There’s been a lot of talk recently about representation of minority groups in SF. I don’t really want to go into this debate. I think what counts most is a good story, and I also think that we should all be willing to broaden our horizons. That said, I don’t think that those vocal minorities are the only ones that get bypassed. There is a very large group of people who rarely get ANY representation in SF, as characters: those over 50, especially women.
Yesterday I conducted a preliminary survey on Twitter to ask who knew of a SFF novel where the character is female and over 50. I don’t mean those novels, of which there are a few, where an older female recounts what happened to her in her youth. I mean a novel where an older woman (or man for that matter) is the main character, doesn’t get wonderful treatment so she/he becomes younger. I mean a novel where the character is on the wrong side of middle age and coping with creaky joints and reading glasses, while being challenged with whatever the plot happens to be.
Please let me know if you know of such novels in the replies. I’ll update the list as I go. Please mention specific titles.
I am also looking for older main characters that are in fact ‘old’ in the novel. Immortality or having been extensively rejuvenated doesn’t count. I want characters who are getting closer to an inevitable death, and cope with whatever physical and mental conditions your world throws at them in that stage of life. I want characters who cannot ignore age, and don’t have a cure for it.
Paladin of souls – Lois McMaster Bujold
A Remnant Population – Elizabeth Moon
Green Mars and Blue Mars – Kim Stanley Robinson
Singularity Sky – Charles Stross
Tehanu – Ursula LeGuin
Hyperion – Dan Simmons
Hammered – Elizabeth Bear