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100 Sci Fi Women #6: Dorothea Macdonald

Dorothea Macdonald aka Diamond Mask  Julian May’s Galactic Milieu Trilogy

We meet Dorothea as a small child, frightened of her own power and frightened of that of others, scared of difference and of standing out. A small plain girl of enormous intelligence of even more enormous repressed metapsychic intelligence, Dorothea attempts to hide from what she is and what she can be. As she grows up she learns that she can’t repress her power for ever, even if it frightens other people. And it is not until she nearly dies that she learns to shed her own fears. As a mature adult she proves that size and looks are not the most important aspects of a person and that it is not necessary to be physically perfect to have the love of others. She hides her horrific facial damage behind a diamond encrusted mask because it is more improtant to her that she gets on with her work of running the planet of Caledonia. She comes to love Jack Remillard, despite the fact that his physical form is nothing but a naked brain. Dedicated to her work, to humanity and to peace, she is willing to die using non-violence to defeat the evil she sees arrayed against the galaxy. I have read Magnificat a bunch of times, and I still always cry the entire way through the final chapter. Dorothea is a great hero who fights without violence and triumphs with love.

She was very young and very human, and this change in her relationship with the Callie citizenry touched her profoundly.  Before, her great abilities had been obscured as it were, by the image of a small, plain-featured woman wearing ordinary clothes. But in her diamond mask and sparkling suit she became almost an icon, a telling symbol of strength and authority. While she wore that garb, no one would ever forget what she really was. And neither would she.

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