Formidable Female Protagonists in Science Fiction Part 14

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.

Before I show you this week’s protagonists I have to tell you about fellow blogger Amanda, she has started this wonderful and amazing new series about Formidable Female Protagonists in Fantasy over at Floor to Ceiling Books. The first post is about Polgara who also happens to be one of my fantasy favorites too.

This week’s FFPinSF:

  1. Jennifer Government – Law woman (Max Barry)
  2. Killashandra Ree – Crystal Singer (Anne McCaffrey)
  3. Signy Mallory- Bloody-minded Commander (C. J. Cherryh)
  4. Y.T. – Yours Truly (Neal Stephenson)
  5. Deadpan Allie – Pathosfinder (Pat Cadigan)

Jennifer Government – Law woman

Book: Jennifer Government (2003)
Author: Max Barry
Genre: Cyberpunkish
Publisher: Doubleday | Vantage | Abacus

Jennifer is a police working for the government in a world of trademarks and ruthless commercialism. Funny brave new world novel with lots of originality. It doesn’t lack drama and action either. So your son was murdered, how much would you like to pay for finding his murderer?

Taxation has been abolished, the government has been privatized, and employees take the surname of the company they work for. It’s a brave new corporate world, but you don’t want to be caught without a platinum credit card—as lowly Merchandising Officer Hack Nike is about to find out. Trapped into building street cred for a new line of $2500 sneakers by shooting customers, Hack attracts the barcode-tattooed eye of the legendary Jennifer Government. A stressed-out single mom, corporate watchdog, and government agent who has to rustle up funding before she’s allowed to fight crime, Jennifer Government is holding a closing down sale—and everything must go.


Killashandra Ree – Crystal Singer

Books: Crystal Singer (1982), Killashandra (1985), Crystal Line (1995)
Omnibus: The Crystal Singer omnibus (1999)
Series: Crystal Singer
Author: Anne McCaffrey
Genre: Space opera
Publisher: Del Rey | Corgi | Severn House | Nelson Doubleday | Bantam UK

Crystal Singers use voice controlled technology in order to mine crystals on the planet Ballybran for uses in different technologies. Ballybran crystal has unique qualities that make it a necessity for almost any of the human civilization’s interstellar transportation and communications equipment. But Ballybran hides other secrets too.

Killashandra Ree becomes a crystal singer in book one, goes offworld to install a crystal that was destroyed under mystical circumstances and in the third book deals with the discovery of a new kind of crystal.


Signy Mallory- Bloody-minded Commander

Books: Downbelow Station (1981)
Series: Company Wars
Universe: Union-Alliance
Author: C.J. Cherryh
Genre: Space Opera
Publisher: Daw

Captain Signy Malloy is one of the principal characters in Downbelow Station. She is the captain of Norway and third in command of the Company Fleet in retreat from overwhelming Union forces. This is not a story about good versus evil; it is about complex characters that tries to make the best they can out of an extreme situation. This is a classic science fiction setting with a special C. J. Cherryh twist. Earth against rebelling colonies, but the colonist Union is a fascist state with government controlled clones, Earth is indifferent and the Earth Company built a fleet to police the action and then forget about it. The stations between Earth and Union suffer when Mazian’s fleet has to feed off the stations he was supposed to protect.


Y.T. – Yours Truly

Books: Snowcrash (1992)
Author: Neal Stephenson
Genre: Cyberpunk
Publisher: Bantam Spectra | Roc | Penguin

I think Snowcrash was one of the first Cyberpunk novels I read. A friend borrowed me the book and it was awesome, just like Y.T. the 15 year old streetwise skateboard ‘Kourier’ who becomes partner with Hiro (“Last of the freelance hackers and Greatest swordfighter in the world”) to investigate ‘Snowcrash’, a mystic meta-virus that affect people online and in reality.  I included Y.T. on sher awesomeness even through Hiro is more of the protagonist.


Deadpan Allie – Pathosfinder

Books: Mindplayer (1987)
Author: Pat Cadigan
Genre: Cyberpunk
Publisher:  Bantam Spectra | Gollancz

Allie and Pat are both new to me but they sure sound interesting, I think this is definitely one I am going to read.

Deadpan Allie, pathosfinder, takes hallucinatory trips into the underworld of her clients’ subconscious, and withstands more psychic violence than anyone else, male or female, never revealing her own emotional state. Yes, like Molly, she is tougher than the rest. Her job, delving into the unconscious, is less a departure from the female role than Molly’s contract killing, but it is just as dangerous in its own way. Like Molly, Allie handles the risk without showing emotion: hence her nickname, Deadpan Allie. Blunt affect seems an important component of cyberpunk toughness. Allie’s toughness, like Molly’s, represents no female principle, just a human coping mechanism. Less violent than Molly, there is less danger of her being taken for the man in woman’s clothing. But like Molly, she performs the covert feminist act of entering the human army combat-ready and on equal footing. (Street tech)

Synopsis: Mindplayers are tomorrow’s psychoanalysts, linked directly to their patients using sophisticated machinery attached to the optic nerve. In one-to-one Mindplay contact, you can be inside someone else’s head, wandering the landscapes of their consciousness.

Alexandra Victoria Haas, Allie, is a sensation-seeking young woman, obtaining illicit thrills from her shady friend Jerry Wirerammer. But Allie goes badly astray when Jerry suplies her with a “madcap” – a device that lets you temporarily and harmlessly experience psychosis. There’s something wrong with Jerry’s madcap, and the psychosis doesn’t go away when it’s disconnected. Allie ends up undergoing treatment at a “dry-cleaner”, and she is faced with a stark choice – jail, for her illegal use of the madcap; or training to become a Mindplayer herself.

During training Allie becomes familiar with the Pool – a cohesive, though shifting mental landscape jointly constructed by a number of minds; and more disturbingly encounters McFloy, who has been mind-wiped, so that his adult body is inhabited by a mind only two hours old. And as a fully-fledged Mindplayer Allie has to choose between the many specialist options open to her – Reality Affixing or Pathsofinding; Thrillseeking or Dreamfeeding…


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