Tor.com content by

Jill Grunenwald

Gaming and Virtual Reality Novels Featuring Fierce Female Characters

I love Ernest Cline’s novel Ready Player One. I love it so much, it’s among the handful of titles that I re-read annually. I love the popular culture references, the throwbacks, the easter eggs, and I especially love the audiobook version narrated by Wil Wheaton.

What I don’t love is the way the character of Art3mis is treated like a side quest, some challenge to be conquered by our torch-bearing hero. It happens in actual video games, too: my game of choice is The Legend of Zelda. I mean, her name is literally in the title and yet the character of Zelda (in all her reiterations) is hardly seen; instead, players run around the land of Hyrule as Link. In some versions of the game, Zelda doesn’t appear at all. Before I started playing, I even thought Link’s name was Zelda because, well, why wouldn’t the eponymous character appear as a major player in the game that features her name?

[Luckily, there are plenty of novels that put women gamers front and center.]