So this is a bit exciting … I decided a while back to interview authors to showcase their latest work and so I could learn more about what’s happening in speculative fiction, celebrating with some amazing writers. So, every month I’ll be (hopefully) putting out…
I cling to the rusting bars as the ship veers to its side. The pirate guarding me topples off his barrel, his legs scuttling in the air like a beetle. I choke on laughter. He’s new. Anyone else would know to find something to cling onto in the middle of a storm. I smile as a rat scurries under my bars.
The imbecile rights himself, spits on the wooden deck a good distance in front of me. “None of your cackles, witch!”
“Witch? And me the Captain’s wife!” My tattered crimson dress, singed at the edges, brushes my ankles. As for the soul I’d taken such finery from-
“He ain’t calling you that no more.”
Fuck’s sake. Captain Johnny Three-Hands had guessed.
It’d been our third week at sea when Capn had tired of me and gone back to his ninny wife, Selene. He’d killed me and all. On another night lit with phosphorous.
I’d marked the voodoo man’s drunken mutterings as a kid on Tortuga. Whoever looks into the flame will switch souls with the first person they behold. Only that time, there’d been no soul to switch-er-roo with for I’d bled out too fast. I’d been trapped in the green light.
Months later, I found them again; the ocean roiling something terrible as my storm hit. Capn’s soft wife had tried to get below deck, but she’d tripped on a coil of rope. The sea had gone dreadful calm. My green fire tipped down the ship’s mast and along the deck, and wifey had stared deep into the light.
Oh, thinking about it makes me so happy.
The pirate shuffles on hands and knees now, groping for his precious barrel as the ship lurches yet again. He bumps into the thick damask clumsily covering the porthole and pulls to lumber to his feet. I watch hungrily as the makeshift curtain rips in his hands. Natural light falls in front of his barrel.
Soon. Soon it shall be time. The rat stands up on its hindlegs and sniffs delicately. It’s right in front of the pirate, but the pirate hasn’t noticed.
“Why you so quiet?” The pirate licks his lips and I can practically taste his nerves. He’s stepped closer without realising it. He’s almost on the rat. The light is growing from the porthole.
Warmth spreads through me as I remember how the Capn’s wife looked deep into my electric heart and then at the ship’s cat.
“You OK?” Another step closer.
My fists clench. One more step. One more.
I feel it brewing overhead. St Elmo’s fire waiting to make a comeback.
I’d enjoyed throwing Selene, the black cat, overboard, her claws raking blood. And this one? This one’d make a good rat.
I’ve been quiet on the blogging front because I’ve been overseas for a month (travelling Iceland, London and Spain. More on this in later posts). On the way overseas, in Heathrow airport in fact, I received an acceptance email for my fantasy/horror short story, The…
A few weeks back I asked my Facebook if they could recommend books to me which depicted protagonists with disability in genre fiction where the story wasn’t an ‘issues’ story (like Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time) or where the person with disability wasn’t depicted in a stereotypical, superficial way or a ‘I’m a disability, not a person’ way. Disclaimer: I have not read most of these stories so cannot vouch for how sensitive they are toward depicting people with disability. I am trusting the people I have asked to have led me true. I have removed suggestions from the list if they are not genre stories or if I can tell from the synopsis that they are not what I am after eg a number of comic book characters were suggested but these characters were arch villains with disability. Hello othering.
My interest is predominantly in depictions of people with intellectual and/or sensory disability and autism but the complete list is below and includes, authors, book titles, publishers and specific short story or anthology suites. I hope to build on this list as I go and review the books on the list. Contributions are definitely welcome! This has a strong Australian focus given that most of my list knowledge here comes from the Australian writing scene.
Vorkisigan saga by Lois McMaster Bujold – features a physically impaired protagonist (Sci fi)
Gridlock by Ben Elton – the protagonist has cerebral palsy (Sci fi/Ecological Disaster)
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes – the protagonist has intellectual disability (Sci fi)
More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon – two of the protagonists have intellectual disability and Down’s Syndrome (Sci fi)
Diamond Eyes and Hindsight by Anita Bell – depicts protagonists with vision impairment (Sci fi)
The Homecoming Saga by Orson Scott Card – a mainish character, Issib, is in the world equivalent of a wheelchair (Sci fi)
Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert – the main protagonists is blind (Sci fi)
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simpson – the protagonist has Asperger’s Syndrome (Romance)
The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon – the protagonist has autism (Sci fi)
Hover Car Racer by Matthew Reilly – an important secondary character has autism (Sci fi/action/thriller)
The Starkin Crown by Kate Forsyth – a protagonist has epilepsy (Fantasy)
The Starthorn Tree by Kate Forsyth – a protagonist has a physical disability (Fantasy)
The Beast’s Garden by Kate Forsyth (Forthcoming 2015) – has a protagonist who has synaesthesia (Historical fiction)
The Obernewtyn Series by Isobelle Carmody – a mainish character is blind (Fantasy)
The Twelve by Justin Cronin – has a protagonist with autism (Horror)
A Song of Ice and Fire by George R R Martin – has multiple protagonists with physical disability at various points (Tyrion, Bran, Arya, Jaime) (Fantasy)
The Millennium Trilogy by Steg Larson – Salamandar has Asperger’s Syndrome (Crime)
‘Tam Likes Green Bananas’ by Kate Eltham – the protagonist has synaesthesia (Fantasy)
Marvel Universe, Hawkeye is blind
Kaleidoscope (Twelfth Planet Press) (YA Fantasy and Sci fi)
Sea Hearts, Margo Lanagan, Allen and Unwin, 2012 RRP: $19.99 Australian. I feel guilty. I finished this book back in July but my thesis work attacked me and gave me heart palpitations over how much I still had left to do on it. Hence, this…