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Dinosaurs & Dames: A Selection of Short Stories

So this is a self-published anthology of my short fiction that I recently posted for sale on Amazon.com:

Dinosaurs & Dames

This is a self-published anthology of short stories by amateur writer Brandon S. Pilcher. By and large, they are action-packed speculative-fiction tales featuring dinosaurs and other savage beasts, fierce female warriors and huntresses, and African cultural influences. So if you like adventure, strong heroines, prehistoric wildlife, and non-Western settings, these are the stories for you.

I would greatly appreciate it if anyone with a Kindle or Kindle app would be willing to spend $1 on my anthology. You won’t regret it!

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Cartoon Cleopatra with Color

Cartoon Cleopatra with Colors

I wanted to see how my cartoon-style Cleopatra would appear in color. This time, I chose to give her a “redbone” complexion, like that of the actress Gabrielle Union. Given her Macedonian ancestry (at least on her father’s side), Cleopatra VII most probably wouldn’t have been a super-dark girl, but I still prefer a browner look for her. Or maybe she’s collected a slight tan from the bright Alexandrian sun.

Alexander the Great of Macedon

Alexander the Great of Macedon

Alexander III, the brilliant Macedonian prince and general known for conquering the mighty Persian Empire, stands in the hilly countryside of his native homeland. For some reason, a lot of modern portrayals of Alexander depict him as a blond-haired and blue-eyed, practically Nordic-looking guy. I used to do that too in some of my older art, but since then I’ve grown sick of that look and so colored Alexander as more Mediterranean (i.e. dark hair and tan skin) this time. That seems more likely for most of the ancient Macedonians anyway.

Queen Nefertari with Palms Out

Nefertari with Palms Out

This is based on wall paintings from the tomb of the Egyptian Queen Nefertari (labeled Tomb QV66), which show her raising her arms up with open palms in adoration of the gods. However, my main reason for doing this was to practice coloring an African person’s palms accurately. If you look at the palms and soles of African and other darker-skinned people, you’ll notice they always have this distinctively paler, pinkish color. I say it’s time I stopped neglecting this when coloring my non-European characters.

Horemheb

General HoremhebHoremheb, who reigned from 1319 to 1292 BC, was the last Pharaoh of Egypt’s 18th dynasty. But before then, he was a soldier of common birth who became the military commander-in-chief during the reigns of his predecessors Tutankhamun and Ay. Upon seizing Ay’s throne for himself, Horemheb set out to erase mention of the weaker kings before him from official records, revive the country’s deteriorated strength, and restore the traditional Egyptian religion in place of Akhenaten’s “heretical” cult of Aten. You could say he wanted to “make Egypt great again”.

This would be Horemheb while he was still a general. I’m not entirely happy with how the proportions of his figure came out, but I rather like his dreadlocks.

The Historical Jesus

The Historical Jesus

If Jesus of Nazareth were a real historical figure, I like to imagine that he would have looked something like this. This isn’t the first time I’ve drawn a portrait of Jesus, but it’s a subject I like to return to every once in a while as my drawing style evolves. Here, I’ve chosen to depict him as a man of predominantly Palestinian Jewish heritage, but with a suggestion of African ancestry. Since the region of Palestine (which includes modern Israel as well as the West Bank and Gaza) is right next door to Africa, it seems likely that the Hebrews and other Semitic natives of the area would have admixed with African peoples such as the ancient Egyptians and Kushites. Indeed, up to 20% of Palestinian men (and 30% of Jewish men around the world) have the African Y-chromosomal haplogroup E. As for Jesus’s turban here, it’s speculative on my part, but something like it might have come in handy for a busy carpenter sweating under the desert sun.

Hofmeyr Man

Hofmeyr Man

This is my reconstruction of a Homo sapiens individual from 36,000 years ago, whose skull was uncovered near the town of Hofmeyr in South Africa. One remarkable finding is that this skull’s morphology is distinct from that of the region’s modern Bantu- and Khoisan-speaking inhabitants, but resembles that of Upper Paleolithic skulls from Europe. Therefore, it’s likely that this guy was somehow related to the Northeast African population from whom all modern humans outside of Africa splintered off between 70-50,000 years ago.

Natufian Shaman

Natufian Shaman

This woman is a shaman from the Natufian culture, which occupied the Levantine region of the Middle East between 14-11,000 years ago. They would have lived as hunter-gatherers, but they appear to have settled down and built permanent villages instead of roaming the land as nomads, and they most probably were among the forerunners to the region’s earliest farmers. The woman’s “headband” is actually made of dentalium shells strung together, and the beads of her necklace would have been fashioned from bones and animal teeth; both are based on Natufian jewelry recovered from the site of El Wad in what is now Israel.

The First Emperors (Redrawn)

The First Emperors Redrawn

These are portraits of the first two individuals in recorded history to establish extensive nation-states, or what we may call empires. The darker-skinned dude on the left is Narmer, a monarchic chieftain from southern Egypt who conquered the north around 3100 BC and brought about the first dynasty of a united Egypt. On the right is Sargon of Akkad, who conquered the Sumerian city-states of Mesopotamia and brought much of the Middle East’s Fertile Crescent under his control between 2334 and 2279 BC. It’s hard to say whether Sargon knew anything about Narmer’s conquests before undertaking his own, but I personally find the thought very tempting.

PSA on Melanesian, African, and European Population Genetics

PapuanPSAPeople from New Guinea and other islands in Melanesia often get confused with Africans since they have retained dark skin and tightly curled hair from the African ancestors of all modern humans. However, they actually have received less African admixture (within the last 50,000 years) than so-called “white” Europeans!

My source for this information is the EthioHelix blog article “The World at K = 2”.