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  1. #1
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    The female hero...your favourites?

    I going to cheat...
    I have been asked to be part of several of the panels at Swancon in Perth, Australia. So I thought I get some ideas from some of you readers out there...

    Panel 1: Wonder Women: Great Female Role Models in SF/F

    I can tell you what annoys me sometimes: when the story takes place in the "real" world, e.g. our Mediaeval times, and you have the female hero tearing around doing all kinds of things that no woman would have been allowed to attempt - and would, in fact, have resulted in her being tossed into the nearest jail as either mad or bad.

    That's one reason why all my worlds are imaginary ones, where rules are different - and my very own!

    In the Isles of Glory (especially Book 1: "The Aware"), the main protagonist, Blaze, is a bit of the Amazon type - she wields a very large sword and is quite capable of using it on occasion - but she is also aware that most men will be physically stronger than she is. And she has a great sense of irony, a chronic sense of humour, and a soft part that surfaces every now and then, invariably getting her into trouble. When she falls in love for the first time, she falls hard, with someone quite unsuitable for the person she is...

    And I guess that's the sort of female hero I like: strong but never invincible; usually wise but not beyond acting with poor judgement; mostly hard and cynical, definitely unromantic - but capable of compassion, kindness and love. And doing it all with humour!

    So, what are some of your favourite female characters in sff books?

  2. #2
    Hi Glenda and friends,

    Your Blaze is my favourite female protagonist of recent years. I've also liked Marla in Jennifer Fallon's 'Wolfblade' and (this one is quite old now) Persia Woolley's depiction of Guinevere in her Arthurian series.
    Guy Gavriel Kay's female characters are also strong and believeable. They aren't all likeable (Styliane in The Sarantine Mosaic, for example is both mad and bad) but they are clearly drawn - and they know what they want.
    I agree that too many high fantasy authors try to put a C21 cast on C12 heroines, and it becomes impossible to suspend one's disbelief. Worse, it might make ignorant readers, especially younger ones, who may be unaware of the struggles women had in the late C19 through the C20 to gain at least a modicum of recognition, think that women have always had it this good. A lot still don't.:-(

    Cheers,
    Satima, who is looking forward to Swancon and your workshop.

  3. #3
    Just Another Philistine Hereford Eye's Avatar
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    CJ Cherryh's Morgaine
    Sheri S. Tepper's Carolyn Crespin
    Mike Resnick's Virtue MacKenzie
    Spider Robinson's Mary Callahan

  4. #4
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    thanks...

    Thanks for your favourites...I must admit I haven't read Resnick. Must do so though. (It is a real pain getting hold of books up here sometimes; they won't order them in for me, and buying online from the other side of the world can work out hellishly expensive.)

    I shan't be around for the next 10 days - off to the heart of Borneo and a rainforest camp with no internet connections - or much of anything else, if it comes to that.

    I'll drop in again the moment I am back.

  5. #5
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    Sabriel in Garth Nix's Abhoresen(sp?) Trilogy

  6. #6
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    I haven't read Nix's YA stuff, I must admit. He seems to have hit a chord, though, with lots of readers in different parts of the world...why do you like Sabriel so much, Kray3?

  7. #7
    My favorite heroine of all time?

    Mara of the Acoma, from the Empire Trilogy by Feist and Wurts.


    It is a real pain getting hold of books up here sometimes; they won't order them in for me, and buying online from the other side of the world can work out hellishly expensive.
    Glenda! get online to www.galaxybooks.com.au - or email me.

    We have Mail Order customers evrywhere (and we give author discount - not that much but hey! Its better than nothing!

  8. #8
    Jate > Skate Gemini's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kray3
    Sabriel in Garth Nix's Abhoresen(sp?) Trilogy
    I've got to say that Sabriel is one of my favorite characters as well, along with Lirael of course (i think it's spelt Abhorsen [?]). I like them for much the same reasons that you were describing glenda, they're more than capable of defending themselves, they're not beyond human emotion and they're not completely infallible.

    Another one of my favorites is Azhure from Sara Douglass's Wayfarer Redemption, she's quite a tough little thing, she is again your warrior type with a bit of a softer side. Another good one is Maerad from Alison Croggon's The Gift and The Riddle (you should check out her forum here on SFFW http://www.sffworld.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=43).
    Last edited by Gemini; April 12th, 2005 at 06:11 AM.

  9. #9
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    Let's see. I liked Melanie Rawn's Sioned in "The Dragon Prince" and "Dragon Star" series. She was loving and yet incredibly pragmatic and ruthless when she thought she had to be. And was flawed enough that her ruthlesses was sometimes just that. Not perfect.

    Jacqueline Carey created a delightful character in Phedre in the "Kushiel" series. A gentler and tamer Crawford of Lymond with a sexual disorder that tends to rear its head in the most unlikely and unfortunate instances. All the while maintaining the character's dignity and allowing insight into her psyche without ever condemning or condoning it. Fascinating balance.

    I think Guy Gavriel Kay is one of the few male authors whose portrayal is asexual. All other men and women, no matter how brilliant the portrayal or writing still have slight tells as to their gender when they write about the opposite gender. Kay just does not seem to have that. Simply sulbime characterizations. And yet he still writes gender. Some authors simply write characters what have no real gender in tone or personality regardless of what the author assigns them. I think I find this more irritating than those authors that write horrific stereotypes.

  10. #10
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    I have to agree with you on all three of the writers you mention...

    Kay is a particular favourite of mine. I thought the three women in his Sarantine Mosaic were marvellous, all different, all strong in different ways, and the reader couldn't be absolutely sure till the very end which of them was going to turn up in that last chapter. Fantastic stuff.

  11. #11
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    I should mention that I do like yours very much. But having only read the first book, I am afraid I have to wait and see where you take both women!

  12. #12
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    More like where did they take me, John H!

    Oddly enough, the second book of the trilogy, Gilfeather, also has a sword wielding female on the cover of the American version, even though the character in question - Flame - never picks up a sword, ever, in the whole trilogy and wouldn't know what to do with it if she did. And the main character is the Gilfeather of the title - a man. I guess the marketing people think that strong women characters wielding swords sell books...

  13. #13
    Aditya Bidikar
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    I haven't read most of the books mentioned here, but still, my favourite female characters in SFF are:

    Ilian, the female Eternal Champion from Michael Moorcock's The Champion of Garathorm and Ms. Una Persson from various stories of his (although I haven't read all the stories she is in.

    Kin Arad from Terry Pratchett's Strata is an intelligent and interesting character, although she is a little generic. I also like Pratchett's Witches, although they are actually comic characters rather than fantasy characters.

    I don't have a wide experience of fantasy. These are just some options.
    Last edited by sillysod; May 10th, 2005 at 02:35 AM.

  14. #14
    She feels it is important to have female leaders in the world of academia, and she has stated that, The power of having a role model is frequently underrated. But microsoft exams are also important for her. we examine cisco certification that can supplement your career credentials, as opposed to server+ certifications that are an absolute requirement for employment, such as those for teachers.
    Last edited by lisa76; November 12th, 2009 at 03:19 AM.

  15. #15
    You might like the main character from my books, Ninshi. From bronze age Mesopotamia, she is quite capable.

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