Reviewers and interviewers have asked about this. Raisa's family have probably never heard the word anorexic, but Raisa's relationship with food is not healthy. What began as a loss of appetite when her sister got pregnant became a stubborn hunger strike when her parents tried to intervene, and grew into an obsession. For Raisa, it's all tied into her family's expectation that she will marry and preserve the line. So it's not about body image; it's about rebellion. Raisa's midnight runs aren't to keep her weight down, they're part of her dream to escape. Nonetheless, it's a character flaw, and a pretty big one: it affects her decisions. At first, I thought she'd get over it with a change of surroundings, but she's stubborn. I'm rooting for her to get better. A person can have mental health issues and still be heroic.
Actually, no. The culture treats men and women equally. Girls take their mother's name, boys their father's. So Raisa's mother is Maria Wing, and her maternal grandmother is Rhiannon Wing, and so on. Raisa's first name was given by her father, Anthony Kinakin, who has Russian ancestors, so he gave his daughters Russian names: Raisa and Nikita. Raisa's brothers are all Kinakins like their father, and have Chinese first names bestowed by their mother. Perhaps you think it's weird that Raisa's male and female siblings have different last names, but it's not as strange as changing a woman's name on marriage. Bloodlines are very important to the landholder dynasties. Becoming an Avian and taking a new name is a betrayal of that.
Nope. Venus is the same size as Earth, and has eighty times the atmospheric pressure at the surface. Celadon has about four times as much air as Earth, but gravity is similar.
Good one. It's because Celadon has no moon. Our moon was formed by a giant interplanetary collision that stripped off a lot of earths rocky mantle, and the moon is mostly silicate rock, while Earth has much metal mixed into our rock. So I speculate (I am not a planetary geologist) that Celadon's metalic core is deep below a thick mantle of rock that was never disturbed and mixed with metal. The volcanoes are formed from lava with a high content of silicates, making the volcanoes steep-sided and prone to violent eruptions. The Converts mine metals from Celadon's rings, but they do not trade them with the Naturals.
I wrote a short story about this. It's called "Far Gone," and it appeared in issue #31 of NewMyths.com. It has also been selected for Twilight Worlds, an anthology of short stories. It takes place long before Raisa is born, and it covers the origin of the Converts. I guess it also explains why Celadon does not communicate with Earth.
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