John Blackwell, the Engineer, is the father-figure to everyone, especially his assistant Roy Stubbs. Everyone calls him Blackie. A burly older man with a ruddy complexion, he is human, from Earth. Although he looks very jolly, he has no time for fools, and some of the crew have the sharp edge of his tongue when they do something foolish or ask stupid questions. He expects hard work and discipline, but when he gets it he is very generous.
Blackie usually seems to know most of what goes on aboard ship, and is concerned about everyone. He loves mechanics and engineering, and space ships most of all. And he loves his job. He is always tinkering, to get better performance out of the engines and ship’s systems. Since his wife died, after a long and happy marriage, he spends all his time with the ship.