Why does science fiction always imagine disabled people as villains, less than human, or in need of redemption? You can help change this dire situation, by entering Redstone Science Fiction's new contest, "Towards An Accessible Future."
Redstone, a new SF mag (with the great slogan "We want to live forever. Get us off this rock.") is holding a contest for stories that best exemplify the values mentioned in Sarah Einstein's thought-provoking essay "The Future Imperfect." Einstein writes:
The problem with disability in science fiction isn't much different from the problem of disability in general or literary fiction: it appears as a plot device, or is mean to establish a character or group of characters at radically other, or is the embodiment of our careless attitude toward the ecosystems which support us. We mutate into either superheroes or arch-villains. Darth Vader is an evil torso in what can best be described as a suit-shaped life support system; his disability symbolic of the way in which his defection to the dark side of the force has warped his intellect. In the original Star Trek series, Captain Christopher Pike exists in a metal box less technically sophisticated than the equipment used to film the show until, after being acquitted in a trial for attempting to flee to a planet that could accommodate his disability, his innocence is rewarded and Star Fleet Command makes an exception to the rule to allow him-for his heroism-to live there as if he were again fully able-bodied. In cyberpunk and dark future novels, mutants arise from ecological chaos to either save or destroy mankind. Bodily difference can signal heroism or great evil, but it always signifies in scifi...
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!
You have until August 15 to come up with a story that portrays "disability as a simple fact, not as something to be overcome or something to explain why a character is evil. The submissions should also incorporate the portrayal of disability in a world where universal access is a shared cultural value." The winning story will appear in Redstone's September issue, and will get $300, or at least six cents a word. So get to it! More details at the link. [Redstone Science Fiction]