Age: early 40s. “A former lover had called her slight: she preferred slim. Blonde hair in the style she wore for work: prim, no-nonsense.” Trained as a psychiatrist and was a partner in a practice, but then transferred to the College: “‘she felt she wasn’t contributing enough to … I don’t know, the common good. She wanted to contribute more, and what organisation contributes the most? The College.'” More by accident than design, she found herself sponsored by Commissioner Li Daiho, head of the Correspondents division. Marje is naturally independent of mind but, at the start of Time’s Chariot, she is so determined to make a go of her new-found position and to work within the system she is prepared to sacrifice her independence for the sake of what she perceives as doing things properly.
If a film was made she should be played by: Helen Mirren.
Age: early 30s. “Blond stubbly hair and burning eyes”. A man with a massive chip on his shoulder. Rico is a Field Op and once worked for the Specifics, Fieldwork’s elite; which is ironic because it was the Specifics who brought him to the Home Time. He was born in a timeline that shouldn’t have existed and the Specifics were sent in to repair things: they brought him back to the College and he spent his childhood in the orphans crèche. Spookkids, as such children are known, are very difficult to place with Home Time parents, who can’t get over their conviction that the past is fine for watching but anything actually from it is naturally dirty and unpleasant. Rico has worked his way up by sheer hard work and doesn’t take kindly to helping hands, even when he needs them.
If a film was made he should be played by: Callum Keith Rennie (Ray mk. 2 from Due South).
Age: early 30s. Rico’s best (and quite probably only real) friend, temperamentally his exact opposite: quiet, reserved and able to keep her temper. Also a Field Op, Su was made Rico’s senior partner when he was busted from the Specifics in the hope that she would help keep him under control. Sometimes she manages. Su is happily married to Tong, lives in Pacifica ecopolis and has one child.
If a film was made she should be played by: Lucy Liu.
Age: late 30s. Hossein is assistant to the Commissioner for Correspondents, and a former Field Op. Marje Orendal is surprised to find him a man of considerable talent and can’t help wondering why he chooses to occupy his relatively lowly position. A man with hidden depths, and not easy to get on with: the words “cold fish” would come to mind if “tosser” didn’t get there first.
If a film was made he should be played by: Paul Darrow, Blake’s 7 era.
Age: late 40s. Scott is a member of the Scott family, members of the Holmberg-Chabani-Scott combine that dominates a large part of world agriculture. A patrician, naturally, and in his own way a patriot: he has definite ideas how the lot of planet Earth can be improved vis-à-vis the space nations and would be quite happy to see a new order take over. With himself in an advantageous position, of course.
If a film was made he should be played by: Jonathan Frakes.
Former Commissioner of Correspondents and sponsor of Marje Orendal, which is how she got his job. His burning passion is ancient philosophy and Marje isn’t at all surprised to learn that he set a Correspondent to track down and interview some of the great names of philosophy throughout the ages. As the novel progresses, we learn other, more surprising things about him.
If a film was made he should be played by: Aki Aleong (Mr Morita from The Karate Kid).
Age: 16-17. The kind of boy who isn’t particularly spotty but wouldn’t be surprised if he was: it would go quite naturally with his “quite unreasonably big ears, general gangliness, hair that just wouldn’t do anything …” Self-esteem not high. He works on the Holmberg-Chabani-Scott plantation, five thousand feet below the surface of the Pacific north east of the Marquesas, and is an extremely proficient biotechnology journeyman, which is what brings him to the attention of Phenuel Scott. Jontan has known Sarai Killin since they were children; they were raised side by side and he has recently realised his feelings towards her are more than just brotherly. “The advantage of being madly in love with her was that they had so much of their shared childhood to talk about. The disadvantage … was that they had so much of their shared childhood to talk about.” The Home Time isn’t perfect, as far as he’s concerned — too many people to boss him around, unrequited and unconsummated love for Sarai — but it’s a lot better than the alternative.
If a film was made he should be played by: Lukas Haas, late teens.
Age: 16-17. “Dark eyes and short brown hair and slender figure”; that at least is how Jontan sees her. Very fond of Jontan, who she has loved ever since he saved her from a playground bully (who promptly beat him up) but not sure if she wants it to go any further; if you have a wonderful friendship, why spoil it? Just as good a journeyman as he is; they both came top of their class, which is why Phenuel Scott chooses them both for a job he has in mind.
If a film was made she should be played by: Jodie Foster, late teens.