davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
Locus has the World Fantasy Awards shortlist here, and Mishell Baker's Borderline, with its double-amputee protagonist with Borderline Personality Disorder is on the list. Which is something the genre needs. There's few enough books with disabled protagonists treated in a realistic manner, seeing one of them nominated for a major award is an important step forward. (I'd hoped it would happen with Scalzi's Lock In, but the Puppies screwed that year's Hugo voting).

On the other hand, World Fantasy Con has a unfortunately well-deserved reputation for access screw-ups. I really hope they fix that this year, because having a book about an occasionally wheelchair-using protagonist win an award on a stage a wheelchar user couldn't access would be the access fail to end all access fails....

WTF WFC?

Aug. 2nd, 2016 01:31 am
davidgillon: Illo of Oracle in her manual chair in long white dress with short red hair and glasses (wheelchair)

A wee bit of a twitter firestorm broke out earlier when the World Fantasy Con panels were posted and one of them was called "Spicy Oriental Zeppelins" Apparently the title was based on a 'joke' that had only every been made by the WFC Head of Programming, Darrell Schweitzer, and he'd been repeatedly warned it wasn't funny in advance.

With just about every SFF author on twitter going WTF WTC? that was quickly changed to "Outrageous Aviation Stories, Flying Pulp Oddities."

What got a lot less attention, and has been more subtly changed was another panel:

"7. Freaks, Sideshows, and Human Oddities. From “Hopfrog” to Freaks to Geek Love. Is this the last taboo, the final frontier of bad taste, or something (perversely?) alluring even yet?"

Which became

7. Freaks, Sideshows, and Human Oddities. From “Hopfrog” to Freaks to Geek Love. Is this the last taboo, the final frontier of bad taste, or a persistent archetype in literature?

Schweitzer had been warned in advance about this one as well, and specifically that it was ableist. I'm glad to see it has been changed, but I still think it's deeply problematic and I'm horrified something so negatively objectifying about disabled people ever made it out as a formally released program item.

And it's not as if this is the first issue WFC has had with disability in the last year. WFC 2015 had major access fails, never mind they had a disabled guest who had talked to them about her access needs, and then earlier this year WFC 2016 instituted a significant price rise despite disabled people telling them they couldn't book until they had published their disability access policy. The price rise had no sooner gone into effect than they published their access policy, which looked to have been written in five minutes on the proverbial back of a fag packet. I got the distinct feeling that was sheer spite.

ETA : File 770's on the story:  Outrage Greets 2016 World Fantasy Con Program

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David Gillon

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