100 sci fi women #59: Mara of the Acoma

Before moving to today’s woman, I provide you with this list which is the Locus 2010 Recommended Reading List. I’ve only read two of the science fiction and none of the fantasy, so there are definitely a few things to check out. I am also rather pleased to see that, while not a fifty /fifty split, novels by women are well represented on their lists, so some more to dip into there. I did have another list to share with you, but Twitter seems to have lost the tweet, so it might be for another time.

In the meantime, going back to a favourite from the past…

Mara of the Acoma Daughter/Servant/Mistress of the Empire Raymond E Feist and Janny Wurts

Mara was ready to embrace a traditional female role in her culture when she learnt of the death of her father and brother. Her culture is not a culture where women dominatepolitics and rulership are all very part of the world of men. Mara learns to both assimilate and challenge; to work within the rules of the men when it serves her purposes, but to go outside them when needed. She understands the importance of alliances and relationships and uses this understanding to her advantage. By breaking rules she creates new loyalties which are strong and serve her well, putting aside the reservations that her culture would normally create. She even understands the power of her own fertility and role as a woman, and uses this to strengthen alliances. Mara is smart, and it is not only her intelligence but her understanding of how people work and how to manipulate them that ultimately works to cement her position. Her eyes are further opened to the contradictions and problems in her own culture when she learns to see it through the eyes of another – a slave who she does not dismiss merely because he is her slave. Mara is a survivor and a woman who breaks some traditions, but also understands how to work within them. Her understanding of people, and her ability to build and maintain relationships, are the keys to her success.

Rest well, my father, and you, my brother. He who took your lives is now bust ashes, and your blood is avenged. The honour of the Acoma is intact, and your line preserved.