Sunday, July 24, 2011

My writing week: Issue 30, Year 4

Hi all,

I have been busy researching an article I am writing about characters with disabilities in science fiction. At first I thought there were very few such characters in science fiction, but just thinking about the subject has prodded my memory. How could I have forgotten John Varley’s brilliant story Persistence of Vision? It is about a commune set up by the deaf and blind. And then there is The Day of the Triffids.
I then recalled a story where an avid reader discovers an intact library after a nuclear war. But then his thick glasses are broken. It turned out to be a Twilight Zone episode.

I am still searching for the name and author of a novella I read years ago where people with disabilities are forced into specially constructed tanks to fight wars. They are viewed as dispensable. I think it was written by an Australian. 

My research reminded me that Darth Vader had his arms and legs amputated and replaced with artificial limbs. His raspy voice is because of his burnt lungs. He also helped his son, Luke, join the ranks of people with disabilities by cutting off his hand.

I still haven’t discovered many science fiction characters with cognitive or mental disabilities. That is apart from the Star Trek franchise which is full of characters who could be said to have Asperger’s syndrome – Spock, Seven of Nine, Data, the holographic doctor. And the Dalek’s and Cybermen from Doctor Who who were bred/altered to lack empathy.

If you have any memorable science fiction characters with disabilities, please mention them in the comments section.

I am writing the article for Divine magazine. I was very happy to find out last week that after my contract with them ends in September, I will still be able to submit, and get paid for, articles.
Apart from my research, I added a few words to a short story.

And for those of you who might be wondering: my sister finally got out of hospital after five weeks and has returned to her home. It seems the second nose plug graft has worked.



Satima Flavell said...

Anne McCaffrey's The Ship who Sang has a disabled protag. In that society, they picked out the brightest mutants or birth-defected children and trained them to be the brains behind the operatin of a spaceship!

Graham Clements said...

Hi Satima,

Thanks for the information Satima. Because of who the article is written for (Divine magazine) I am trying to avoid stories where people with disabilities are referred to as mutants. I do mention X-men and the Genesis of Shannara series. But in both those cases the characters mentioned are not mutants.