Please comment if you know of any major Jewish characters in genre novels, especially those written within the last 30 years. By "genre," I mean science fiction and fantasy, genre romance, mainstream superhero comics, and YA and children's novels which are not serious problem novels or in any way about the difficulties of being Jewish.

I am NOT looking for mainstream literature which contains a romance, historical novels other than historical fantasy or historical genre romance, any novel which is largely about anti-Semitism or the Holocaust, mainstream adult novels, picture books, or short stories. I am looking for books which could be considered fun, escapist, not serious literature, etc.

The characters must be clearly stated to be or intended to be Jewish, not maybe arguably coded Jewish (ie, Superman doesn't count). Clear fantasy analogues of Judaism are fine. They must be major characters, not minor supporting characters.

Characters and books I already know of: Kitty Pryde and Magneto in X-Men, the Israelis in Y: the Last Man, Hereville, Nancy Werlin's Extroardinary, Phoebe North's Starglass, Simon in Cassie Claire's Mortal Instruments, Jehane in The Lions of Al-Rassan (clearly intended as a fantasy Jewish analogue), the golems and maybe arguably the dwarves in Pratchett's Discworld, and Michael Chabon's The Gentlemen of the Road.

What am I missing? Please give me at least one sentence of description of the books and the Jews they contain.

ETA: Very important: no books about the Holocaust, anti-Semitism, pogroms, or any other "it sucks to be Jewish" plotlines. I am looking for books in which Jews either get to have fun, or have travails which are not caused by anti-Semitism.
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mme_hardy: White rose (Default)

From: [personal profile] mme_hardy

Total derail

In my head, the Grey Mouser has always been Jewish.

Re: Total derail

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just_ann_now: (Default)

From: [personal profile] just_ann_now

Jo Walton's Farthing, an alt-history set in late 1940's Britain. David Kahn is the husband of the main character, Lucy, who is estranged from her family because of her marriage to a Jew.

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staranise: A star anise floating in a cup of mint tea (Default)

From: [personal profile] staranise

Mm, would Mord in Sherwood's Revenant Eve count, or is that too secondary?

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juniperphoenix: Fire in the shape of a bird (Default)

From: [personal profile] juniperphoenix

(Here via the Network page.)

Perhaps Kingdom of the Grail by A.A. Attanasio, though it might be right on the edge of what you're looking for. Amazon describes it as a historical novel, but it's fantasy-flavored; the plot revolves around a claim that an elderly woman has been miraculously restored to youth by the Holy Grail.

From a review on Amazon: Arrogant Guy Lanfranc assumes control of the family demesne by sending his hated mother, the old baroness Ailena Valaise, on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Wily Ailena vows revenge and finds the means in the person of Rachel Tibbon, a Jewish girl who survived the butchery of her family and other Jews after Crusader losses. Ailena's plot to regain the castle built by her father is based on Rachel's astonishing resemblance to herself as a young woman; 10 years after her forced departure the baroness returns, claiming the restoration of her youth in a Church-certified miracle. As Ailena, the well-coached Rachel earns the support of her people while locked in a fearsome struggle with Guy and opposed by the castle's priest, who calls the "miracle" a work of the devil and objects to her attempts to change religious practices at the castle.

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eruthros: Janet van Dyne flying next to the Hulk; they're both smiling (A:EMH: Janet and the Hulk)

From: [personal profile] eruthros

Other Marvel comics Jewish characters include:

Billy Kaplan (Young Avengers); first appeared in 2006. He is canonically gay and in a relationship, he is a magic user and a reality-changer, and he might be the most powerful magician in the multiverse. YA is a team book but he's definitely one of the leads.

Ben Grimmm/The Thing (Fantastic Four). I don't read Fantastic Four so I don't know much about him!

Wanda and Pietro Maximoff (X-Men/Avengers). They are Magneto's kids but he didn't raise them, so they are ethnically Jewish, but their religion has not been specified in the text. Parts of fandom argue a lot about what religion Wanda practices, if any. She's a magic-user who can change reality, he's a super-fast dude. Wanda fights people a lot, has amazing powers, married a robot, and accidentally changes the world on a regular basis.

Leonard Sampson (The Incredible Hulk/Avengers). He's a psychiatrist who ended up with gamma-radiation powers. He's carried two minis, one in the 1990s and one more recently, plus he appears in the Hulk comics sometimes.

