As a female Science Fiction fan (and author), I always adore seeing strong leading (and supporting) ladies represented in my genre. Some of them I admire and try to emulate in my personal life, and others provide a source of inspiration for my own characters. While I could name several fictional women I adore, I thought I’d start with a list of five.
1. Faith Lehane from Buffy the Vampire Slayer
I’ve recently been brought into the Buffy fandom (I have to give my husband credit, or he’ll tease me.). Now, the obvious choice for a bad ass chick from Buffy would be Buffy herself, or even Willow — but let me tell you why I like Faith. For better or worse, Faith stays true to who she is, and refuses to change for anyone or anything. Despite the horrible things she’s experienced and done, she still maintains her spunk and works for redemption. Her flaws — lack of trust, ‘shoot first, ask questions later’ attitude — manage to play into her strengths — self-reliance, survival instinct — which makes her fabulously complex.
2. Juliette Nelson from the Silo trilogy
As many of you know, I’m working my way through Hugh Howey’s Silo trilogy, and it’s quickly become one of my favorite Science Fiction series. And my favorite character? Juliette Nelson. When the reader first meets Juliette, she is one of the silo’s most skilled mechanics (as my readers will know, I’m a sucker for females in mechanical fields). Without providing too many spoilers, I’ll say that Juliette has her world turned upside down. She is thrown into a life-threatening situation — and not only does she manage to survive, but she bypasses limits anyone thought possible and emerges as an incredible leader. Between her ingenuity, determination, and compassion for others, Juliette is admirable indeed.
3. Katherine ‘Kate’ Kane (aka Batwoman) from Batwoman (The New 52)
No — my love for Kate Kane isn’t just about her name (though, it is intensely satisfying that we share a nickname). What do I like about Kate? You mean besides the fact that she’s Batwoman? Well, she didn’t settle for being the damsel in distress. When Batman saved her, she took the inspiration and became a hero in her own right. She knows marshal arts, defends the innocent, and still embraces her feminine side. Another thing I like? The writer/artist behind Kate’s new incarnation (J.H. Williams III) chose to make her a lesbian — without making her a stereotype or a token. Yay for diversity!
4. Hadley Fenice from the Ingenious Mechanical Devices series
What kind of steampunk-writing indie would I be if I didn’t give a nod to one of my fellow author’s strong female characters? In Victorian-era England, Hadley Fenice knowingly (and successfully!) subverts gender norms. She makes a living by crafting automatons and prostheses (there’s that mechanic theme again), is generally unskilled at ‘feminine’ activities, and stands up for the education and reproductive rights of her fellow women. More personally, Hadley is deeply loyal to those she loves and never flinches in the face of danger — both traits anyone can admire.
5. Imperator Furiosa from Mad Max: Fury Road
As I’ve said before, I think writers have a lot to learn from the newest Mad Max film — not least of which how to include feminist themes within your work. If you’ve seen the movie, I probably don’t need to explain why Furiosa is bad ass. But, for the rest of you, let me share. In a society where women are reduced to being wives of an evil overload, providing milk for an army, or acting as slaves, Furiosa has worked her way into a respected, leadership position. Instead of turning against her fellow women, Furiosa uses her advantage to organize the rescue of the enslaved wives, and other than a few moments of assistance from Max, she does so pretty much on her own. She’s a hell of a driver, an equally talented shot, and does it all with a mechanical prosthetic arm. Another kudos for diversity!
Who are your favorite female Science Fiction characters? What qualities of theirs do you admire? Share your thoughts in the comments!