March 22nd, 2011
|muuranker||08:53 pm - Among Others - Jo Walton|
I have just finished reading Jo Walton's latest fantasy
Among Others. I am going to be writing a formal review for
Mallorn (The Journal of the Tolkien Society), but before I do, I thought I would quickly note the book's existence here, as the heroine, Mor, is disabled.
Having a major character with a disability provides authors with (at least) two major opportunities to fail - neither of which is taken by Jo Walton.
The first point of failure is the complexity of disability. Mor's disability is not reduced to 'not being able to run for a bus or play tennis'.
The second potential point of failure is 'special compensation' - something about the disability results in some compensatory power. In mainstream fiction, this (like the first point of failure) is not restricted to speculative fiction, but fantasy offers the author limitless opportunities for special compensation. Mor's disabling pain drives the fairies away.
Current Mood: too much work
This sounds fabulous. Onto the wishlist it goes!
I really enjoyed Among Others, with the caveat that every time the protagonist's leg hurt, my own knee pain flared up in sympathy!
I really didn't find Mor's pain driving the fairies away to be special compensation - rather, if anything, I saw it as an *extra* disability, because she had to work *extra hard* to try to be painfree so that she could call the fairies to her.
Ah, yes, I see I managed to write nonsense in my third paragraph: should be:
The second potential point of failure is 'special compensation' - something about the disability results in some compensatory power. This (like the first point of failure) is not restricted to speculative fiction, but fantasy offers the author limitless opportunities for special compensation. Again, Jo Walton avoids it: Mor's disabling pain drives the fairies away.
As you say - quite the opposite of special compensation.
Thinking about it, there is yet another layer (and this is a many-layered book), in that one character (trying to avoid spoilers here!) does see fairies through the agency of the material culture of disability. The book is immensely thoughtful and thought-provoking, Jo Walton know's what she's doing!
|Date:||July 23rd, 2012 02:10 pm (UTC)|| |