Women aren’t the only minority to suffer from poor as well as a lack of representation in genre fiction. Among other minorities struggling to have their voices heard are people of colour, people with disabilities, and the LGBTQI community. 

In this episode, we spoke to prolific science fiction and fantasy author Marissa Lingen, whose credits include contributing to Uncanny Magazine’s Special ‘Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction’ from last year. 

Much like the Smurfette problem – where there is only one woman, she represents all of womankind – the lack of disabled characters makes the few that do exist so much more important. We need a broad spectrum of representation in terms of number of appearances as well as the kinds of disability representation we see.

Unfortunately, when we do tend to see disability representation, it’s an ‘all or nothing’ view. Relatively few people living with disabilities fall into the categories of extremes. For instance, a blind person might be able to see a little, but when people realise, they are perceived as liars.

We ask Marissa if it is ever ok to give a character with a disability magical abilities as well? When done badly, this trope is often used to render the disability a moot point and can often send the wrong message. That doesn’t mean you can never try it – just be conscious of what you are doing.

Perhaps eventually we will start to see all minorities fairly represented in fiction. But until then, we will continue to highlight these issues at Breaking the Glass Slipper.

Yes, all of humanity was destroyed but you are also allowed to have a bad day.

Texts mentioned in this episode include:

Marissa Lingen is a freelance writer who lives in Minnesota with two large men and one small dog.

You can find Marissa on FacebookG+Twitter, and Good Reads. She writes for adults, children, and the age between that’s known as ‘YA’. Like the bar in the Blues Brothers that has both kinds of music, she writes both kinds of fiction: science fiction and fantasy.