Anthology on positive representations of disability in postcyberpunk

deadline for submissions: 
March 1, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Brenda Tyrrell/Miami University,OH
contact email: 

Call for Papers: Anthology on positive representations of disability in postcyberpunk


Abstracts due: March 1st, 2018 (250-300 words; include contact info and short bio/CV)

Final essays due: October 1st, 2018


“Your mistake is that you think that all mechanically assisted organisms--like me--are pathetic cripples. In fact, we are better than we were before.”

Ng, Snow Crash (Neal Stephenson)


Science fiction, a genre that has historically considered deep, often taboo, societal issues, lends itself naturally to an intersection with disability studies. In the created worlds of science fiction, we see fantastical and technologically-possible ways in which disabled characters not only adapt to their disability but also, as the above epigraph indicates, defy them as well. This edited collection seeks to explore this intersection and to highlight positive representations of disability within science fiction; in particular, the way in which postcyberpunk authors such as William Gibson and Neal Stephenson highlight the vast array of opportunities for their disabled characters to, first, adapt to disability and, second, for their readers to consider a post-disability world. Disability studies scholar David Bolt offers an intriguing definition of a post-disability read, one which is “critical of the way in which society disables people who have impairments… [and] is critical of the way in which impairment is depicted as tragic, disabling, abnormal and so on.” In other words, post-disability considers society’s role in creating disability out of impairment.

This anthology solicits interdisciplinary essays from scholars interested in analyzing disability in two arenas: positive representations of disability in science fiction (post-cyberpunk, in particular) and the possibility of a post-disability world (and how to get there). Additionally, as the created worlds of science fiction include not only the typical white, Anglo-American interpretation of disability, but also those of the non-Western population, these essays will be most welcome. Creative nonfiction and graduate student essays will also be considered. The path to (and away from) disability is undeniably a worldwide discussion to facilitate and this anthology intends to offer a pertinent and useful evaluation of how society factors into the tenets of disability and how, by using the tools available to us, a post-disability world may be within our grasp, not by curing but by adapting to impairment.

Possible topics include but certainly are not limited to disability in science fiction (particularly post-cyberpunk) and

  • alternative transportation devices (bicycles, computerized vehicles, etc.)
  • architecture and urban planning (Universal Design, accessibility)
  • computer technology (virtual reality, etc.)
  • critical disability/post-disability studies
  • film (sf) and film studies (Blade Runner, The Zero Theorem, Mad Max: Fury Road, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, etc.)
  • identity politics and intertextuality between characters of disability and other identities in science fiction (Octavia Butler, Ursula LeGuin, and so forth)
  • international science fiction texts and how international authors create their disabled characters (Liu Cixin’s The Three-Body Problem, for example)
  • medical humanities (medical model of disability, patient rights, end-of-life issues, etc.)
  • politics and policy changes (disability in relation to other compromised identities, etc.)
  • social justice and activism
  • technology (specifically, medical advancement technologies such as robotic surgery, prostheses, Enchroma glasses, and so forth)


Please direct all questions and submissions to the editor:

Brenda Tyrrell, Miami University (