This week’s Formidable Female Protagonists contain both Honor Harington and Saraha two of my favorite SF characters. It has been fun researching the list, I pick up new books to read all the time. 30 down and 41 more protagonists to go. The females are carefully selected by me, their names written on paper, folded and put in one of two bowls, one for new-to-me and one for read-by-me. I then select four read and one new-to-me and write about them. I am open to suggestions for more females to include.
Here is the list, read about them below.
- Sarah – Skinned Quester (Anne McCaffrey)
- Elizabeth “Bet” Yeager – Stranded Veteran (C. J. Cherryh)
- Morgan Roche – Agent of Change (Sean Williams & Shane Dix)
- Honor Harrington – The Salamander (David Weber)
- Captain Reverdy Jian – Sceptic Pilot (Melissa Scott)
Sarah – Skinned Quester
Book: Restoree (1967)
Author: Anne McCaffrey
Genre: Space Opera
One of my favorite books is Anne McCaffrey’s first published novel Restoree. It is also a lovely love story. You can tell I have read my copy a couple of times by its rugged looks. Sara is a beak-nosed introverted young librarian from New York who slowly comes out of a drug induced confusion in a beautiful new body apparently caring for another male patient. She had been abducted by the Mil, a race of aliens that eat human flesh. She had been skinned alive and left in a catatonic state by the aliens when it was attacked by humans from the planet Lothar. They saved her and and without her skin mistake her for one of her own and restore her skin to a lovely golden color giving her a nose job at the same time. Now she wakes up caring for another drugged patient, Harlan. He is the deposed regent of the planet. She rescues him from the mental hospital and they flee as his enemies hunt for them. Their love grows as she continues to surprise him by supplying the skills and knowledge they need to escape. She teaches him to sail when they need to steal a boat and she eventually restore him to the regency that is his right.
Elizabet “Bet” Yeager – Stranded Veteran
Books: Rimrunners (1989)
Author C. J Cherryh
Publisher: Warner Books
Genre: Space Opera | Military Science Fiction
Rimrunners is a science fiction novel written by C. J. Cherryh and set in her Alliance-Union universe, in which humanity has split into three major power blocs: Union, the Merchanter’s Alliance and Earth. Chronologically, the book follows immediately after the author’s award-winning Downbelow Station and is one of Cherryh’s series of “Merchanter” novels.
The long, bitterly-fought Company War between Earth and Union had ended – for everyone, except Conrad Mazian, commander of the Earth Company Fleet. By refusing to accept the peace, he and his loyal Mazianni became outlaws, hunted by all sides.
Elizabeth ‘Bet’ Yeager had been one of Mazian’s marines, a twenty year veteran. Stranded on Pell Station when the Fleet was forced to pull out abruptly (as told in Downbelow Station), she managed to blend in with the many displaced war refugees. Since then, she survived by taking whatever starship berths she could find. Her luck begins to run out when her latest ship, the freighter Ernestine, is forced to return to Pell for major repairs, a destination too fraught with danger for her. She stays behind on the decrepit, dying Thule Station. Day after day, she goes to the employment office, but there is little work. Few starships call and the ones that do, don’t need her.
Late one night, while trying to sleep in a dockside washroom, she is attacked by a man and barely manages to kill him. In desperation, weak from hunger, she moves in with a lowlife bartender. When he tries to control her, with threats to go to the authorities about his suspicions about her, she dispatches him too. With time running out before his body is discovered, she signs up with the ship Loki, a barely legitimate ‘spook’ that survives by gathering intelligence and selling it.
Loki is not a typical merchanter ship; instead of a closely-knit family, the crew consists of unrelated hire-ons. As a result, various competing cliques have formed aboard and Bet has to navigate her way among them. She becomes friends with Musa, a universally respected crewman who claims to have served on one of the ancient sublighters, the original nine vessels that predated faster-than-light ships. She is also strongly attracted to Ramey, an ex-merchanter and surly outcast with a nickname of NG (no good). She gradually makes a place for herself and even manages to get the reluctant NG tentatively readmitted back into shipboard society.
Things get complicated when she is forced to reveal her past, especially since Loki is currently hunting a Mazianni ship. Long overdue for a major overhaul, Loki limps into Thule, hooks up to the sole starship fuel pump and takes on all the available fuel. While there, the ship they were searching for (Keu’s India) shows up. The Mazianni ship had been harried and hunted by Alliance and Union forces to the point that it was blocked from its regular supply bases and is desperately low on fuel. Keu needs to take the precious pump and fuel intact, so he can’t just blow Loki up. Instead, he sends boarding parties of armored marines, but Bet and NG between them manage to hold them off. Then the Alliance warship Norway arrives to close the trap and administer the coup de grâce. Bet’s actions during the battle prove to her crewmates that she can be trusted; she has found a (relatively) safe haven.
Morgan Roche – Agent of Change
Books: The Prodigal Sun (1999), The Dying Light (2001), The Dark Imbalance (2001)
Series: Evergence 1-3
Authors: Sean Williams & Shane Dix
Publisher: ACE | Harper Collins
Grene: Space Opera
The Prodigal Sun
In the far future, humanity has colonized the outermost reaches of the galaxy, and society has evolved into a variety of castes, from the godlike High to the barely sentient Low. In between are the mundanes, both Pristine and Exotic. Empires have risen and fallen, and the Dato Bloc has just seceded from the Commonwealth of Empires …
Morgan Roche is a commander in the intelligence arm of the Commonwealth of Empires. Her mission is to escort the artificial intelligence unit known simply as “The Box” to her superiors. But en route her ship is attacked by Dato Bloc raiders, forcing Roche to escape to the surface of the prison planet Sciacca’s World with the help of Adoni Cane — a genetically enhanced warrior whose past is a mystery even to him.
