Accessing the Future

Edited by Kathryn Allan and Djibril al-Ayad. Futurefire.net, $16 trade paper (230p) ISBN 978-0-9573975-4-5
Allan and al-Ayad’s powerful science fiction anthology portrays people with disabilities in their full human complexity as they navigate a variety of futures. A privileged wheelchair user who’s saved from a disaster by smugglers learns some horrifying truths about her rarified surroundings—and the smugglers’ grittier lives—in Nicolette Barischoff’s “Pirate Songs.” Sara Patterson’s “A Sense All Its Own” introduces a blind pilot who enters a droid-flying competition. The titular characters in Margaret Killjoy’s “Invisible People” suffer a widespread social disability that’s all too prevalent today. A woman uses her disability as a weapon to better the universe in A.C. Buchanan’s “Puppetry.” Mandating a cure for deafness becomes cultural genocide—and may indirectly lead to war—in Rachel K. Jones’s “Courting the Silent Sun.” Each story highlights humans’ adaptability as a path to triumph, greater understanding, or both. The anthology also makes clear that the entire society suffers when the able ignore or dismiss the disabled. But there are no polemics here, and even readers with no personal experience of disability will appreciate these thoughtful and entertaining stories and their accompanying illustrations. (July)
Reviewed on: 04/27/2015
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