“My color scheme was conscious and deliberate from the start. I didn’t see why everybody in science fiction had to be a honky named Bob or Joe or Bill. I didn’t see why everybody in heroic fantasy had to be white (and why all the leading women had “violet eyes”).
It didn’t even make sense. Whites are a minority on Earth now—why wouldn’t they still be either a minority, or just swallowed up in the larger colored gene pool, in the future?
The fantasy tradition I was writing in came from Northern Europe, which is why it was about white people. I’m white, but not European. My people could be any color I liked, and I like red and brown and black.
I was a little wily about my color scheme. I figured some white kids (the books were published for “young adults”) might not identify straight off with a brown kid, so I kind of eased the information about skin color in by degrees—hoping that the reader would get “into Ged’s skin” and only then discover it wasn’t a white one.”