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coffeeandink: (Default)

From: [personal profile] coffeeandink

Historical romances:

Nita Abrams has a series about an English Jewish family in the 19th century (parts of the series take place elsewhere and Europe): A Question of Honor, The Exiles, The Spy's Bride, The Spy's Kiss, The Spy's Reward.

Barbara Samuel has a medieval romance with a Jewish hero, A Bed of Spices.


I read the Ri Amarah in Kate Elliott's Crossroads trilogy as fantasy Jews, but it's not as close a version as Kay's (they're merchants and traders, they worship a different religion than the societies they live among, they've been in their current country for a couple of hundred years and are still considered foreign, people call them "Silvers" because the men wear silver bracelets -- not usury, but gesturing at a relationship, I think).

Chris Moriarty - A major character in the Spin State novels is a sentient Jewish AI, and I'm pretty sure the main character in The Inquisitor's Apprentice YA novels is Jewish. (It's not about the Spanish Inquisition, it's about labor struggles in early 20th century New York + magic.)

Lisa Goldstein, The Alchemist's Door - John Dee and the Golem of Prague, major Jewish characters.

Susan Fletcher, Shadow Spinner - YA retelling of the tale of Sheherazade. Protagonist is Muslim, but her foster parents are Jewish. (The protagonist is not Sheherazade.)

Emma Bull, Territory - One of the protagonists is Jewish.

From: [personal profile] vera_l

The protagonist of the Inquisitor's Apprentice novels is very definitely Jewish (as are his family and some more minor characters).

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fiamaya: (Default)

From: [personal profile] fiamaya

A new book, _The Golem and the Jinni_, about a golem and a jinni in turn-of-the-20th-century New York, probably works. It has lots of Jewish characters, as you might expect. (I'm only half way through it, but no apparent sucks-to-be-Jewish plotline so far.)

Specifically: there's the kindly elderly rabbi who take the golem in when she shows up in New York, and the amoral scholar who created her in the first place. I'm not sure if the golem herself counts as Jewish or not.
Edited Date: 2013-10-01 08:20 pm (UTC)
musesfool: close up of the Chrysler Building (home)

From: [personal profile] musesfool

Ooh, I forgot about this, mostly because I thought of it as a mainstream literary novel, not a genre novel. But yes. It does not have a sucks-to-be-Jewish plotline.
rydra_wong: the illuminated Sarajevo haggadah (sarajevo haggadah)

From: [personal profile] rydra_wong

Cohen in Chris Moriarty's Spin State and Spin Control (and, Google tells me, Ghost Spin). He's a terrifyingly powerful artificial intelligence, who is also Jewish. And the love interest.

Future!Israel features in the second book, but in no way are they serious problem novels about Jewishness.

ETA: ha, [personal profile] coffeeandink beat me to it.
Edited Date: 2013-10-01 08:15 pm (UTC)
abyssinia: Sam Carter's first view of Earth from space and the words "all my dreams" (Default)

From: [personal profile] abyssinia

And I was just coming over here to mention Spin State and Spin Control (I love love her representation of future Israel so much).

This post is making me realize that way too many of the novel-length books I know with Judaism/Jewish characters have that anti-semitism/shoah focus, damnit. Most of the Jewish genre stuff I have is short stories.
metaphortunate: (Default)

From: [personal profile] metaphortunate

Dunno if Philippa Gregory's The Queen's Fool counts as genre. There are definitely supernatural elements: the main character is a seer. She's in England following the expulsion of the Jews from Spain, antiSemitism etc., but the troubles and plotcakes in her life have as much or more to do with ~love~ and Tudor/Elizabethan politics as they do with Judaism.
oyceter: teruterubouzu default icon (Default)

From: [personal profile] oyceter

Hrm. I think the Edori in Sharon Shinn's Samaria series are supposed to be read as Jewish (they call Jovah "Yovah" iirc, in the third book there's a plot arc about them migrating across the ocean to a land of their own, they are a wandering people). Rachel, the protagonist of Archangel, is Edori, as is Susannah, the protagonist of Angelica. That said, I don't know enough to judge how closely the Edori beliefs map to Judaism.

Megan Hart's Newly Fallen is a romance short story set around Hanukkah and starring a fallen angel.

