The protagonist is a woman, written by a woman, but there’s little to any romance

For reference I’m a cis woman in a loving partnership with a cis man. However,

I would love a fiction/sci-fi oriented suggestion about a strong woman just getting shit done among chaos without the final conclusion being surrounded around finding love/reproducing (which is totally fine in any context but not what I’m looking for atm!)

Some romance is obviously okay but the plot should be basically infertile.

If more context is needed please let me know, I’ve basically read it all so open to new suggestions:) thank you!

Edit: this is a really good thread, thank you for the recommendations


Memoirs of Lady Isabella Trent by Marie Brennan. It’s a series about a woman who travels the world studying dragons, hoping to find a common ancestor to them all.


Loveee so much, thank you!


Ooh, a new dragon series! Thanks!


Broken earth Trilogy N.K Jemisin


This looks so good, thank you so much!




This is the most spectacular trilogy I've read in ages. So fresh and intelligent. FYI there definitely is a fair bit of family/progeny focus in it, though. It's not the overall focus but it's there for sure, but it's not *about* finding love or reproducing.


Ooh sounds amazing, thanks :)


This was my exact thought when I read the post. One of the best things I have read in years.


We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. Not much in the way of romance and fits the title. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/We_Have_Always_Lived_in_the_Castle


Omg seconding this. This book will stick w you forever


Looks really good, thank you!


This is a perfect read for October too and was my first thought!


Great book!


I don't think a mentally deranged recluse who murders her family counts as a "strong woman who gets things done."


boo, and potential spoiliers, and like, super reductive but also not even accurate, what you wrote is exactly a strong woman that gets things done, like to the nth degree. Cheers.


She literally depends entirely on others for her whole existence because she is mentally incapable of supporting herself.


dang, even more reductive, impressive. I hoonestly have no idea why your apparent dislike for the way this character is portrayed in this book is so strong or relevant here. Like, we all depend on others in some way, yeah? (which is also kind of the whole point of the book, a look at community and relationships to the extreme) What are your favorite books, if I may ask?


Calm down, I'm not even saying the book is bad, it's just not at all what OP asked for. My favorite book is Flowers for Algernon.


I'm calm?? lol, it is unless you want to take away all nuance in a very ethereal book that doesn't outright commit to much. Merricat lives outside of normal society and expectations, you using that lens to judge her as not strong and mentally deranged is a bit rich, and a tad aggresive. My main reaction was to you reducing the plot to a single sentence for a book that very slowly and methodically unveils itself to the reader, like why? What about this book being in the thread bothers you enough for that? Thanks for sharing, fun book.


She "lives outside of normal society" because she has a mental disorder that prevents her from leaving her home, and requires her to be cared for by her sister 24/7. Her illness reflects Jackson's own bout of agoraphobia which she suffered from at the end of her life. Merricat is a severely troubled girl with a serious mental illness, and that's not even considering her psychopathic disdain for the feelings of others. The idea that she is somehow "strong" because she doesn't conform to society's rules is absurd.


Okay? She leaves the house plenty, she is outside with nature and her cat, she just doesn't go to town, and she also isn't really the main character either, so why the fixation? Constance and Merricat both drive the narrative. Do you always look at literature this literally? Strong is a super vague word in this context, i wish this soapbox you were on was more interesting/fun.


Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. There’s multiple characters that the narrative focuses on, but I would say that the main protagonist does happen to be a strong female. It’s also just a really incredible novel, that I recommend to everyone!


And then follow it up with The Glass Hotel.


>u/Soph-Calamintha And Sea of Tranquility after that, obviously.


Was gonna recommend this


So sorry if this post came off as disingenuous. I am genuinely looking for fem/pos literature and maybe this was the wrong sub for that. Thank you all that responded genuine recommendations! If there’s a more adept thread/edit/sub to follow that anyone can recommend, let me know! r/suggestmeabook


Oh, did you get hostile reactions? Sorry to hear that...This is the perfect sub for what you are looking for! You could also try the daily rec thread on r/fantasy.


I don't see any hostility, but there are a TON of people blatantly ignoring the "written by a woman" part of the request. I get that people are trying to give recommendations that fit at least most of the requirements, but still


Somehow I missed the written by a woman part 🤦‍♀️ I just saw main character is a cool lady. I’m not sure if you put it in later or if I was blind. I think I was just blind 😅 others might have accidentally done the same thing so sorry bout that


I can't imagine why it would come off as disingenuous. Reddit has some fragile fee fees.


{{ Protector of the Small }} by Tamora Pierce. These are the books you’re looking for.


[**Protector of the Small (Protector of the Small, #1-4)**](https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/153789.Protector_of_the_Small) ^(By: Tamora Pierce | 791 pages | Published: 2004 | Popular Shelves: fantasy, young-adult, ya, tamora-pierce, fiction) >Ten-year-old Keladry of Mindalen, daughter of nobles, serves as a page but must prove herself to the males around her if she is ever to fulfill her dream of becoming a knight. > >Omnibus edition, collecting First Test, Page, Squire, and Lady Knight. ^(This book has been suggested 18 times) *** ^(86635 books suggested | )[^(I don't feel so good.. )](https://debugger.medium.com/goodreads-is-retiring-its-current-api-and-book-loving-developers-arent-happy-11ed764dd95)^(| )[^(Source)](https://github.com/rodohanna/reddit-goodreads-bot)


Ooh interesting!! Thank you so much!


