Posted by: fireweaver | March 2, 2008

chicks who kick ass

a while back, i’d stumbled across the “booking through thursday” meme, and (unsuccessfully) meant to keep up with it – the list writer comes up with generally wonderful questions. well, it’s a good half-week past thursday, but here goes anyway.

i’d actually read the prompt back on thursday: who is your fave literary heroine? at the time, a few supporting characters popped into my head, i agreed with a few other people‘s answers, i thought of a few really good books that happen to be about chicks. but today, my brain got around to reminding me what my answer is: Silence Leigh, of Melissa Scott’s ‘roads of heaven‘ trilogy. i met her at a friends-of-the-library book sale, the kind where paperbacks are a quarter and hardbacks are fifty cents (do they still have those any more?) sometime in the middle of high school. i think i must have been drawn in by the unusual cover image, wherein a voluptuously curvy spaceship dives toward a swirling galaxy of stars whose central constellation image is a couple passionately entwined. and hey, it has 3 books in one, so i’m sure the bargain factored into it, too. this book ended up on the very short list of books i’ve not only re-read once, but in fact, periodically re-read. additionally, it’s been loaned out 2 or 3 times, and over the years chunks of the pages have become unmoored from the binding. it’s sadly long out of print (though readily available used on amazon, in reportedly decent condition), so i’m pretty protective at this point.

Silence (we learn this is an old-fashioned “virtue name”) introduced my tender little teenage brain to the idea of feminist sci-fi. no other genre is as clear in its reflection of and commentary on the times it is written in than science fiction (A++ example: go read ‘starship troopers‘, the space war adventure novel of the korean war…followed by ‘the forever war‘, the space war adventure novel of vietnam), and this is certainly no exception. our heroine is dismissed by the system and by her own family, considered either property or a convenient solution by the men in her life, and is an all-around second-class citizen. this isn’t the tale of a shrinking-violet martyr, though: she finds ways to buck the system from within, and carve out a satisfying life on her own terms.

none of which would be worth the hill of proverbial beans if it wasn’t a good story. no trouble there, either, since ‘the roads of heaven’ is easily one of the best rollicking space-opera adventure tales i’ve ever read. we’re tearing through the life story of a tough-as-nails space pilot (take that han solo!), hurtling between worlds with her two husbands (!), who goes on to become an amazingly powerful alchemist magician, and discovers the lost road to old earth.

if you can find a copy, highly recommended.



  1. I may just have to look for that. It sounds like something I’d enjoy.

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