There are probably a fair number of things in Dear Author's Jewish faith tag.
rilina: (Default)

From: [personal profile] rilina

I think the male leads in Megan Hart's _Dirty_ and _Stranger_ are both Jewish. (They are brothers; the books are loosely linked.) Not a big plot point that I can remember. The books are erotic romance, and _Dirty_ especially is not a light read. Possibly escapist, but fun would be a stretch.
starlady: a circular well of books (well of books)

From: [personal profile] starlady

The fantasy England in Marie Brennan's Memoirs of Lady Trent series--the first is A Natural History of Dragons--is Jewish. There's a Spanish Rabbi in the second volume of Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle trilogy, The Confusion, who eventually settles in Alta California.

I feel like there's something else that I'm not thinking of right now. I'll keep ruminating. Possibly it's just all the XMFC fanfic I've consumed in the past two years.
lferion: (HL_Methos_CaHBook)

From: [personal profile] lferion

I don't know if this counts or not, but Tanith Lee's Cyrion is an alternate history/fantasy Earth where Christianity remained a minor sect, and is set in the area around Jerusalem/Heruzala. Many of the characters are I think assumed to be Jewish.

Pub date 1982, so it may fail your 30 year test.
sophia_helix: Sophia (Default)

From: [personal profile] sophia_helix

This reminds me, I need to bug my friend to work on the urban fantasy novel she has outlined with a Jewish heroine whose mystical powers come from her Ashkenazi heritage.
sholio: sun on winter trees (Default)

From: [personal profile] sholio

These aren't recent, but what about Sydney Taylor's "All of a Kind Family" books? I haven't read these in probably 25 years so my recollections are potentially faulty and they might turn out to be more issue-oriented than what you're looking for, but I don't remember them that way; basically they're fun little books about a group of sisters from a Jewish immigrant family running around having little adventures in early 1900s New York. I loved those books during the age period when I was really into the "girls have adventures" genre of YA (i.e. Anne of Green Gables, Nancy Drew, etc.).
laurajv: Don't give me any wild ideas! (Default)

From: [personal profile] laurajv

I loved those books, too.

Also, I think, outside the last-30-years, but I am fairly certain that some of Judy Blume's protagonists are Jewish. Sheila, maybe?
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)

From: [personal profile] forestofglory

Everything I was going to mention has been mentioned. But I did add some things to my to read list.
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

From: [personal profile] kate_nepveu

Chad says: Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn books, one of the main characters (Sazed) belongs to a tiny religious minority that's scholarly and dedicated to preserving knowledge from before the evil empire by magical means. (I haven't read these.)
cadenzamuse: Cross-legged girl literally drawing the world around her into being (Default)

From: [personal profile] cadenzamuse

Having read at least the first one, I feel like Sazed codes more as a ~maaaaagical~ Tibetan Buddhist.

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kore: (Default)

From: [personal profile] kore

There's an old Ursula K. Le Guin story about a Jewish space colony, argh I can't remember the title - "Ways of Seeing"? No. Damn.

Peter S. Beagle's recent stories are really good -- "Uncle Chaim and Aunt Rifke and the Angel" is great.

I haven't read it, but I have friends who really loved Dictionary of the Khazars.

Oh wow, pretty amazing list here

From: [personal profile] zahrawithaz

I think the Le Guin story you're thinking of is "Newton's Sleep," found in the collection A Fisherman of the Inland Sea. Ike Rose, the protagonist, and his family (including his daughter, secondary POV character Esther) are Jewish, but the rest of the colony is not. The existence of anti-Semitism is a plot point, but it's definitely not a story about anti-Semitism--though it is very much about privilege. (FWIW I love that story.)

Unless you're thinking of Phyllis Gotlieb's short story "Tauf Aleph," which is about a devout Jewish colonist, his even more religious robort, and group of aliens who convert to Judaism (which is in the Norton Book of Science Fiction edited by Le Guin).

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From: [personal profile] kore - Date: 2013-10-06 11:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
kore: (Default)

From: [personal profile] kore

Dammit only now remembered this - Sonya Taaffe's The Dybbuk in Love is really amazing.

Also, the Le Guin story I was thinking of was "The Eye Altering" in The Compass Rose.
skygiants: Princess Tutu, facing darkness with a green light in the distance (wrapped up in books)

From: [personal profile] skygiants

While Jane Yolen may be most famous for some of the most depressing children's Holocaust books out there, she has also written B.U.G., a children's novel about a Jewish kid who summons a golem which then joins his Klezmer rock band. I haven't read it, but I heard her read part of it at the Brooklyn Book Festival. I suspect she also has more casually Jewish protagonists, but I can't think of any off the top of my head.

