Women of SF/F

The Women of Sci-Fi

Sigourney Weaver as Lt. Ellen Ripley (the Alien movies)

Ripley was the first. She held her own with the men, and proved herself the consumate survivor. This character is, to my mind, the cinematic equivalent of C.L. Moore's literary creation, Jirel of Joirey.





Sarah Michelle Gellar, as Buffy Summers

The blonde powerhouse packs a whallop--and still acts her "age." While the supernatural boost of being "the Chosen One" doesn't make her the kind of heroic figure that Ripley is, Buffy challenges stereotypes and pre-conceptions. Starting with her name, her hair color, and her (non-Slayer) interests.


Nicole de Boer, as Yuna (Deepwater Black) and as Ezri Dax (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)

Nicole has a number of sci-fi appearances in her filmography: Deepwater Black, ST: DS9, Forever Knight, Cube, and now, The Dead Zone. Somehow, she manages to wring something unique out of even the most cardboard of characters. I hope we see more--and soon!--from this talented actress. Check out this site for more about Nicole.

Carrie-Ann Moss as Trinity

A picture speaks louder than words. In this case, it shouts. The opening scenes of The Matrix. The "ranking officer" speech on the Neb. Sistahs are indeed doin' it for themselves!




Shiri Appleby, of Roswell, the Series, as Liz Parker.

Beauty and brains, and generous application of both. As Liz, she is very human--but she is also determined, quick-witted, a fine example of a young woman with the potential for greatness.



Milla Jovovich, as Leeloo.(Fifth Element)

The Supreme Being is a female. But we knew that all along, right? <g>





Uma Thurman, as Irene (Gattaca.See this movie!)

Irene's chilly exterior might throw you off...but this is one woman who knows exactly what she wants, and will work hard to get it. She is beautiful, but her physical beauty means nothing to her. She is pitting her intellect against some of the greatest minds of her generation--and holding her own. Though she chafes under her restrictions, she can still push the boundaries.

Natalie Portman, as Queen Amidala (Star Wars: the Phantom Menace)

Okay, the notion of being elected as ruling monarch at 14 on the basis of her wisdom is a little iffy--but Amidala refuses the victim role at every turn, reuniting factions that had remained separate for generations. She showed intelligence, strength, and determination--and a gift for the long view.

Women of Literary SF-F


Catherine Asaro: I have to respect anyone who can take a mathematical theorum and use it to plot a science-fiction/romance novel. That's exactly what Asaro did in The Quantum Rose. Kamoj is a very untypical heroine.

Susan R. Matthews: Avalanche Soldier, and Colony Fleet. Intelligent, capable women, who confront their own limitations. Read more about this author.

Tanith Lee: Tanith leaves me in awe. Her books are complex, dark, and intricately detailed. The first book of hers I "read" was a graphic novel rendition of The Silver Metal Lover. Later, I found a print version, in hardback (all praise the used bookshops, long may they endure). I've devoured her Flat Earth books (not recommended for younger readers), her Blood Opera books (ditto), and the Books of Paradys.

Actually, most of her books aren't for younger readers. But she's still fantastic. Read more about this author.

C.L. Moore: Jirel of Joirey. For creating the first sword-and-sorcery heroine, Moore cannot garner enough praise. Jirel may seem cliched by today's standards, but like Ripley, she was the first, and remained the high-water mark for all who came after. Without her ground-breaking work, it would have taken twice as long for women characters to graduate past being glorified decorations for the plot and the (male) hero's prowess. Read more about this author.

Sharon Shinn: Known best for her award-winning trilogy, I can heartily recommend many of her other novels. Wrapt in Crystal is an excellent read, as is Jenna Starborn, Shinn's re-telling of Jane Eyre in a sci-fi setting. I was less enthused by Heart of Gold. What I find intriguing about Shinn's work is the spiritual thread that runs through them. I would not presume to classify these books as being "Christian" or indeed, of any particular religious persuasion at all. (Crystal and Starborn, for example, feature devout worshippers of a Great Goddess.) But if you like your fantasy and science-fiction with a religious twist, give Shinn a try. Read more about this author.

Marion Zimmer-Bradley: the creator of the Darkover novels, and the Renunciates, or Free Amazons. The Firebrand, which switched focus from Greek heroes to the tragic figure of Kassandra--but without the mantle of victim. Read more about this author.


Julie Bell: While not slashy, she can certainly produce some steamy graphics when she chooses. Borders a little too much on "cheesecake" for my tastes, but then she has some drop-dead gorgeous artwork. Visit the official Julie Bell homepage.

Colleen Doran: The artist/author/creator of A Distant Soil, which is a lovely read for slash-lover. (D'Mer and Seren. *siiiiiiigh*) Of course, with the way ADS jumps from publisher to publisher, starting over from scratch each time...

Jody Lee: Her work graces the covers of many popular authors, such as Mercedes Lackey. I can always recognize her work by the expressive eyes of the figures on the cover. A listing of the cover illustrations Jody has produced.

Janny Wurts: I hate to say it, but Ms. Wurts is a far better artist than a writer (IMO, YMMV). Her paintings have depth and richness, and tell the stories all on their own. Her books...leave me underwhelmed. Visit the Janny Wurts official site. (Frames, scrolling marquees...the faster your connection, the better with this one.)

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