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Favorite Literary SF Characters?

SFSignal is asking its readers to vote on their favorite literary SF characters.

Which characters are your favorites?

(I had to limit myself, or I'd just go on and on...)

1. Mr. Dunworthy from Connie Willis's The Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog

2. and 3. Aral Vorkosigan and Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan from Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan series

4. Professor de la Paz from Robert Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

5. Duncan Idaho from Frank Herbert's Dune series (after whom I named my very first car)

6. Emilio Sandoz from Mary Doria Russell's The Sparrow and Children of God

"Most things grow old and perish, as the centuries go on and on. Very few are the precious things that remain precious, or the tales that are still told."
- Ursula K. Le Guin, The Tombs of Atuan


( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 15th, 2006 02:57 pm (UTC)
Yikes, I must have read less science fiction than I thought, or else I don't remember my characters very well. I had a look at the list at Wikipedia, and I could pick only one I could call a favorite without even thinking about it -- Elwin Ransom from CS Lewis' space trilogy.

*goes off to the library to check out some SciFi*
Nov. 16th, 2006 12:10 am (UTC)
Ransom! Good choice. CSL is always relevant, isn't he?

Happy SF-ing!
Nov. 15th, 2006 03:26 pm (UTC)
Jeez! Tough one-- I'll go with a short list, too!

1) Peewee from RAH's Have Space Suit, Will Travel

2) Victor Grego from H. Beam Piper's Fuzzy books, for his wonderful character transformation

3) Speaking of great transformations, going to go with Mark Remillard from Julian May's Pliocene Exile and Galactic Milieu books, though there are literally dozens of memorable characters from these books.

4) Molly/Sally from William Gibson's Neuromancer trilogy.

5) Rydell from Gibson's Virtual Light trilogy

6) Lawrence Waterhouse from Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon, though it's a close call!

Ok, that's it for me, or, as Lady Constance from Gosford Park said, "Don't, don't, please don't encourage him, he'll just go on and on."
Nov. 15th, 2006 03:49 pm (UTC)
5) Rydell from Gibson's Virtual Light trilogy
6) Lawrence Waterhouse from Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon

And this is why I crossed off "Marry exactly the right woman" from my to-do list long ago.

My list is forthcoming.
Nov. 15th, 2006 04:44 pm (UTC)
Heee... you are made of awesome!!!
Nov. 16th, 2006 12:13 am (UTC)
Ha! You are both made of awesome. Your posts have made my day. These are great choices -- especially Molly/Sally. Now that I think about it, Dixie Flatline was a favorite of mine, as well. And Peewee - good call.
Nov. 15th, 2006 03:30 pm (UTC)
That's just too broad to be fair... How do you even start pulling names out of your head? And, like lin4gondor, I guess I really don't read that much straight sci fi. More of a fantasy gal, myself.

But if you are going to count In the Days of the Comet (which really isn't) I'd have Willie Leadford on the list.

Arthur Dent from Hitchhikkers.

Augh! I'm going completely blank here...!
Nov. 16th, 2006 12:14 am (UTC)
We might disagree about In the Days of the Comet being SF, but then again, that's more semantics than anything else. Great character choice, at any rate. Arthur Dent, definitely. :)
Nov. 15th, 2006 04:00 pm (UTC)
Let's see. This is just off the top of my head but I think that it says a lot for these characters that they came to my mind so quickly:

1) Bobby Shaftoe from Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon

2) Chia Pet McKenzie from William Gibson's Idoru

3) Aiken Drum from Julian May's Saga of Pliocene Exile

4) Duncan Idaho from Frank Herbert's Dune

5) Chrysalis from the Wild Cards shared-world series

Nov. 15th, 2006 04:46 pm (UTC)
You ARE Aiken Drum! :D

(Marry perfect man-- check!)
Nov. 15th, 2006 05:19 pm (UTC)
Aiken Drum, Duncan Idaho, something of a theme, there.

I would have listed Reepicheep (the Duncan Idaho of Narnia) but I wanted to stick to harder SF.
Nov. 15th, 2006 05:37 pm (UTC)
You're livin' in your own private Duncan Idaho.

