Tom Shallowhorne's Profile
CHARACTER: Tom Shallowhorne
HEIGHT: 6’ 3”
PLANET OF ORIGIN: Yewess
WEAPON: Windchaser laser revolvers
Tom Shallowhorne (pronounced: SHAL·low·horn) is a Yewessian army captain when the reader first meets him in the prologue of West World. He is sent as part of a militia force to “civilize” an untouched world named Endía, making it hospitable for colonists from other planets and to open access to a crucial ore known as Iathiam. When Shallowhorne realizes that their attack is on unarmed women and children, he tries to reason with his commanding officer to stop. Enraged by the unreasoning officer, this confrontation results in Shallowhorne killing his commander. In the remainder of the novel, Shallowhorne is a fugitive—determined to stand up to injustice—but plagued by his own conscience after taking a life in anger. In Return to West World and Battle for West World, we see Shallowhorne’s journey—reconciling his conscience with his actions—culminating in his truly coming to understand what it means to be a hero.
Tom Shallowhorne’s ultimate conflict is within himself. The author wanted his characters for The West World Trilogy to be realistic, so he was inspired by interviews with Vietnam War veterans to give Shallowhorne some of the conflicting emotions associated with PTSD. There have been other fictional characters developed in this way, but they're usually depicted as anything other than role models. The author wanted a more realistic portrayal, so most of what Shallowhorne deals with is internal.