Science fiction and disability

June 8, 2010

Sarah Einstein writes

Redstone SFDisability is created by the ways in which we live. I couldn’t carry two five gallon buckets of water from a communal well to my house a few miles away or easily climb the steps of Machu Picchu in the thin air of the Andes. Because I am a privileged, twenty-first century American woman, this does not make me disabled, but if I were living another life, it could. I am able-bodied because the place where I live already accommodates the ways in which my body does not function optimally. What would a world look like that accommodated all kinds of bodies, all ways of communicating, every way of being an embodied human? How will the need to accommodate alien bodies influence how we accommodate our own? How will science help us build fully inclusive communities?

There is too little science fiction written that envisions a fully accessible, universally designed future. And so we are asking you, gentle readers, to do just that. We’re announcing the first contest to be sponsored by Redstone Science Fiction!

A science fiction writing contest. What a superb idea. Science fiction exists to prepare us for the future. What kind of future are we preparing for in terms of people with disabilities?

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2 Responses to “Science fiction and disability”


  1. Thank you for being excited about our contest. I hope it generates some wonderful new ideas and raises awareness of the way in which universal design and fully inclusive attitudes can change the way at least a few of us understand the nature of disability and our role, as a culture, in creating it where we needn’t.

    Sarah

  2. G.Fraggle Says:

    And thank you for putting out the idea and the writing prompt. Believe me, if I weren’t working on comps, a lit review and a dissertation, I’d be entering the contest myself.
    Your premise is exactly what this blog is about—ways in which engineering/design and social convention intersect to either include or exclude people with various ability levels. I’m excited to read the winning entry.


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