Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Disabilities in F&SF

Here's a post listing speculative novels that address disability

Over on [community profile] access_fandom there's howling that The Ship Who Sang  is a bad example, not a good one.  Here's a poem and a post.

Now, I'll admit that it isn't as good as some things we have now, like the Vorkosigan saga.  But it came out when nobody else was writing anything about heroic characters with disabilities, and the rare examples of disability were stock characters like Igor.  0_o  And then came Helva, and after her came other shellpeople who were ships and cities and all sorts of things.  To me, a shellperson's ship was basically adaptive equipment, like a wheelchair.  That could fly between stars.  I think that's awesome.  Hell, I'd consider that a trade up from the body I have, which is mobile but not what I'd call reliable.  The part of that image that spoke to me was about not being limited by the meat you're born with.  You could imagine something bigger and better.  You didn't have to be physically perfect to be an astronaut.  You could have a wreck of a body, and be the ship,  and go have adventures anyway.  So the society was kind of a mess in places, well, that's humanity for you.  You don't have to be perfect to have a future either.

And that wasn't the only time Anne McCaffrey wrote about a protagonist with physical or mental challenges.  She did that a lot.  Sometimes better, sometimes worse, but I count her as an icebreaker for a lot of what came after.  The Ship Who Sang  wasn't one of my favorites.  But if not for that, we wouldn't have The Ship Who Searched  and The City Who Fought,  and probably a lot of others tangentially inspired, that I have greatly enjoyed.

If you don't like what's being written, do something else.  You don't have to get it perfect the first time.  Try again, fail again, fail better.  Do something new.  
Tags: activism, networking, reading, science fiction

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