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Female SciFi Leads

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message 1: by Thommunist (new)

Thommunist | 4 comments Forgive me if this topic has been covered before, I checked and didn't see it, but I'm still new to this forum.

I remember reading A Wrinkle in Time as a kid, and I'm currently reading the Eyre Affair, but that got me thinking that I haven't read much else in Science Fiction with a female lead. I can think of plenty of novels where the male lead has a female sidekick, but was wondering if anyone has and recommendations for novels with a female lead character that you enjoyed.


message 2: by Kate (new)

Kate O'Hanlon (kateohanlon) | 778 comments Elizabeth Bear's Dust has two female leads, and was pretty cool.

Also her Jenny Casey series, which presumably has Jenny Casey as the lead, but I haven't read it yet.


message 3: by Alterjess (new)

Alterjess | 319 comments Expendable and Ascending by James Alan Gardner are both terrific. (Another of his, Vigilant, also has a female lead, and Commitment Hour alternates between male and female POVs, but neither of those are as good as the first two I mentioned.)

Shards of Honour is another great one. (I think the current in-print edition is called something else, though - the whole Vorkosigan saga has been repackaged since I originally read it and most of the books are now only available as multi-book volumes. Still very much worth seeking out!)

Several of Ian Banks Culture novels have female leads.


message 4: by Nick (last edited Feb 16, 2012 11:42AM) (new)

Nick (whyzen) | 1295 comments A painfully obvious one is The Hunger Games. :-)

Also The Golden Compass and Contact.

I haven't read any of them but I know Connie Willis has several books with female co-leads since her cast from what I've read seem more ensemble.


message 6: by Elianara (new)

Elianara | 21 comments If you like space operas, I could recommend Elizabeth Moon. I like her Serrano Legacy series, with a couple of female leads, Heris Serrano and Esmay Suiza. I also like Sassinak from the Planet Pirates series written together with Anne McCaffrey. There you have three female leads in SciFi.


message 7: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome | 6032 comments Both of Jack McDevitt's series have main female POV characters. I recommend The Engines of God and Seeker.


message 8: by Keith (new)

Keith (keithatc) Alaistair Reynolds' Revelation Space is at least partly female driven. I'm a fan of Grimspace (haven't read the others yet but plan to), Elizabeth Moon's Vatta's War series, and for a more steampunk twist on sci-fi, Cherie Priest's Clockwork Century series is mostly female driven


message 9: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Clem | 76 comments Honor Harrington from the oft discussed on basilisk station or other Honor-verse books.


message 10: by Stan (new)

Stan Slaughter | 359 comments The Kate Daniel series by illiona Andrews, starting with Magic Bites is a great if you like strong female characters in a alternate near future/urban fantasy setting mixing present day technology with magic, swords, and sorcery (kind of a sword AND laser kind of series)


message 11: by Stan (last edited Feb 16, 2012 07:00PM) (new)

Stan Slaughter | 359 comments And here is an entire list on good reads entitled, "Amazons, Female Warriors, and Wonder Women"

http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/39...


message 12: by Almira (new)

Almira (Imbre) | 17 comments I'm really enjoying "Boss" in Kristine Kathryn Rusch's Diving the Wreck Series. She's prickly and delightful.


message 13: by Joseph (new)

Joseph | 2237 comments Pyanfar Chanur in The Pride of Chanur. Bet Yeager in Rimrunners. Signy Mallory in Downbelow Station (although that one has many shifting POV characters).


message 14: by kvon (new)

kvon | 562 comments For more space opera, The Price of the Stars has a girl on a trail of vengeance.

Rosemary Kirstein's series The Steerswomanhas not one, but two great female leads. (Starts off like fantasy, but it's really scifi.)

Anything by Melissa Scott.

If you want fantasy recommendations, that would be a big list.


message 15: by Kev (new)

Kev (sporadicreviews) | 639 comments I second Almira and Kevin on Boss and Honor, and Tamahome on McDevitt's books.

I find that many books that purport to have a male lead and a female supporting character/sidekick, the stories are really about the female character. McDevitt's Chase Kolpath series is kind of like that. The books are told from her point of view, and seem to mostly be about her employer Alex Benedict, but Chase is the focal point of the stories.


message 16: by Ray (new)

Ray (freshness) | 10 comments I just suggested this as the next Laser pick, but it also applies here: Primary Inversion by Catherine Asaro is a great hard sci-fi novel and has a female as the lead character. Awesome book by an impressive author!

