io9 has a good post highlighting some of the more memorable character descriptions in speculative fiction, including one of my favorite books, Ender’s Game. Here’s a snippet from the article about EG:
“Ender did not see Peter as the beautiful ten-year-old boy that grown-ups saw, with dark, tousled hair and a face that could have belonged to Alexander the Great. Ender looked at Peter only to detect anger or boredom, the dangerous moods that almost always led to pain.” Nice construction, telling us how other people see Peter, but then juxtaposing it with the more visceral way that Ender sees him.
I love great character descriptions that really grab you and propel the story forward. Here is one from my latest novel, Runaway, where the main character, Seamus, meets the wife of the man who purchased him as a slave. He quickly learns there is a lot of trouble in this family…
As they approached the house a few minutes later, Chippus flung the door open wide. “There he is! See, he’s not much older than me!”
Behind him a woman stepped into the doorway. Like the others, she had a faint giraffe pattern running from her temples down her neck, though of a lighter shade. The hair coiled upon her head was also not quite as dark. And her dress looked more elegant than the utilitarian jumpsuits the others wore. Seamus smiled, ready to greet Lady Apphia, but as he saw her darkening expression, his own faded. She looked angrier than he’d ever seen Filymon. And even more dangerous.
So, what are some of your favorite character descriptions?