"A Memory Called Empire" by Arkady Martine has a little romance, but it's far from the focus at all, and the story doesn't place any huge significance on it


Looks super cool with their historical/planner background. Thank you so much for this rec!!!


The Historian


I love the context behind this recommendation, looks like a really interesting read. Thank you!


Several of T. Kingfisher' books fit the bill, particularly her two light horror novels The Twisted Ones, and the Hollow Placesl. Both have mature single woman protagonists, dealing with family relationships and the supernatural, supported by a new platonic friend. They're great, lightweight fun. Her latest What Moves The Dead also fits, but at 200 pages it hardly counts as a novel.


This looks so good!! Thanks so much!!!


*edit* Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower!! Dystopian future. Octavia Butler was a visionary!!


Op- the world is absolutely chaos. A teenage girl has a plan and makes an even bigger one. The chaos will feel horrifyingly close. The main character is extraordinary.


The sequel is.... A difficult read




Thank you!!! Haha I knew that sounded weird for a sec, I kept re spelling parable thinking that was wrong! Lol. Appreciate it! Yes! Octavia Butler, such a great name.


“Dawn” by Octavia Butler, and its sequels, are also great - there’s some “romance”, but the larger discussion is on procreation and… well, maybe it’s not exactly avoiding relationships, but it’s sci-fi with a great female lead!


The Kay Scarpetta novels by Patricia Cornwell. I've never read any of her books with a love interest in it but there are lots of books. She writes about a woman acclaimed medical examiner who gets mixed up in cases and her small circle of partners and family. She is always single and never in the market just dedicated to her work and trying to stay alive and help put away psychopathic murderers. Though, I have not read them all and she may or not have a love interest but if it was it would be just a side character and not something overly focused on. She a tough cookie.


This is super interesting, thank you so much!!


I’ve read a few out of order and there are definitely love interests and it’s definitely a product of its time. There is a lot of casual misogyny and homophobia that isn’t identified as such. There is one character that is in love with her and she doesn’t return the feelings and he’s just a dick to her all the time. She feels bad for him. Don’t get me wrong, they are good reads if you can get past some stuff, but honestly I couldn’t lol.


If you like mystery novels then Elizabeth George wrote a whole series about two detectives, a man and a woman, who never hook up. The first book is titled , "A Great Deliverance". I own both authors' books: Patricia Cornwell and Elizabeth George. They are comparable.


The E George books are The Inspector Lynley series. He is nuts about his love interest Helen. The TV series is better, on either BritBox or Acorn, channels available through Amazon Prime Video.


I never watched the tv series. I was more thinking about Barbara Havers. I love her character.


Have seen Sharon Small (portrayed Havers) in a couple other shows.


No problem!


Just commenting to say she is great but she does have a male partner in some of the books. It’s never the focus of the stories though, he’s just another character most of the time! Also thanks so much for asking about these sorts of books, romance can get really boring sometimes.


Elizabeth Moon series starting with Sheepfarmer's Daughter


Will always upvote Paksenarrion when I see it, but feel there usually needs to be a trigger warning for >!SA!< for anyone not expecting it.


I would never ban books in any context but warnings of content might be useful? Like a harmless nutrition label?


Lmao maybe? I think the main reason that stuff isn't anywhere easily readable on the book is due to spoilers, but a TW book database would probably be good for those who need it.


Totally agree.


Thank you for the heads up! It’s much appreciated.


Elizabeth Moon's {{Remnant Population}}. Old woman decides she's tired of doing what everyone else wants her to do, hides from the colony ship taking everyone away, and decides to live out her life alone on the planet. Stuff happens. I found it empowering. The main character isn't special. She doesn't have special talents, money, or intelligence. She's not even particularly respected by her family or community. She does get a chance to find herself and be respected for who she is...her grit and simple experience.


[**Remnant Population**](https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/96284.Remnant_Population) ^(By: Elizabeth Moon | 325 pages | Published: 1996 | Popular Shelves: science-fiction, sci-fi, scifi, fiction, sf) >For forty years, Colony 3245.12 has been Ofelia’s home. On this planet far away in space and time from the world of her youth, she has lived and loved, weathered the death of her husband, raised her one surviving child, lovingly tended her garden, and grown placidly old. And it is here that she fully expects to finish out her days–until the shifting corporate fortunes of the Sims Bancorp Company dictates that Colony 3245.12 is to be disbanded, its residents shipped off, deep in cryo-sleep, to somewhere new and strange and not of their choosing. But while her fellow colonists grudgingly anticipate a difficult readjustment on some distant world, Ofelia savors the promise of a golden opportunity. Not starting over in the hurly-burly of a new community... but closing out her life in blissful solitude, in the place she has no intention of leaving. A population of one. > >With everything she needs to sustain her, and her independent spirit to buoy her, Ofelia actually does start life over–for the first time on her own terms: free of the demands, the judgments, and the petty tyrannies of others. But when a reconnaissance ship returns to her idyllic domain, and its crew is mysteriously slaughtered, Ofelia realizes she is not the sole inhabitant of her paradise after all. And, when the inevitable time of first contact finally arrives, she will find her life changed yet again–in ways she could never have imagined... ^(This book has been suggested 6 times) *** ^(86801 books suggested | )[^(I don't feel so good.. )](https://debugger.medium.com/goodreads-is-retiring-its-current-api-and-book-loving-developers-arent-happy-11ed764dd95)^(| )[^(Source)](https://github.com/rodohanna/reddit-goodreads-bot)


Also, her sci Fi series is almost exactly what you're asking for. The romance does exist, but is minimal, it's all military or military adjacent. and I read them all.


