Charles Payseur was kind enough to mention my story, “The Scrape of Tooth and Bone”, a second time – this time in his Monthly Round, in which he pairs his favourite short speculative fiction from February with an adult beverage.
Indeed, even with the other amazing stories this month, I’m not sure any can live up to the sheer number of different awesome elements crammed into this tale. Steam-powered archeology featuring a queer neurodiverse female protagonist interacting with the ghosts of dapper sentient dinosaurs while acting as a double agent and getting double crossed and navigating some heavy misogyny and it is all just so good.
The Scrape of Tooth and Bone’s official drink pairing is a rye IPA. Not being a drinker myself, I had to look up what an IPA was, but I am quite flattered.
Meanwhile, I am pleased to report some new and very exciting poetry acceptances.
“Snowflake”, a love poem, will appear in a future issue of Through the Gate.
“Million-Year Elegies: Tyrannosaurus”, the poem where the entire idea for the Million-Year Elegies series comes from, will appear in a future issue of Uncanny Magazine.
“Million-Year Elegies: Edmontonia” will appear in an issue of Mythic Delirium.
In the Spring 2016 issue of “Breath & Shadow”:
This is a poem I came up with in the summer of 2014, when recovering from a bad mental health breakdown.
It’s also the most overtly religious poem I’ve ever written, though I hesitate to call it a Christian poem; it is not particularly concerned with any specific articles of Christian doctrine. Then again, poems get associated with other religions without being dogmatic at all. So. Whatever. Enjoy.
Today is a very big Autism News post! Partly because I procrastinated harder than usual, but also because there is genuinely a lot of autism stuff in the news, especially as we gear up for the Awareness/Acceptance Month of April.
Since everyone is lighting it up different colors for autism right now, we should probably start with Real Social Skills’ post on what autism awareness means to them.
There was a lot in the news lately about euthanasia, murder, death in general, and other medical problems for disabled people. Everything in this section has a TW for these and related topics.
- Charles Lane from the Washington Post on euthanasia of mentally ill / autistic people in the Netherlands
- Nightingale of Samarkand on how doctors devalue disabled people’s lives (a good follow-up to the above article)
- Kerima Cevik on the murder of Cynthia Busch
- A Swedish study shows that autistic people have a considerably shorter life expectancy than average
- Feminist Aspie has a good critique related to this study
- Saskia Baron on problems with how high-support autistic people are treated by medical doctors
Meanwhile, autistic self-advocate John Elder Robison wrote a book about his experiences with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation.
- Here is a post by Robison about his book, and on the difference between “having feelings” and “reading social cues”
- Sonia Boue lists objections that many autistic people are raising to the promotion of TMS in Robison’s book
- This interview with Robison responds to some of these objections, and goes into more depth on Robison’s feelings about the potential risks and drawbacks of TMS.
Posts about adult diagnosis:
- Corinne Duyvis on being diagnosed with autism
- An interview with Anlor Davin about adult diagnosis, Zen, and other things
- Andrea Michael on late diagnosis and impostor syndrome
Pan-disability posts for the SFF crowd!
- Annalee from The Bias presents The Geek’s Guide to Disability: a good summary both of some recent controversies, and of the Disability 101 background that you might need in order to understand what’s at stake for people here.
- Corinne Duyvis on regard for human life in apocalyptic fiction
- A Disability in Kidlit roundtable about magical disabilities
Other pan-disability posts:
- Erin Human on why she says “disabled”, not “special needs”
- Feminist Aspie on food policing
- Clarissa Krikpe on community living for people with high-support/ developmental disabilities. (Note: There is a lot of parent-centric language in this article, but if you can deal with that, it has some pretty interesting information.)
- Karen Hitselberger on why the “How Do You See Me?” campaign doesn’t work
- Dani Alexis Ryskamp on the importance (or lack of importance) of eye contact
- Dani Alexis Ryskamp on pushing oneself
- Alyssa Hillary on autistic development
- A discussion of NeuroTribes by M Kelter, Michael McWatters, and Dr. Deborah Budding
- Kerima Cevik on how she stopped caring what causes autism
Disability In Kidlit has been doing a speculative fiction event these past few weeks. It’s been really interesting to see the different discussions coming out of it, some of which I may link to in my next Autism News post.
I was invited to do a couple of other things besides my “On the Edge of Gone” review. First, I wrote half the questions for this interview with Corinne Duyvis about her books. (It was my first time ever writing an interview for someone. I’m delighted that “do you love cats in real life?” was considered a valid interview question. :D)
I also wrote an original article: “Worldbuilding About, Through, and With Autism“. This article describes three different ways to successfully approach worldbuilding in a story with autistic characters, and three different ways that a setting can impact disabled characters. It’s based on what I’ve seen in the past few years doing Autistic Book Party, and brings in examples from the writing of C.S. Friedman, Rose Lemberg, Meda Kahn, and others.
More updates coming soon. 😀
Today’s Book: “On the Edge of Gone” by Corinne Duyvis
The Plot: An autistic teenager and her family struggle to survive when a comet hits the earth.
Autistic Character(s): Denise, the protagonist and narrator.
For today’s Autistic Book Party, I have once again partnered with Disability In Kidlit. You can read my review here; the verdict, by the way, is Recommended.
Although Corinne Duyvis is a Disability In Kidlit editor, she was not involved in soliciting or editing this review.
You might be seeing a bit more of me on Disability In Kidlit in the next couple of days.
After a long wait, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #62 is out, and with it, my poem, “Kraken Quatrain”. Which is what it says on the can. In iambic tetrameter and everything.
