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Poem: "Zee" - The Wordsmith's Forge — LiveJournal
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "Zee"
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lb_lee From: lb_lee Date: January 5th, 2012 06:23 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yes...

Hrrrrm. I can remember a couple examples of disability in sci-fi, actually.

The manga series 'Planetes' had a child who was raised in low-g, and so couldn't go to Earth because the gravity would wreck her. But that series actually had a lot of focus to the amount of work the astronauts went through trying to maintain their health. Spider Robinson's "Stardance" series also dealt with a similar issue, as I recall.

Otherwise... there's "User Unfriendly," by Vivian Vande Velde. One of those old "trapped in a VR game" stories, where one of the characters has cerebral palsy, which isn't disclosed until the end of the story, when they're back in meatspace again.

I feel rather annoyed at the lack of disability in spec fic, because it would seem that in sci-fi particularly, the very concept of disability could be tugged at so much. I mean, an alien species who are all blind would have their society rigged for that, and wouldn't see being blind as a problem at all, just everyday business. Think of the ways futuristic societies could adapt to people's needs, rather than adapting THEM to ITS needs!

--Rogan
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 6th, 2012 08:06 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yes...

>>One of those old "trapped in a VR game" stories, where one of the characters has cerebral palsy, which isn't disclosed until the end of the story, when they're back in meatspace again.<<

That's kind of cool. I'm also reminded of Avatar where Jake had lost the use of his legs.

>>I feel rather annoyed at the lack of disability in spec fic,<<

I have found crowdfunding really great for this. You can request what you want and usually get it. Not just from me, but lots of people. kajones_writing did a wonderful story for me about an asexual vampire. Now, for a human, being asexual can be a social hardship due to people hassling you, but it's not a physical problem. For a vampire, given that their feeding tends to have sexual overtones, it complicates a basic survival activity. So shifting the 'race' of a character can change what functions as a handicap.

>> because it would seem that in sci-fi particularly, the very concept of disability could be tugged at so much. I mean, an alien species who are all blind would have their society rigged for that, and wouldn't see being blind as a problem at all, just everyday business.<<

Exactly! Most cultures go based on what a majority of people can or can't do. In Torn World, almost all the Northerners can see time-distortions; for them it's a regular ability, and they think of NOT having that as a serious visual handicap. If you can't see the Others, you can't avoid them, and they're deadly. But in the South, nobody knows about that stuff and they generally can't see it.

I've written about characters who are sessile, and to them that's normal, although some of them may pull up roots and use equipment to move around. But I don't think they really like it; they'd rather go somewhere and park again. It must be kind of like moving house is for us. Compare that to humans, who get very upset if their personal mobility is impaired.

And everybody with more than one limb loves the gadgets made by a species that only has one, because they're all designed to use one-handed. Something designed by a two-handed species often requires two hands. Sometimes you can do more, or do things more efficiently, with that stepped-down equipment.

One time people got snotty in my science fantasy universe, and the Separatists put round doorknobs on all their doors because a bunch of species couldn't easily use them. Meanwhile the Cooperatives put lever handles or automatic openers on their doors. So you could walk through the station and tell the politics by looking at the door handles.

The amount of time I spend inside the heads of people who aren't human has given me a very wide view of how the world works. Any world. There are always going to be things you can do that someone else can't, and things you can't do that other people can; what matters is how much you manage to do with whatever you've got.
lb_lee From: lb_lee Date: January 6th, 2012 02:03 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yes...

YES! I love the doorknobs idea.

One of my more recent challenges in writing is a town in an interdimensional dumping ground, which is full of extremely diverse creatures, all with different languages, abilities, and social mores, and with so little in common, they have to keep the place from going kaboom. It's been a good challenge for me to find just basic ways like how to decide property rules, how to communicate, and so on.

The one-handed people would totally have the best prostheses too.

Seriously, the more I hear about this crowdfunding model, the happier I get. Though I think you would have a good deal of sharp words to say to the author of "Cult of the Amateur"...

--Rogan
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 6th, 2012 06:51 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yes...

>>One of my more recent challenges in writing is a town in an interdimensional dumping ground, which is full of extremely diverse creatures, all with different languages, abilities, and social mores, and with so little in common, they have to keep the place from going kaboom.<<

Settings like that can be so much fun. My Apex Station -- where the doorknobs are -- is similar in terms of being a meeting place of many, divided by lots of factions.

>>The one-handed people would totally have the best prostheses too.<<

Quite possibly. The Duurludirj make the best ones in Torn World, because so many of them are warsailors and tend to lose body parts. They're an exception to the Southern tendency to disrespect cripples. You respect a mangled warsailor, or else.

>>Seriously, the more I hear about this crowdfunding model, the happier I get.<<

Yay! I have a whole resource archive on my website:
http://penultimateproductions.weebly.com/crowdfunding.html
You might enjoy browsing that if you have online time. crowdfunding is a good place to find projects, too.

>> Though I think you would have a good deal of sharp words to say to the author of "Cult of the Amateur"...<<

1) Amateurs who practice a lot tend to become experts. Yay! Yay!
2) Learn to filter. It's a necessary life skill now.
3) If you don't like it, you can't have any.
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