Formidable Female Protagonists in Science Fiction Part 1

Welcome to my new Friday series on Formidable Female Protagonists in Science Fiction. One thing I enjoy reading about in science fiction is strong female  protagonists and I would like to present some of them so you might get to know them too. I like lists, and I have assembled a long list to pick from so you can expect five new examples of the ‘stronger’ sex every Friday for the next ten weeks.

This week they are:

  1. Alicia DeVries – Cadre and Fury (David Weber)
  2. Terese Drajeske – Ex Field Commander & Mother (C. L. Andersen)
  3. Mackensie Elizabeth Winifred Wright Connor Sol (Julie E. Czerneda)
  4. Zoe Boutin Perry – Teenager & Holy Icon (John Scalzi)
  5. Parrish Plessis – Postapocalyptic Bodyguard (Marianne de Pierres)

There is also undiscovered Formidable Female Protagonists out there that you can recommend to me in comments to this post, please.

Alicia DeVries – Cadre and Fury

Book: Path of the Fury (1992), In Fury Born (extended version, 2006)
Author: David Weber

Path of the Fury starts when her family is killed while In Fury Born is an extended version that starts with her being recruited as a potential Cadre trainee. Alicia DeVries is a good example of a formidable female protagonist in a Military setting. She is very talented, bound by her honor and quickly rises through the ranks while putting her life on the line for her Empire. I would recommend that you go for the extended version with the background story to why she becomes one of the Furies. The books are really entertaining and funny.

Imperial Intelligence couldn’t find them, the Imperial Fleet couldn’t catch them, and local defenses couldn’t stop them. It seemed the planet-wrecking pirates were invincible. But they made a big mistake when they raided ex-commando leader Alicia DeVries’ quiet home, tortured and murdered her family, and then left her for dead. Alicia decided to turn ‘pirate’ herself, and stole a cutting-edge AI ship from the Empire to start her vendetta. Her fellow veterans think she’s gone crazy, the Imperial Fleet has shoot-on-sight orders. And of course the pirates want her dead, too. But Alicia DeVries has two allies nobody knows about, allies as implacable as she is: a self-aware computer, and a creature from the mists of Old Earth’s most ancient legends. And this trio of furies won’t rest until vengeance is served.


Terese Drajeske – Ex Field Commander & Mother

Novel: Bitter Angels (2009)
Author: C. L. Anderson (
Sarah Zettel)
Random House

Terese Drajeske is a different kind of formidable, she is competent, reluctant to enter service again and more than a little bit cynical about it. But she also have a talent for it. Read my review

An Imploding Star System.
A Murdered Galactic Spy.
A Woman Seeking the Truth—and Finding the Unbelievable…

The Erasmus System is a sprawling realm of slavery, smugglers, spies—and constant, creeping decrepitude. Here everyone who is not part of the ruling Four Families is a slave of one kind or another. But the Guardians, a special-forces branch inside the United World Government for Earth, have deemed Erasmus a “hot spot.” Somehow, it is believed, this failing colony intends to launch a war upon the solar system.

Ex-Field Commander Terese Drajeske, now a mother of three, has been called back to active duty and sent to Erasmus, ostensibly to investigate the murder of her colleague—and friend—Bianca Fayette. At first blush, the death defies explanation: Bianca was immortal. But beneath that single murder lies a twisted foundation of deceptions. Suddenly Terese is plunged into a vortex of shattered lives, endemic deceit, and one dreadful secret. In this society without hope, someone has put into motion a plan that will cast humanity into chaos. And Terese, who has given up her family and her sanity to prevent war, may be asked to make the ultimate sacrifice….


Mackensie Elizabeth Winifred Wright Connor Sol

Books: Survival (2005), Migration (2006), Regeneration (2007)
Series: Species Imperative Trilogy
Julie E. Czerneda

Mack is one of my favorite characters. She is down to earth, a researcher thrown into an alien situation that just handle the situation as any problem she is used to. Humor and suspense also helps. The Species Imperative trilogy forms a circle and the Sinzi (a leading alien race) have a thing for circles. It’s a great story with a successfully told Big Idea, the characters are to love, and the science is beautifully and skillfully presented by Julie E. Czerneda. Read my reviews: SurvivalMigration and Regeneration

Survival: When her Field Base is mysteriously attacked, Dr. Mackenzie Connor must flee for her life. Joining forces with an alien archaeologist, she escapes to his planet on a quest to find a defense against the unknown agressor-before they launch a full-scale invasion of Earth.

