Yesterday, I told you about S.M. Reine’s three-book fantasy compilation of The Descent Series being free through December 31st – it’s still free, and you can grab it now if you missed it yesterday by clicking here or typing in http://smarturl.it/qqzdhf into your web browser. Continuing the independent author guest blog post, sit back to learn a little more about Sara…
I’m a huge movie nut. More specifically, I love action movies in all of their incarnations: thrillers, science fiction adventure, superheroes, epic fantasy, spy movies, whatever. If it’s going to get my heart pumping, I am there.
As a kid, I wanted to grow up to be James Bond. (I still want to be James Bond, but I’m a grown up now, and no dice. Tragic.) The idea that there was this suave, skilled, confident human being that could fight with his brain as skillfully as his fists appealed to me deeply. That was who I wanted to be. The fact that I was a nerdy, dumpy preteenage girl who spent more time on her IBM Compatible than actually going outside to run around and learn to kick butt…? Yeah, not relevant, I was going to be Bond.
I utterly gobbled up heroes like 007: Batman, Indiana Jones, Han Solo, John McClane. All those guys. But there was one problem–a certain problem of two x chromosomes. I may be a nerdy lady, but I’m a lady, goshdarnit, and I want to be Lady James Bond. NOT a Bond girl. Not Moneypenny, not Poison Ivy in a teeny swimsuit and body paint, not Princess Leia in her metal bikini (sorry, Leia, you’re still awesome).
Even when there are strong female characters in action movies, they tend to take on supporting roles, or are framed as love interests; Princess Leia shoots crap, but she’s still the princess that Han and Luke need to rescue.
Where’s my balls-to-the-wall action heroine? Where’s the woman that would walk over glass to shoot terrorists, WITHOUT strategic cleavage-flashing tears?
I was reminded of this little childhood conundrum a couple months back when I saw John Carter (very underrated space opera, you should go rent it). The title character is awesome. He will do anything to escape a bad situation–dive out of windows when held at gunpoint by Union soldiers and face down an entire tribe of aliens, just for starters.
And I wondered again: where’s my female main character that does this kind of crazy action stuff?
I’ll tell you where they are. They’re all lurking in urban fantasy novels. (Bear with me here.)
“Urban fantasy” probably brings to mind sexy vampire romances, but don’t let that you turn you off. Laurell K Hamilton pioneered the crossover between detective noir and horror, which did involve a vampire romance or six, but it’s since grown into a total beast of booty-kicking female protagonists. These are stories about female experiences told through the tropes of paranormal fiction, and it usually involves the aforementioned female character also shooting the crap out of everything.
Discovering that I could get my butt-kickery through books was a revelation. It’s shaped my life as a reader, and my entire career as an author, since I now spend my days writing my own lady action hero. (The IBM Compatible is long since dust, I’m afraid.)
I’m still waiting for the perfect lady Bond heroine in the movies, but in the meantime, these books have tided me over since high school.
- The aforementioned Anita Blake series, up to and including Obsidian Butterfly. In fact, feel free to just read that one and ignore the rest.
- The original six Last Vampire books by Christopher Pike.
- The October Daye books by Seanan McGuire.
- The Jane Yellowrock books by Faith Hunter.
- I’ll also, somewhat hesitantly, include the Mercy Thompson books by Patricia Briggs. They’re almost more paranormal romance, though.
For those of you who might fancy yourself a lady James Bond of your own that have already gotten through the series above, I also have a little “required media consumption” list, which includes movies, TV shows, comic books, and video games. I’ve only included female protagonists who are genuinely the main character and not solely eye candy.
- Alien. Ripley is epic.
- Haywire, which stars a real-life female MMA fighter who’s a mercenary, and the closest thing to a lady Bond I’ve seen so far.
- Tomb Raider. Lara Croft was designed to be T&A, yet in the process, the developers accidentally managed to create a clever, independent female protagonist who actually is seldom sexualized. She’s basically Indiana Jones in shorts and hiking boots.
- Wonder Woman from the George Perez run in the 80s.
- It almost seems unnecessary to throw Buffy the Vampire Slayer in here, but I’ll do it for kicks anyway.
- The Mass Effect trilogy, playing as Femshep. No, really.
- Anything with Mila Jovovich. I won’t speak to the quality of her movies, but she’s one of the few actresses who gets typecast as an action star.
It would be a little presumptuous to add my books to either list above, but I do write about the heroine I’ve always dreamed of in The Descent Series, urban fantasy for those who love their ladies with a side of grit. There are five books in the series released so far. Books 1-3, in a collected box set, are free through Monday. The newest volume, Dire Blood, was released Christmas Day.
That said, I’m always up for more lady action stars, so give me your recommendations! Who are YOUR favorite kick-butt heroines?
Thank you, Sara!
You can check out Sara’s Amazon author page if you click here, or visit her website at www.smreine.com or Facebook page at http://facebook.com/authorsmreine – don’t forget, her trilogy of the first three books of The Descent Series is free though Monday: click here or type in http://smarturl.it/qqzdhf into your web browser to grab it now!