Formidable Female Protagonists in Science Fiction Part 20

I prefer female protagonists and this series of posts is homage to some of the most formidable female main characters in science fiction novels or series.

One Hundred, that is cool. I have a few more, but I am still taking suggestions, there is a list of the ones taken at the end. I will make an index page with a bit of cross referencing.

I would like to thank you all for your suggestions; I love new books to read especially about formidable female protagonists. Here are this week’s. Kim Staneley Robinson’s Mars Trilogy is the one I know here but the others sound interesting.

  1. Dana- Vessel of Understanding (Octavia Butler)
  2. Skeen – Gate Rooner (Jo Clayton)
  3. Katniss Everdeen- The Mockingjay (Suzanne Collins)
  4. Marquelle Green Tamryn – She-Lord (Dara Joy)
  5. Nadezhda “Nadia” Chernyshevsk – Reluctant President (Kim Stanley Robinson)

Dana – Vessel of Understanding

Book: Kindred (1979)
Author: Octavia Butler
Genre: Time Travel
Publishers: Doubleday, Pocket Book, Women’s Press, Beacon Press

Dana, a modern black woman, is celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday with her new husband when she is snatched abruptly from her home in California and transported to the antebellum South. Rufus, the white son of a plantation owner, is drowning, and Dana has been summoned across the years to save him. After this first summons, Dana is drawn back, again and again, to the plantation to protect Rufus and ensure that he will grow to manhood and father the daughter who will become Dana’s ancestor. Yet each time Dana’s sojourns become longer and more dangerous, until it is uncertain whether or not her life will end, long before it has even begun.

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Skeen- Gate Rooner

Books: Skeen’s Leap (1986), Skeen’s Return (1987), Skeen’s Search (1987)
Series: Skeen
Author: Jo Clayton
Publisher: Daw

It as very hard to find any information online on these but they seem interesting with lots of social commentary according to the few reviews I found.

Skeen, a tough, quirky woman with a dark past, makes her living as a “rooner”, plundering the treasures of the past on worlds across the galaxy. With the authorities hot on her trail, she stumbles through a “gate” into an alternate universe, where several different races from her own universe have found their way and share a world in relative peace. Skeen teams up with one of the shapeshifter indigenes of this world, and sets out on a quest for the near-extinct race who created the Gate, the only ones who can operate it and send Skeen back home.

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Katniss Everdeen- The Mockingjay

Books: The Hunger Games (2008), Catching Fire (2009), The Mockingjay (2010)
Series: The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
Genre: YA Dystopian Science Fiction

This is really current, The Mockingjay was released just the other day.

16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, a girl from District 12 who volunteers for the 74th Hunger Games in place of her younger sister is the protagonist of this series. It is a story about rebellion against oppression but also about how easy it is to loose ideals along the way.

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Marquelle Green Tamryn – She-Lord

Book: Ritual of Proof (2001)
Author: Dara Joy
Genre: Romantic Science Fiction
Publisher: HarperCollins

In a world where women are all-powerful, Marquelle Green Tamryn is one of the most influential of all. The time has come for this woman to choose a husband from the unclaimed males in society’s Top Slice. She decides upon Jorlan Raynard, heir to a fortune, a man perfectly suited to be her mate.

Against a sweeping canvas of intrigue and power, Jorlan and the Marquelle are fated to follow their hearts’ desire. And when her life is threatened by one of her enemies she learns to rely on Jorlan in ways she is not used to…and to love him in a way she never thought possible. With this dazzling new work, Dara Joy transcends genre fection to create a vivid new world readers will never forget

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Nadezhda “Nadia” Chernyshevsk – Reluctant President

Books: Red Mars (1992), Green Mars (1994), Blue Mars (1996)
Series: Mars
Author: Kim Stanley Robinson
Publisher: HarperCollins, Bantam Spectra

A Russian engineer who started out building nuclear reactors in Siberia, during the voyage and initial exploration of Mars, she does her best to avoid the squabbles of the other members of the First Hundred. Instead, she busies herself by building the first permanent habitation of Mars, Underhill, using programmed automated robots. She also helps to construct a new and larger habitat, and research facility in a nearby canyon. In the later books, she becomes a reluctant politician. Nadia is in love with Arkady Bogdanov and is devastated when he is killed in an attack by anti-revolutionary forces associated with UNOMA, the transnationals, and Phyllis Boyle during the first Martian revolution. In retaliation for Arkady’s murder, she activates his hidden weapon system, built into Phobos, which causes the entire moon (a UNOMA/transnational military base) to decelerate in orbit and destructively aerobrake in Mars’ atmosphere, utterly destroying it. In Green Mars, she falls in love with Art Randolph, with whom she eventually starts a family. After Martian independence, she grudgingly becomes the first president of Mars.