I seriously doubt that someone is going to buy a whole issue of a magazine just because of a 4-line poem, but if you were considering buying an issue of ASIM anyway, perhaps this will sweeten the deal.
Posts about books, writing, and media:
- M Kelter reviews the book “In a Different Key“
- Ari Ne’eman on “NeuroTribes” and “In a Different Key”
- Anonymous on self-diagnosis, abuse, and writing stories
- Jessica from the Autistic Writers’ Network on being diagnosed and creative writing
- Dani Alexis Ryskamp on what The X-Files means to her
Events in the actual news:
- For the first time, a U.S. court ruled that it was illegal to pay disabled workers less than minimum wage in sheltered workshops.
- Shannon des Roches Rosa on Hillary Clinton’s autism plan
- Kayden Clarke, an autistic self-advocate whose video about a support dog went viral, joins the long list of autistic people killed by police.
- Lisa Daxer on learning theory of mind
- Aisha Ashraf on how autistic people fake neurotypicality
- Shannon des Roches Rosa on aggression and self-injury
- Foxtears on barriers to autism diagnosis
“The Scrape of Tooth and Bone” has garnered some delightful attention from reviewers.
Maria Haskins added it to a list of weird and wonderful science fiction and fantasy short stories, along with work by Ursula Vernon, Angela Slatter, Nnedi Okorafor, and more:
This is a highly entertaining and uniquely imagined short story that mixes archaeology, dinosaurs, spiritualism, and…robots.
The story just does a great job of really fleshing out the world and making Lilian, the main character, deep and layered and compelling… The way in Lilian is both kind of unreliable and yet entirely genuine is charming and endearing and gets across a nice sense of danger and adventure and wonder.
also queer romance. all-around cool. it’s a pity Ada is doing the bestest autism reviews series bc she can’t review her own stories i guess?
— prezzey *Bogi Takács (@bogiperson) February 14, 2016
“The Scrape of Tooth and Bone” has also somehow sprouted its own Goodreads page. I think because GigaNotoSaurus stories are also released individually as ebooks?
Penny Stirling added an older story of mine, “How My Best Friend Rania Crashed a Party and Saved the World“, to their list of free online aromantic and asexual fiction. “Rania”‘s narrator is an aromantic teenage girl.
Since the year began, I’ve sold two new poems – one to Breath & Shadow, and one to Asimov’s. More on them later.
Finally, this news is a bit old, but I have an author tumblr account now. For the foreseeable future, I plan to use it pretty lightly (mostly for reposting my WordPress posts, and occasionally reblogging autism stuff), but anyone who likes tumblr and wants to follow me there is free to do so!
I said in my previous post that it would be better to link to a summary by an autistic person, so here are a few.
First, here is Tili Solokov’s roundup of Storifies of responses to the SF Signal article that people had on Twitter.
Here is also a response by A.C. Buchanan, regarding autism, empathy, and the pressure to conform or not conform to stereotypes.
So this happened. (It would be better to link to a summary by an autistic person, but my time/spoons for trawling around to find one are very limited right now, and Jim explains it well.)
I’ve been very swamped with school. Last night I got home late after running a study with a bunch of people as part of my graduate research, peeked on to Twitter, and found everybody yelling about something.
A lot of people were very angry, triggered, shaking with rage. They’re not wrong to feel that way. My own response to the article was more muted. I was not very angry. I was too tired to be angry. To me it just read like more of the same BS that we get from well-intentioned, but VERY CLUELESS people… all the time. There’s too much of it out there for me to even feel very disappointed by it anymore – except that I was disappointed, profoundly disappointed, that it was showing up in a column which was supposed to be about disability representation.
I took another look at all my angry friends, but was too exhausted to respond or even note that I was there, aware of what was going on. Instead I went “fuck this shit,” ate some fruit, read some Darths & Droids because that’s all I had any brains remaining for, and went to bed.
I feel like I should be saying something, because I’m the Autism In SFF Person? But other people have already explained what the problems are. SF Signal has also apologized and taken down the post. (I am more triggered by arguments about whether or not a particular apology was “enough” than I was by the post itself, so I won’t be getting into that side of the discussion.)
Just know, if you’re non-disabled and reading this, that if people’s anger seems disproportionate it’s because we literally get this all the time. There is no escaping it; even bailing out and turning off the computer, as I did, is temporary.
I also want to write a brief note about empaths, because unfortunately, the author of the article opens by claiming to be one. Look, I’m someone who knows and loves empaths. It’s an actual thing. It involves picking up on people’s emotions so strongly that it becomes a sensory experience, sometimes a painfully overwhelming one. (It’s a thing that occurs a lot to people on the autism spectrum, and contributes to sensory overload. It’s not as helpful in dealing with social situations, or even in treating people with respect and courtesy, as one might think – because knowing or even feeling a person’s emotions doesn’t mean you necessarily have a fucking clue what you’re supposed to do about it. It’s also a concept that gets thrown around, distorted, and used unhelpfully in many New Age and neopagan communities, but eh, you could say that about a lot of things.)
When I read the opening of the article, I was actually kinda excited, because I thought, wow, maybe we’re going to have an interesting discussion of empaths from a disability perspective. Unfortunately, instead of describing her experiences and as an empath and how they interact with ableist expectations, the author goes on to just sort of meander around saying condescending and clueless things about people with other disabilities.
I’m not saying we should give the author a free pass for claiming to be an empath. Or anything else. But I’d be happier if we were able to discuss the very large problems with her article without a lot of the snide comments I am seeing about how empaths are not real, or assholes, or how their empathy should work differently, or whatever. Just as how I’d hope that we wouldn’t be making snide comments about any other group identity that the author of this bullshit happened to have. That would be great. Thanks.