Warrior Wisewoman 3 edited by Roby James is an anthology of science fiction stories focused around strong female characters. These characters may not be the lead, and the definition of strength is a broad one, opening the potential for a wide variety of interesting tales.
As with most anthologies, some stories resonated with me more than others, but none of the included tales jarred me, which is not always the case. A few of the stories that stood out for me (in order of appearance) are listed below, along with a note as to why with every effort to keep from spoilers.
The Race by Jennifer R. Povey
Though the wisdom I see is in the sister rather than the main character, the story is a compelling read about competition and what the race to win can cost. The main character matures on the page, and the conclusion worked for me.
The Envoy by Al Onia
Unlike The Race, The Envoy is strongly thematic. Like many of the stories in this collection, Onia’s tale deals with the resolution of war through a central female character, but it also explores the sense of self and how the greater good can be worth more than the individual, even when that greater good is of people with whom the individual has not direct relationship.
Bearer of Burdens by Melissa Mead
This story is told from a male point of view, and the thematic character is presented as a victim and a horrifying image at first. As the tale develops, though, the main character comes to love and respect her. Still, ultimately, he fails to understand until it’s too late, but within that understanding, the reader comes to see the world through more complex eyes. Similarly to The Envoy, the choices made by the thematic character are not those traditionally supported in Western culture, but the way the story builds to them makes her decisions better than what appears to be the story’s path.
The Truth One Sees by Kathy Hurley
The saying “I won’t believe it until I see it with my own eyes” influences much of Western culture and how people perceive the world. This story looks at a case where the truth is unseen, and if known, would be misunderstood with disastrous consequences. The main character educates under the mask of a fortune teller, hoping to get the chance to teach those with the power to harm that instead they should look for peace.
There were many others–as I said, I didn’t dislike any of the stories–but these should give you a taste of what you’d find in the anthology. Of course you might have listed the other stories first over this lot because tastes differ. On the whole, this anthology touched on issues of culture clash, finding peace in odd places and odd ways, and how humanity leaps first then suffers the consequences. These are themes I appreciate, and the blend of stories that used them without seeming repetitious offered an enjoyable read.
If you’ve read the anthology, please share your favorite story or your thoughts about it. If you haven’t, are these themes something that call to you?