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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.
22nd-May-2012 12:33 am (UTC)
Blood Price, Blood Trail, Blood Lines, Blood Pact, and Blood Debt.

22nd-May-2012 12:38 am (UTC)
"Gate of Darkness, Circle of Light", also by Tanya Huff, would probably fit the bill - one of the main characters is Rebecca, a woman who I think is about 20? 25? and... I don't know if Huff ever mentions a specific diagnosis, but non-neurotypical at a minimum, along with her case worker, Daru. (There is also a female cop who we get in the head of a couple of times, but the other major viewpoints are a male ~30 year old busker and a male angel, and the male antagonist).

Edited at 2012-05-22 12:40 am (UTC)
21st-May-2012 04:39 pm (UTC)
Your last would be Vicky Nelson, in a series of books by Tanya Huff with 'Blood' in the titles.

Iirc, Rachel Pollack's Unquenchable Fire would meet your specs, and possibly also her Temporary Agency.
21st-May-2012 04:42 pm (UTC)
You beat me to it. I believe the series you're referring to is "Blood Price" by Tanya Huff and the heroine is Victoria Price. There are three other books in the series. The vampire happens to be Henry Fitzroy, bastard son of Henry VIII.

Great stuff.
21st-May-2012 10:34 pm (UTC)
Actually, she eventually wrote a 5th Blood book, blood debt I think. (And I think there's a short story collection somewhere) And the Smoke And *blank* series is a sequel, starring Tony, Henry's friend.
22nd-May-2012 12:25 am (UTC)
Yeah, I have yet to get those. Fun brain candy for when I need to relax and yet tickles my amateur historian bent.
22nd-May-2012 12:39 am (UTC)
You should be warned then that the 5th blood book is a lot more serious, less fun, more grim, IMHO. Though the Smoke & series is great fun.
22nd-May-2012 12:40 am (UTC)
That's cool, thanks for the heads up but I'm sure I'll enjoy it. Tanya Huff is one of my favorite writers.
22nd-May-2012 03:25 am (UTC)
Ditto. I found her Sing the Four Quarters when I was a teenager (20yrs ago) and it was pretty formative for me. :)
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? :)
22nd-May-2012 04:40 am (UTC)
I don't think so, since the target is never a baddie. And it's balanced out by her nervousness about having to hit a sontaran in the back of the neck.
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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21st-May-2012 08:05 pm (UTC)
Ista in Bujold's Paladin of Souls.
21st-May-2012 08:07 pm (UTC)
Jenny Casey in Elizabeth Bear's books "Hammered," "Scardown," and "Worldwired" is older, not American, a person of color, and has cybernetic prosthetic limbs.
21st-May-2012 08:11 pm (UTC)
Amaranth from the Emperor's Edge books. She's an ex-cop who happened to be at the wrong place in the wrong time, and got on the bad side of the Dick Cheney-esque figure in the world. She got sent on a suicide mission, survived, and is now trying to restore her good name. She's not beautiful, and while she has been training to be a better fighter, she starts out with the same skill level as the average beat cop. She mostly wins her plots be being clever and talking people into doing what she wants.
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21st-May-2012 08:50 pm (UTC)
What about Lal, from The Innkeeper's Song by Peter S. Beagle? She is a warrior, but not exclusively.
21st-May-2012 09:37 pm (UTC)
Huh, I don't really see the brainy shortage so much. Even most of the ass-kicking ones have brains, seems to me, and that's often presented as being more important. I guess there is an age issue, though, most of the ones I thought of were teens/20s (Katniss, Hermione, Black Widow, etc.)

River Song, Prof McGonagall, Dr. Hextall (Contagion), Diziet Sma (Culture), Maureen Johnson Long (To Sail Beyond the Sunset, etc.), Lady Sally (Callahan's) are the ones we brainstormed.
22nd-May-2012 07:36 pm (UTC) - Too mature?
I don't know if this would work for your purposes, but the first person to come to my mind was Jessica Fletcher from the show "Murder, She Wrote."

There's also Mrs. Pollifax, the elderly woman who becomes a quasi-CIA agent in a series of books by Dorothy Gilman, as well as Agatha Christie's famous Miss Marple.
23rd-May-2012 02:33 pm (UTC)
WORD.
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