msmcknittington: Dr. Spacemen mispronouncing diabetes (30 Rock diabetes)
[personal profile] msmcknittington posting in [community profile] dreams_library
I was having a conversation in [livejournal.com profile] cleolinda's journal on LJ about how frustrating the Dies the Fire and other books in that universe by SM Stirling are because of the ableism. This is a pretty big stumbling block for me in postapocalyptic fiction, because I have insulin-dependent diabetes, and I basically see myself written out of the story whenever I pick up one of these books. And not just "you don't exist" but "you existed, but you died a horrible death which the author just couldn't be bothered to write about".

So! With that in mind, can anyone recommend any postapocalyptic fiction which addresses people with disabilities and/or chronic medical conditions? It could even be as simple as the character needing glasses to see and not being able to get them because of the postapocalyptic setting. I think I'd prefer it if the character was a major character in the novel who was fully fleshed out, rather than an emotional accessory for or someone to be "rescued" by the protagonist. Happy ending, if possible.

I feel like this is a pretty tall order, but there must be something out there somewhere. I'd even be open to just plain fantasy recommendations which deal with disability in a realistic way. That aren't, um, the Vorkosigan Saga, that is.

Date: 2010-09-18 04:12 am (UTC)
brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (Default)
From: [personal profile] brigid
This probably isn't helpful AT ALL but in "The Postman," the narrator (I forget his name, you know, the guy played by Kevin Costner in the movie) is kind of obsessed with his toothbrush because he's seen people get tooth abscesses from lack of dental care. It was a really nice, realistic touch but not on the same level of needing medication or assistive devices to function.

If my glasses got broken in a post-apoc world without eye doctors, I'd be in so much trouble.

Date: 2010-09-18 04:23 am (UTC)
brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (Default)
From: [personal profile] brigid
I'm wracking my brains because I've read a fair amount of post-apoc fiction and I really can't think of anything like you're searching for. Mentions-in-passing of picking up antibiotics from a pharmacy/drug store/whatever happen but other than that?

Hm. In "30 days of night" (the movie; possibly the comic) one of the main characters has asthma. They break into a store for supplies and also grab an inhaler while they're there, which he uses gratefully because he's had problems breathing for quite a while. Ironically, I think it would be easier for me to get the medications I need (albuterol inhaler, metformin) if I had license to break into a pharmacy and loot than it is now.

Date: 2010-09-18 04:35 am (UTC)
brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (Default)
From: [personal profile] brigid
I haven't read the comic but the movie was... interesting in parts and awful in other parts. I like the way the vampires were treated, actually.

Date: 2010-09-18 04:39 am (UTC)
brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (Default)
From: [personal profile] brigid
I don't remember a lot of what I didn't like about it, just that I considered reccing it for a bad film festival some friends of mine run. There's some really cliched stuff going on, though.

If you're really into vampires, check it out. I don't regret watching it, but I wish it had been better.

Date: 2010-09-18 04:46 am (UTC)
brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (Default)
From: [personal profile] brigid
Oh yeah, there is some serious over-the-top-ness.

I'm a huge sucker for fan of vampires, in general, so will usually watch crappy movies/read bad books about them just to get my vampire fix. And really, the way the actual vampires are handled was nicely done.

Date: 2010-09-18 04:59 am (UTC)
brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (Default)
From: [personal profile] brigid
See, I'm fine with a bit of the old ultra-violence unless it is specifically racist or misogynist.

Date: 2010-09-20 02:41 am (UTC)
clare_dragonfly: woman with green feathery wings, text: stories last longer: but only by becoming only stories (Knitting: old school)
From: [personal profile] clare_dragonfly
On the plus side, this post has made me think about the postapocalyptic serial I'm working on and consider adding disabled characters--something that has, I'm sorry to say, never occurred to me. It isn't a sudden apocalypse, more of a combination of economic troubles and physical and chemical warfare that contributed to a relatively slow decline, but surely people with glasses, diabetics, and asthmatics would still be around!

The main character does have PTSD, which is a different sort of disability. When I get it up and running (I plan to write it as an online serial), I'll be sure to let you know. Also hi, I know you from Ravelry! :D

Date: 2010-09-20 06:19 pm (UTC)
clare_dragonfly: woman with green feathery wings, text: stories last longer: but only by becoming only stories (Default)
From: [personal profile] clare_dragonfly
Yes I am! Well, actually claredragonfly with no underscore, because Ravelry doesn't let you have underscores (and hardly anybody lets you have hyphens, which is what I prefer). I'm in the Steamy Stitches group and I think we might have a couple of other groups in common too.

not sure this is what you're looking for

Date: 2010-09-18 02:02 pm (UTC)
redbird: full bookshelves and table in a library (books)
From: [personal profile] redbird
There's a very myopic character in Edgar Pangborn's The Judgment of Eve (from decades ago), who has grown up not long after an apocalypse, unable to see properly, and thinking of himself as clumsy and incompetent. Then someone meets him and takes him to a long-abandoned optician's shop. His reaction to the first pair of glasses he's handed is to fling them across the room, because they make things even worse; the second is good enough to change his life.

This is an able-ist narrative, in the sense that the disability is cured, but the character guards those eyeglasses very closely, and he continues to be affected by having grown up treated as incompetent.

And it does make some of the point that in that sort of society, a lot of us wouldn't exist because we wouldn't be helped/allowed to live. (The culture described also routinely kills visibly disabled newborns.)

Re: not sure this is what you're looking for

Date: 2011-08-10 05:05 pm (UTC)
books2thesky: (Default)
From: [personal profile] books2thesky
a year late to the party, but...

The Face of Apollo by Fred Saberhagen has a protagonist who is very near-sighted. The plot of the book is spurred by his finding the eponymous "face," a sort of mask thing that, aside from giving him magical powers, also gives him perfect vision!
(I'm telling you this for the sake of a comprehensive list, not because the book itself is particularly good. The plot is kind of meh. Also, the mask covers only half his face, so he only gets perfect vision in one eye. I tried this with only one contact lens, and wow is it ever disorienting. Though I suppose your brain would adapt after a while.)

Also, 1632 by Eric Flint has a major character who's near-sighted. He's a soldier king (can't wear scholar's spectacles, they would just fall off in battle, plus it would look undignified) so he makes do with having his right-hand man describe the positions and movements of armies to him when he needs to direct his troops.
(He is THRILLED when time-travelers introduce him to prescription sports goggles.)

Date: 2010-09-18 04:36 pm (UTC)
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
From: [personal profile] forestofglory
I one of the main character in Winter of Magic's Return by Pamela F. Service wears glasses -- though I don't recall how he got them. It a bit of an odd bit being a fantasy set 500 years after the nuclear apocalypse. I'm not sure it's still in print.

Date: 2010-12-05 04:51 am (UTC)
cereus: Sandworm and Fremen from Dune (sandworm)
From: [personal profile] cereus
Have you heard of Winterlong by Elizabeth Hand?

It might not be what you're looking for because it can be very dark, even though it's beautiful. The reactions I've heard about it go from wonderful to couldn't handle it.

The main character is a "cured" autistic person (which usually I might hate), meaning when she was young (back in the high tech days) they totally scrambled and rewired her brain. This means she's non-typically wired in a new, third way. It's shown as a very normal mixture of everyday highs or lows. And she slowly realizes what she can do that she was supposed to not be able to do. There are other characters with disabilities, too. She has a love affair with a woman who is just sort of chronically a little sick.

OK enough, I'm sorry for giving anything away. I'll edit if called upon or re-write with no spoilers.

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