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List

Thank you all for your suggestions, here is the list so far in case you want to suggest some more.

Miss anyone?

Read part 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 56 | 789 | 101112131415161718 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22| 23 | 24 | 25 | index | afterword

  • Tom Porter

    Have to look back a bit for these, but what about ‘Deidre’ in ‘No Woman Born’ 1944 by C.L. Moore: actress horribly disfigured in a fire who gets an artificial body.

    Or Tatja Grim from Vernor Vinge’s “Tatja Grim’s World”: mensa-level “barbarian” who goes from rags-to-riches on a planet recently discovered by Earth.

    Or Morgaine from C.J. Cherryh’s Morgain cycle?

    Or from my favorite story ever (working from memory here): Kai Tavela from “The Woman Who Loved the Moon” by Elizabeth A. Lynn

  • Tom Porter

    Have to look back a bit for these, but what about ‘Deidre’ in ‘No Woman Born’ 1944 by C.L. Moore: actress horribly disfigured in a fire who gets an artificial body.

    Or Tatja Grim from Vernor Vinge’s “Tatja Grim’s World”: mensa-level “barbarian” who goes from rags-to-riches on a planet recently discovered by Earth.

    Or Morgaine from C.J. Cherryh’s Morgain cycle?

    Or from my favorite story ever (working from memory here): Kai Tavela from “The Woman Who Loved the Moon” by Elizabeth A. Lynn

  • ove

    Those are great additions, Morgain is the only one I have read. How could I have forgot about her?

    Thanks Tom

  • ove

    Those are great additions, Morgain is the only one I have read. How could I have forgot about her?

    Thanks Tom

  • Jean

    Bet Yeager, from C. J. Cherryh’s /Rimrunners/

    (also, I second the vote for Morgaine)

  • Jean

    Bet Yeager, from C. J. Cherryh’s /Rimrunners/

    (also, I second the vote for Morgaine)

  • ove

    Elizabeth “Bet” Yeager – Stranded Veteran (C. J. Cherryh) is in there

  • ove

    Elizabeth “Bet” Yeager – Stranded Veteran (C. J. Cherryh) is in there

  • Kim Toms

    Jean “Jeanie” Pelham Roker, from Charles Sheffield’s McAndrew Chronicles.

  • Kim Toms

    Jean “Jeanie” Pelham Roker, from Charles Sheffield’s McAndrew Chronicles.

  • ove

    Thanks Kim, I ordered it already

  • ove

    Thanks Kim, I ordered it already

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  • Olgi

    you might want to mention Dr. Cherijo Grey Veil (xeno-doctor) from the Stardoc series written by S.L. Viehl
    She is quite a strong character

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  • Jaycee

    Great list. How about Cassandra from the Cassandra Kresnov titles (Crossover, Breakaway, Killswitch, by Joel Shepherd and published by Pyr in the US; don’t know about non-US publishers).

  • Jaycee

    A lot of David Weber here – never a bad thing! – and how about Vanessa Murakuma from his (co-authored with Steve White) Starfire novels In Death Ground and The Shiva Option.

  • Jaycee

    Mike Resnick’s Starship Series has Val (aka the Valkyrie) and she is pretty formidable. Kerry Blue is a survivor – despite herself – on Rebecca Meluch’s Merrimack series.

  • Jaycee

    Last comment for today, and maybe one of my more important ones. the characters Telzey Amberdon and Trigger Argee from many James Schmitz scifi novels (A Tale of Two Clocks aka Legacy and The Lion Game stand out. The stories were re-released by Baen as Telzey Amberdon, Trigger and Friends, Telzey ‘n’ Trigger (TNT)). Strong, independent and formidable young women, written in an era (60’s) when women often weren’t portrayed that way. I love Poddy Fries but back then, she took a back seat to teen Telzey.

  • Jaycee

    Okay, one more. From a YA series, Kenneth Oppel’s Airborm trilogy, comes Kate DeVries a very headstrong and determined female protaganist.

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  • Yup.

    Hazel d’Arc, of the Deathstalker series. I expected to see her name, and maybe Investigator Frost or Ruby Journey too, though those two are a bit less protagonistic.

  • KM

    Great list.  How about Loup Garron from Santa Olivia by Jacqueline Carey

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  • Loren Pechtel

    Two more come to mind:

    Islaen Conner of the Star Commandos series by P. M. Griffin. A cross between a detective and a SEAL.

    Jasmine Moreau of some of the Cobra books by Timothy Zahn. A commando with implanted weapons and body upgrades.

  • Kevin

    Sharl Buccari – Short One Who Leads

    Books: Genellan: Planetfall (1995), Genellan: In the Shadow of the Moon (1996), Genellan: First Victory (1997), Genellan: Earth Siege (2005)

    Series: Genellan

    Author: Scott G. Gier