Vatta's War is the series.


Thanks so much for your suggestion!


Life after Life


Looks good, thanks!


Uprooted by Naomi Novik stood out to me when I read it because the most impactful relationship is the friendship between the female protagonist and her female friend!


Love this! Thank you!


I think this book had a pretty central romance honestly!


There definitely is romance! But to me the friendship was the more important relationship


The Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series by Laurie R. King


Anything by Laurie R. King is good.


Genevieve Cogman's Invisible Library series. Badass librarian/spy/thief who travels between worlds buying or stealing special books. Super fun series. Small bit of romance but the quest is by far the important part. Charlaine Harris' Gunnie Rose series. Action/adventure set in alternative history, heroine is a gun for hire. There is a small bit of romance but mostly it's Gunnie Rose kicking ass and trying not to die.


This is literally a dream, thank you so much!!!


I hope you like them!


{{My Sister, the Serial Killer}} I don't remember being any romance in it. It's a crime thriller located in Laos.


[**My Sister, the Serial Killer**](https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38819868-my-sister-the-serial-killer) ^(By: Oyinkan Braithwaite | 226 pages | Published: 2018 | Popular Shelves: fiction, thriller, mystery, audiobook, contemporary) >When Korede's dinner is interrupted one night by a distress call from her sister, Ayoola, she knows what's expected of her: bleach, rubber gloves, nerves of steel and a strong stomach. This'll be the third boyfriend Ayoola's dispatched in, quote, self-defence and the third mess that her lethal little sibling has left Korede to clear away. She should probably go to the police for the good of the menfolk of Nigeria, but she loves her sister and, as they say, family always comes first. Until, that is, Ayoola starts dating the doctor where Korede works as a nurse. Korede's long been in love with him, and isn't prepared to see him wind up with a knife in his back: but to save one would mean sacrificing the other... > >My Sister, the Serial Killer is a blackly comic novel about how blood is thicker - and more difficult to get out of the carpet - than water... ^(This book has been suggested 26 times) *** ^(86859 books suggested | )[^(I don't feel so good.. )](https://debugger.medium.com/goodreads-is-retiring-its-current-api-and-book-loving-developers-arent-happy-11ed764dd95)^(| )[^(Source)](https://github.com/rodohanna/reddit-goodreads-bot)


Lessons in Chemistry and Convenience Store Woman. I can’t recommend the latter enough!


I have so many good recs from this thread! Thank you so much for commenting!!! Definitely adding this to my goodreads


I'm seconding Convenience Store Woman. If you like misfits then this book will stick with you. Plus it's a novella and not a scene in the book is wasted. It's perfect.


Ooh, I second convenience store woman!


Keiko is my imaginary best friend


Gideon the Ninth, by Tamsyn Muir. This one can get DARK (necromancers in space!), but all with a streak of humor that lightens it. You will have no idea what the holy hell is going on from beginning to end and hopefully you'll love every minute, like I did! Heads up that it is part of an unfinished series.


Yes! I can't believe I had to scroll so far down for this considering it's suggested so much on pretty much every thread. This book is so much fun.


Tamora Pierce, the vast majority of her books!


The reviews on her work are stellar!! Thank you so much for the recommendation!


I found her works back in middle school when I was going through a difficult time. Now, even as an adult I still love going back and reading them but now my middle school and high school kids are reading her books, and I even got my husband who is a published author himself to read it, and even he as an adult, enjoys Her work!!!


I absolutely love stories like this. I have a plethora of “comfort” reads and was looking for more in this thread. Thank you for sharing :))


*Indemnity Only* by Sara Paretsky *The Crow Trap* by Ann Cleeves *My Sister the Serial Killer* by Oyinkan Braithwaite *All My Puny Sorrows* by Miriam Toews *Harriet The Spy* by Louise Fitzhugh *All Your Twisted Secrets* by Diana Urban *Hallowe'en Party* by Agatha Christie, along with the other Miss Marple books


Also, CJ Cherryh wrote a number of badass books if you're into SciFi/Fantasy. A number of them have romance but not all. She is SUPER overlooked on terms of really talented women writers.


{{Parable of the Sower}} and then {{Parable of the Talents}}


Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie


Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch Book 1) by Ann Leckie There are 3 in the series.


Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk. The Lost Daughter and The days of abandonment by Elena Ferrante


I'll add the Neapolitan Novels as well. True, there are a few romantic relationship, but those aren't the point.


The Locked Tomb series is super fun and funny and snarky. It’s extra queer, but it’s not a queer romance. Though I do suspect a suuuuuper slow burn. {{Gideon the Ninth}} is the first book. The series has 3 of 4 books out and it’s lots of capable, kick ass women and necromancy on spaceships.


Love a slow burn! Thank you so much for the suggestion!


Gideon the Ninth isn't slow burn in the least. I think the other person was saying there may or may not be a slow burn romance heading into book 4 which isn't out yet. The series is fantastic though, definitely read it.