The Sparrow is first-contact sci-fi which is mostly about Jesuits but features a major Jewish character in Sofia Mendes. I vaguely recall you have read this, but maybe I'm wrong! Anyway, Sofia has many travails, AS DOES EVERYONE ELSE, but as far as I remember none of them are caused by anti-Semitism.

Also, does Jewish by line-of-descent count? Because -- WHILE I HATE TO BRING UP MARY BROWN -- the protagonist of Mary Brown's Strange Deliverance has a Jewish maternal grandmother, who is also a supporting character, although by the time of the main action everyone in the book nobody is practicing anything except vague post-apocalyptic small-town cult religion.
wordweaverlynn: (Default)

From: [personal profile] wordweaverlynn

Terry Pratchett's non-Discworld alternate-history novel Dodger features several Jewish characters, including Solomon Cohen and Benjamin Disraeli.
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)

From: [personal profile] vass

Detective genre: Faye Kellerman's Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus series. Rina is an Orthodox Jewish woman (she's the damsel in distress in the first novel, The Ritual Bath.) Peter is rediscovering his Jewish heritage as a consequence of meeting up with Rina, and gets steadily more Orthodox as the books go on. The first book was in 1986, the most recent was in 2010.

Also detective genre: in Kerry Greenwood's Corinna Chapman series, Corinna's love interest, Daniel, is Israeli. He's a sexy private detective, and he definitely gets lots of adventures not related to being Jewish. The first one came out in 2004. (Greenwood also wrote a Phryne Fisher novel, Raisins and Almonds, in which Phryne learns a Very Special Lesson about Judaism, but let's not count that for this purpose.)

There's at least one Jewish SF anthology out there. I can't remember the name or if it's from the last 30 years, but I remember its existence.

There's a Ted Chiang short story about golems.
abyssinia: Sam Carter's first view of Earth from space and the words "all my dreams" (Default)

From: [personal profile] abyssinia

There's at least one Jewish SF anthology out there. I can't remember the name or if it's from the last 30 years, but I remember its existence.

There's 3 Jewish SF anthologies I know of - Wandering Stars, More Wandering Stars and People of the Book (the most recent). Was it one of those?

I love Chiang's Golem story, but for some reason the world-building codes more Christian to me.

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From: [personal profile] kore - Date: 2013-10-08 09:03 am (UTC) - Expand

From: [personal profile] indywind

Not sure if counts

Mightn't be sufficiently genre (more magical-realism than urban-fantasy) or escapist (does definitely contain antisemitism, including some graphic violence, though I thought the focus was more on the the little joys friendship and the transformative power of faith), but: Snow in August by Pete Hamill.
Amazon summary: "In the year 1947, Michael Devlin, eleven years old and 100 percent American-Irish, is about to forge an extraordinary bond with a refugee of war named Rabbi Judah Hirsch. Standing united against a common enemy, they will summon from ancient sources a power in desperately short supply in modern Brooklyn-a force that's forgotten by most of the world but is known to believers as magic."

Lesbian humor/romance: The Dyke and the Dybbuk by Ellen Galford. From a review on Goodreads: "Kokos, the dybbuk in question, is released from captivity after several generations to find that the distant relative of her last victim is gay and that the diabolical organization she works for has become a supernatural global conglomerate, Mephistco. Determined, despite new corporate red tape and shifting values, to make good on the curse that she was 'hired' to carry out, Kokos begins to take over the life of Rainbow Rosenbloom, part-time gay film critic and London taxi driver. Rainbow's life is further complicated by her hilarious group of more traditional aunts and a crush on a young, beautiful Hasidic wife and mother. Kokos has her own challenges to face as Mephistco tries to recall her from the original contract for 'retraining and reassignment'."

thistlerose: (Default)

From: [personal profile] thistlerose

Jenny Gluckstein in Peter S. Beagle's Tamsin. I think Gertrude Klapper in A Fine and Private Place is Jewish as well, as are a number of characters in Beagle's short stories.

Sol (or Saul?) and Rachel Weintraub in Dan Simmons's Hyperion novels

Orient in Finder by Emma Bull
starlady: Raven on a MacBook (Default)

From: [personal profile] starlady

That reminds me, there's also Savi) in Dan Simmons' Ilium. Much like the Hyperion novels, though, while there isn't overt anti-Semitism per se there's a lot of weirdness around them being Jewish--both Sol and Savi are referred to in-text as the Wandering Jew at one point.
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