The best science fiction novels with kick ass female characters

Who am I?

I've always loved science fiction, but first developed my love for storytelling as a prosecutor in the Bronx where I would weave the tale of a crime into a coherent story for a jury’s consideration. After several years of prosecuting sex crimes and crimes against children, and publishing a book about that experience, I had enough of the real world and returned to my first love for novel writing. Science fiction is a male-dominated field and most sci-fi heroes are male. My greatest influences are male characters and authors, but I always wished for more diversity in the genre. I’m excited to share this passion and hope it will inspire authors and readers!  

I wrote...


By Sarena Straus,

Book cover of ReInception

What is my book about?

In 2126, society finally has its quick fix. ReInception is used for modifying human behaviors, everything from taming unruly children to reprogramming terrorists. Leandrea Justus is passively anti-ReInception. But when she and her boyfriend are separated during a bombing at an anti-ReInception rally, Ward — not just his name, but also his status in society — helps her. In return, he wants her to help the terrorist group blamed for the bombing, but whom Ward claims are being framed to justify a campaign of forced ReInception. Leandrea knows Ward is keeping dangerous secrets, but with her boyfriend forcibly reprogrammed after the rally, and rumors circulating that the process can cause permanent damage, what choice does she have? Only Ward can give her what she wants most — the truth.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Artemis

Sarena Straus Why did I love this book?

Jazz Bashara, Andy Weir’s bad-ass female MC in Artemis, is one of my favorite female sci-fi protagonists of all time. Jazz is a “moon-girl” who makes her living on the Moon’s first city by using her job as a porter to smuggle contraband onto rocket deliveries via a childhood pal on Earth. An apostate Muslim, Jazz is wicked smart, funny as hell, and has a morale code that defies logic yet, somehow, makes complete sense. Weir brings his signature sense of humor to this character without dumbing her down or sexing her up. He takes us on a great adventure as she blows things up, especially her relationships, and then tries to repair the damage without getting deported from the Moon or, worse yet, disappointing her father. 

By Andy Weir,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Artemis as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The bestselling author of The Martian returns with an irresistible new near-future thriller—a heist story set on the moon.

Jasmine Bashara never signed up to be a hero. She just wanted to get rich.
Not crazy, eccentric-billionaire rich, like many of the visitors to her hometown of Artemis, humanity’s first and only lunar colony. Just rich enough to move out of her coffin-sized apartment and eat something better than flavored algae. Rich enough to pay off a debt she’s owed for a long time.
So when a chance at a huge score finally comes her way, Jazz can’t say no.…

Book cover of Steelheart

Sarena Straus Why did I love this book?

Brandon Sanderson has written some amazing female characters, but my favorites are in his Reckoners series. He litters the books with all varieties and female badasses. They are good, they are evil, and sometimes, they are both. In this world where a strange red star suddenly appears, arbitrarily granting superpowers (and evilness), Megan is a frontline fighter against the “Epics.” The knives she hides up her skirts aren’t the only secrets she keeps, but you’ll have to read the books to find out what she’s really up to. On the Epic side, Regalia can manipulate water and uses it to submerge Manhattan. She can see through any surface of water, can make water-based duplicates of herself, and often battles using water tentacles. These are just two of Sanderson’s crazy cool female sci-fi characters in this series.

By Brandon Sanderson,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Steelheart as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills.

Nobody fights the Epics... nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.

And David wants in. He wants Steelheart - the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David's father.…

Book cover of The Host

Sarena Straus Why did I love this book?

I love The Host because it has two female heroes, but one is a parasite inside the other. When a parasitic alien race, the Souls, invades earth, Wanderer is placed in the body of Melanie Stryder. When implanted, Souls are supposed to completely subsume the host, but Melanie Stryder won’t give up her mind or her body that easily. Melanie is a hero because of her strength and willingness to sacrifice anything to maintain her autonomy. Wanderer is a hero because of her empathy and willingness to defy the construct of her society and forge a new path. The book is the most interesting portrayal of the capacity for sentient beings to develop empathy against all odds that I’ve ever read. It’s also a remarkable portrayal of a most imaginative female bond.