Marooned and hunted, Roche must protect the Box at all costs. But what about Cane? Who created him and why? The answers may be the salvation of the human race — or its damnation…
The Dying Light
Long before the Commonwealth of Empires, long before the Dato Bloc rebellion, the Sol Apotheosis Movement created a group of super-soldiers to spread their agenda throughout the galaxy. But something went dreadfully wrong, and entire solar systems ceased to exist …
THE ENHANCED WARRIOR
Morgan Roche had been an intelligence agent for the Commonwealth of Empires. But she turned renegade to determine the truth about a man named Adoni Cane. The answer — that he was the last of the genetically enhanced warriors called the Sol Wunderkind — shook the foundations of her world.
Now Roche is faced with an even more frightening fact: Cane may not be the last of his kind. A star has vanished, leaving only a terrible emptiness in space. Word spreads across the galaxy: The Sol Wunderkind have returned.
Roche finds herself at the centre of the coming conflict, as she struggles to penetrate the layers of deception surrounding the origins of the super-soldiers — and the even deeper mystery concerning the artificial intelligence called “the Box” — an entity that seems to have a sinister agenda of its own…
The Dark Imbalance
In the Sol System, Earth is no more. But aboard the various starships and space stations orbiting the still-burning sun live the remnants of mankind — unaware of the danger they’re in from an army of genetically enhanced warriors determined to destroy all humanity …
THE CHOSEN ONE
Renegade intelligence agent Morgan Roche has been charged by the High Humans to protect mankind from the threat of the clone warriors. Pursuing one such warrior into Sol System, she strives to learn the true identity of the enemy, and how to defeat them.
It is here, in the light of the star called Sol, that Morgan will learn the truth — about the artificial intelligence known as the Box, about the man who calls himself Adoni Cane, about the High Humans …
And about her destiny.
Honor Harrington – The Salamander
Books: On Basilisk Station (1992), The Honor of the Queen (1993), The Short Victorious War (1994), Field of Dishonor (1994), Flag in Exile (1995), Honor Among Enemies (1996), In Enemy Hands (1997), Echoes of Honor (1998), Ashes of Victory (2000), War of Honor (2002), At All Costs (2005), Mission of Honor (2010)
Series: Honor Harrington
Author: David Weber
Grene: Military Science Fiction | Space Opera
Honor Harrington is also one of my favorites. I resisted starting the series for a long time before I read On Basilisk Station and was hooked
- On Basilisk Station (Free Online at Baen)
- The Honor of the Queen (Free Online at Baen)
- The Short Victorious War
- Field of Dishonor
- Flag in Exile
- Honor Among Enemies
- In Enemy Hands
- Echoes of Honor
- Ashes of Victory
- War of Honor
- At All Costs
- Mission of Honor (2010)
The Star Kingdom of Manticore and the Republic of Haven have been enemies for Honor Harrington’s entire life, and she has paid a price for the victories she’s achieved in that conflict. And now the unstoppable juggernaut of the mighty Solarian League is on a collision course with Manticore. The millions who have already died may have been only a foretaste of the billions of casualties just over the horizon, and Honor sees it coming.
She’s prepared to do anything, risk anything, to stop it, and she has a plan that may finally bring an end to the Havenite Wars and give even the Solarian League pause. But there are things not even Honor knows about. There are forces in play, hidden enemies in motion, all converging on the Star Kingdom of Manticore to crush the very life out of it, and Honor’s worst nightmares fall short of the oncoming reality.
But Manticore’s enemies may not have thought of everything after all. Because if everything Honor Harrington loves is going down to destruction, it won’t be going alone.
Captain Reverdy Jian – Sceptic Pilot
Books: Dreamships (1992), Dreaming Metal (1997)
Author: Melissa Scott
Grenre: Science Fiction
Jian is new to me but it comes well recommended by the people on reddit.com/r/scifi.
Dreamships is the story of a freelance space pilot and her crew, who are hired by a rich corporate owner to track down her crazy brother–who just may have created the first sentient Artificial Intelligence. Social texture and a tough, cyberpunk attitude make this an exceptionally intense read.
Reverdy Jian, female spaceship pilot, is a main character from Dreamships where Ms. Scott establishes the political conflicts between those who advocate rights for artificial intelligences and those who view them as property. Her co-pilot, Imre Vaughn, is in a gay partnership with Red, who had a relationship with Fanning Jones in the past.
Dreaming Metal is a science fiction novel by Melissa Scott that explores the question of when does artificial intelligence become indistinguishable from human intelligence. Another important theme to the book is the impact of terrorism on the lives of people and how artists react to this. With its focus on technology and tensions between social classes, this book is an example of the cyberpunk genre.
In this sequel to Dreamships, Melissa Scott tackles the concept of artificial intelligence and how it will impact society. Not the theoretical society of chess playing and supercomputing, but the gritty society where coolie laborers struggle for existence, and where political groups fight their battles on the streets through protests, riots, and bombings. Scott uses three characters–a high-tech stage magician, her deaf cousin who plays in a struggling band, and a starship pilot with a deep distrust for the artificial constructs she must work with–to explore her intense, if slow moving, future