As a voracious consumer of any type of fiction, I have a particular soft spot for science fiction, the fantasy end to be specific. Sure, I love Ben Bova, Philip K. Dick and Greg Bear, but my heart belongs to the wizarding worlds of Terry Goodkind, Robert Jordan, Piers Anthony (hey, his puns rule), Pratchett and Anne McAfferty. The list goes on, as I feel that Mercedes Lackey must get a mention, Simon R.Green, Ray Bradbury, Craig Shaw Gardner, Robert Aspirin, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Neil Gaiman, Diana Wynne Jones, Melanie Rawn-Ok, I’m going to stop now, as I’m getting carried away.
Suffice to say, I really LOVE the genre, and with it, the cover art. A lot of fantasy features the usual dragons, castles, and damsels wearing thin strips of clothing, but the trend for the sexualized fantasy females has changed in the last year. I’m happy to note that a recent survey by Orbit Books showed that the way women are portrayed in cover art has drastically changed over the last year. Forget about the heroine teetering in impossibly high heels whilst wearing next to nothing, now we’re getting kick ass women wearing practical, OK more practical items of clothing.
The research shows that the clothes they are pictured in are now more appropriate to their activities, such as sensible footwear, loose clothes, and a sneer rather than a pout. We also have strong female characters taking center stage in many novels, who aren’t just nymphettes.
Vin, the lead charcter in the Brandon Sanderson Mistborn trilogy is a prime example. She is depicted as looking fierce and strong, with not a hint of nipple or thigh in sight.
This is a recent book though- a look at one of the old covers of Mercedes Lackey’s novel shows an entirely different depiction of women. I’m not against having females in provocative poses on books, but I am pleased that more authors are creating strong female lead characters.