I’ve been reading Running Black by Patrick Todoroff recently (what a good book it is too, review to follow shortly) and there is a character in it called Major Jessa Eames. A tough no nonsense soldier who does what it takes to get the job done. Her character got me thinking about other female characters in sci-fi.
To be honest I thought I’d struggle to find any. When you think about it though there are so many out there. I love Duncan Idaho of Dune fame but in that book we have one of the greatest creations in sci-fi: The Bene Gesserit. They are a key group within the Dune Universe and completely composed of Women. They are looking for the Kwisatz Haderach, but that’s another story.
And you can’t stop there either; we have Ripley in Alien, the female Starbuck in the latest Battlestar Galactica (Kara Thrace, fantastic character), Princess Leia, Leeloo (from The Fifth Element) and of course Captain Janeway (now Admiral) from Star Trek Voyager. And many many more.
This is one of the aspects of Sci-Fi I love the most; it’s great variety. There are enough strong female characters out there to match against the big-boobed vamps that are seen in many books and films. And I love Sci-Fi the more for it.
Let’s not forget the latest Hugo Award either. The shortlist for Best Novel was four women and only one man. It was won by Connie Willis for her two volume submission of Blackout/All Clear. I’ve read some of Connie’s other books and they are superb, would definitely recommend The Doomsday book for Christmas reading.
Some people still see Sci-Fi as being for a male audience composed of men shooting lasers in space and killer robots battling aliens. I would recommend they read some of the following books which may change their mind:
Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang – Kate Wilhelm
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
Ursula K. Le Guin – The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia