100 sci fi women: the first fifty

So science fiction, fantasy, horror, speculative fiction or whatever you might like to call it, all of these (barring the Twilight and Sookie Stackhouse novels and a few other cases) are generally seen as male domains. Especially the science fiction bit. So this list is, in part, to reclaim those genres, to prove that female characters have a place, and an important place at that. In the first 50 we have characters from all the genres, from novels, television, films and video games. We have women of a variety of ethnic backgrounds, as well as some aliens and some of the artificially intelligent. There are the young and the old, and everything in between. Some are beautiful and some are not, some are mothers, some are single, some kick butt and some think great thoughts. Like women in general, they are varied and different.

You may not agree with every inclusion on the list, and you may think of reasons why the places that they come from are not as progressive as they might be. But what this shows is that woman have a presence in a fictional form in these genres.

So point to this list whenever a young girl (or an old woman) says that science fiction isn’t for girls – and please feel free to send me any suggestions or entries you might have for the next 50 – godardsletterboxes@gmail.com

Also, just a reminder that this is not an order of merit – it is a list of when they have occurred to me! We can think about actual rankings when we get to 100!

1. Kara Thrace Battlestar Galactica

2. Perosteck Balveda Consider Phlebas

3. Sarah Connor in all her Terminator related incarnations

4. Offred The Handmaid’s Tale

5. Ellen Ripley The Aliens franchise

6. Dorothea McDonald The Galactic Milieu series

7. Inara Serra Firefly & Serenity

8. Nell The Diamond Age

9. Leela Doctor Who

10. Alldera The Holdfast Chronicles

11. Nyota Uhara Star Trek

12. Killashandra Ree The Crystal Singer trilogy

13. Buffy Summers Buffy the Vampire Slayer

14. Tenar Wizard of Earthsea series

15. Dana Scully X-Files

16. Susan Ivanova Babylon 5

17. Chevette Washington various William Gibson

18. Zoe Firefly and Serenity

19. Hermoine Granger The Harry Potter oeuvre

20. Laura Roslin Battlestar Galactica

21. Kira Nerys Deep Space 9

22. Tricia McMillan Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series

23. Servalan Blake’s 7

24. Princess Leia Organa Star Wars original trilogy

25. Anne Burden Z for Zachariah

26. Romanadvoratrelundar Doctor Who

27. Marcelina Hoffman Brasyl

28. Margarita Nikolaevna The Master and Margarita

29. Joanna Dark Perfect Dark

30. Willow Rosenberg Buffy The Vampire Slayer

31. Eowyn The Lord of The Rings

32. Caprica Six Battlestar Galactica

33. Odo The Dispossesed

34. Delenn Babylon 5

35. Jadzia Dax Deep Space 9

36. Claudia Interview with the Vampire

37. Lwaxana Troi Star Trek: Next Generation

38. Adelle De Witt Dollhouse

39. Diana V

40. T’Pring Star Trek

41. Molly Millions Neuromancer

42. Aura/Rashmika Els Absolution Gap

43. Max Guevara Dark Angel

44. Lilith Iyapo Xenogenesis Trilogy

45. Bayta Darell Foundation and Empire

46. Cord Anathem

47. Kaylee Frye Firefly and Serenity

48. Kelly Dead Set

49. Cordelia Chase Buffy and Angel

50. Rachael Blade Runner

Top 50 Science Fiction and Fantasy Books Meme

Because by now we all know I love lists, here is another science fiction one, found originally at Where the Wind’s Like a Whetted Knife.

Bold the ones you’ve read, strike-out the ones you hated, italicize those you started but never finished and put asterisks beside the ones you loved (the more asterisks, the more you liked it).

