Mother Characters in Scifi and Fantasy

There’s not a lot of mother characters as main characters in speculative fiction. I can think of exactly two in books that I read (Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly and Boneshaker by Cherie Priest). Part of me is sad, because there’s not a lot of people out there to directly identify with when I read.

But mostly I’m okay with this. Why?

Being a parent is terrifying. There a million horrible things that could happen to children at any point and, as a parent, you worry about them all the time. No one told me before I had kids that doing so would destroy my ability to partake of any media where children are hurt in any way, or where children and parents are separated, or where a parent has lost a child, or…

…you get the point.

Generally, in scifi/fantasy, terrible things are happening. There are wars and monsters and hostile aliens. And to be in a mother’s head through all that, to have to worry about her children through all that–no way. I’m perfectly okay reading about people with no familial attachments. Let them run the gamut of supernatural creatures and political machinations.

(Older children–say in their teens–are not as bad. I don’t know if I’m more sensitive to younger kids because my own kids are littler, or if it’s because older children are at least somewhat competent at life and hence do not need to be constantly protected.)

In case, you’re wondering what brought this on, I had a story idea the other day for a mother main character and

Nope octopusWhat do you think, Squiders? Know of any good speculative fiction books with mother MCs that won’t stress me out too much?

4 responses to this post.

  1. Mothers have been written since Beowulf. Sadly, today all I can think of are antagonists or supporting characters. Maybe some of the Greek Gods and their own mortal children.


    • Yes, they’re fairly common in antagonist or supporting roles. And outside of speculative fiction, I feel you can find them more–it seems like almost every contemporary or historical fiction I read with a female main character has the main character have lost a child, oy. Unless it’s a romance. And then only sometimes.


  2. The Iron King starts with a 16-year-old who goes looking for her little brother. It’s her main motivation through the book. While she isn’t his mother, the feelings come across as very motherly. It just came to mind because I’m reading it right now xD


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