-Ray


message 17: by R.H. (new)

R.H. Watson (rh_watson) | 45 comments Child of Fortune by Norman Spinrad. I just finished re-reading it. An odd, over-the-top coming of age story in the Second Starfaring age.


message 18: by Keith (new)

Keith (keithatc) Another one that sort of makes it in -- Paul McAuley's The Quiet War and sequel Gardens of the Sun have multiple POVs, but almost all the main characters are women -- and not just rock 'em sock 'em fightin' women, but also scientists, politicians, and average Joes (or Janes). Plus, I just really like those books, and they don't come up in conversation too often.


message 19: by Paul (new)

Paul Vincent (astronomicon) One of the books on my list to write has a female lead, but as I haven't written it yet (It's book 6 and I've only got to book 3 so far) I can't recommend it yet. If this thread is still going I'll get back to you when it's done.


message 20: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome | 6032 comments R.H. wrote: "Child of Fortune by Norman Spinrad. I just finished re-reading it. An odd, over-the-top coming of age story in the Second Starfaring age."

Wow, that's a blast from the past. He wrote The Doomsday Machine episode of Star Trek too.




message 21: by Skaw (new)

Skaw | 116 comments Skyrider by Melisa Michaels is a good space opera read with a female lead. No wussy female here. Its out of print, but you should be able to find it in a decent used book store or the library. I also recommend Fledgling by Sharon Lee/ Steve Miller and most of the books by Julie Czerneda (A Thousand Words for a Stranger, Beholder's Eye, and Survival are good places to start). I second the recommendation for The Steerswoman, Catherine Asaro's Skolian Empire series, and Shards of Honor (one of my all time favorite books).


message 22: by terpkristin (new)

terpkristin | 4111 comments Maybe I'm just being a "bad" woman, but I don't care what gender the lead is. I buy books because I want a gripping story. If an author is more comfortable writing a male lead or wants a male lead, I am perfectly fine with it if the story's good. If someone writes a female lead just to have a female lead, or if the female is unbelievable, then it'll distract me from what I want in a book--to be entertained. That said, one of my intros to the genre was A Wrinkle in Time, which had the older sister as one of the leads and was well done.


message 23: by Alterjess (new)

Alterjess | 319 comments I think it's a mistake to imply that just because *most* stories are about men, that the *best* stories must be about men.

So much of SF is still an old boys club where men write books about men for men to read. As long as the default main character is a white guy, I think it's worth noting where authors have departed from that baseline and come out with great books.


message 24: by Paul (last edited Mar 01, 2012 07:53AM) (new)

Paul Vincent (astronomicon) Well I'd like to think that I'm not part of that "old boys club". I try to write the best science fiction I can, BUT I always bear in mind that my wife, my mum and couple of female friends read my books too. My logic is if I can write stuff which entertains both genders then it increases my potential audience greatly.

As I said in a previous post on this thread, I haven't tried a female protagonist yet, but that's more of a confidence thing. I have a book planned which is based around a female engineer who has to investigate a crime while her life is in danger and ultimately outwit the bad guy. I've been gradually experimenting with female characters becoming more central to the story, but I'm male and I desperately want to avoid the old "man in a dress" lead character who is essentially female in nothing other than name and appearance. I won't feel like I've done the job properly unless women reading the story can properly empathise with the female lead.


message 25: by terpkristin (new)

terpkristin | 4111 comments I still maintain that people have to write a protagonist that they're comfortable with. If the writing suffers because they're trying to force something, then it's going to suck. Period. Maybe I'm not enough of a woman's libber. I'm used to being a strong female in a male-dominated world in pretty much everything I do (work, video games, other outside interests), and I just can't get worked up over it. I try to promote a book with a female protagonist if it's good, but I don't go out of my way looking.

That said, last night I had typed up a majorly long post and then Goodreads ate it. I found a few titles on my shelf that had good female protagonists, though it surely is male-dominated.

