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.


  • Marion Deeds

    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.