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Middle-aged women or mother SF/F stories

This gets discussed now and then, figured I'd stab at a list again.

Bujold gets a three-fer:
Shards of Honor: Cordelia is 33, which doesn't feel middle-aged to me now *cough* but is certainly more mature than your usual 15-20 year old. She's loved and lost. Barrayar picks up with her slightly later, pregnant, and stuff gets exciting from there. I'm counting those two as one.

Komarr and A Civil Campaign both have a lot of viewpoint from Ekaterin, who's probably about 30, with a 10 year old or so son and a bad marriage.

Paladin of Souls features Ista, whose daughter is... well, might be 16, which means Ista could be as young as 32, rather than the 40 she feels like. Mother, widowed, formerly depressed, starting a new life somehow.

http://coraa.livejournal.com/452499.html is a review of Mrs. Frisby which notes that the titular mouse is both a mother and the hero. anima_mechanique points out parents are understandably not the usual heroes of middle grade books.

Over in anime, Balsa of Seirei no Moribito is I think explicitly described as 30, a mature warrior. Michiko of Michiko and Hatchin is I have no idea, but a mother (without her child) and somewhat older and hardened.

Major Kusanagi of Ghost in the Shell is older than teen too, though not exactly your ordinary middle-aged woman.

Of course, a lot of anime is unusual for even having living mothers, let alone significant, let alone central ones. Karin and to a lesser degree Noein get nods at the significant levels.

I'm not counting immortals who aren't mothers; I figure part of the idea is having actually aged, so no 500 year old youths. Though Yelen Korolev of Marooned in Realtime might qualify; she's medically life-extended, but feels older than a typical elf.

Cherryh might get a bunch in here: Chanur, Signy Mallory (don't think she was ever a main character), Ariane Emory.

Of course, middle-aged men aren't massively represented either, that I can think of. Let alone the elderly.

Not genre, but how old is Anne of Persuasion? Certainly a bit older, getting a second chance on life, IIRC, vs. the usual nubiles.

For irony, my userpic is a 5000 year old clarketech robot war machine who manifests as a 10-12 year old girl.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 26th, 2011 12:05 pm (UTC)
Which war machine, out of curiosity?
Jan. 26th, 2011 02:44 pm (UTC)
Zefiris, of Scrapped Princess. I call the girl her screensaver mode. Activated and piloted, she's a teleporting aerospace fighter in the form of a dragon. I refer again to clarketech.

I assume that's what you were asking.
Jan. 26th, 2011 04:39 pm (UTC)
(Here from canis-m's FL)

Anne Elliot is 27, getting on by the standards of the time but not really middle-aged.

For middle-aged or old protagonists/ significant characters of either sex, I go to Pratchett. The witches, Vimes, Vetinari, Sybil-- there's more than in any other author I know. I'm also a fan of Sai-ou in 12K, Zeniba in Sen to Chihiro... and Ima Ichiko's mother and grandmother in 100 Night-travelling Demons/ Cortege des Cents Demons, which alas has no English translation.

Edited at 2011-01-26 04:47 pm (UTC)
Jan. 26th, 2011 04:42 pm (UTC)
It's noted a few times that Ekaterin and Miles are of an age, so she's probably 31-32 in Komarr.

I believe Ista was 19 when Iselle was born, which would make her 38 in Paladin.

<--is massive Bujold fan.

As for others, she's not a central character, but Charity in the Harry Dresden files kicks some serious ass.
Jan. 26th, 2011 05:55 pm (UTC)
Sheri S Tepper has written a bunch of books that count.

Why stop at middle-aged? I think the protag in Mirabile is up in there in years. Hm, does the protag in Hellspark sort of count as a mommy?
Jan. 26th, 2011 08:14 pm (UTC)
Tenar in Earthsea (Le Guin). In Tombs of Atuan she's young, but she's a very middle-aged widow and mother in Tehanu, and even older in The Other Wind. Main character in all three.

I could come up with more if I had my bookshelf in front of me.
Jan. 26th, 2011 11:02 pm (UTC)
Fairy tales are -really- depressing
I came to a horrible realization earlier this year (after turning 30). The mothers of the princess or prince have nearly always died in childbirth, or shortly thereafter. No birth control back then, and you wouldn't use it on the wedding night anyway. So in the grand wedding scene at the end, where the beautiful princess marries the handsome young prince? She's got maybe 9mo.-3 years left to live happily 'e er after'.
Jan. 26th, 2011 11:34 pm (UTC)
Re: Fairy tales are -really- depressing
Only if she has a child who'll be in a fairy tale themselves. Boring children are safe. :)

But yeah, I remember you saying something along those lines at Who night.
Jan. 27th, 2011 01:11 am (UTC)
Re: Fairy tales are -really- depressing
Don't know if you're a Bujold fan, but one of her characters (Kareen Koudelka) makes the same point and then comments that she doesn't know whether it's supposed to be a warning or an instruction.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )


Damien Sullivan

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