2 Comments

  1. says:

    March 29, 2012 at 10:29 am

    For more food for thought on what it means to be disabled, I recommend reading about Aimee Mullins and Oscar Pistorius. They’re not authors or characters, but competitive runners – and double amputees. In addition to challenging expectations about what all sorts of people are capable of, their stories provide a real-world glimpse of the SF trope of “human-meets-posthuman” in that there has been some controversy about whether their prostheses give them a baseline advantage over other runners.

    I’m reading Perdido Street Station right now and incidentally one of the characters (Yag) has a disability of sorts that is the impetus for much of the plot. I’m not done with the book yet but my guess is that character’s resolution is going to come from psychological transformation (eg attitude towards his situation) rather than physical restoration.

    • L.B. Gale says:

      March 30, 2012 at 7:48 am

      Point well taken about the runners’ stories raising SF issues of “human-meets-posthuman.” Medical science has come so far that some of these prosthetic devices seem better than the real thing. It’ll be interesting to see if the real world handles what have previously been only SF tropes any better than how we’ve seen it play out in fiction.

      Regarding your hypothesis about Perdido Street Station, it seems common that narratives provide resolution to a disabled character’s unhappiness by giving him or her a psychological transformation. I suppose it’s usually done well and respectfully but every once and a while it would be nice if instead of that character having to adjust his or her attitude, the characters around him or her had to adjust theirs! But I guess that wouldn’t be a very satisfying character arc…

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