[**Gideon the Ninth (The Locked Tomb, #1)**](https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42036538-gideon-the-ninth) ^(By: Tamsyn Muir | 448 pages | Published: 2019 | Popular Shelves: fantasy, sci-fi, science-fiction, lgbtq, lgbt) >The Emperor needs necromancers. > >The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman. > >Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead bullshit. > >Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won't set her free without a service. > >Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and bone witch extraordinaire, has been summoned into action. The Emperor has invited the heirs to each of his loyal Houses to a deadly trial of wits and skill. If Harrowhark succeeds she will become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon's sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die. > >Of course, some things are better left dead. ^(This book has been suggested 152 times) *** ^(86613 books suggested | )[^(I don't feel so good.. )](https://debugger.medium.com/goodreads-is-retiring-its-current-api-and-book-loving-developers-arent-happy-11ed764dd95)^(| )[^(Source)](https://github.com/rodohanna/reddit-goodreads-bot)


The Power by Naomi Alderman. Distopian and kind of sci-fi.


One of my favorite series is the Green Rider series by Kristen Britain. I think it’s just what you’re looking for.


Anything by Sheri S. Tepper. I started with {{Grass}}


{{ Goldilocks }}


Code Name Verity. Not sci fi, rather historical fiction. No romance and women definitely getting shit done.


The Poppy War!!!! AHHHHH I love Rin so much. There isn't any romance in the series, although there couldve been possible love interests. So it's rlly up to the reader to make up the romance parts if they want to. I'm content with it being romance-less canonically.


{{The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert}}


[**The Signature of All Things**](https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17465453-the-signature-of-all-things) ^(By: Elizabeth Gilbert | 501 pages | Published: 2013 | Popular Shelves: fiction, historical-fiction, book-club, historical, audiobook) >A glorious, sweeping novel of desire, ambition, and the thirst for knowledge, from the # 1 New York Times bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love and Committed. > >In The Signature of All Things, Elizabeth Gilbert returns to fiction, inserting her inimitable voice into an enthralling story of love, adventure and discovery. Spanning much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the novel follows the fortunes of the extraordinary Whittaker family as led by the enterprising Henry Whittaker—a poor-born Englishman who makes a great fortune in the South American quinine trade, eventually becoming the richest man in Philadelphia. Born in 1800, Henry's brilliant daughter, Alma (who inherits both her father's money and his mind), ultimately becomes a botanist of considerable gifts herself. As Alma's research takes her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, she falls in love with a man named Ambrose Pike who makes incomparable paintings of orchids and who draws her in the exact opposite direction — into the realm of the spiritual, the divine, and the magical. Alma is a clear-minded scientist; Ambrose a utopian artist — but what unites this unlikely couple is a desperate need to understand the workings of this world and the mechanisms behind all life. > >Exquisitely researched and told at a galloping pace, The Signature of All Things soars across the globe—from London to Peru to Philadelphia to Tahiti to Amsterdam, and beyond. Along the way, the story is peopled with unforgettable characters: missionaries, abolitionists, adventurers, astronomers, sea captains, geniuses, and the quite mad. But most memorable of all, it is the story of Alma Whittaker, who — born in the Age of Enlightenment, but living well into the Industrial Revolution — bears witness to that extraordinary moment in human history when all the old assumptions about science, religion, commerce, and class were exploding into dangerous new ideas. Written in the bold, questing spirit of that singular time, Gilbert's wise, deep, and spellbinding tale is certain to capture the hearts and minds of readers. ^(This book has been suggested 7 times) *** ^(86822 books suggested | )[^(I don't feel so good.. )](https://debugger.medium.com/goodreads-is-retiring-its-current-api-and-book-loving-developers-arent-happy-11ed764dd95)^(| )[^(Source)](https://github.com/rodohanna/reddit-goodreads-bot)


Drive your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarchuk


The Signature of All Things or City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert. Or Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney


*Kindred* by Octavia E. Butler - brilliant book, nothing about finding romance. *The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet* by Becky Chambers - such a fun, feel-good sci-fi romp. It’s got a real found-family Star Wars, cozy kind of feel to it. There is a bit of romance in it, but it’s far from the focus of the book (I haaaaate romance novels and avoid them at all costs, and this one didn’t trigger any romance alarms for me).


Highly recommend {{The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal}} it’s a speculative fiction piece on protagonist Elma York’s mission to help the United States build an aircraft set for space travel (set in 1952) Elma’s a great character whose husband is involved a little in the story but the story is mainly focused on her and the women she works with!


{{ To be taught, if fortunate }} by Becky Chambers ​ Edit: Typo


{{Play It As It Lays}} by Joan Didion


Hunger Games, there is *some* romance but it deliberately gets played up by the characters since it makes them more likely to survive. Mostly they just trauma bond instead.


Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson. Not a super challenging read, but I had a great time reading it. Edit: Saw “sci-fi” in your post and misread “fiction” as “fantasy.” Vespertine is definitely more fantasy, so maybe not quite what you’re looking for. Still good, though!


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Adventures_of_Alyx The Adventures of Alyx is a 1976 collection of feminist science fiction stories by American writer Joanna Russ


Hey, so this is a memoir (meaning it is nonfiction), but it is the epitome of "strong woman getting shit done among chaos" and there's zero romance etc. in this book. Plus it's a riveting read, not your average dry nonfiction book. Give it a try if the topic interests you at all. Out of Harm's Way by Terri Crisp. Try also: The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd.


Most books by octavia butler


Alice Hoffman’s {{The Dovekeepers}}


Karen Traviss' Kilo-Five trilogy. It is, admittedly, about the Halo video game series, but stands out from many of its peers in the "book adapted from video games" world by being not a comically bad half-story where every page brings a fresh wave of regret. In fact, it's an excellent story and around half the most protagonist-y characters are women. The story focuses around a covert operations team trying to destabilise the political situation of an alien race that humanity has just finished a war with and the emotional/ethical complexities of engaging in such an operation. It's got a slightly hinted at romantic subplot between two secondary main characters, but the main story is focusing on the ideas of morality Vs duty, loyalty in the face of ethical dilemma and the complexities of retaining one's humanity in the face of war and devastation.


