June 14th, 2010

Wheel Icon 2

Older Women as Main Characters

I was talking to Sharon Shinn in email (whose books you should all be reading, especially if you like romance in your SF and F) a bit about writing older heroines. I'm trying to think of SF/F books with older women, say in their 40s or 50s, or old enough to have adult children, as the main character. I've done it once, in Wheel of the Infinite which has Maskelle (see icon) as an older woman main character. And Ravenna is an important presence in The Element of Fire even though she's not the main character. But my other female main characters have all been in their early twenties.

Part of this for me seems to be the idea that adventures tend to happen early in people's lives, if they're going to happen at all. Writing Maskelle as an older woman was a very conscious choice, that was sparked by watching a Jane Wyman movie made in the 50s. (In the movie, Wyman's husband dies, and her college-age children basically expect Wyman's life to stop, and do not react well when instead she falls in love with their young gardener, played by Rock Hudson.)

But I thought it would be interesting to ask people to comment and name their favorite characters in SF/F who are older women. I'm looking for female (human or alien) characters in their 40s or 50s, or old enough to have adult children or grandchildren.