In the end, as long as it's good, I'm happy.


message 26: by Paul (new)

Paul Vincent (astronomicon) That comes back to my point about confidence. I think it's important to keep stretching my range and skillset when I'm writing, but there's always the danger of tackling something to difficult and writing bad prose as a result.


message 27: by Micah (new)

Micah (onemorebaker) | 1071 comments terpkristin wrote: "In the end, as long as it's good, I'm happy. "

Same boat here. As the father of 2 pre-school aged girls I am really looking forward to the first time I can throw a fantasy book at them and say "Here read this." If it has a good female protagonist well that would be great but if not that's ok too.

I think that people can identify and journey with such great characters no matter their sex.


message 28: by Rob (new)

Rob Osterman (robosterman) I read a note about gender typing in fiction and I have to admit that as a new dad I'm a little concerned that my daughter could grow up thinking that women are supposed to be backgrounds to the main action. I'll try to find the link to the blog post but the gist of it was this:

Look at the Smurfs. All the boys have personalities that make them unique. Handy. Jokey. Papa. But what is Smurfette's special ability and trait? She's a girl. That's it. Everyone else gets a personality; she gets to be the girl.

Boys of the 80's, let me introduce you to GI Joe. Everyone has a shitck, from being the Machine Gunner to being the Leader. Oh, and here's Scarlet. She's the girl. Now granted, they did flesh that out a bit more and I always thought that Lady Jaye actually had some pretty good depth comparatively speaking.

So for me, I'm not so sure I'm ~concerned~ about the gender of characters, but I am a bit more ~aware~ of it, and will remain so as my little girl grows up into the reader I'm sure she's due to become with the influences around this house....


message 29: by Adrian (new)

Adrian (aashdown) The "Quantum Gravity" series by Justina Robson springs to mind ... interesting blend of Sci-Fi with fantasy elements. And who does not love a kick-ass cyborg?


message 30: by Dharmakirti (new)

Dharmakirti | 942 comments One of my favorite reads last year happened to be a sci-fi book that featured a female lead. That wasEmbassytown by China Miéville. Excellent book.


message 31: by Keith (new)

Keith (keithatc) Micah wrote: "Same boat here. As the father of 2 pre-school aged girls I am really looking forward to the first time I can throw a fantasy book..."

Reminds me, tangentially, of a story I heard that 100% justified Marvel's decision to make an alternate world black Spider-Man. African American Father comes into a friend's comic book store with his little son. After poking around a little, the little kid starts freaking out when he picks up that most controversial of Spider-Man issues. He's freaking out, he explains in excitable fashion, because Spider-Man looks like him.

And thus a new comic book fan is made.


message 32: by Kat (new)

Kat | 3 comments Kevin wrote: "Honor Harrington from the oft discussed on basilisk station or other Honor-verse books."

I love the honor books! I have re-read those books so often.


message 33: by Harm (new)

Harm (harm82) | 10 comments Female SciFi leads in movies (and books/media their based on) (maybe off topic?).

Elektra
V for Vendetta
Resident Evil
...


message 34: by Will (new)

Will (willbost) | 49 comments The Hugo nominated God's War is a great female lead.

Honor Harrington spawned a whole Military SciFi Female lead genre. A few include:
Thomas DePrima's A Galaxy Unknown series.
Mike Shepherd's Kris Longknife series.
Elizabeth Moon's Vatta's War series

I also really enjoyed Joel Shepherd's Cassandra Kresnov novels and Kristin Kathryn Rusch's Diving Universe.


message 35: by Keith (new)

Keith (keithatc) David Drake's Lt. Leary (more military scifi/space opera) series splits its time between a male and female lead, and in a twist the female isn't a dogged commander in whom no one believes but is a former librarian turned hacker/communications officer in whom everyone has the utmost confidence.


message 36: by Josh (new)

Josh Miller (docjosh) | 5 comments I recall the Venus Prime series as having a really good female lead. I read it awhile ago, but I remember really liking the books. My dad had passed them on to me from his SciFi collection he built in college and grad school.


message 37: by Terry (new)

Terry Grignon (tgrignon) | 7 comments Good topic. My first thought was Cirocco Jones the Captain and star of the amazing Gaea Trilogy by John Varley.

And there's C. J. Cherryh's Cyteen too.

Then, of course, there's the incredible Octavia E. Butler with her Seed to Harvest series and Parable of the Sower and all her other books most of which have incredible strong female leads.

