I saw correlations between Data of STNG, but the original stories with Afra in them were published before that show aired. I think one of the short stories MIGHT even predate the original Star Trek...but don't quote me on that.

"Emotional control" is not an uncommon theme in sci-fi.
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Old Jul 19 2014, 12:36 PM   #8
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Default Re: Green vs. Yellow

Yes, Lady in the Tower was first published in 1959, so it predates the first Pern story by about 9 years.

I think Anne changed her mind about Capellan skin from yellow to green (unless that one mention was accidental and she intended to have green skin from the start) when she continued to write in that setting to avoid any appearance of discrimination against Asians, because the second short story was published in 1969, when the Vietnam war was on.
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Old Jul 19 2014, 09:35 PM   #9
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Default Re: Green vs. Yellow

Is it possible in those first stories she had him as an alien?
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Old Jul 22 2014, 06:05 AM   #10
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Default Re: Green vs. Yellow

Somehow I doubt it. The Damia story featured the Sodan incident, and while it's been a few years since I last read it, I doubt Anne would make Damia jump from one infatuation with an alien (that ended very badly) to another.
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Old Jul 28 2014, 02:01 AM   #11
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Default Re: Green vs. Yellow

I was going to say, she probably initially just thought "Yellow people = alien world, sci-fi themes" but then someone pointed out/she realized that might be considered somewhat less than nice, or she realized that they WOULD assume he was Asian and she was shooting for alien and green skin was more obvious.

Of course there's the bit we're all overlooking and it's another Anne-Consistency and she just forgot and made him green from there on out....
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Old Apr 24 2017, 06:26 PM   #12
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Default Re: Green vs. Yellow

That was something I've been wondering about for awhile - Afra's skin and eye color. Though it seems only he has such outstanding attributes, in the latter part of the series, other Capellans aren't mentioned as having odd skin...must wonder what the Mrdini really thought of Afra when they met him in person!

How long would it take for such a change to become apparent in human genomes to 'breed true' each generation? Remember that for us, yellowed eyes denote jaundice, though that's usually in the whites of the eyes, not the iris.

Always made me think of F'lar's amber eyes - that slightly golden brown tone...
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