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Superwomen in novels

11 Jul 2013 17:03 #32205 by j2001
Superwomen in novels was created by j2001
First of all let me tell you that I know I might be posting in the wrong forum section. There are boards for superwomen in movies, TV, comics, anime, manga and videogames but nothing for superhuman girls in old fashioned books. Yet, the subforum title says "Superwomen on screen and in print" so I thought I could just make some room here. Feel free to move the thread wherever you see fit :)

Whenever I see a book that might have superwomen in it, I need to read it. Sometimes I'm not disappointed.

The book I'm presenting today is Undead and Unwed by MaryJanice Davidson. It is actually the first one in an eleven book long saga.

The main character is Elizabeth, a beautiful 25 year old girl who gets run over in front of her house. She dies, but she wakes up some hours later in her coffin. She soon discovers she's an undead, and more precisely a vampire. Even though there are many other vampires, she finds out she's no ordinary one. She's the Queen of them all. Among her powers:

- as the Queen, she retained her girlie personality and doesn't need to feed;
- super strength, which is by far the super power she shows off more. She often says how she has to touch people "very gently" if she doesn't want them to fly several feet away. At the beginning of the second book she easily lifts a car;
- super hearing. She can't be taken by surprise;
- super durability and super healing. Bullets penetrate her skin but then pop off as her body quickly heals;
- "charisma", or "mojo". Her gaze can make any male drool at her sight, obeying her commands and worship her;
- she can quickly crawl on walls just like Spider-man;
- sometimes she can read minds.

Quite the interesting character, to say the least. Oh, and did I tell you she's 6 feet tall?

Given her status as Queen, she's worshipped by almost everyone throughout the book and she's surrounded by hot girls.

The only "letdown" is that there is one huge, muscular male vampire who's stronger than her. So it's not just about girl power. But in one scene she gets so mad at him that she makes him fly a block away.

This novel is a veeeeeeery light read, and it comes cheap. You'll read it in a few days, tops. I'm half way through the second book, and even though I hate the big male vampire I really love how Elizabeth is strong, confident and powerful.
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11 Jul 2013 17:31 #32206 by Raa

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11 Jul 2013 19:58 #32207 by j2001
Replied by j2001 on topic Superwomen in novels

Raa wrote: www.amazon.com/Undead-Unwed-Queen-Betsy-...rds=Undead+and+Unwed


Yup, that's the one :)

Any thoughts?

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12 Jul 2013 03:55 #32214 by steelknight3000
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I sometimes think about reading novels with superwoman characters but than I realized that I could just read a story on a site like this. They are not as well written but there's plenty more super powers then in real books.

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12 Jul 2013 05:07 #32215 by castor
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steelknight3000 wrote: I sometimes think about reading novels with superwoman characters but than I realized that I could just read a story on a site like this. They are not as well written but there's plenty more super powers then in real books.


There isn't all that much of this actually.

There have been some science fiction thats been about kind of superwomen in space and stuff like that over the years.

There is an endless stream of vampire novels, and lots of urban fantasy with women as fae, or mages and stuff like that-but actual superwomen as you might see on stuff like that is rare.

Superheros to. Every couple of years you get a book like "soon i will be invincibble" or "up up and away" that get a lot of press. But these are comparetivly rare-and you see like mass market books. You don't really stuff like that in print since the 40s.

Shame, i would like to read stuff like we see on here as novels. And i suspect some of the audience that reads anita blake novels and stuff like that would to. Ahh well, such is life. Ahh well.

Castor

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12 Jul 2013 11:09 #32217 by j2001
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steelknight3000 wrote: I sometimes think about reading novels with superwoman characters but than I realized that I could just read a story on a site like this. They are not as well written but there's plenty more super powers then in real books.


Of course the kind of stories you can read here goes straight to the fulfilment of the audience interests. Yet, as for what concerns me I'm equally (if not more) thrilled in reading about mighty women in mainstream books rather than in a story I already know it's tailored to my taste. When I read books like Undead and Unwed I don't know what will happen, if it'll live up to my expectations or if the underlying supergirl theme will stay on. Each and every new page is like a gamble, anything but a safe port.
That doesn't mean I don't like fan written fiction, especially since my chief interest is female muscle, and the amount of muscular girls in mainstream books is zippo. :)

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13 Jul 2013 01:35 #32231 by oliu99
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I would recommend reading The Girl Who Would Be King. It's told from two perspectives: a super-heroine's and a super-villainess's viewpoint. Some really good stuff there. Would love to see it as a film...
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13 Jul 2013 05:00 #32235 by yaracyrrah
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The Kindle edition of The Girl Who Would Be King is currently free on Amazon. Downloaded for future reading....
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13 Jul 2013 11:47 #32240 by j2001
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yaracyrrah wrote: The Kindle edition of The Girl Who Would Be King is currently free on Amazon. Downloaded for future reading....


