sharpest_asp: A picture of Halle Berry's back as she wades in water, side view (Actress: Halle's Back)
Aspen Sagan ([personal profile] sharpest_asp) wrote in [community profile] shes_awesome2010-01-26 02:04 am

Repost from Journal

She's Awesome, And This Is Why:

Well, [personal profile] ilyena_sylph covered the Pern books hard, and despite McCaffrey there are some very good women there.

So let me look at the other McCaffrey problem children.

Killashandra – For the first two books, she holds her own weight. She goes from a drama queen young woman to a self-assured, mature woman who takes life in stride and makes it work for her. I will always love her for rescuing herself in the second book.

Isthia Raven – This woman turns out to be a driving force, a quiet backbone to the Talent series, except in all the ways she's not. She handles the onslaught of the loss of husband, family, near loss of her planet...and keeps coming. She's very much a repeated archetype in the works of McCaffrey, and I'm betting she's the idealized view of Anne herself, but...I can't help but love this incarnation of that archetype. (See Dorotea Horvath and Leri for other examples)

Moving on to Heinlein (yes, that Heinlein)

Hazel Stone – Because the universe needs more cannonball, redhead skinny little not-girl girls out there willing to fight in a revolution. They need more cranky grandmothers who know how to cope with twin nuisance troublemaking grandsons. They need more Time Agents who can manage a cranky son of a bitch son of Lazarus Long.

While we're on the sharper side...Hilda "Sharpie" Corners. Because any woman that can be as independent as she's presented and ALSO outfox Lazarus Long deserves to be nominated for supreme feminine wile usage!

Stirling and Meier (Fifth Millenium, for anyone that's read them)

People who know me would say I'll go for Stirling's Shkai'ra, but no, I'm hopping on board here for Megan Whitlock. Middle class child in a post apocalypse-magic-came-back version of Russia, who sees her family fall to absolute poverty, loses both parents in time, winds up with an aunt who sells her into slavery...and she comes back. Builds herself a House that raises her up to just under the full nobility...and gets betrayed into slavery again. AND COMES BACK! I'm telling you, Megan is made of more steel than Wonder Woman dreamed of.

Earth's Children Series (Auel)

Iza. Hands down, no doubt, the woman that raised Ayla deserves the she's awesome award for sheer tenacity. Abused, defiant in ways that no Clan woman should be, able to use her influence as a medicine woman...she is the fount of strength that allows Ayla to develop into what she eventually does.

Piers Anthony

Yena gave you Luna and Niobe, but I have to mention Orb, who is strong enough to love Satan himself...and still win against his plottings.

Irene and Ivy and the Gorgon prove in Xanth that just because you love a man doesn't make you less than the kick-ass woman you can be in your own right. Che and Chex take conventional notions and set them on their ear to do as they need to and be happy. But my favorite Xanthian woman of all time is a horse. Specifically Night Mare Imbri (short for Imbrium) who saved Xanth after 9 Kings fell prey to the danger stalking Xanth.

For the Adept series, I give you Lady Blue, who held the Blue Demesnes on her own despite having no Adept level magic, who held out against loving the man come to replace her husband, who saw her own short-comings and did not trip over them when the crunch time came. I also point you in the direction of Fleta, the 'corn who decided that while her mother had been content to step back as a friend, she was going to have the man she loved, even if he was a 'rovot'.


Ahh hell, this one's hard. Richard and Wendy Pini built a world that tends to give strong, dynamic characters, period, regardless of gender. But there are a few that really stand out.

Winnowill. Yes, the baddie of the series. She's warped, twisted by the truths that she could not bear, but she took the people she had and set them up in a situation that would keep them safe, in her own designs. She shaped the elven culture time and time again, making them evolve into something that could overcome the world they had landed on, and not just survive, but rule, if the fools would only be brought around to seeing it!

Timmain, the elf who gave herself to the wolves, so that her children would be a part of the world they'd landed on. Immortal as her kind could be, but so few had been strong enough to accept once they landed on World of Two Moons, Timmain watched as her children divided time and again, until they were as diverse a race as the Tall Ones themselves.

Nightfall. Clearbrook. Moonshade. Ember. Honestly, I have yet to meet a Wolfrider woman I don't like, not of the past couple of generations.

