This month, author Ursula Wong reflects on strong women in science fiction, and how they’ve inspired her writing.
I love strong women and write about them, so on a quest to meet more, I sought out Katniss from Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games, Nyx from God’s War by Kameron Hurley, and the brilliant Trillian from Douglas Adams’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Frankly, all three women made me swoon with admiration for their courage, pluck, grit, and brains, despite their vastly different stories. Katniss survives in a weird world of reality TV gone mad; Nyx fights in a war-torn desert; and Trillian shines somewhere out there in the galaxy. I like women who get the job done, but those who use the strength of their convictions to overcome a bad situation, inspire me.
All three women inspire me.
Katniss is courageous and young. She saves her sister by entering the insane game. She doesn’t flinch during the hunts. She focuses on her humanity, or at least tries to. Nyx is a paid assassin. She is violent, shocking, and fabulous. Killing is what she does for a living, and she has no shame or remorse. She just strives to be good at it. Trillian, a mathematician/scientist, outshines everyone with her brilliance, despite Adams’s choice to make many of his men flaky. Both Katniss and Nyx let nothing stop them and never accept the status quo. Also, like Trillian, they are smart.
With these three beauties in mind, I went back to my WWII thriller, Amber Wolf. Its main character, Ludmelia, a twenty-something in 1944, spends most of her time out in the woods fighting Russians. But her characteristics remind me of the three sci-fi wonder women. Like Katniss, Ludmelia becomes a warrior because she has no choice, despite her protective nature. Killing haunts her. Witnessing horrible acts shake her. She remains emphatically focused in the conflict and confusion of war, and like Nyx, is able to gut out a fight until she wins. And she has Trillian’s marvelous creativity and confidence.
Maybe it’s strong characteristics that lure us to these women, regardless of whether the genre is sci-fi, historical fiction or, dare I say it, romance. But as women, I don’t think we should doubt our ability to live with the gusto of a last day, even if we have to fight our way through it. After all, maybe we love the strong women we read about because they live inside us.
Ursula Wong is a retired engineer who writes gripping stories about strong women struggling against impossible odds to achieve their dreams. Her work has appeared in Everyday Fiction, Spinetingler Magazine, and the popular Insanity Tales anthologies.
Her award-winning novel, Purple Trees, exposes a stark side of rural New England life in the experiences of a young woman who struggles for normalcy despite a vicious and hidden past.
Ursula taps her Eastern European heritage in her WW II novel, Amber Wolf. Destitute after her parents are taken by Russian soldiers, young Ludmelia Kudirka joins the farmers who trade pitchforks for guns in a David-and-Goliath struggle against the mighty Soviet war machine.
For more about Ursula and her prize-winning flash fiction stories, visit her Reaching Readers Blog on http://ursulawong.wordpress.com.