Not sure if you would call the lead of Robert Heinlein's novel Friday fully female as she is artificial but it's still an enjoyable read.

With short stories there's Cordwainer Smith's outstanding The Dead Lady of Clown Town.
Or the very moving Bridesicle by Will McIntosh.


message 38: by Micah (new)

Micah (onemorebaker) | 1071 comments Keith wrote: "Reminds me, tangentially, of a story I heard that 100% justified Marvel's decision to make an alternate world black Spider-Man. African American Father comes into a friend's comic book store with his little son. After poking around a little, the little kid starts freaking out when he picks up that most controversial of Spider-Man issues. He's freaking out, he explains in excitable fashion, because Spider-Man looks like him.

And thus a new comic book fan is made."


Ha! Thats great!


message 39: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome | 6032 comments Paula Myo was a pretty good character in Pandora's Star. Not the main character, just one of many. Genetically engineered to be a good cop. I think she's also in a novella in Manhattan in Reverse.


message 40: by Glenn (new)

Glenn | 18 comments I can't believe no one has recomended either the Crystal Singer series or the Rowan series by Anne McCaffrey. These books are amazing and both have strong female leads.

I loved the Crystal Singer series so much I tried to name my daughter Killashandra.


message 41: by Glenn (new)

Glenn | 24 comments Where is the Hienlien list?







message 42: by Noel (new)

Noel Baker | 364 comments Keith wrote: "David Drake's Lt. Leary (more military scifi/space opera) series splits its time between a male and female lead, and in a twist the female isn't a dogged commander in whom no one believes but is a ..."

Great series. Inspired directly by Patrick O'Brian's ' Aubrey and Maturin' series. Daniel Leary being Jack Aubrey and Adal Mundy being Stephen Maturin.


message 43: by Esther (new)

Esther (eshchory) I'm not really a tom-boy but do find most female characters ridiculously and irrationally 'girlie'.
I never thought the lead's gender influenced me under I encountered Thursday Next from the The Eyre Affair. She is the fictional character I want to be.

I also like Katniss from The Hunger Games and am pleased that although my daughter enjoys both the Twilight and Hunger Games series she thinks Katniss is the more admirable role model.


message 44: by Binarybookworm (new)

Binarybookworm | 2 comments The Liadan Universe books by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller have a bunch of books featuring female leads - try the sequence Fledgling/Saltation/Ghost Ship, but also Scout's Progress, Conflict of Honors, etc.

Catherine Asaro also has a number of books with female leads - one of the Skolia books was mentioned above but there are others and also Sunrise Alley.

Almost all of Elizabeth Moon's books. Remnant Population is a good stand-alone with an unusual female lead.

Brain Plague by Joan Slonczewski

Fools's War, Kindom of Cages, and Playing God by Sarah Zettel.

Zoe's Tale by John Scalzi.

Reap the Wild Wind, Riders of the Storm, Rift in the Sky, and Species Imperative by Julie Czerneda.

Saturn's Children by Charles Stross. And for something similar, Friday by Robert H Heinlein.

Telzey Amberdon by James H Schmitz. (And a bunch of his other stories also).


message 45: by David (new)

David Richards (dgr2) | 30 comments I concur with regard to Remnant Population. Also good as it includes an interplay with the more standard female lead.


message 46: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome | 6032 comments It's not sf, but I thought Anita Blake was a good character, at least in the first book. It's basically the female version of a noir tale.


message 47: by John (new)

John | 19 comments Can't believe that Morn Hyland of Stephen R. Donaldson's Gap Cycle has not been mentioned yet. Loved this series, but not recommended for all.


message 48: by Nels (last edited Apr 03, 2012 07:23PM) (new)

Nels (nelswadycki) | 9 comments Here's another good looking list: Best SciFi Books with Female Main Characters http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/25...

I haven't read many of those, but of the ones I have, they are good. Also see a lot of books people have mentioned here on there...


message 49: by Nels (new)

Nels (nelswadycki) | 9 comments From the list I just posted: The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer is one of my favorite books regardless of gender of anyone involved.


message 50: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome | 6032 comments Nels wrote: "Here's another good looking list: Best SciFi Books with Female Main Characters http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/25...

I haven't read many of t..."


Is Tanith Lee good?


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