Whoa, awesome! Thank you for the heads up!

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14 Jul 2013 02:42 #32258 by yaracyrrah
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It was really depressing. But good.

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18 Oct 2013 09:35 - 18 Oct 2013 09:53 #33577 by j2001
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yaracyrrah wrote: The Kindle edition of The Girl Who Would Be King is currently free on Amazon. Downloaded for future reading....


I'm finally back after reading TGWWBK!

First I'd like to say that this book is so pertinent to this board that it should totally have its own thread and coverage. I mean, it's a book about two supergirls. Period. No vampires, mutants, aliens or any other kind of supernatural stuff, and no powerful males. What could a board called superwomenmania ask more for? I'm glad I opened this topic and you guys told me about it because I was clueless and that would have been a serious offence!

As for the book itself, I must say I'm impressed. At first, I wasn't. Even though this is not the longest book I've ever read, it sure felt the longest in its first half. Despite what advertised reviews say, the pace of the story is extremely slow and I found myself to be easily bored. Characters are broody to an almost comical extent from time to time, book being too centered on the coming of age theme. Once the bigger picture starts to being revealed though pace luckily increases and it becomes a much more pleasant read. The last quarter of the book is very, very compelling although I think the 2-page epilogue kind of undermined everything.

It's clear that more than the plot itself this book is about its two main characters which are the beginning and the end of everything. The storytelling is greatly unbalanced towards them as only what regards or affect them carries some kind of meaning. Although I see nothing wrong with that, there's a persistent feeling throughout the book that almost all the other characters are just lifeless pawns put there for Lola and Bonnie to play with, to trigger their emotions. Characters like Liesel, Ben, Jasper and (most of all) Bryce are nothing more than puppets the reader can't really relate to. Their own purpose is to be the stepping stones on which their supergirl has to walk upon to let the story unfold. Other than Lola and Bonnie, I think Liz is the only character developed enough to make the reader care for her which in turn makes (ie, made for me) Lola's storyline much more enjoyable.

As a superwomanmaniac I can't help but being delighted for a book whose universe asserts so strongly that power is female. Lola and Bonnie are the only gods of their world, all their female ancestors were gods themselves, and all males in their family trees are completely unaffected by power. That's one world I'd like to live in.

I don't think we'll ever see a worthy movie of TGWWBK, even if just because it'd be too damn expensive and because we know it's widely believed that superheroines and box offices don't go well together.
Still, I think Ksenia Solo would be just perfect playing Lola. I know Lola's supposed to be dark blonde, but I don't really care. Solo has the perfect face and attitude to pull off the role. She has big eyes and a nostalgic, indifferent, dark expression that is just Lola's. Besides, in Lola's own words Bonnie is supposed to be "veeery broad shouldered" and yet she's as slender as Lola in the official artworks.
Last edit: 18 Oct 2013 09:53 by j2001.

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21 Oct 2013 13:06 #33681 by j2001
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A bit of crossposting, for future reference :)

Two more novels about superheroines: The Paragon of Animals and To Thine Own Self Be True by Scott Bachmann. They are prequels to the webcomic Our Super Mom you can find more info about in Anon's thread .

The Paragon of Animals
by Scott Bachmann
Cover photos by Anthony Redell
Growing up as a nerd in a small midwestern town, Liza didn’t have the easiest life. Then she met the Paragon, the super powered man whose poster she kept over her bed. By accident they traded places. Liza’s life didn’t get any easier.

To Thine Own Self Be True
by Scott Bachmann
Cover photos by Anthony Redell
By accident, Liza became the Paragon, a super hero. Overnight she changed from a small town nerd to a world wide celebrity. But after a time, it wasn’t enough. She’d lived for everyone, but not herself.
Then she met Leon…

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21 Oct 2013 13:57 #33682 by brantley
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Here's an entirely different kind of superwoman novel:

us.macmillan.com/onlysuperhuman/ChristopherLBennett

--Brantley
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21 Oct 2013 18:16 #33690 by shadar
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For me, the gold standard is still the novel Friday, by Robert R Heinlein, published back in 1982. Friday is a genetically engineered superwoman who works as a combat courier, both on and off-planet in this futurist novel about a dystopian society.

She is: " stronger, faster, smarter, and generally better than normal humans." She's also incredibly tough when it comes to taking a beating. She's also sexy as hell. She's the protagonist, and the story is told through her eyes (which, by the way, can see in the dark nearly as well as a cat.)

She's attractive, remarkably fit and vital, but she doesn't believe in merely using her improved muscles or superior intelligence to get her way. She works the whole package.