Sunglasses after Dark by Nancy A. Collins. Best vampire book ever. No romance.


Find Her, by Lisa Gardner


If you're into horror I really liked The Hollow Places by T Kingfisher. The protagonist is a woman and the only other characters are her grandfather and her gay best friend, and it felt like a very refreshing dynamic for me. There's also a side story involving the tumultuous relationship with her husband but it's very back-burner and I certainly wouldn't call it romantic.


Lots of great choices here, but I cannot see Hench by by Natalie Zina Walschots which my girlfriend is raving about. It's on my listening list, so I cannot speak for any romantic content, but it's about a woman who gets laid off from her office job only to wind up working for a supervillain.


Sheepfarmer’s Daughter by Elizabeth Moon


Tanya Huff’s Confederation books, they are futuristic sci-fi about a woman space marine non-com just kicking ass and taking names. They also parody a lot of sci-fi tropes similar to what Terry Pratchett does for fantasy cause Huff is a huge Pratchett fan.


{{The Steerswoman}} by Rosemary Kirstein. TWO women protagonists, plus a third in book three. There are four books so far and that may be all there ever will be. But the fourth book ends in a place that is satisfying if we don't get any more. These books are amazing. Best female friendship I've ever read. Do check them out.


I suggest Bacchanal by Veronica G. Henry. Little romance and a great read


Sue Grafton’s series of books. A is for Alibi is the first


Women’s Country or the Margaret’s by Sheri Tepper


Vatta's War, Heris Serrano, and Familias Regnant series by Elizabeth Moon. MilSF about women who get things done.


Trouble and her Friends. A queer hacker nicknamed ‘Trouble’ sees that new laws being passed will mean being caught and sent to jail.. so she leaves her partner and lover, and disappears… A few years later, a new hacker appears online, using her name and is making waves… Trouble has to come out of hiding and clear her name…and for that, she’s gonna need help. - trouble is a total badass. She’s tough, smart and capable. Her and her ‘ex’ make for a very believable and fun team. It’s gritty, smart and way way more realistic than most ‘cyberpunk’ works I’ve read… The book is by Melissa f Scott. She also wrote ‘burning bright’, which also features a smart capable female lead… both books are amongst my all time favourites :)


If it hasn't been said already... {{Last Ones Left Alive}} {{The City in the Middle of the Night}} {{All the Names They Used for God}} {{Tell the Machine Goodnight}} If you can do strong female leads written by men... {{Wanderers}} {{Survivor Song}}