By Stephenie Meyer,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The Host as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now in the trade paperback edition: New Bonus Chapter and Reading Group Guide, including Stephenie Meyer's Annotated Playlist for the book.Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that take over the minds of human hosts while leaving their bodies intact. Wanderer, the invading "soul" who has been given Melanie's body, didn't expect to find its former tenant refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.As Melanie fills Wanderer's thoughts with visions of Jared, a human who still lives in hiding, Wanderer begins to yearn for a man she's never met. Reluctant allies, Wanderer and…

Book cover of The 5th Wave

Sarena Straus Why did I love this book?

I love a book where the character finds strength she never knew she possessed. Cassie is just a regular high school kid until the Others arrive. She thinks she has to depend on others to survive the alien invasion, but after her little brother Sam is recruited into the military’s resistance force, Cassie realizes that she’s capable of far more than just cheerleading.

As a fellow “fake it ‘til you make it” girl, I love Cassie’s willingness to put on a brave face and her “I can handle this,” facade, until she finds out that she actually can handle it. Cassie is resourceful and intelligent, and while she’s not ruthless, she’ll do what she has to to protect those she loves.

By Rick Yancey,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The 5th Wave as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

The #1 New York Times Bestseller, now a major motion picture starring Chloe Grace Moretz

The Passage meets Ender's Game in the first book in an epic series by award-winning author Rick Yancey.

"Remarkable, not-to-be-missed-under-any-circumstances."-Entertainment Weekly

"A modern sci-fi masterpiece . . ."

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it's the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look…

Book cover of The Handmaid's Tale

Sarena Straus Why did I love this book?

Atwood’s Offred is an interesting choice for a list of strong female sci-fi leads because her arc takes time and she’s not a hero in the aggressive sense of the rest of my heroines. But this honest rendering makes the terrifying world Atwood has built and the story of the women oppressed in Gilead more realistic. An ordinary woman placed in an extraordinary situation, Offred is sympathetic and kind without being a doormat. Her gallows sense of humor brings Gilead to life in a bearable way. It’s easy to judge Offred as passive or weak, but she’s a hero because she remains true to herself despite being terrorized and brainwashed. With her as our narrator, we continue to have hope that, someday, Gilead will fall. 

By Margaret Atwood,

Why should I read it?

29 authors picked The Handmaid's Tale as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


Go back to where it all began with the dystopian novel behind the award-winning TV series.

'As relevant today as it was when Atwood wrote it' Guardian

I believe in the resistance as I believe there can be no light without shadow; or rather, no shadow unless there is also light.

Offred is a Handmaid in The Republic of Gilead, a religious totalitarian state in what was formerly known as the United States. She is placed in the household of The Commander, Fred Waterford -…

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Quoz: A Financial Thriller

By Mel Mattison,

Book cover of Quoz: A Financial Thriller

Mel Mattison Author Of Quoz: A Financial Thriller

New book alert!

Who am I?

I’m a huge thriller fan, and I love finance. In fact, I worked in the industry for over twenty years. I have an MBA from Duke and have been the CEO of three different SEC/FINRA-registered broker-dealers. Unfortunately, I’ve found myself deep into a thriller with a financial component that turns out to be implausible, overly simplistic, or both. It breaks the narrative for me. With these books, that’s not a concern. Financial thriller aficionados unite!

Mel's book list on exploring the dark side of finance

What is my book about?

It’s 2027. Rory O’Connor is the financial genius who helped create ICARUS, a quantum computer that controls the world’s stock markets with AI and algorithms. But Rory has recently suffered some tough breaks. He’s checked out of high finance and into a luxury Caribbean condo. After a former colleague finds anomalies with ICARUS, Rory quickly finds himself at the nexus of a high-stakes international conspiracy.

In the process, he discovers a hidden thumb drive that contains the mysterious and encrypted Vega files. Now, Rory must travel to Switzerland, access the ICARUS mainframe, decrypt the drive, overcome his demons, and save the world from financial chaos. If he fails, the globe descends into an economic Armageddon controlled by madmen and psychopathic bankers.

Quoz: A Financial Thriller

By Mel Mattison,

What is this book about?

Quantum AI, corrupt central bankers, and the blockchain collide in a stock market supernova. The annihilation of the global economic order is just the beginning.

"As governments around the world seek to exert tyrannical control over currency, Quoz serves as a cautionary tale for what lies ahead. You've been warned." -Trey Radel, Former Member of United States Congress

It's 2027. The AI revolution has merged with quantum computing to take control of global financial markets. Operated by the mysterious Bank for International Settlements based in Basel, Switzerland, the quantum supercomputer known as ICARUS has promised the world a more stable…

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