Accessing the Future
I supported this anthology through its IndieGogo campaign, because I support the idea of diverse voices in literature. I hope for the day where we can just have anthologies of science fiction that contain both able-bodied and disable-bodied characters throughout where the point is the character and their actions (this applies to gender, sexuality, colour, all the many ways in which people are diverse) but given that this is not yet that day, it’s great to see anthologies like this (and Twelfth Planet’s forthcoming Defying Doomsday) making the point that having spina bifida or being blind or autistic doesn’t prevent people from being, y’know, people. And therefore existing in the future.
Well, probably. One of the interesting questions raised in a few of these stories, and indeed by people in lots of contexts, is whether/how disability will exist in the future. Pregnant friends remind me of the testing that’s done to see whether the foetus is ‘normal’; there are implants and prosthetics… and many able-bodied/ perceived ‘normal’ people would see that doing away with disability (generally in the ‘fixing’ sense but I guess more sinisterly in the ‘getting rid of’ sense) is surely a good thing? Because ‘normal’. I’m not familiar with all the discussion around this, because I don’t inherently need to be, but I know that it’s an arena that needs to be seriously discussed. I think anthologies like this help to do that.
The stories here present people dealing with different sorts of disabilities – some physical, others mental, or emotional – and with different sorts of reactions: uncaring, wanting to ‘fix’, accepting. There are very different worlds, different points in the future, and different ways of dealing with the problems before the protagonists. In most cases the protag’s disability isn’t the point; it’s part of their character, of course, and sometimes it hinders them in their negotiating with the world, but there’s no fixation on the disability itself. Continue reading →