Thursday, February 17, 2005

Where am I in the Future?

I'm not blogging a book today because I feel lousy. If you follow my LJ you'll know I have gluten intolerance, and took a stupid risk last week. This was compounded by someone else's mistake on Monday, and I am now in what I think of as "second stage". The stomach and joints have calmed down, but the brain cells (which worked just fine when I was in real pain) function only at the most primitive level. I have a book I really want to blog about, and which I'll blog about tomorrow, but right now I can't think of how I want to say what I want to say, and when I try, I get a wave of lethargy.

But all of the above does have a point in this discussion.

We read a fiction that more and more tries to embrace the diversity of the universe. If I had a student who wanted a book relevant to them, I could find them something that related to their colour, their sexuality, their profession, their nationality or their religion.

But where in the stars are the books about people with disabilities? I don't mean war-veterans who have lost limbs, I can think of a few of those, but just the day to day issues of living with deafness, or blindness, or a food intolerance, or diabetes etc. Again, I can think of books in which these issues are "the" issue (Varley's "The Persistence of Vision" is probably the best, followed by Heinlein's Waldo) or in which they are the background (how you treat diabetes when the pharmaceutical industry breaks down crops up a lot in post-disaster novels these days).

What I can't think of is a book in which someone gets on with their lives in the future living with a disability which is simply part of their character and not somehow integral to a gee-whizz bit of plottery.

--
I'm off to Boskone this weekend so whether I post will depend on whether the hotel has wi-fi. They've put me to moderate a panel which starts with a quote from this page. This is the moment I always want to say "But I believed that *last* month. I'm not sure I believe it any more...".

9 Comments:

Blogger sdn said...

i am sad that you feel like shit. feel better soon.

occurs to me that the disabled characters in sf books (for teens) are often disabled due to radiation, fallout, and so forth. in some books, like the ear, the eye and the arm, the "disability" is actually a great asset.

2:14 PM  
Anonymous Tim Illingworth said...

a disability which is simply part of their character and not somehow integral to a gee-whizz bit of plottery.Somebody a bit less extreme than Miles Vorkosigan, perhaps...

Tim

2:39 PM  
Anonymous Simon Bradshaw said...

how you treat diabetes when the pharmaceutical industry breaks down crops up a lot in post-disaster novels these daysIs this ever tackled in post-social-revolution novels? One of my concerns about anarchist or libertarian societies is 'where does the insulin come from?' In capitalist societies there's the profit motive for pharma companies; in socialist ones, there's the state health system. I have trouble seeing either cottage industry or rugged individualist effort producing advanced medical products though, at least without Magic Arm-Waving Technology.

And it's not just insulin or the like; many people are surprised to hear just how much of our ubiquitous technology is produced through a relatively small number of incredibly expensive and sophisticated manufacturing facilities; our social infrastructure arguably relies too much on such complexity to survive being shaken flat.

3:24 PM  
Blogger sir-talen said...

Well, in the Vorkosiverse there's also Koudelka, who suffers a hit from a weapon that leaves him paralyzed. The damage is repaired, but not very well, and he needs a cane to walk properly, and is very clumsy.

Then there's Sgt. Bothari, who fits the definition of "functioning psychotic" quite nicely.

Admittedly niether are in a book that's suitable for the pre-YA crowd...

7:01 AM  
Blogger FeĆ²rag said...

There is free WiFi in the Starbucks in the hotel lobby, which you can pick up in the surrounding area.

4:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What I can't think of is a book in which someone gets on with their lives in the future living with a disability which is simply part of their character and not somehow integral to a gee-whizz bit of plottery.Heinlein's "Citizen of the Galaxy", Baslim is fairly badly maimed, though he has prostheses that he chooses not to wear so he can use his injuries as a cover.

Depending on how far into the future you go I think there may be a tacit assumption that medical science will cure most serious disabilities. I don't know much about anthropology, how do disabled people far in near hunter-gatherer societies? If the answer is "not well" then that may explain their absense from post-apocalyptic societies.

4:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm. Again for adults, David Weber's Honor Harrington is currently missing an arm and an eye and has half her facial nerves paralyzed, though she has very good prosthetics. Most people in her universe can regenerate, but she's one of the small percentage who cannot. She has gotten the injuries over the course of the series.

Googling also finds a paper on SF, fantasy and disability in children's books that you may find interesting.

5:30 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

I skim a lot of blogs, and so far yours is in the Top 3 of my list of favorites. I'm going to dive in and try my hand at it, so wish me luck.

It'll be in a totally different area than yours (mine is about diabetes symptom) I know, it sounds strange, but it's like anything, once you learn more about it, it's pretty cool. It's mostly about diabetes symptom related articles and subjects.

7:04 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

Alot of interesting comments on this blog, I was searching for some doctor related info and some how came across this site. I found it pretty cool, so I bookmarked. I'll really liked the second post on the front page, that got my attention.

My site is in a bit different area, but just as useful. I have a diabetes related site focusing on diabetes and mens health related topics.

5:24 AM  

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