I HAVE ALWAYS LOVED deep space stories about star-spanning governments and alien races, ala Babylon 5 and Star Trek. In my first series, the adventures of Robert Fenaday and the genetically-engineered woman Shasti Rainhell, aboard the privateer Sidhe, I created the universe all my SF stories would be set in, much as author Larry Niven did with his ‘Known Space’ works. I experimented with robots, aliens, cultures and the technologies of the future Confederacy for four novels. Even finding a name for my future government was a challenge (you can’t go with Federation, too Star Trek) so I went with ‘Confederacy,’ though that word has its own freight. A lot of the good names were taken.
I thought my future universe could hold an AI which, of course, could look like anything that you want. But I wanted my character to be very much in keeping with that Japanese anime female character with all of her special abilities, seen in so many manga and anime. I felt that even the broad span of time until my future Confederacy would not give rise to someone as special as Maauro so I set her as being created by a vastly more advanced race who mysteriously disappeared long before the rise of humanity’s civilization. Thus Maauro, who could have chosen to look like anything, chose her anime appearance and gender.
Before we worked with our current cover artist, Pat Ventura, Michael Church (a pro photographer specializing in glamour photography) was briefly experimenting with computer images and I prevailed on him to do some covers for me. This was the first image of Maauro and while I love what Pat has done with the concept and the covers I have never lost my affection for this initial image presented here and with a close-up.