To Samuel, Mary, Luis, Karl, Henri, Ali Abdullah, Renee, Enrique, Brother Bernhard, and Father Alonso: Thank you for starting me on this journey. You were my first, and I will never forget you.
To Jay, Jane, Max, Agosto, Sienna, and Vance: Thank you for letting me dream. I needed it so badly at the time, and your nightmares led to my peace.
To Dusk, Captain Varens, Hella, Porter, Princess Leliya, and Tod: Thank you for providing catharsis and vision. Because of you, I learned more about myself.
To Shade, Kellis, and Artoran: Thank you for being my best. You’re still on my mind, and the world still needs you.
To Asho, Chei, Gallan, Martevis, Jarra, Taniss, Issa, Madon, Leli, Kagen, Deena, and Yanna: Thank you for the wide expanse. You let me explore my favorite theories.
To Rick and Drew, Thomas and Mira: Thank you for being in the right place at the right time. Yours may not be my most notable works, but I still remember and cherish them.
To Levi, Justin, Gabriel, Nic, Hanna, Mika, Lucas, Ed, Malik, Reza, Tori, Derry, and Alicia: Thank you for the sheer fun you bring. I can’t not smile when I think of you.
To Jessie, Dirk, Tabitha, and Isaac: Thank you for the window to the past. I know my grandparents would have loved to meet you in your own time.
To the other Lucas: Thank you for showing a side of me I didn’t know I had. I’ve found my own angel to love; I hope the rest of your tale can come true for me, too.
To Cam, Cassie, Lana, Anthony, Charlotte, Angie, and Britney: Thank you for fighting back the darkness. I fear the monsters in the real world aren’t so easy to tame.
To Ian, Steph, Blake, and Trish: Thank you for playing this game. You almost killed me the first time, but I’ll get back to you soon, I promise.
To Benit, Lia, Coss, Raneph, and Ketah: Thank you for showing both sides of a conflict. Yours is too gritty for me right now, so hold on a little while longer.
To Alex, Amy, Ryan, Jenn, Jeff, Ashley, Lee, Sara, Ayla, Ramon, and Damonte: Thank you for the world you opened. It’s been a great escape.
To Nimiesa, Irai, Niel, Egas, Desva, Cambi, Asirii, Nisha, Jeidis, Donyalei, Chaerys, Etanya, Direlmas, Nateya, and Chahin: Thank you for letting me into that world. I wouldn’t mind living in it…as long as you don’t worship me.
To William, Tyler, Emily, Jeanette, Joel, Phenom, Taos, Donny, Cristina, Zach, Damian, Kyle, and Jordyn: Thank you for carrying the torch. You brought fresh blood to my magnum opus.
Wow. I thought I was over a hundred total narrated characters, but I wasn’t sure of the final tally until this. The magic number is 114, apparently. A hundred and fourteen different points of view. That many other voices in my head. Nothing special about the number at all. I just wanted to know. Call it a census, because that’s a thing this year.
I consider all my characters to be something like my children. Now that I see just how many I have, I’m…proud. And I really do thank them. By speaking through them, I’ve been able to say things I would otherwise keep to myself. By looking through their eyes, I’ve seen many strange and wonderful sights.
For those wondering, here are the specifics. I only included characters whose perspectives I have written, whether in the first or third person. The list is grouped by story or series, for the most part. The Otherworld group takes up three slots: the first season’s expedition team, the natives, and everyone else. They’re just too big to treat together. Except for them, it’s mostly chronological order, but that’s not perfect—I can’t remember exactly when I wrote some of these!
I haven’t published Heirs of Divinity, Shadows Before the Sun, or “Satellites” in any fashion, and “Miracles” has been rescinded until I can edit it. The fourth Orphans of the Stars novel, Time in the Sun, is unfinished, but the points of view are set, so I counted it. I did not count Blue Mesa, as I have no plans to go back to it; it’s ten years old at this point, and it was frankly awful to begin with.
I did have to double-check the epilogue characters from Heirs of Divinity (the last four in the first group). Everyone else was from memory except Ketah. 109 out of 114 is a pretty good score, I think.
So much has happened since I sat down on a warm November afternoon and started typing out a scene of a seventeen-year-old young man from 18th-century York running for his life after a failed gunpowder bombing. My life has taken some turns. I don’t know if I’ll still be writing in 2030, but if I am, I’d like to come back to this post. How many new names would I be able to add to the list?