Migration: Dr. Mackenzie Connor races against time to help the Interspecies Union devise a plan to prevent an interstellar enemy from conquering world after world.

Regeneration: With the alien Dhryn cutting a pathway through the inhabited spaceways-bringing about the annihilation of many of the races who have the misfortune to lie along the star trail they are following-time is running out for all sentient life-forms. Can biologists Mackenzie Connor and Emily Mamami solve the riddle of the Dhryn before their part of the galaxy becomes as dead as the mysterious region known as the Chasm?


Zoe Boutin Perry – Teenager & Holy Icon

Book: Zoe’s Tale
Series: Old Man’s War Universe
John Scalzi
Tor Books

Zoë Boutin Perryis the 17-year old adopted daughter of John Perry and Jane Sagan, two former-soldiers-turned-colonists.  Her biological father, Charles Boutin, created a device capable of giving a race of creatures, called the Obin, consciousness. The Obin worshipped him, but he was killed for being a traitor to mankind and wanting to overthrow the colonial Union, and so his daughter, Zoë, became a demigod to them. A strong YA novel.

How do you tell your part in the biggest tale in history?

I ask because it’s what I have to do. I’m Zoe Boutin Perry: A colonist stranded on a deadly pioneer world. Holy icon to a race of aliens. A player (and a pawn) in an interstellar chess match to save humanity, or to see it fall. Witness to history. Friend. Daughter. Human. Seventeen years old.

Everyone on Earth knows the tale I am part of. But you don’t know my tale: How I did what I did — how I did what I had to do — not just to stay alive but to keep you alive, too. All of you. I’m going to tell it to you now, the only way I know how: not straight but true, the whole thing, to try make you feel what I felt: the joy and terror and uncertainty, panic and wonder, despair and hope. Everything that happened, bringing us to Earth, and Earth out of its captivity. All through my eyes.

It’s a story you know. But you don’t know it all.


Parrish Plessis – Post Apocalyptic Bodyguard

Every week I intend to introduce a new-to-me heroine, that both you and me might be tempted to try. Parrish Plessis comes highly recommended as a kick-ass cyberpunk heroine. The Parrish Plessis series is a SF action adventure set in future Australia. According to the author it is multi layered text, offering a combination of thrills and spills and social satire.

Marianne de Pierres is also known for her Sentients of Orion series.

Book: Nylon Angel (2005), Code Noir (2006), Crash Deluxe (2007)
Series: Parrish Plessis
Author: Marianne de Pierres, Marianne Pierres
Publisher: Roc books (US) | Orbit books (UK)
Cover art: Larry Rostant

Nylon Angel: Nylon Angel introduces a startling new femme fatale and all-around bad girl.

While trying to send her sadistic boss to death row, she finds herself sheltering a suspect in the murder of newsgirl Razz Retribution. In a world run by the media, the truth isn’t relevant-it’s bad for ratings. Which is why Parrish finds herself tagged for the murder-and up to her tricked-out leather tank top in trouble.

Code Noir: The Tert war is over, and bodyguard Parrish Plessis has gotten a piece of the toxic pie-and the responsibilities that go along with it. To pay off a blood debt to the Cabal Coomera tribe, she must enter the heart of tekno-darkness-the slum town of Dis-to find their missing shamans and to kill her ex-lover Daac. But Parrish still has feelings for Daac-feelings that run as deep as the high-tech parasite he infected her with. Bad blood never boiled like this.

Crash Deluxe: After inheriting a less-than-glorious empire within the Tert, Parrish Plessis-coup leader, bodyguard, and overall dangerous vixen-has her hands full, and her head even fuller. She’s still under a blood debt to the Cabal Coomera. She’s trying to take care of the growing population of stray social castoffs who have come to her for protection. And the nasty high-tech parasite her treacherous ex-lover hit her with is about to turn her into something much less than human…


Read Part 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | index | afterword