M. Shayne Bell's Nicoji:
Additional Resources

These lists pertain to M. Shayne Bell's science fiction novel Nicoji (Baen, 1991), and are provided as a resource for students and researchers.

Dramatis Personae

Brief description, role
Jake1The book's narrator and protagonist. A young man about 23-years-old who has come from Idaho to the planet Nicoji to work as an agricultural laborer. He is descended from Swiss Latter-day Saints who settled in Idaho eight generations ago. Although he does not appear to be actively religious, he exhibits ethical, helpful farmboy sensibilities.
Senhor Vattani1Brazilian merchant who runs the company store.
Marcos Vattani1Young son of Senhor Vattani.
Fabio Vattani1Young son of Senhor Vattani.
Morgan2An associate of Jake who once told him: if you had to ask the price you couldn't afford it.
Sam2Jake's best friend, whom he has known since childhood, and who has come with him to Nicoji to work. Sam has rather eclectic interests, including Zen Buddhism, labor reform, and A Pilgrim's Promise. The most prominent character after Jake, and the only other character with Jake during the middle bayou section.
various unnamed
"company boys"
2Many "company boys" are mentioned them throughout the novel without naming them. These are the foremen and other managers who are higher up in the American Nicoji company. They are generally cruel to the lowly piece workers such as Sam and Jake, and do whatever the company asks them to do.
Manoel3A Brazilian Nicoji worker who speaks very little English. He brings Jake to his friend Raimundo to extract Raimundo's tooth.
Raimundo4A Brazilian Nicoji worker and friend of Jake and Sam. A significant character at the very beginning and end (starting with pg. 178) of the book. It is Raimundo who tells Sam and Jake about the new company town, which they decide to journey to.
Senhora Vattani9Wife of Senhor Vattani. She is much kinder than her husband, grateful to Sam after he saves her child from drowning, and assists Jake in the novel.
Loryn11Jake's girlfriend from back in Idaho. He remains faithful to her and thinks about her often, even though he hasn't actually heard from her for a year. With the way he carries her picture around, Loryn is more of a totem or icon than a real person, a symbol of his hope to get back home, away from the horrible conditions of his slavery-like job on Nicoji.
Ben Silva14The only person Jake can recall who ever was able to earn enough money for passage away from the Nicoji job. It's not clear, however, that he actually made it all the way home after he left the planet.
16One of the indigenous native species called "help" who hurts his hand early in the novel and is identifiable after that by the bandages applied by Sam and Jake. This is the main "help" character. First referred to as "Help-with-the-hurt-hand" on page 46. Sam and Jake first learn his name in his own language--Midekena--on page 157, and start calling him "Kena" for short.
Eloise Hansdatter17A Ph.D. candidate who gets a job as a Nicoji worker so she can study the indigenous species known as the "help." She is the most important female character and has a semi-significant role at the beginning and end (starting with page 181) of the novel.
unnamed doctor24A company doctor, applies the locator implants to Sam, Jake, and all other Nicoji workers.
Floyd Johnson29A foreman for Westinghouse Farms in Idaho, Sam and Jake's employer until it was bought out by Hitachi Farms.
Doug Phillips29A foreman with Hitachi Farms' Idaho operations.
Alberto Goldstein36Brazilian Jew nicoji worker who found a Star of David growing in the bark of a tree in the bayou. Planned to emigrate to Israel after leaving Nicoji, but disappeared in the bayou before he could leave the planet.
Cliff Morgan36One of the nicoji workers who found Alberto Goldstein's raft. One of the workers who goes to the new company town (pg. 180).
Doug Jones36One of the nicoji workers who found Alberto Goldstein's raft.
Paul Toscano50Nicoji worker whose partner had gotten so sick while working in the bayou that he didn't dare move him. When the company helicopter rescued him, they didn't take his partner because it wasn't economically viable to try to rescue somebody who would probably die anyway.
Maria Vattani54Senhor Vattani's daughter. Sam had saved her from drowning, and her mother was very grateful. Encountered at end of novel also, starting on page 228.
Jose Melendez61A "wrinkled Mexican with a Fu Manchu mustache" who ran a Zen temple in Idaho Falls.
Ditha (blind female help)119The blind female help who begins traveling with Sam and Jake. They first learn her name in her own language, Chiddiditha, on page 156, and start referring to her as "Ditha" for short.
Gregg Thorsen171Name of a character from a series of science fiction films, which Jake recalls at one point.
Stewart185One of the "wild guys" who had fled the company many months before and had lived in the wild, until coming to the new company town after the storm. Promises Jake he'll give him help if he needs any. His name is first mentioned on page 192.
Jeff186One of the "wild guys." Menaces Jake until Stewart tells him to leave him alone.
Maua188A Brazilian nicoji worker who had "set himself up as a Macumba lord. Most Brazis and some Americans--even some company boys--went to him with their physical or spiritual ailments, and he'd perform voodoo and take money or nets or nicoji for it." Recruited by Maua to treat Sam.
Carlos192One of the "wild guys" who helps Jake bring his sick help up from a cave to the makeshift "hospital" in the company town on the mesao.
Lindoval192One of the "wild guys" who helps Jake bring his sick help up from a cave.
Scott192One of the "wild guys" who helps Jake bring his sick help up from a cave.
Todd192One of the "wild guys" who helps Jake bring his sick help up from a cave.
Dave192One of the "wild guys" who helps Jake bring his sick help up from a cave.
another Dave192One of the "wild guys" who helps Jake bring his sick help up from a cave.
Peter Rojas207Friend of Stewart, who fled the company town with him. Killed by an indigenous form of spider.
Carolyn223Jake's aunt in Idaho, who used to "sing Hindi songs and never explain where or why she had learned them."

Settings in Nicoji

1Company town: including the company store, Raimundo's hut, Sam and Jake's hut, doctors' office and offices where the nicoji meat is inspected and payment distributed.
34Pantano/bayou: The swamps ("pantano" is Portuguese for "swamp") surrounding the small American Nicoji company town. Most of book takes place here.
119Help home: the part of the swamp where the help come from who have been coming to the nicoji workers' camp. It is here that Sam and Jake are the first humans to encounter female and children of the species.
174mesao: site of the new company town

Historical Figures Mentioned in Nicoji

  • Plato, pg. -1
  • Buddha, pg. 61
  • Albert Schweizter, pg. 115
  • Noah, pg. 168

Lists based on the fiction of M. Shayne Bell. These lists copyright (©) Adherents.com.
Web page created 9 June 2000. Last modified 20 June 2000.