Formidable Female Protagonists in Science Fiction Part 17

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.

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

  1. Nicole Shea – Not so perfect Hero (Chris Claremont)
  2. Anyanwu – Two Immortals (Octavia Butler)
  3. Rissa Kerguelen – Underground Poster Child (F. M. Busby)
  4. Laura Webster – Improve the World (Bruce Sterling)
  5. Pricilla Delacroiz y Mendoza – Exiled Spacer (Steve Miller & Sharon Lee)

Nicole Shea – Not so perfect Hero

Books: First Flight (1987), Grounded! (1991), Sundowner (1994)
Omnibus: High Frontier (1991) 1,2
Series: First Flight
Author: Chris Claremont
Genre: Military Science Fiction
Publisher: Ace, Pan

First Flight: Drifting farther and farther from any hope of rescue after a band of marauding space pirates leave her defenseless ship a wreck, Lt. Nicole Shea and her desperate crew make contact, humankind’s first contact, with alien life forms.”

Grounded: Taking place not long after the ending of First Flight, Grounded explores the reaction of Earth to the startling news that we are not alone in the universe any more. With more factions than you can shake a stick at and betrayal commonplace, you have a thought-provoking and enjoyable continuination to what is a great series.

Sundowner: Tired of life on the ground, Lieutenant Nicole Shea is delighted when she is asked to join the crew of the Starswift, the controversial first joint human-alien mission into space.



Anyanwu – Two Imortals

Books: Patternmaster (1976), Mind of My Mind (1977), Survivor (1978), Wild Seed (1980), Clay’s Ark (1984)
Omnibus: Seed to Harvest (2007) 1,2,4,5
Series: Patterner
Author: Octavia E. Butler
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Warner Books, Double Day, Sphere, Avon, Gollancz

The Patternist series (also known as the Patternmaster series or Seed to Harvest) is a group of science fiction novels by Octavia E. Butler that detail a secret history continuing into from the Ancient Egyptian period to the far future that involves telepathic mind control and an extraterrestrial plague. A profile of Butler in Black Women in America notes that the themes of the series include “racial and gender-based animosity, the ethical implications of biological engineering, the question of what it means to be human, ethical and unethical uses of power, and how the assumption of power changes people.

The story involves the relationship between two immortals – Doro, a telepathic human who transfers his consciousness from one victim to another, and Anyanwu, a shape-shifter with perfect control over her body. They struggle to live together over generations as Doro attempts to create a new race through a selective breeding program.

The series’ history continues with Mind of My Mind, in which Doro’s breeding program has created a society of networked telepaths that he struggles to control.

Clay’s Ark, the last book of the series to be published, deals with a colony of people who have been mutated by a disease that astronauts brought back to Earth from outer space. The group struggles to keep itself isolated enough to keep the disease from spreading throughout humanity.

Survivor, the book in the series that Butler later disowned, depicts the Clay’s Ark disease ravaging the Earth, and Doro’s telepathic descendants asserting control over what remains of humanity. One group of regular humans decides to escape Earth to a new planet, where they struggle to co-exist with the species that already lives there.

Patternmaster, the first book to be published but the last in the series’ internal chronology, depicts a distant future in which regular humans are dominated by the networked telepaths, who are themselves ruled by the most powerful telepath, known as the Patternmaster. The plot revolves around the aging of the current Patternmaster and the battle among other powerful telepaths to see who will become his successor. The descendants of the victims of the extraterrestrial disease, animalistic mutants known as Clayarks, make an appearance in the book.


Rissa Kerguelen – Underground Poster Child

Books: Rissa Kerguelen (aka Young Rissa) (1976), Rissa and Tregare (1984), The Long View (1976), Zelde M’Tana (1980)
Series: The Rissa Kerguelen Saga
Author: Francis Marion  Busby
Genre: Space Opera
Publisher: Berkley Medallion, Orbit

Living a desperate life in the Total Welfare Center, the orphan Rissa discovers she has won the lottery and takes a chance to shape her own destiny. After she escapes from Earth with the help of a space pirate who may be more trouble than she expected, she soon discovers that together they might have a chance to shape Earth’s destiny as well.


Laura Webster – Improve the World

Books: Islands in the Net (1988)
Author: Bruce Sterling
Genre: Cyberpunk
Publisher: Arbor House, Legend, Ace, The Easton Press

New to me Hugo nominee

2023. Information is power, and even in the peaceful post-millenial age, power corrupts. Data pirates, new-age mercenaries, high-tech shamans, and murder stalk a brutal netherworld of deregulated havens in the Global Communications Network – Islands in the Net. Laura Webster lives happily with her husband and child in this peaceful world where nuclear weapons, environmental crises and national politics are things of the past.

But outside the Net there are dangerous communities which steal and sell technology and information. And when data pirates invade Laura’s life, her once-safe world explodes in her face.


Pricilla Delacroiz y Mendoza – Exiled Spacer

Books: Conflict of Honors (1988)
Series: Agent of Change
Universe: Liaden
Author: Sharon Lee & Steve Miller
Genre: Space Opera
Publisher: Del Rey, Meisha Merlin, Ace, Baen

This is new to me but I have had my eyes on the Liaden universe for a while now and this sounds like a good book to start with. I will probably get the omnibus version The Dragon Variation from Baen since it is the newest one (June 2010).

Disowned by the religious order ruling her home planet, Priscilla Delacroix y Mendoza works her way from one spaceship to another,working hard to earn her pilot’s license. But after she stumbles across evidence of her Liaden employer’s involvement in drug smuggling, she is left stranded on a strange planet with her reputation ruined, her honesty in question, and revenge on her mind. Luck and a complicated series of events having nothing to do with her bring her a job on another Liaden ship, where to her wary surprise she finds friendship, trust, protection, and even a chance to earn her pilot’s license at last. The first of the Liaden series, this delightful science fantasy has it all: enthralling action and adventure, sly wit, romance, and some of the best world-building in the business.



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

Miss anyone?

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