Look at that title.
Go on, lean forward and really let those six words baste your eyeballs.
I know...only nine?
No, I am not angling for a fistfight, thank you very much. And, no, I'm also not woefully underexposed to the virtual scores of female protagonists and rebels who've supercharged science fiction's lifeblood in the past 40 years. It seems that since my novel, Koko Takes a Holiday, features similarly clever dure à cuire somehow I've been deemed capable of winnowing down such a list. Lucky me, right? No, not really. See the aforementioned invitation to fisticuffs.
Taking into account the avid sentiments of science fiction's votaries, I'm proactively raising a white flag and hereby declare the following selections purely subjective. Nevertheless, as badass lists go I think it's a fine place to start.
I'll go obvious with my first pick and kick off the list with Sarah Connor from the Terminator saga. Ah, dearest Sarah...petite, wage-slaving waitress who'd much rather plan a quiet Saturday night at home but ends up being hunted by a killing machine from the future and eventually gives birth to humankind's only hope. Any "nays" for this choice out there? Didn't think so. Favorite quote: "Anybody not wearing '2 million sunblock' is gonna have a real bad day...."
Jenette Vasquez, Private-First Class, 2nd Battalion Bravo Team, USCMC from Aliens. When people wax on about the Alien franchise, nearly everyone reverently defers to Lieutenant Ellen Ripley. Yeah, Ripley certainly is a badass, but with my back against the wall and toothy Xenomorphs on my six I want the selfless, take-no-lip gunner Vasquez checking the corners and bringing the moxie. Favorite quote: "Let's rock!" Naturally I suspect that the script's original anti-verbiage may have been less heavy metal-inspired (something starting with an "f" followed immediately by a word starting with a "t"). At least Vasquez didn't add a corny n'roll.
Curve ball time...Carrie White from Stephen King's Carrie. Oh, yes, you read that right. Carrie bloody-prom-gown-check-out-my-psychotic-batty-mother-issues-White. To be fair, I think telekinesis counts as science fiction, yes? The ultimate bully and child abuse comeuppance ass-kicker. Favorite quote: "It has nothing to do with Satan, Mama. It's me. Me. If I concentrate hard enough, I can move things."
FBI agent Dana Scully from The X-Files. I'm sorry, but as the reliable skeptic and yin to Fox Mulder's chronically gloomy, Chicken Little yang, Scully for me will always be the archetype of smart being the new sexy (sorry, Irene Adler--BBC's Sherlock, Dr. Scully got there first.) Favorite quote: "I need you to get on the phone and tell the fire department to block off the city center in a one mile radius around the building. Don't think! Just pick up the phone and make it happen!" Yes, ma'am. Be still, my heart....
Next on this list of nine I'm going to have to go with President Laura Roslin from Battlestar Galactica. No offense, but if you told current U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan he'd been promoted to the position of Commander-in-Chief because of a genocidal Cylon attack, I'm sure he would simply fold up and cry. Terminally diagnosed, jilted by romance yet still coolly intact, Roslin broils badass chops for dinner. Yes, she has her critics, but I don't care and (I suspect) neither does she. Favorite quote: "I'm not suggesting anything, doctor. If I want to throw a baby out an airlock I'll do it."
Michonne from The Walking Dead. Take a long, slow pour of rot-oozing zombies, cut out a mother's heart via the death of her only son, and add a curved, slim katana sword with a dash of brooding attitude. Even if her name sounds like a pretentious, overpriced perfume and she dresses like a movie extra from the achingly bad Waterworld, it's hard not to include her on the list. Favorite quote: "I can't stop you. But you can't stop me from helping you."
River Song from Dr. Who. This selection was suggested by my youngest child (an avid Whovian), and I think I have to agree. Born Melody Pond, River Song is an improvising gadfly with both Timelord and human DNA. She is also another sassy, self-sacrificing badass and cagey to a fault. Favorite quote: (Referring to the TARDIS and chastising the Doctor with élan) "It's not supposed to make that noise--YOU leave the brakes on."
Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games. Look, I've only read the first book, okay? Technically anybody who is deft at archery, knows how to dress and cook a squirrel in the wild, and volunteers to likely be killed to save her own kid sister's skin is a badass in any book. Favorite quote: "Shut up and eat your pears."
Forever Carlyle, Lazarus. As of this moment, Greg Rucka and Michael Lark's creation is my favorite "near future" fictional heroine of all time. Solider/protector and raised to believe she is part of the ruthless, baron-like Carlyle family, Forever fights for and defends her family's holdings without pause or question. Her deadly journey of self-discovery is what's truly heartbreaking. Favorite quote: (As a wee badass-in-training speaking about her presumed, cold-hearted father...) "Don't tell him I cried."