Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!
It never even occurred to me to think about the "Vanderbilt dynasty" when writing about Thomas Vanderbilt. I wasn't even particularly aware that there was one. To me the name suggests Gloria Vanderbilt, who I think was a fashion designer or something, but beyond that I'm pretty clueless about what the name suggests. Sure, it does have kind of an upper-class sound, but to me it was pretty much just a name.
Anyway, I did try to describe Thomas Vanderbilt as having olive or medium-dark skin, suggesting that he wasn't as white as the name suggests but was of a mixed ethnic background. So he's certainly not meant to be a pureblooded descendant of some current "dynasty." And I didn't portray him as upper-class in any way.
I didn't take the character of Thomas Vanderbilt as being intended to be a descendant of the Vanderbilt family. I just took it as a guy with the same name.
"Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic Socialism, as I understand it." - George Orwell, 1946