Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Girlie-girl heroines

Never thought of this topic, but actually I do like a protagonist with killer fashion sense. So much not me, but naturally I always wished I had an unerring instinct for fashion, right?

So, this list is heavy on romances, but you know, you do get some SFF titles that draw on this kind of fashion-instinct for giggles, or, actually, sometimes not just for giggles.

An example of the former is Betsy The Vampire Queen by MaryJanice Davidson. That series is light, fun, charming, and is enhanced by Betsy’s obsession with killer shoes. Writing light, humorous stories is a gift and Davidson does it well.

But! You know another example that comes to mind? Nina Kiriki Hoffman’s A Fistful of Sky, a book I love — it’s my favorite by Hoffman, and WHAT a great title — with a wonderful take on magical curses. This is not a light, humorous fantasy in the Betsy style; it’s actually a serious story about family relationships. But it has plenty of comedy in it. All the curses are clever and fun, and one involves being cursed with Killer Fashion Sense. Which is not entirely a curse, as long as you can turn it off, see.

Anyway, fun list, but I’m sure there are tons more SFF examples as well as examples from romance. Anybody got another?

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2 Comments Girlie-girl heroines

  1. Elaine T

    One of the male leads in Heyer’s COTILLION has killer fashion sense. Also very good at practical matters: makes sure the eloping female has a toothbrush (or something of that sort).

    For fashion in SF, the mind leaps to CJC’s FORGE OF HEAVEN, although it isn’t the protaganist, but fashionistas have a large role to play. Aunt Alys Vorpatril who hasn’t had a book of her own, but I wouldn’t want to tangle with her.

    Probably everyone in Kushner’s comedies of manners, but they don’t stick with me well enough, and are fantasy. Same with the Smith/Trowbridge Exordium series, as far as sticking in memory. It is sooo good for signaling various information, it’s a wonder writers don’t use it more. Perhaps in our culture we’re all so casual it seems hard to get across the language of clothes/fashion.

  2. Rachel

    Oh, I do remember the “fashionistas” in FORGE OF HEAVEN. I’d forgotten, but I liked that plot thread a lot. Another guy — not in SF — would be Lord Peter Whimsey, of course. I remember him fiddling pulled threads back into a silk jacket.

    Aunt Alys might be kind of fun as the protagonist of a book, don’t you think? I wish I thought Bujold was going to keep writing in that universe, but I suspect she won’t, but if she wants to, branching out to different protagonists might be one thing that would keep her interested.

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