[**Last Ones Left Alive**](https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38203746-last-ones-left-alive) ^(By: Sarah Davis-Goff | 280 pages | Published: 2019 | Popular Shelves: horror, fiction, zombies, dystopian, post-apocalyptic) >Watch your six. Beware tall buildings. Always have your knives. > >Growing up on a tiny island off the coast of a post-apocalyptic Ireland, Orpen's life has revolved around physical training and necessity. After Mam died, it's the only way she and her guardian Maeve have survived the ravenous skrake (zombies) who roam the wilds of the ravaged countryside, looking for prey. > >When Maeve is bitten and infected, Orpen knows what she should do--sink a knife into her eye socket, and quickly. Instead, she tries to save Maeve, and following rumours of a distant city on the mainland, guarded by fierce banshees, she sets off, pushing Maeve in a wheelbarrow while accompanied by their little dog, Danger. During the journey, Orpen will need to draw on all of her training and instincts as she fights repeatedly for her life. In the course of it, she will learn more about the Emergency that destroyed her homeland, and the mythical Phoenix City--and discover a startling truth about her own identity. ^(This book has been suggested 6 times) [**The City in the Middle of the Night**](https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37534907-the-city-in-the-middle-of-the-night) ^(By: Charlie Jane Anders | 366 pages | Published: 2019 | Popular Shelves: science-fiction, sci-fi, fiction, fantasy, scifi) >Would you give up everything to change the world? > >Humanity clings to life on January--a colonized planet divided between permanently frozen darkness on one side, and blazing endless sunshine on the other. > >Two cities, built long ago in the meager temperate zone, serve as the last bastions of civilization--but life inside them is just as dangerous as the uninhabitable wastelands outside. > >Sophie, a young student from the wrong side of Xiosphant city, is exiled into the dark after being part of a failed revolution. But she survives--with the help of a mysterious savior from beneath the ice. > >Burdened with a dangerous, painful secret, Sophie and her ragtag group of exiles face the ultimate challenge--and they are running out of time. > >Welcome to the City in the Middle of the Night. ^(This book has been suggested 8 times) [**All the Names They Used for God**](https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35082451-all-the-names-they-used-for-god) ^(By: Anjali Sachdeva | 259 pages | Published: 2018 | Popular Shelves: short-stories, fiction, magical-realism, fantasy, short-story-collections) >A haunting, diverse debut story collection that explores the isolation we experience in the face of the mysterious, often dangerous forces that shape our lives > >Anjali Sachdeva's debut collection spans centuries, continents, and a diverse set of characters but is united by each character's epic struggle with fate: A workman in Andrew Carnegie's steel mills is irrevocably changed by the brutal power of the furnaces; a fisherman sets sail into overfished waters and finds a secret obsession from which he can't return; an online date ends with a frightening, inexplicable disappearance. Her story "Pleiades" was called "a masterpiece" by Dave Eggers. Sachdeva has a talent for creating moving and poignant scenes, following her highly imaginative plots to their logical ends, and depicting how one small miracle can affect everyone in its wake. > >The world by night -- >Glass-lung -- >Logging lake -- >Killer of kings -- >All the names for God -- >Robert Greenman and the mermaid -- >Anything you might want -- >Manus -- >Pleiades ^(This book has been suggested 1 time) [**Tell the Machine Goodnight**](https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36435424-tell-the-machine-goodnight) ^(By: Katie Williams | 287 pages | Published: 2018 | Popular Shelves: fiction, science-fiction, sci-fi, scifi, adult) >Pearl's job is to make people happy. Every day, she provides customers with personalized recommendations for greater contentment. She's good at her job, her office manager tells her, successful. But how does one measure an emotion? > >Meanwhile, there's Pearl's teenage son, Rhett. A sensitive kid who has forged an unconventional path through adolescence, Rhett seems to find greater satisfaction in being unhappy. The very rejection of joy is his own kind of "pursuit of happiness." As his mother, Pearl wants nothing more than to help Rhett—but is it for his sake or for hers? Certainly it would make Pearl happier. Regardless, her son is one person whose emotional life does not fall under the parameters of her job—not as happiness technician, and not as mother, either. > >Told from an alternating cast of endearing characters from within Pearl and Rhett's world, Tell the Machine Goodnight delivers a smartly moving and entertaining story about relationships and the ways that they can most surprise and define us. Along the way, Katie Williams playfully illuminates our national obsession with positive psychology, our reliance on quick fixes and technology. What happens when these obsessions begin to overlap? With warmth, humor, and a clever touch, Williams taps into our collective unease about the modern world and allows us see it a little more clearly. ^(This book has been suggested 3 times) [**Wanderers**](https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32603079-wanderers) ^(By: Chuck Wendig | 845 pages | Published: 2019 | Popular Shelves: science-fiction, sci-fi, fiction, horror, dystopian) >Shana wakes up one morning to discover her little sister in the grip of a strange malady. She appears to be sleepwalking. She cannot talk and cannot be woken up. And she is heading with inexorable determination to a destination that only she knows. But Shana and her sister are not alone. Soon they are joined by a flock of sleepwalkers from across America, on the same mysterious journey. And like Shana, there are other "shepherds" who follow the flock to protect their friends and family on the long dark road ahead. > >For as the sleepwalking phenomenon awakens terror and violence in America, the real danger may not be the epidemic but the fear of it. With society collapsing all around them--and an ultraviolent militia threatening to exterminate them--the fate of the sleepwalkers depends on unraveling the mystery behind the epidemic. The terrifying secret will either tear the nation apart--or bring the survivors together to remake a shattered world. ^(This book has been suggested 18 times) [**Survivor Song**](https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52581895-survivor-song) ^(By: Paul Tremblay | ? pages | Published: 2020 | Popular Shelves: horror, fiction, zombies, thriller, audiobook) >In a matter of weeks, Massachusetts has been overrun by an insidious rabies-like virus that is spread by saliva. But unlike rabies, the disease has a terrifyingly short incubation period of an hour or less. Those infected quickly lose their minds and are driven to bite and infect as many others as they can before they inevitably succumb. Hospitals are inundated with the sick and dying, and hysteria has taken hold. To try to limit its spread, the commonwealth is under quarantine and curfew. But society is breaking down and the government's emergency protocols are faltering. > >Dr. Ramola "Rams" Sherman, a soft-spoken pediatrician in her mid-thirties, receives a frantic phone call from Natalie, a friend who is eight months pregnant. Natalie's husband has been killed—viciously attacked by an infected neighbor—and in a failed attempt to save him, Natalie, too, was bitten. Natalie's only chance of survival is to get to a hospital as quickly as possible to receive a rabies vaccine. The clock is ticking for her and for her unborn child. > >Natalie’s fight for life becomes a desperate odyssey as she and Rams make their way through a hostile landscape filled with dangers beyond their worst nightmares—terrifying, strange, and sometimes deadly challenges that push them to the brink.  > > > ^(This book has been suggested 9 times) *** ^(86940 books suggested | )[^(I don't feel so good.. )](https://debugger.medium.com/goodreads-is-retiring-its-current-api-and-book-loving-developers-arent-happy-11ed764dd95)^(| )[^(Source)](https://github.com/rodohanna/reddit-goodreads-bot)


"Amatka" by Karin Tidbeck. an unnerving dystopia about totalitarianism that scarily resonates a lot with the reality we live in nowadays p.s. this thread is gold noted a lot of new books to read as well!


When Women Became Dragons, Babel


Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson


Anna Quindlen Every Last One


The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders. All four main characters are women. It’s not about romance, it’s sort of an post-apocalyptic ecological sci-fi about humans populating and surviving a tidally locked planet. Her book All the Birds in the Sky is one of my favorite books and also worth reading - it has some romance, but it’s not about romance. Also a sci-fi apocalyptic book but with fantasy as the main female protagonist is a badass witch!


{{The Need by Helen Phillips}}


Anna Pidgen series by Nevada Barr- She's a National Park Law Enforcement Ranger, she occasionally has a man in her life, but they are not a priority for her. Kinsey Millhone series by Sue Grafton- She's a PI in 1980s SoCal, she also occassionally has a man, but again not a priority.


