Alternate Realities: A Scifi Book Club discussion

After The Virus
This topic is about After The Virus
27 views
Book of the month > The empowered woman

Comments Showing 1-18 of 18 (18 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Budd, Dictator of Indoctrination (new) - rated it 1 star

Budd | 160 comments Mod
This book has an empowered woman character. By that I mean that she is strong, capable, and independent. She is also unlikeable. I see this in a lot of writing and on TV shows. It seems that it is hard to paint the line between strong and shrewish. I think the character of Aryn Sun in farscape is a good example of a likeable strong woman character but even she is pretty distant. Can anyone think of examples of this being pulled off successfully?


message 2: by Adam (new)

Adam (amilesb) | 27 comments I like Katniss from Hunger Games. What I like most about those books though is they are relatively gender neutral. At times Katniss plays the master warrior with the bow doing superhuman things but then at other times she is at the mercy of someone's raw strength like Thresh. So often I encounter stories where there is a strong hero/ine but it comes at the expense of making the male or female side kicks looking pathetic. It is nice to find a story that is balanced without the need to force a woman or a man into a sterotyped role.


message 3: by Budd, Dictator of Indoctrination (new) - rated it 1 star

Budd | 160 comments Mod
I didn't really think of Katniss. I think it might be because she is so whiney in the third book. I like your point about making the female strong by making the male weak. A lot of writers do that.


message 4: by Adam (new)

Adam (amilesb) | 27 comments So I've never read Mockingjay. I was only interested in the Hunger Games arena concept. Definitely whiney would be a huge drag. The worst thing in a story for me though is if the female protagonist is forced to fight a female villain while men fight separately. It's like relegating them to 2nd class. What do you think?


message 5: by Budd, Dictator of Indoctrination (new) - rated it 1 star

Budd | 160 comments Mod
yeah, that is pretty bad. Also bad is the girl is super tough till she gets to the big bad and then needs rescuing by the love interest.


message 6: by Adam (new)

Adam (amilesb) | 27 comments Budd wrote: "yeah, that is pretty bad. Also bad is the girl is super tough till she gets to the big bad and then needs rescuing by the love interest."

Definitely agree with if she needs a bail out.
I did think of a great heroine though - Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I absolutely loved her and she fought guys, girls, demons you name it!


message 7: by Budd, Dictator of Indoctrination (new) - rated it 1 star

Budd | 160 comments Mod
Honor Herrington might fit the bill.


message 8: by Budd, Dictator of Indoctrination (new) - rated it 1 star

Budd | 160 comments Mod
I think the first book is free at Amazon, I have only read the first one but enjoyed it.


message 9: by Brett (new)

Brett | 34 comments Mod
by the way, it's interesting that the books we've read since I joined the sci-fi book club (salem's lot, enders game, brave new world) either only feature women in marginal roles or make them unlikeable.

What did y'all think about lenina in brave new world?

But back to the woman thing, I wonder if that's more broadly true in sci fi or if it's just coincidence. Also, I think it explains a lot about why men are (stereotypically) more in to sci-fi and women into fantasy. Once we get into fantasy we have a lot more fun females -- the witches in terry pratchet's discworld series, hermione in harry potter, and I'm struggling to think of an example that doesn't come from a YA book... plus female authors like Kelly Link, JK Rowling, Stephenie Meyer, etc.

although I've always liked the way douglas adams writes women--they may not be leading characters, but they are often fun and the good kind of strong.


message 10: by Brett (new)

Brett | 34 comments Mod
by the way, i just looked back at the books we read in our book club and i totally forgot about never let me go, which of course has women featured prominently in the book... so there goes my theory.


message 11: by Adam (new)

Adam (amilesb) | 27 comments I have a question for you guys in regards to fantasy.
(first some background)
I'm half way through Game of Thrones and I have to say I think the book sucks. It is patronizing to the nth degree. Every negative description is referenced to a wench or a whore like 'he looked uglier than a pimple on a whore's a**'. In a similar vein every knight has a long sword well polished that rocks at his hips, the grip well fastened as its clear this knight uses both hands to grip handle the might of his force...

So my question is what fantasy have you found that is gender neutral?


message 12: by Budd, Dictator of Indoctrination (new) - rated it 1 star

Budd | 160 comments Mod
You might try mistborn or some ya fantasy, I don't read a lot of fantasy, so I may not be the best person to ask.


message 13: by Adam (new)

Adam (amilesb) | 27 comments Shayla wrote: "My husband says Discworld is a good series for gender equality. I'm not hugely into fantasy, either. I think it was a phase. :-P"

I feel like fantasy and sci-fi crossover quite a bit, no? Though I admit GoT is the last pure fantasy I want to read for a long time. I was just curious if people felt the whole genre was biased so poorly.
Per Brett's comment earlier I think Hermione, and Bella are the antithesis of gender equality. They obviously play prominent roles, but their male counterparts always steal the limelight at the biggest moments.


message 14: by Adam (new)

Adam (amilesb) | 27 comments Thanks for the suggestions on series. If I swing back towards straight fantasy I'll look for those.


message 15: by Brett (new)

Brett | 34 comments Mod
I completely agree that bella isnt an empowered woman, but at least she's a female protagonist. My only point was that it seems like there are a lot more women present in fantasy compared to scifi. But that was just an impression based on what ive read. And there is sooo much i haven't read.


message 16: by Emperador (last edited Feb 24, 2014 12:19PM) (new)

Emperador Spock | 28 comments Mod
What did y'all think about lenina in brave new world?

I think she's a flat caricature, a bogeywoman for all those middle and upper-class parents, wagging the finger and warning: 'this is what your daughter will be like if she gets the taste of diaphragms and easy kissing! Soon, she will be used up, and no proper savage will have her!'


message 17: by Budd, Dictator of Indoctrination (new) - rated it 1 star

Budd | 160 comments Mod
She is called a piece of meat in the book and I am not sure that she ever really goes beyond that in the story.


message 18: by Brett (new)

Brett | 34 comments Mod
I agree, except, the ending adds some depth to her character. She is described as coming out of the helicopter, crying, with her arms open to John. Other than John, she is the only character in the book to cry.


back to top