Monday, September 8, 2014

Pressed into Service

As I said while describing my portrait of main character Maggie Steele, 18th-century customs prevail on the spaceships in Linda Grant dePauw's book. The interiors are wood timbers, they use old technologies like ropes and winches, and the ships carry livestock on board as well as hydroponic vegetable gardens. And when they need unskilled crew or lower-deck servants, they go to the streets, the jails, and reformatories on Earth and press criminals and malfeasants into service against their will, just as the 18th century fighting navy did. DePauw knows a huge amount about these archaic naval customs and finds a way to integrate them into a science-fictional context. 

This character, Rebecca  Petrie, is a violent street kid pressed into service on the wooden spaceship of the story. She does all kinds of nasty hi-jinks and rebellious actions before she surprisingly becomes one of the heroes of the book in the later chapters. The outfit she is wearing, including the bare feet, is taken from 18th century history.

Watercolor on illustration board, 8" x 10", spring 1990.

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