And Then She Was Pretty, the End

Certain tropes tend to come up again and again in young adult fiction, and there’s one in particular that makes me positively aflame with irritation: the heroine who must become beautiful as part of her journey and transformation into a fully realised character. Beauty, in this setting and framing, becomes an essential part of what […]

Can We Challenge Genetic Perfectionism In Science Fiction?

One of my recurring frustrations with science fiction as an overall genre is the tendency towards eliminationism in texts; disabled people are often entirely absent unless they’re being used as plot devices. The idea is that they’d be eradicated by manipulating genetics and using advanced medical techniques to resolve serious injuries and prevent or cure […]

No Disability at the Final Frontier: Science Fiction, Cures, and Eliminationism

Lois McMaster Bujold’s ever-expanding Vorkosigan Saga contains something somewhat unusual for a science fiction series: A disabled protagonist. Miles Vorkosigan has a variety of symptoms associated with a poison used to attack his mother while she was pregnant with him. In a society with cures for almost everything, Miles stands out, with his fragile bones […]

The Windup Girl: Orientalism, Science Fiction, and Wasn’t Your Own Culture Good Enough For Your Dystopian Novel?

I recently finished The Windup Girl, Paolo Bacigalupi’s critically acclaimed science fiction novel about a world where bioengineering has run amock and the person who can create and store the most calories—of food or of energy—wins. The book came highly recommended by someone who knows I am a fan of dystopian novels and science fiction, […]