ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Here's an interesting essay on disability in SF.  It's not just about representation.  It's about adventure.  We need characters who have serious physical or mental challenges, but go on to do exciting things anyway.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-06-14 06:15 am (UTC)
kengr: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kengr
I forget whether it was Clarke or Del Rey, but one of them had a worker on a space station who'd lost his legs in an accident.

After much arguing they sent him back up. and he did just fine.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-06-14 11:49 am (UTC)
siliconshaman: black cat against the moon (Default)
From: [personal profile] siliconshaman
A.C Clarke, "Islands in the Sky" ... he was the station commander and did better in zero-gee than anyone else.

It was also the first thing I thought of too.

and come to think of it, I read that book when I was a kid, way before I ever met anyone who was differently-abled [gads we need a better term or three for this!] so I'm pretty sure that coloured how I see people with challenges such as that.
Edited Date: 2017-06-14 11:52 am (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2017-06-14 03:08 pm (UTC)
capriuni: A black field crossed by five parallel lighting bolts in blue, gold, green, red, and purple (Default)
From: [personal profile] capriuni
differently-abled [gads we need a better term or three for this!]

We have one. The word is "Disabled."

I'm only a tiny bit sorry for the snark. But seriously, there's a whole hashtag movement on Twitter and Tumblr (and other places), to remove the stigma around the idea of disability, and it's starting with removing the stigma around the word "disability."

Check out the hashtag #saytheword.

That said, it's my firm belief that one of primary reasons humans became the dominant, environment-reshaping species that we are is because we have always adapted ourselves to the disabled members of our social groups, instead of leaving them behind when they can't keep up (there have also always been people who tried to get us to stop doing this, but we've also always had thieves and bullies, too). And the thing is: disabled people have always had to find adaptations to the "Standard" way of doing things, and their able-bodied neighbors always found reasons to borrow them.

Also, disability is a function (largely) of the environment, and technology is never neutral.

So if your story is built upon this equation [person who is used to the practice of altering standard tech] + [Strange environment which is "home" to no one] + [a subculture of people using the bleeding edge of tech to push the boundaries of habitation] than [Disability in Space!] makes perfect sense.

Btw, did you know that the chain-and-gear mechanism that makes foot pedals work in modern bicycles was first invented by a paraplegic watchmaker named Stephen Farfler, in 1685, for the three-wheeled hand-cycle he built for himself?

(no subject)

Date: 2017-06-14 08:00 pm (UTC)
siliconshaman: black cat against the moon (Default)
From: [personal profile] siliconshaman
Yeah, but it's wrong in this context. Dis-abled... not in space, where they can be better adapted to it than normal people. That's not disabled, that's super-abled!

Heck, some of the earth-bound para-lypians probably qualify for that. I mean, I'm damn sure I couldn't compete with them, fairly certain quite few abled-bodied athletes couldn't either.

Like I said, we need a better term...

(no subject)

Date: 2017-06-15 12:17 am (UTC)
capriuni: A black field crossed by five parallel lighting bolts in blue, gold, green, red, and purple (Default)
From: [personal profile] capriuni
Maybe...

I'm still not convinced, though.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-06-14 08:11 pm (UTC)
kengr: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kengr
For that matter, the commander of the Patrol Academy in "Space Cadet" was blind.

I'm pretty sure there were others in 50s SF. Just can't recall any at the moment.

Oh, wait Murray Leinster's "Space Platform" had them actively recruiting dwarves/midgets for the construction crew and other things. And they were arguing to be have a ship made for them (to reach the moon?) because they weighed less and used fewer supplies.

Seems that a lot of 50s SF writers didn't *need* an ADA to treat folks right.

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