Tag Archives: female characters

Damsels Who Can’t Be Bothered to be Distressed

(This is a reblog of a post by my friend Cedar Sanderson. Over the last few weeks, there has been a lot of discussion about this year’s Hugo nominees, accusations that certain people hijacked the nominees by — gasp — telling people they could vote and recommending titles they might want to consider nominating. Part of the backwash to this has been, among other things, accusations that these dastardly upstarts — read wrong thinking authors and fans — are misogynists and (I kid you not) white Mormon males. So Cedar put together, with help from a lot of other folks, a partial list of books with kick-ass female main characters. It’s a great list — and I’m honored to have two of my characters listed.)

Death before Whining!

This started out as a spark off Tom Knighton’s post at According to Hoyt the other day. He wrote: “I don’t recall exactly who, but one of the better known authors of our genre once claimed that all people like me wanted in our books was, “Manly men doing manly things in manly ways.” Obviously, this was a snide way to say that I and people like me have no interest in female characters.”


Oh, now that I can breathe again (and need to sweep the floor. Ugh, dog hair!). I’ve known for a while that certain people have their noses so far in the air that it hinders their ability to see where they are going. Since it also seems to impede their ability to read, I have no fear that they will find this list and be scandalized. You see, I asked a question right after sharing Tom’s post. I asked it in two places that would be considered the ‘heart of darkness’ by those who claim we are misogynists. The Conservative Libertarian Fiction Alliance, and of course,Sarah’s Diner (’cause they think she’s a white Mormon male. I rest my case about where their noses are). What follows is a partial list of the day’s long conversation that was generated, mostly people who were enthusiastically sharing their favorites and recommending more. This isn’t something that took effort on my part, folks, I didn’t have to poke or prod. I stole the tagline from Baen, from their guidelines for the Fantasy Contest, because it amused me. It seems to have sparked a reaction from the people I was asking, too.

If this list isn’t enough for you, head over to the original post for something like 500+ comments, many recommending more good books. I’d pull them out, but frankly, like many of the women on this list, I haven’t got time. Places to go, things to do… The list is presented to you in no particular order. It is by no means complete. Please feel free to make other suggestions (or highlight some of these) in the comments. One thing folks around here do, we don’t tell people not to read something because it’s not ‘rightthink’ or it was written by a wrong person. We say ‘hey that was good! and you might like this one, too!’

You will note I have not discriminated. Male or female, the author’s gender, sex, or pigmentation matters not at all. These are characters who inspire their readers, we don’t care about the author. The story is the point.

Hopefully this will give you some strong women who aren’t afraid to take names and get the job done, without whining and resting on their laurels simply because they were born female. Women to Ride the River with.

ride the river

  1. Kendra from Freehold by Mike Williamson
  2. Modesty Blaise by Peter O’Donnell
  3. Princess Cimorene in Patricia Wrede’s Enchanted Forest Chronicles
  4. Seawolf and Shewolf by John Ringo
  5. Cally O’Neal by John Ringo
  6. Marion Alston and Swindapa by SM Stirling
  7. Kyri Vantage, Ariane, Madeline and Helen by Ryk Spoor (Balance Sword series, Arenaverse, Boundaryverse)
  8. Jirel of Jory by C.L. Moore
  9. Menolly by Anne McCaffrey
  10. April series by Mackey Chandler
  11. Moreta by Anne McCaffrey
  12. Friday by Robert A Heinlein
  13. Podkayne of Mars by RAH
  14. Wyoming Knott in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by RAH
  15. To Sail Beyond the Sunset by RAH
  16. Dorothy in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum
  17. Faye in the Grimnoir Chronicles by Larry Correia
  18. Susan and Lucy (and others) in the Chronicles of Narnia
  19. Telzy Amerberdon, Trigger Argee, and most especially the Witches of Karres by James Schmitz
  20. Mackensie “Mac” Santos from Nocturnal Origins by Amanda S Green
  21. Ashlyn Shaw by Sam Schall
  22. Eowyn from Lord of the Rings by Tolkein
  23. Meg from A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline LÉngle
  24. Moire from the Sequoyah Trilogy by Sabrina Chase
  25. Kendra from Fablehaven
  26. Raederle from the Riddle Master Trilogy by Patricia McKillip
  27. Paks from Deeds of Paksennarion by Elizabeth Moon
  28. Enchantress from the Stars by Sylvia Enghald
  29. Athena from Darkship Thieves by Sarah Hoyt
  30. Kyrie from the Shifter series by Sarah Hoyt
  31. Cordelia and Kareen, from Cordelia’s Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold
  32. Ekaterin, from Komarr by Lois McMaster Bujold
  33. Blood Red by Mercedes Lackey
  34. Mary Russell, series by Maurie R King
  35. Isabella from Dragontamer’s Daughters by Kenton Kilgore
  36. Amy Lynn, by Jack July
  37. Sabriel, Lyrial, and Abhorsen by Garth Nix
  38. Remnant Population by Elizabeth Moon
  39. The Ship who Sang by Anne McCaffrey
  40. Carla Punch from the Punch series by Erin Lale
  41. The Shield, Sword, and Crown Trilogy by Hilari Bell
  42. Barb Everson from Princess of Wands and Janea from Queen of Wands by John Ringo
  43. Kahlan and Cara by Terry Goodkind
  44. Belladonna Traycroft from the Pixie for Hire series by Cedar Sanderson
  45. Julie Shackleford from Monster Hunter International by Larry Correia
  46. Karrin Murphy from the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
  47. Kitai from Codex Alera by Jim Butcher
  48. Eve Dallas from JD Robb’s in Death series
  49. Mara Jade by Timothy Zahn
  50. Kathryn Dance series by Jeffrey Deaver
  51. Manana Shushurin from the Pius Trilogy by Declan Finn
  52. Honor Harrington by David Weber
  53. Bast from Council Wars series by John Ringo
  54. Tanya Desjani of the Lost Fleet Series
  55. Neeta Lyffe by Karina Fabian
  56. Fisher from Simon R Green’s Hawk and Fisher shorts
  57. Tinker from the Elfhome series by Wen Spencer
  58. Sarah Prine fron the Western Series by Nancy Turner
  59. Echo Sackett from Ride the River by Loius L’Amour
  60. A Fairy Tale by Shanna Swendson
  61. Alicia DeVries, In Fury Born by David Weber
  62.  Linn from Vulcan’s Kittens by Cedar Sanderson