Thoughtful Thursday: SFF BFFs (giveaway!)

Speculative fiction heroes have all kinds of people with whom they interact. They have sidekicks, mentors, hot exes with emotional baggage, and nemeses galore – but a lot of them don’t seem to have many friends. It’s not a big surprise. Being a best friend to an SF main character is a high-risk activity.

Sometimes the faithful sidekick fulfills the role of friend, but how many main characters have someone who is, plotwise, mainly a friend? That’s the person who will come bail you out, who offers a shoulder to cry on and provides a much-needed reality check when you’re going off the rails.

Even though he works for her, Sigurd and Sharra in Robert Jackson Bennett’s THE DIVINE CITIES series sprang to mind. Their loyalty and affection transcends an employee/employer dynamic, which leads, toward the end of the trilogy, to betrayal and an abandonment for one of the duo.

In The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss, the four main characters are not friends at the beginning, but friendships are blossoming as the story progresses.

At first glance, the Price family, the protagonists in Seanan McGuire’s INCRYPTID series, look as if they don’t have many friends, until we realize that the Price family “adopts” everyone they befriend, so “aunts” or “cousins,” human or incryptid, living or dead, are all really friends. (There might be some question about how much the Prices listen to their friends, though.)

Whether he would admit it or not, I think Miles Vorkosigan, Lois MacMaster Bujold’s VORKOSIGAN SAGA creation, is truly friends with his cousin Ivan Vorpatril. He has a more precarious friendship with his boyhood companion, Emperor Gregor.

Who is the best “best friend” is science fiction/fantasy? And what main character is the most frustrating to try to be friends with? Tell us your views. One random commenter with a USA mailing address will win a book of their choice from our Stacks.


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Marion Deeds, with us since March, 2011, is the author of the fantasy novella ALUMINUM LEAVES. Her short fiction has appeared in the anthologies BEYOND THE STARS, THE WAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE, STRANGE CALIFORNIA, and in Podcastle, The Noyo River Review, Daily Science Fiction and Flash Fiction Online. She’s retired from 35 years in county government, and spends some of her free time volunteering at a second-hand bookstore in her home town. You can read her blog at deedsandwords.com, and follow her on Twitter: @mariond_d.

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13 comments

  1. Sethia /

    I like Wax and Wayne, from The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson.

  2. April /

    One of my favorite series is the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs. Mercy has friends everywhere – her former boss and mentor Ziebolt Adelbertsmiter who is a fae is always willing (if very grumpy) to assist Mercy even if it is just to come to her garage and work while she’s away. She also has a vampire friend, Stephan, who helps her out in all sorts of situations and her friend Kyle is a lawyer who lends a hand even if it is just housing Mercy and her friends when they need a place to crash. You could also consider Bran, Samuel and Charles to be her friends though I think they consider her family even though there are no blood ties. She isn’t the most powerful person in the Tri-Cities but she has friends everywhere and friends make you powerful.

    • I think more speculative fiction is looking at horizontal alliances –“the community” and friendship as a source of power instead of the traditional vertical models. And I’m liking that.

  3. Noneofyourbusiness /

    Ron Weasley is a great best friend because he takes a wallop from the chess queen in the first Harry Potter book so that his friends can advance to the Philosopher’s Stone.

  4. Lady Morar /

    Ser Davos Seaworth would be an awesome person to have as a best friend! He’s loyal to a fault even if you remove part of his fingers and burn the idols of his religion. And he’s one of the more down-to-earth characters in the series.

    By the same token, Stannis Baratheon would be a frustrating person to try to be friends with. He’s stubborn and he holds grudges.

  5. John Smith /

    Bilbo Baggins is a true-blue friend. But Gollum, alas, should not be trusted by hobbitses.

  6. The Distinguished Professor /

    Elliot Anderson from “Mr. Robot” would be frustrating to try to be friends with because he’s so passive.

    Samwise Gamgee literally followed Frodo to the ends of the earth.

  7. Von Berry /

    Sam Gamgee was the best “best friend” that I could think of. He was loyal to Frodo to the very end.
    Thomas Covenant was an incredibly hard person to like. He raped the first person to help him in the Land.

  8. April, if you live in the USA, you win a book of your choice from our stacks.
    Please contact me (Marion) with your choice and a US address. Happy reading!

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