Journalists don't always get the best rap in science fiction and fantasy. For every truth-pursuing scribbler, there's a horde of hero-slandering Rita Skeeters. But that doesn't mean the genre is completely without its ink-stained heroes. Here's our roster of all-stars.
Georgia Mason, Feed
When the dead rose, the mainstream media didn't take it seriously. Bloggers did. That means in the post-zombie world, they have a great deal of credibility and do much of the world's serious investigative journalism. Up-and-comer Georgia Mason stands out among this hard-nosed bunch as the most dedicated, the most serious, and the most bad-ass. She wears all black. Owing to an eye condition, she never takes off her sunglasses. She consumes caffeine by the pitcher full, she has no patience for flacks or bullshitters, and she is completely fearless in the face of zombies.
The Lone Gunmen, The X-Files
The mainstream media they are not. But even though Byers, Frohike, and Langly won't be invited to the White House Correspondents' Dinner any time soon, this bunch is utterly devoted to and quite talented at keeping both eyes on the government's shadier activities. Mulder is a devoted reader of their newsletter, The Lone Gunman, and considers them an invaluable source of intel. Between subscriptions and support from some financial backers, they're even able to support themselves, which is none too shabby.
Lois Lane, Superman
It's a good thing her best work buddy is secretly the Man of Steel, because Lois Lane puts aside any instinct for self-preservation when chasing a story. She'll lob questions at the most corrupt of politicians and she's not afraid of sneaking in a side door to do a little sleuthing. Superman has all kinds of powers to help him fight crime, but Lois just jumps into the fray with a pen and a notepad and a byline and starts cracking figurative skulls.
William De Worde, Discworld
Young William produces a monthly newsletter that keeps influential foreigners updated on the day-to-day doings in Ankh-Morpork. It's a time-consuming little sideline, until The Truth brings the advent of movable type and suddenly De Worde has a scalable media business. He hires a team of writers, including the charming Sacharissa and the vampiric Otto. Every day is a mad scramble to make their daily deadlines, but even so they manage to uncover a conspiracy to frame William's mentor for murder and introduce investigative journalism to Discworld.
April O'Neil, Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles
When not being kidnapped by Shredder for leverage against the Turtles, this intrepid reporter covers the city for Channel 6 News. In temperament, she bears a strong resemblance to Lois Lane (though the rather stylish Daily Planet reporter would probably die before putting on that yellow jumpsuit). And she demands her editorial independence. Despite her boss's best efforts, she absolutely refuses to portray her slimy green friends as a menace to the city.
Ford Prefect, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
It's hard not to read travel writing and be entirely consumed with envy of the writer. That feeling is strong enough when reading a Budget Travel write-up of Yellowstone Park. Imagining the life of a galactic travel writer is even worse. And Prefect lives up to all the hard-partying, hard-drinking stereotypes magnificently. His luck takes a turn for the worse when he gets stuck on Earth, but that's all part of the romance, right?
Susan Rodriguez, The Dresden Files
When we first met the investigative reporter for the Chicago Arcane in Storm Front, she's tailing Harry Dresden, looking for a scoop. Susan is gorgeous and charming and witty and not shy about applying her considerable charms to bewilder our protagonist into giving up information on his latest case. The two eventually wind up in a relationship, though that doesn't work out so well for Susan.
Sarble the Eye, Consider Phlebas
Sarble the Eye is a freelance reporter, whom Banks describes as one of the humanoid galaxy's "most successful at getting into places he wasn't supposed to." Naturally, that means he's able to sneak into the game of Damage played on Vavatch right before they blow the orbital. In fact, by the time we hear about Sarble, we've already met her. Horza bumps into a tiara-wearing woman and realizes only later the headpiece was actually a camera. Maybe Sarble isn't even a single person, but a team of reporters. It's never made clear. While the character's appearance in this massive novel is brief, it's plenty of time to inspire amazed admiration.
Ben Caxton, Stranger in a Strange Land
Ok, so Ben turns out to be kind of a prude. But he earns his place on this list for being a persistent thorn in the side of future-Earth's sketchy world government. His column, Crow's Nest, tends toward muckraking indictments of the powerful. When he hears from his nurse girlfriend how the recently discovered Martian is locked up and isolated in a hospital, he immediately assumes there's something nefarious afoot and stars making plans to bust him out. Because being a gadfly isn't just an occupation, it's a vocation.
Sarah Jane Smith, Doctor Who
It's easy to forget, given her tenure with the Doctor was marked more by world-saving than newsprint, but Sarah Jane Smith was introduced as an ambitious young magazine journalist. She only meets the Time Lord in the first place because she sneaks into a top-secret government facility disguised as her aunt, a famous virologist, to investigate the disappearance of a number of scientists. And while her tendency to wander off is maddening, it does demonstrate good fact-gathering instincts. Besides, you wouldn't sit and wait in the TARDIS, either.
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Spider Jerusalem, Transmetropolitan
What's any round-up of journalists without at least one gonzo? Incomplete, that's what. His list of vices is comprehensive: he drinks, he smokes, he does drugs, his temper is god-awful, and he's the ultimate misanthrope. But he is also an evangelist for The Truth, and he's not going to let anyone who abuses their power get away with it.
Edison Carter, Max Headroom
That thunk you all heard around 1:30 EST was this writer's head hitting her desk for forgetting this example. Edison Carter is the type of reporter every journalist struggles to be. As Network 23's resident bulldog, he pursues stories without regard for what the suits upstairs want. When his corporate overlords are up to something fishy, he doesn't hesitate to root it out. It's even his brain that gives birth to Max Headroom himself — when he's knocked out in a suspicious motorcycle accident, coworker and tech genius Bryce Lynch snatches a copy of his brain data and downloads it to a computer, creating the personality (the name being the last words Edison saw before the crash).
Carl Kolchak, Kolchak: The Night Stalker
Keeping tabs on local crime is nothing out of the ordinary for a reporter. What's unusual is choosing to investigate the outright weird cases the police won't bother with, and that's what Carl Kolchak makes his mission. The reporter wanders around Chicago chasing supernatural or science fictional stories, though he sometimes has problems obtaining sufficient evidence for his claims. Over the years, the character has appeared in novels, comic books, multiple TV shows, and a handful of TV movies, as well.