The Most Significant SF & Fantasy Books of the Last 50 Years, 1953-2002

  1. The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien**
  2. The Foundation Trilogy, Isaac Asimov***
  3. Dune, Frank Herbert****
  4. Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein****
  5. A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin****
  6. Neuromancer, William Gibson*****
  7. Childhood’s End, Arthur C. Clarke
  8. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick
  9. The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
  10. Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury*
  11. The Book of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe
  12. A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr.
  13. The Caves of Steel, Isaac Asimov
  14. Children of the Atom, Wilmar Shiras
  15. Cities in Flight, James Blish
  16. The Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett
  17. Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison
  18. Deathbird Stories, Harlan Ellison
  19. The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester
  20. Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany
  21. Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey***
  22. Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card
  23. The First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Stephen R. Donaldson
  24. The Forever War, Joe Haldeman
  25. Gateway, Frederik Pohl
  26. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling**
  27. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams*****
  28. I Am Legend, Richard Matheson
  29. Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice**
  30. The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin****
  31. Little, Big, John Crowley
  32. Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny
  33. The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick
  34. Mission of Gravity, Hal Clement
  35. More Than Human, Theodore Sturgeon
  36. The Rediscovery of Man, Cordwainer Smith
  37. On the Beach, Nevil Shute**
  38. Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke
  39. Ringworld, Larry Niven
  40. Rogue Moon, Algis Budrys
  41. The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien
  42. Slaughterhouse-5, Kurt Vonnegut*****
  43. Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson*****
  44. Stand on Zanzibar, John Brunner**
  45. The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester
  46. Starship Troopers, Robert A. Heinlein*
  47. Stormbringer, Michael Moorcock
  48. The Sword of Shannara, Terry Brooks
  49. Timescape, Gregory Benford
  50. To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Philip Jose Farmer

So that is only 16, which considering how much science fiction and fantasy I have read seems a bit poor. One could argue with some of the book choices, but I might leave that to another day. I must admit also that my enjoyment ratings in some cases might relate to the age at which I read most of these books – the majority was when I was 16 or under, which might have skewed my view somewhat. At least it indicates more books I should read, and perhaps some I might want to revisit. I loved the Foundation books as a teenager, and also really enjoyed A Stranger in A Strange Land when I was in my final year of school and my extension english topic was politics and religion in science fiction. And it must be said, I still love Douglas Adams.

Science fiction and fantasy (not that sort) women

So I have been inspired by a number of projects that have been about recently exploring areas where women are often overlooked but are still there, still important and even if, unfortunately, often under-represented. The fabulous work on the alternative Hottest 100 and the work on the Feminist SF site on Mindblowing Science Fiction by Women. Also I have seen some wonderful lists of science fiction related areas recently, including Den of the Geek’s wonderful pice on sci-fi corridors and io9’s regular Top Tens, including unlikeliest apocalypse survivors and dirt cheap aliens who still look awesome. And let’s face it, everyone loves a list. So, over the next few weeks, I want to develop a Top 100 science fiction and fantasy women (and we might include supernatural world views in there too). I have a lot of them up my sleeve and will publish them in regular posts over the next few weeks, but please feel free to add in your own, and when we get to 100, we can stop. Or vote. Or something.

So, we might as well start with my current favourite…..

Starbuck aka Kara Thrace


Starbuck kicks arse, both literally and figuratively. Could in no way be described as a girly-girl, but definitely scrubs up nicely in a frock – or her dress blues. The Top Gun of the Galactica, Starbuck shows that women can drink and fight and sleep with who they want, but still command respect and authority because they are good at what they do. With an abusive mother and an absent father and a fiance who died because she had slacked off as his instructor, Starbuck was tough, but also demonstrated vulnerabilities and insecurities. Her appearance in any episode of Battlestar Galactica brought it to life and she was a waaaaay better character than the Starbuck of the original series ever was. By the end of the series it turned out that Starbuck was more than human, possibly an angel of some description, and if there have to be some sort of metaphysical beings in the world, I love the idea that they chomp cigars, mess up their love lives and can’t resist punching a superior officer because he is, quite frankly, a dick. I miss her now I don’t get to see her all the time.