Barsoom (Burroughs)

One name. Thuvia of Ptarth. Why? Because she was written as the victim who refused to stay one, from day one of her introduction. Plaything of cruel priests, sacrifice to a false goddess, imprisoned with a cruel woman....yet she KEPT OVERCOMING IT! Eventually, as in all the classic stories, she does marry, but only after contemplating the duty to her people, and being freed of the responsibility therein.

Egyptian Mythology

ISIS!!!! She's tricky enough to take Ra's secret name to hold power, strong enough to evade all Set's attempts against her son, able to make that son in the first place from a dead husband...dude, she is the epitome of the living goddess!


Goldmoon. For being bold enough to love a man below her class. For taking up her role in the fight against evil. For being strong enough to defy the fates. For surviving her people with a will to fix the wrong, rather than just having blind vengeance on her mind.

Masters of Rome (McCullough)

Aurelia. Hey, what is there to not like in the woman who mothered Caesar into a man that could rule the world? In the woman that was both fascinated/attracted to Sulla and strong enough to deny it, and survive the denying? Who could see just what Sulla was under the veneer, and still brave that for her son's life?

All the Julias. Not the Julillias. But the Julias, with their patience and love and ability to soothe are the quiet strong women who know the power they can wield through subtle care of the men more visibly in power.

Emergence (David Palmer)

Candy Foster-Smith. This is a really awesome book that I think not enough people know of. Candy's the plucky girl hero that just works magic on my id, being smart and talented in many ways as well as physically adept, and she handles the destruction of the world as she knows it with aplomb.

Kushiel (Carey)

Phaedre. This woman...she is the main reason I stuck with the books after her trilogy ended. Because there is something that captivates me about how she was taught to use her mind to see and read situations so well. That the culture is set up to give such commanding grace to affairs of the heart and body really just was the icing on the cake for me.

Dune (Herbert, Herbert, and Anderson)

The late Frank Herbert was another man with an awesome wife to inspire his female characters. By all accounts, you see it most clearly in Jessica, who knew her own mind and defied the powerful Bene Gesserit to give her lord a son, when a daughter had been commanded. I think the worst failing of the original series is a lack of explanation for how this wonderful woman could just abandon her daughter, so changed by Jessica's own choices, to being raised on Arrakis when she returned to Caladan.

Star Trek Novels

Piper of Dreadnought and Battlestations for showing how to be Kirk and not be obnoxious at it.

Jean Czerny of Pawns and Symbols who was prepped for a deep cover mission in the Klingon Empire...and then did it all with amnesia that kept her from remembering the training. Her indomitable will through the book is so admirable, and I still want a Kang/Mara/Jean threesome...

The Romulan commander. Whether it is the version we meet in Killing Time or the one in Dwellers in the Crucible, she totally owns the 'screen' just as she did in the original series episode she was introduced in.

Speaking of Dwellers in the Crucible, T'Shael. I love the introverted Vulcan, child of a scientist and an artist, given a tragic past and offering such a quiet view of Vulcan, of her predicament, of her human t'hy'la and the evolution of that relationship.

Star Wars Novels

Nope, not Mara Jade. For me, the best and most beloved female character ever introduced in the Expanded Universe (and I am almost certain she is the inspiration behind Padme's handmaidens in the prequels) is Winter. Leia's assistant, occasional stand-in, spy, saboteur, and all around James Bond of the Ambassador's staff. Not to mention, the nanny to three Jedi children, for which she deserves a medal.


Dana Scully. The woman who taught me again that it was okay to be smart and savvy and disagree with your partner while still respecting his weird points of view...and it was just as okay to let the events around you change your mind in due time. Also, gun-love for the win.

Doctor Who

Zoe, for being plucky and smart and willing to tell the Doctor he was wrong from time to time. Barbara for questioning the Doctor. Sarah Jane for leading the Doctor into more trouble than he could find, and never losing her zest for finding the story. Jo for arguing with the Doctor. Liz for not backing down. Tegan for scolding and nagging the Doctor. Leela for being kick ass kill it if it moves. Ace for blowing up Daleks. Romana I for putting up with the pomposity of the Doctor and still focusing his efforts. Romana II for just being herself.

PLEASE! Chime in, with more characters or ask me about fandoms I might have forgotten here, or disagree or add to! Let's talk WOMEN!