Unfortunately, she has to face prejudice and persecution for being a "non-human". I suspect James Cameron was very much influenced by Friday when he created his Dark Angel TV series in 2000.

This novel was also extremely formative for me back when I was starting to write stories in this genre, at least from the perspective of exploring how ordinary humans would react to someone who was genetically engineered to be essentially, superhuman.

Of course, you have to be OK with Heinlein's way of telling a story, which not everyone gets. But he is one of the truly great SF writers.

Shadar
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21 Oct 2013 20:22 #33692 by j2001
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Thank you guys, keep 'em coming! :laugh:

argonaut tells us about another interesting novel series in this topic :

argonaut wrote: These are actually "genre-related" books:

Gryphon Books, a publishing house in Brooklyn, NY that specializes in reprinting pulp-era science-fiction and hard-boiled mystery stories, has just completed its reissue of the 26 "Golden Amazon" novels by John Russell Fearn. Actually, many of these novels (written between 1945 and 1960) are appearing between covers for the first time, since they were originally published as serials in a Canadian magazine, the Toronto Star Weekly.

The Golden Amazon is a superwoman created by an idealistic doctor in the hope that she would bring about an end to war and oppression. But although she possesses tremendous strength and a brilliant intellect, she is cold and ruthless, and even sexual desire is absent from her psychological make-up. (IMO, this is the main weakness of the series: It's hard to sustain interest in a character with such a limited affect.)

Each novel tells a self-contained story, but together they form a series. In the course of her career, the Golden Amazon is an outlaw, a dictator, an interplanetary peace-keeper, and a cosmic explorer and adventurer. (The later novels are clearly influenced by the Skylark stories of E. E. Smith.)

Fearn was an undistinguished stylist, but an able story-teller. These are quick, fun reads -- recommended for anyone who's looking for free-wheeling pulp-era science-fiction with an ubergirl twist.

The publisher's website is http://www.gryphonbooks.com . The site doesn't get updated very regularly, and you can't even order their books on-line. But their service is efficient and friendly.


As far as I can tell Gryphonbooks doesn't own their rights anymore but they can be easily found on Amazon and in Kindle edition.

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28 Oct 2013 11:18 - 28 Oct 2013 11:18 #33831 by j2001
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Another batch of suggested books on Julie Velor's former website :)

web.archive.org/web/20090216094539/http:...ridge.com/books.html
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24 Feb 2014 09:59 #35618 by j2001
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Aphrodite's Kiss (Superhero Series), first book of five, is free for Kindle for a limited time: www.amazon.com/Aphrodites-Protectors-Sup...ebook/dp/B009ZK0YIE/ (More info on the book and the author here: juliekenner.com )

Also, the Kickstarter of Storykiller, a new superheroine-centered novel by Kelly Thompson (The Girl Who Would Be King), is over: www.kickstarter.com/projects/532638631/storykiller
The digital edition of the book will be released within February :)
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24 Feb 2014 16:06 #35619 by shadar
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Just beware that Julie Kenner's Aphrodite's Kiss novels are purely romance novels with a twist of humor and very little actual super-action. If you read and enjoy romance novels, then you'll probably like these. If, however, you are NOT already a fan of romance novels (I despise the genre), then these books are utter rubbish.

Shadar

j2001 wrote: Aphrodite's Kiss (Superhero Series), first book of five, is free for Kindle for a limited time: www.amazon.com/Aphrodites-Protectors-Sup...ebook/dp/B009ZK0YIE/ (More info on the book and the author here: juliekenner.com )

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27 Feb 2014 10:00 #35646 by oogber
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shadar wrote: For me, the gold standard is still the novel Friday, by Robert R Heinlein, published back in 1982. Friday is a genetically engineered superwoman who works as a combat courier, both on and off-planet in this futurist novel about a dystopian society.

She is: " stronger, faster, smarter, and generally better than normal humans." She's also incredibly tough when it comes to taking a beating. She's also sexy as hell. She's the protagonist, and the story is told through her eyes (which, by the way, can see in the dark nearly as well as a cat.)

She's attractive, remarkably fit and vital, but she doesn't believe in merely using her improved muscles or superior intelligence to get her way. She works the whole package.

Unfortunately, she has to face prejudice and persecution for being a "non-human". I suspect James Cameron was very much influenced by Friday when he created his Dark Angel TV series in 2000.

This novel was also extremely formative for me back when I was starting to write stories in this genre, at least from the perspective of exploring how ordinary humans would react to someone who was genetically engineered to be essentially, superhuman.

Of course, you have to be OK with Heinlein's way of telling a story, which not everyone gets. But he is one of the truly great SF writers.

Shadar


ugh I dislike Heinlein and I read 3 of his books

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