Another kind of "First Contact"

Tue, 09/29/2020 - 08:08
Dennis Herrick

For years Esteban's biography author Dennis Herrick has collected science fiction novels and short stories about the "First Contact" by extraterrestrial aliens from another planet with the people of Earth. In writing the nonfiction biography, Esteban: The African Slave Who Explored America, it occurred to him how Esteban's appearance with Zuni Puebloans in the spring of 1539 was a kind of "First Contact" for the Zunis, who had never seen a Black man before and also had not imagined another world across the sea.

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Book error

Fri, 07/31/2020 - 15:09
Dennis Herrick

Yikes. Although all my notes and early manuscript versions said March 30, somehow the book ended up with an April 7 date on page 161 for Esteban’s departure from Vacapa. He actually left on March 30, 1539. He left on Passion Sunday, now usually called Palm Sunday, which was a week before Easter Sunday. I have no idea how thsse miscues happen in publishing.
     It was Friar Marcos who left on April 7, eight days later on the day after Easter, as the book states two pages later.

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Reviews keep coming in

Thu, 07/16/2020 - 21:28
Dennis Herrick

The book Esteban: The African Slave Who Explored America has been published for 14 months, but reviews are still being written, the latest being:
     “A fascinating biography of one of history’s most extraordinary and underappreciated explorers. This book will certainly prove to be a much more accurate source for those who study Esteban than previous works on his life and the significance of his travels.”
—Andrew Husa, Historical Geography

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Film or TV series about Esteban — could it be possible?

Tue, 04/14/2020 - 11:25
Dennis Herrick

A prestigious Santa Fe film rights company contacted the author of Esteban: The African Slave Who Explored America and is seeking a company that would produce a movie or TV series about Esteban's incredible story told in the book.
     It's possible (likely?) that nothing will come of the effort, but it still is a reaffirmation that Esteban's adventures are so dramatic that a national company feels the Esteban story should reach a film audience.

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Who was that Indian girl's daddy?

Thu, 03/19/2020 - 17:35
Dennis Herrick

There is a curious omission of sex by the entire Cabeza de Vaca group over the eight years of their travel across the continent. While enslaved, that's understandable, but in the last year and a half while they were on friendly terms with Indian women often naked or nearly naked, it seems less credible.
     This is mentioned because writers have made major and escalating accusations against Esteban about having sexual liaisons with native women, stating their opinions as fact despite no evidence.

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Discussion guide for book clubs

Fri, 10/04/2019 - 14:59
Dennis Herrick

A discussion guide is available for book clubs (or individuals) that read Esteban: The African Slave Who Explored America.
     Because the book's events take place in the sixteenth century, which is a period unfamiliar to many readers, the discussion guide explains concepts that might seem strange to the modern reader.
     The discussion guide can be downloaded at


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