TASWG assignment: Create a character with full description in the manner of Charles Dickens.
I chose to describe the female alien on the cover of Mortal Gods by Jonathan Fast, illustration by Jim Burns.
She sits on a spacious light brown leather-like seat in a strange craft, the back of the pilot’s green helmet to her right hand side. Her skin is smooth and pale blue, like the sky of Earth. Her face is a long oval, narrow at the chin.
In the centre of her forehead is a small red oval jewel and her head is surrounded by an impressive wide halo of luminescent white fuzz, so fine that one cannot see the individual hairs, if there are indeed any. Her age is indeterminate but her appearance is that of a young woman, perhaps thirty.
Her eyes are of oriental appearance but much larger; chestnut brown pupils set against eyeballs the colour of faded plasterboard. Large eyelids tinged with faint blue lashes give a hooded, eagle-like impression to the eyes.
Her nose is long and spatulate, rather like an inverted duck’s beak, and extends from the base of the forehead to her upper lip. The nostrils are prominent and start perhaps an inch above the tip of the nose. Her lips are similar in shape to an Earth-woman’s, full and with a tinge of pink against the blue.
—Her body is clothed in a brief outfit of gossamer fabric that hangs from an intricate red strap that passes over her bare shoulders. The strap is leather-like and has holes punched in it and several tendril-like extensions, two much larger ones of which extend outwards to her arms. The strap has a green ‘blob’ as a centrepiece with tendrils that intertwine with the red strap.
Her breasts are large and pendulant, scarcely masked by the see-through fabric. Above and below them is a black framework of metallic appearance which seems to hang from the red strap. It appears to be composed of thick black wire incorporating circles, ovals and a heart-shaped design, as well as a red and a green stone.
Below her short skirt her blue legs are tucked up, almost to her chest, and her abnormally long slender arms are clutched around her ankles. She appears to have four long slender fingers on each hand, one in place of a thumb.
The expression on her face is neutral, or perhaps of disdain, and her eyes speak of knowledge far beyond man’s experience and, perhaps, understanding.
View illustration: cover art by Jim Burns