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Scheherazade in Blue Jeans
freelance alchemist
Speaking of my panels. 
21st-May-2012 10:41 am
Hearth
Anyone got suggestions for this one:

I may be blonde, but I'm not 20 and I don't actually physically kick ass.
Is anybody else tired to death of young, sexy, kickass heroines with attitude? Where are the heroines whose brains are more important than their brawn, whose understanding of human nature is more important than their facility with firearms? Are there no mature women who are interested in things that go bump in the night?
Comments 
21st-May-2012 02:56 pm (UTC)
I am not blonde, which may be why I did not register for this panel (but it sounded good). Also because there are so few older non-kickass heroines in genre, yes?

(it's one of the things I wrote about in my Feminist Heroines entry.)

I am planning to come to the panel.

Suggestions of characters: Bujold's Ista of Chalion, Ekaterin Vorsoisson, and to an extent Cordelia Vorkosigan are like that, though they are deeply flawed in other ways.
21st-May-2012 03:22 pm (UTC)
The Companion in Firefly.

Or Weaver in Avatar, maybe?

21st-May-2012 03:43 pm (UTC)
One more: Amat Kyaan from Daniel Abraham's A Shadow in Summer-- in her fifties, I think, has a bad hip, is an accountant. And she's a major character who gets her victories by being intelligent and sensible.

I'll put in a word for the main character in Rachel Caine's Working Stiff. She's an Iraq vet, but she is only about as physically competent as is plausible-- she isn't superhuman.

Edited at 2012-05-21 03:43 pm (UTC)
21st-May-2012 03:50 pm (UTC)
There's always Cordelia Vorkosigan.
21st-May-2012 03:59 pm (UTC)
Laura Bickle's "Salamander Tales" - releases so far are EMBERS and SPARKS. Anya Kalinczyk's full-time job as an arson investigator is far more important to her than her supernatural background. She's not 20, not blonde, doesn't give a damn about her appearance.
21st-May-2012 04:07 pm (UTC)
21st-May-2012 04:15 pm (UTC)
You've already heard Cordelia Vorkosigan a few times, so I'll just nod her way.

Not sure if it counts, but I'm currently reading Robert Sawyer's WWW series, (Wake, Watch, and I think Wonder.) The protagonist is a 16-y-o girl who starts out blind and whose only super power, as far as I can tell, is being smart and particularly good at math - uses the online handle Calculass, and does... (getting vague to avoid spoilers, and also because I'm only half through the series) work hard/smart to protect/interact with the unusual being one of the themes/major plot points.

Young, yes, but so far, no physical ass-kicking, nor any indication that there will be.

The fact that I can't think of anything else off hand is probably more reflective of my non-caffeinated status than my reading. But... yeah. It'd be nice to have a female professor Xavier, wouldn't it? (In a wheelchair, he's clearly not kicking ass, but he is older and his powers *are* all mental, though... yeah.)
21st-May-2012 04:28 pm (UTC)
I think you've hit on a problem faced by both genders. In 1995 or 1996, I was interviewing a male college classmate about manhood. He talked about the new James Bond movie and how all the women he knew were bitching about the Bond girls and what a bad/unrealistic example they set for women. His complaint: James Bond sets no better an example to him. He'll never be fluent in 5 languages, a perfect baccarat player, a weapons ace, and good looking to boot.

Hell, even Mongo, the dwarf from the George Chesbro series, has a black belt in karate, a PhD in criminalistics, and is a private detective extraordinaire.

I can think of one heroine, but the author and series names elude me. She was a former police detective, off the force because she was going blind from macular degeneration. Series of books that involve her, a vampire, and her former police partner/love interest fighting supernatural crime whilst entwined in a love triangle.
21st-May-2012 04:32 pm (UTC)
Tanya Huff's... um... Blood... something. But I *know* that it's Tanya Huff.
21st-May-2012 05:11 pm (UTC)
Donna Noble?
22nd-May-2012 03:26 am (UTC)
I dunno, does Donna's ability to deliver a power slap count as physically kicking ass? :)
21st-May-2012 05:15 pm (UTC)
What about the ladies in P.C. Cast's "Divine" series? Shannon/Rhea, Morrigan, Alana, etc. Mostly they use their Goddess-given powers to effect change, rather than kick ass.

There's other problems with that series, but it's an idea.
21st-May-2012 05:19 pm (UTC)
Remnant Population, by Elizabeth Moon, was one of the books that made me think about how few SFF books I had read with an older, let alone elderly, protagonist. Especially one who had not particularly enjoyed being a mother and did not get on well with her child, but where that was not at all the focus of the story.
21st-May-2012 05:20 pm (UTC)
Does it HAVE to be blonde?
21st-May-2012 05:47 pm (UTC)
My brain is failing me right now, but I might remember her name later. Carol Berg's second novel in the Collegia series is from the POV of a female heroine, and she does a little bit of kicking ass, but MOSTLY she's really big on the brains, and the key to solving things has a lot to do with understanding people and reasoning things out based on that. And overall she's a pretty strong character.

21st-May-2012 06:42 pm (UTC)
This is so much more interesting than the trial transcript I'm reading...

If it doesn't have to be sci-fi/fantasy, then Dana Stabenow has a great series based in Alaska with a female Native Alaskan protagonist who's probably in her 30s. And Victoria Janssen's heroines in The Moonlight Mistress and The Dutchess, Her Maid, the Groom, and their Lover are both in their 40s. Granted, that's erotica, but there is plot and in the case of Moonligh, historically accurate portrayals of Science and Medicine.
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