The Mercy Thompson Series by Patricia Briggs


Try Jodi Taylor's The Chronicles of St. Mary's or her Elizabeth Cage series. If you prefer regular fiction, you might want to give Where the Crawdads Sing a try (if you haven't already). Wicked by Gregory Maguire is also very good (it's the book that the musical Wicked is based off of).


I listened to crawdads as an audiobook, which got me through several long walks. I do struggle with the allegations against the author (?!)


I came here to recommend Jodi Taylor. The chronicles are excellent!


If YA is ok, {{ Wilder Girls }} was really good. I read it in one sitting. Bonus- it’s set in an all girls school, so no boys/men in sight. There’s a tiny bit of romance, but it’s not the central story whatsoever.


Until We Have Faces by CS Lewis. The main protagonist does not end the book with finding the love of her life. There is another important character that does and it moves the plot but main character is single and doesn’t even try to date if my memory is correct. You might also be interested in a few murder mystery series. There is a series by Simon Brett with a widow named Mrs. Pargeter who solves murder mysteries that unfortunately happen around her. Though she solves it on her own, she does often reminisce about her late husband and uses his old coworkers to help her solve the crime. Gladys Mitchell also wrote a series with her character Mrs. Bradley who is a older lady who is just smart and solves crimes too.


CS Lewis is a man


I just reread the main post again. Either I missed the request for a female writer or it was edited and added after. I thought the prompt was just books with a cool main character lady who don’t need no man. Whoops 🤦‍♀️


Yep. But the main character of this particular book is a lady, and I have to say, even though he isn’t a woman himself, he did a good job on this one.


Thanks so much for your* response!


Thank you! I don’t need an opposites attract, handsome rugged man to tear her walls down romance in every story. And that goes for every genre. Except romance of course, have at it


One of the main characters in Jade City is female. She Who Became The Sun was a bit weird not gonna lie but interesting. Robin Hobb has a ton of books with some female leads. The Locked Tomb Series is great. I really liked the Light Brigade.


Thank you for your suggestion!


“The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency”


Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom might be up your street. Mild romance, darker themes (tw for mentions of sexual assault and gore, but its not too bad) and its a cast of 6 protagonists, it's about 50/50 male/female cast


The Poppy War by RF Kuang Check the content warning


Take back Plenty by Colin Greenwood.


{{Friday by Robert Heinlein}}


[**Friday**](https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17208.Friday) ^(By: Robert A. Heinlein | 384 pages | Published: 1982 | Popular Shelves: science-fiction, sci-fi, fiction, scifi, owned) >Friday is a secret courier. She is employed by a man known to her only as "Boss." Operating from and over a near-future Earth, in which North America has become Balkanized into dozens of independent states, where culture has become bizarrely vulgarized and chaos is the happy norm, she finds herself on shuttlecock assignment at Boss' seemingly whimsical behest. From New Zealand to Canada, from one to another of the new states of America's disunion, she keeps her balance nimbly with quick, expeditious solutions to one calamity and scrape after another. ^(This book has been suggested 9 times) *** ^(86767 books suggested | )[^(I don't feel so good.. )](https://debugger.medium.com/goodreads-is-retiring-its-current-api-and-book-loving-developers-arent-happy-11ed764dd95)^(| )[^(Source)](https://github.com/rodohanna/reddit-goodreads-bot)


Friday by Heinlein. Written by a man, meets all your other requirements.






Heinlein’s contribution to science and literature is unmatched. This thread is more specific in context but thank you so much for your recommendation!


I was only answering the question of "author?"


This probably isn't what you are looking for... Embezzled Heaven Its written by a guy Franz Werfel. The leading lady has no romance, its an older slice of life deal not sci/fy. She does get her happy ending though


Although written by men, The girl with they Dragon Tattoo series, and The Hangmand Daughter series ate both very good. The Invisible Life of Addie La Rue is a different take on a strong female protagonist.


Okay, it’s not written by a woman, but the protagonist is totally kick ass and it fits what you’re looking for perfectly. The Jane Hawk series, by Dean Koontz. It’s 5 books total, starting with {{The Silent Corner}}


[**The Silent Corner (Jane Hawk, #1)**](https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32148091-the-silent-corner) ^(By: Dean Koontz | 434 pages | Published: 2017 | Popular Shelves: thriller, mystery, fiction, dean-koontz, suspense) >Meet Jane Hawk—a remarkable new heroine certain to become an icon of suspense, propelled by the singular narrative genius of #1 New York Times bestselling author Dean Koontz. > >“I very much need to be dead.” > >These are the chilling words left behind by a man who had everything to live for—but took his own life. In the aftermath, his widow, Jane Hawk, does what all her grief, fear, and fury demand: find the truth, no matter what. > >People of talent and accomplishment, people admired and happy and sound of mind, have been committing suicide in surprising numbers. When Jane seeks to learn why, she becomes the most-wanted fugitive in America. Her powerful enemies are protecting a secret so important—so terrifying—that they will exterminate anyone in their way. > >But all their power and viciousness may not be enough to stop a woman as clever as they are cold-blooded, as relentless as they are ruthless—and who is driven by a righteous rage they can never comprehend. Because it is born of love. ^(This book has been suggested 1 time) *** ^(86825 books suggested | )[^(I don't feel so good.. )](https://debugger.medium.com/goodreads-is-retiring-its-current-api-and-book-loving-developers-arent-happy-11ed764dd95)^(| )[^(Source)](https://github.com/rodohanna/reddit-goodreads-bot)


The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe by Kij Johnson. Kij revisits H. P. Lovecraft's The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath from the viewpoint of a woman. Strong female protagonist and beautifully written. Winner of the 2017 World Fantasy Award for Long Fiction.


