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Women in Fiction

5 OF THE BEST FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION REBELS

Rebel Vampires fantasy series

Rebel here, yeah?

Rebel Vampires fantasy series Rosemary A JohnsThat’s the rallying cry – or the misfit call to individuality at the heart of my series Rebel Vampires. In fact, it’s the core of every book I write: there’s a reason they’re called ‘Fantasy for Rebels‘.

Yet rebellion – against corrupt societies, conformity, kings or patriarchs has been one side of both fantasy and science fiction’s coin.

On the other?

A style of fantasy that conforms to safe patterns: yearns back to a time when men were men, women were women and peasants knew their place…even if they were all elves.

So to celebrate the rebel in fantasy, here are Five of the Best Fantasy and Science Fiction Rebels:

 

5. V for Vandetta: Alan Moore. V is an anarchist: violent and vengeful. His porcelain Guy Fawkes mask is also the influence for Anonymous and activist groups in the real world. How’s that for subversive fiction?

4. The Handmaid’s Tale: Margaret Atwood. All right, so who’s not watching this right now? Interesting thing about the book? EVERY main character in it is a rebel, even though this is a nightmare world. Each one disobeys Gilead’s Laws, either with active resistance or rebellion within their family. No rule can be absolute.

3. The Dispossessed: Ursula K. Le. Guin. The unlikely rebel here is a physicist. How he rebels? By questioning: neither the anarchy of one world not the pacifism of the other is perfect. There’s no such place as Utopia? Yeah, got it.

2. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress: Robert A. Heinlein. This is a true novel of rebellion: a moon colony – an underground penal colony that’s like the Old West – rebels against Earth. The term ‘Rational Anarchist‘ is invented.

1. A Song of Ice and Fire: George R. R. Martin. Where to start? The whole series is a sequence of political machinations, military campaigns, and rebellions. The obvious is Robert’s Rebellion but the one that sums up the spirit..? It’s the Mother of Dragons’ attempts to give the control back to the slaves, so they’ll free themselves in Slavers Bay. Daenerys is the ultimate rebel: against her place in life, her gender, her role and for freedom. What’s not to love?

Like Daenerys, in Rebel Vampires Light rebels against his role and for freedom. He finds himself in both a human and Blood Lifer world, which is corrupt and controlling.

Sometimes rebellion is less dangerous than hiding in the shadows…

So who’s your favourite rebel in fantasy?

FANTASY SHORT STORIES – New Magazine

I love short stories. They’re the quiet gems of the writing world – done right? They catch your imagination, worm under your skin and squeeze your heart…

The great ones..? You never forget.

A short story is harder to write than a novel. Flash fiction is the hardest of all. I’ve been a traditionally published short story writer since I was fourteen (of course the editor didn’t know I was a kid…)

I write science fiction, fantasy and dark fiction. What I really write? Emotion. That extra something, which will grab you and not let go.

My most recent short story is being featured in the very first edition of a new literary magazine Scaffolding. It’s passionate about the same things I am: inclusion, gender and mental health. The magazine itself pairs the very best writers with the most stunning artists.

The story “How to Scalp a Doll” is dark fiction about a human trafficker who makes the mistake of opening the truck door…then his whole world is turned on its head.

It’s about siblings, fear, loneliness, freedom…and what it means to be alive.

Danny had always hated geese…

Rebel Vampires will also be part of the magazine long-term, offering rewards to readers who subscribe. Click here to find out more.

Start the Rebel Vampires adventure today here.

What’s your favourite short story – and why have you always remembered it?

WOMEN IN FANTASY – A Storytime Reading About a Red-haired Devil

Gender in fantasy – and women’s evolving role  – is a tricky but interesting subject. Things have come a long way from heroes in epic fantasies rescuing the princess.

Except, have they..?

In urban fantasy, there’s a divide between the human woman being controlled and ultimately sacrificing everything – even her life – for the paranormal male.

This was explored in my most recent panel on Twilight. There’s a reason my human woman chooses to grow old, rather than be elected into Blood Life in Rebel Vampires.

I’ve always wondered why stories focused on vampire males’ obsessions with teenagers…and never followed their lifelong – adult – loves.

It may be partly because an increasing number of paranormal books are Young Adult, so must have young protagonists.

The other side to urban fantasy..? The kick-ass heroine (look at the covers of the top 20 urban fantasy books). This in itself is a stereotype, especially when they don’t have equality but dominance over men.

Rebel Vampires

In Rebel Vampires I write from the British male vampire’s perspective. This meant I could write powerful women into the book but avoid the ‘kick-ass’…

Kathy is human but she’s never controlled by Light. She’s his equal and although he saves the world, she saves him.Blood Dragons (Rebel Vampires Volume One) Award-winning fantasy

Ruby is Light’s ‘red-haired devil, Author, muse, liberator, guide: my gorgeous nightmare.’ His Elizabethan Author, she’s savage, powerful and offers an all-consuming love.

This reading by K Kantis is taken from Blood Dragons. It’s a rare moment of vulnerability, when Ruby for the first time tells Light about her human life: the fear she has of being ‘caged‘ again, ironically means she cages all men, even though she’s desperate to set Light free.

Escape into Blood Life here

What do you think about women in fantasy? What books have the most interesting female characters?

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