Behind the Throne by K.B. Wagers takes a familiar idea, the fish out of water, from a distant part of a galactic empire, and updates it for a 21st century mentality and enlightened point of view. In not all, but many works past, the protagonist would be male, it’d be a patriarchal empire ruled by a King, Emperor, what have you. Women would have at best secondary roles, with even the occasional strong female character having a relatively unexplored interior life, and certainly not a full-on point of view that gives us her real story (I’m looking at you, Princess Leia). A man’s world, where men were real men, women were real women and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri.
Some novels and novelists have tried to buck this sausage fest of space opera in the past. Elizabeth Moon’s Vatta series, for example. Some of Debra Doyle’s and James D. MacDonald’s Mageworld novels feature a strong female protagonist front and center. Even with these exceptions, Space Opera and space adventure have for decades been overwhelmingly a male-dominated and male-catered affair. Luke Skywalker and Han Solo cast long shadows indeed. [Read more…]