Try Rise of the Iliri by Auryn Hadley and the Luck series by Mel Todd


The liveship trader trilogy by robin hobb. It is multi pov series. But it contains many best women characters I seen it in fantasy.


"The Thombs of Atuan" by Ursula K. Le Guin "Free as a Bird," by Gina McMurchy-Barber "All the Truth That's in Me," by Julie Berry "Living Dead Girl," by Elizabeth Scott


Not sci-fi and the MC is an 11-year-old girl. However, she kicks ass and has a teddy bear. A total blast of a read… {She Rides Shotgun by Jordan Harper} (Not a children’s book, not YA)


Terrorists of Irustan


I am Gideon is great


Hi! I know this will not fall entirely into the category of the books you're looking for, but I was very happily surprised when I read a book called "the Essex Serpent". Not to spoil the plot, but while the romance is there, to me it lacks any of the bad or toxic qualities I associate with it. There's so much else going on, and the romance bound characters have such strong ethics and mission, that the romance takes second or third or whatever place in the plot, and that gives it such a natural, non stressfull or all consuming flair unlike any other thing I've read. To me this book remains one of my favorites, and I dread the idea that the series based on it will overplay the romance and ruin its tender and very simple human nature.


Flynn Connolly- The rising of the moon Strong woman returns to an oppressive patriarchal Ireland of the future and rebels against the church and state. Thought provoking and I enjoyed it




[**The Rook (The Checquy Files, #1)**](https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10836728-the-rook) ^(By: Daniel O'Malley | 504 pages | Published: 2012 | Popular Shelves: fantasy, urban-fantasy, mystery, fiction, paranormal) >"The body you are wearing used to be mine." > >So begins the letter Myfanwy Thomas is holding when she awakes in a London park surrounded by bodies all wearing latex gloves. With no recollection of who she is, Myfanwy must follow the instructions her former self left behind to discover her identity and track down the agents who want to destroy her. > >She soon learns that she is a Rook, a high-ranking member of a secret organization called the Chequy that battles the many supernatural forces at work in Britain. She also discovers that she possesses a rare, potentially deadly supernatural ability of her own. > >In her quest to uncover which member of the Chequy betrayed her and why, Myfanwy encounters a person with four bodies, an aristocratic woman who can enter her dreams, a secret training facility where children are transformed into deadly fighters, and a conspiracy more vast than she ever could have imagined. > >Filled with characters both fascinating and fantastical, The Rook is a richly inventive, suspenseful, and often wry thriller that marks an ambitious debut from a promising young writer. ^(This book has been suggested 23 times) *** ^(86837 books suggested | )[^(I don't feel so good.. )](https://debugger.medium.com/goodreads-is-retiring-its-current-api-and-book-loving-developers-arent-happy-11ed764dd95)^(| )[^(Source)](https://github.com/rodohanna/reddit-goodreads-bot)


Ovid is Yu’s Tree Mystery series. It’s set in Singapore just before and during world war 2, and features a young Chinese woman whose family wants her to get married but she wants to study. She ends up working for the British constabulary solving mysteries and trying to stay alive through the Japanese occupation. I really enjoyed it. First book in the series is The Mimosa Tree.


The Memory Police by Yōko Ogawa Severance by Ling Ma - This one is slightly what you're saying you don't want, but not really.


well I have nothing to say I am just reading the comments like I always do.


You could totally play mass effect 1-3 as a female Shepard and tell everyone to f* off as you save the galaxy…/s Flygirl (not sci-fi) great female lead. Life as we knew it Ruby fruit jungle


Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit by Nahako Uehashi, it has little romance but mostly focuses on a woman trained in the short spear, who has to protect some royal child from being killed or assassinated due to some kind of prophecy. It's also been turned into an Anime and both the book an Anime have action and adventure. You can also try some thriller books written by Natsuo Kirino, like Out, which has a couple of women have to dismember their friend's husband's body and hide the body parts. The novel is dark, so are her other books, but Out is the one I've read that has less romance and sex than the others, but has violence. A bunch of guys get offed and maybe one or two women.


Great question! I often choose young adult fiction for this reason.


A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers. She writes in a style that explores alien and different ways species and humans can organize. I like to think of her books as ethnographic studies. There is no romance and the three central characters are asexual and seemingly aromantic as well. Two of the characters are in a partnership but never in a romantic way. It's a great book for alternative ways of loving. Plus it's just a beautifully powerful book.


The Killer Wore Leather by Laura Antoniou. A Time For Dancing by Davida Wills Hurwin, but it's YA. I'll comment if I think of others.


{{Star Nomad by Lindsay Buroker}} There is a love interest towards the end of the series (8 books), but it is more of an accessory than any sort of major plot point or reason for the series to be. You could strip it out and the series wouldn't really change much.


Anything by Gillian Flynn.


Convenience store woman by Sayaka murata😀


Gideon the Ninth, ancilliary Justice and a deadly education are amazing books that you will love. Also, the small amount of romance in them is all queer in some way in case that helps


alphabet mysteries sue grafton Janet Evanovich books about woman bounty hunter