Ok, not really, 'cause holy crap, Reepicheep is SO TOTALLY the Duncan Idaho of Narnia!!!!!!! He can be my right-hand mouse any time!
Nov. 15th, 2006 05:48 pm (UTC)
Although, I'm pretty sure he never got replaced by Zombie Reepicheep. Or did that happen in God Emperor of Narnia? I haven't read that one.
Nov. 16th, 2006 12:19 am (UTC)
You're livin' in your own private Duncan Idaho.

If ever a line deserved to be transformed into an email signature, it's this one.

I named my very first car Duncan, back in my undergraduate days. And like his namesake, my Duncan appears to possess an unlimited number of lives. He's still around, all these many (many!) years later, currently being driven by my mother-in-law. He has House loyalty, don't you know.
Nov. 16th, 2006 11:09 pm (UTC)
House Loyalty is my favorite trait in a car! :-)
Nov. 16th, 2006 12:15 am (UTC)
Reepicheep, the Duncan Idaho of Narnia. I am dying here. :) In a good way.
Nov. 15th, 2006 04:23 pm (UTC)
Looking around the room, I'll go with these:

1) Han Solo from numerous Star Wars books (even had two trilogies all his own at least)

2) Slippery Jimmy DiGriz from the Stainless Steel Rat series (Harry Harrison)

3) Louis Wu from the Ringworld series (Larry Niven)

4) Wilf Brim from The Helmsman Series (Bill Baldwin)

Nov. 16th, 2006 12:20 am (UTC)
Great, eclectic choices!
Nov. 15th, 2006 04:29 pm (UTC)
I've been thinking lately that I really like Faxe the Weaver from The Left Hand of Darkness.

Nov. 16th, 2006 12:50 pm (UTC)
Excellent. :)
Nov. 15th, 2006 09:20 pm (UTC)
I clearly do not read enough SF. The only character I can think of (with the possible exception of Arthur Dent) is Garak from the Deep Space Nine series. And before you say that's not literary, I should point out he has his own book, A Stitch in Time written by the actor, Andrew Robinson no less. I highly recommend it; knowledge of the series is a plus, but not entirely necessary.
Nov. 16th, 2006 12:56 pm (UTC)
I couldn't agree more that Robinson did an excellent job with A Stitch in Time. I saw him give a talk while he was in the process of writing it, and he discussed all of the research he had to do. It really showed. And I'm glad he made a clear nod to the dynamic between Garak and Bashir, which was always a core element of the series. DS9 had exceptional secondary characters who were more complex than many other series' leads.

Are you familiar with altariel's professional DS9 fiction? If you like Garak, I highly recommend her writing.
Nov. 17th, 2006 01:32 am (UTC)
No, I haven't. Will have to check it out soon.
Nov. 17th, 2006 02:57 am (UTC)
Cool! I'm really glad you reminded me about the Robinson novel. I think it's about due for a rereading. :)
Nov. 16th, 2006 02:58 pm (UTC)
What about Dane Thorson? That particular series by Andre Norton is a textbook example of Free Trader science fiction. Then there's Admiral Marais from Walter Hunt's The Dark Wing. He's one warped individual. The works of Walter Hunt are some excellent military science fiction in the mold of Babylon 5.
Nov. 18th, 2006 04:43 pm (UTC)
I just added my two cents worth to the SFSignal poll:

YT from Neal Stephenson's SNOW CRASH
The Spider, Isaac Dan der Grimnebulin, and The Sock Puppet from China Mieville's PERDIDO STREET STATION
Gaby McAslin from Ian McDonald's EVOLUTION'S SHORE
John Glasken from Sean McMullen's SOULS IN THE GREAT MACHINE
Nov. 18th, 2006 10:20 pm (UTC)
Well hi there! *waves*

These are terrific choices, especially YT. I haven't read the McMullen novel, so I should add that to my reading list.
Nov. 18th, 2006 10:19 pm (UTC)
Dane Thorson is a great choice! And thanks for the other recommendations.
( 28 comments — Leave a comment )

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