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100 sci fi women #45: Bayta Darell

OK, so it has been a while. I will not make excuses, but hopefully can get to some more regular posts from here on. Today’s contribution comes from Matt from Smithology.  I have meant to revist the Foundation books which I read over 20 years ago for this list, because I had a nagging memory of a strong female character, so here we are.

Bayta Darell  Foundation and Empire Isaac Asimov

I just finished reading Isaac Asimov’s Foundation and Empire and just as I was despairing that after one and a half books there was not even a mention of the female gender, along came Bayta.  While Bayta is the epitomy of 50s domestic efficiency and conforms to stereotypes of feminine tenderness, she has some interesting aspects to her character.  Notably she is a member of an underground political group that seeks to overthrow the government. She journeys with her husband into the thick of galactic conflict and becomes a key player in events, being one of the first to observe some of the peculiarities of the enemy. She contributes her intellectual analysis within her party of travelers until by the end of the book she is seen to be “as an equal with them”, scandalising at least one of their hosts by remaining in the inner sanctum of male business and even smoking a cigar with them. When she finally realises the truth about their enemy, she immediately grasps that she cannot reveal the information and acts to devise and carry out a plan to save the galaxy on her own.

Bayta, face frozen white, lifted her blaster and shot, with an echoing clap of noise. From the waist upward, Mis was not, and a ragged hole was in the wall behind. From numb fingers, Bayta’s blaster dropped to the floor.


One response to “100 sci fi women #45: Bayta Darell

  1. Matt

    Great post, very well written! I noted when I read the trilogy that Asimov seemed to change style as the books progressed. In Second Foundation, Bayta’s granddaughter Arkady pretty much dominates the plot of the second half of the book.

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