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Lois McMaster Bujold$
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Edward James

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780252039324

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252039324.001.0001

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date: 13 December 2017

Disability and Genetic Modification

Disability and Genetic Modification

(p.120) Chapter 6 Disability and Genetic Modification
Lois McMaster Bujold

Edward James

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines the theme of disability, including attitudes toward disability and ideas about deviations from the bodily norm, that Bujold explores in her fictional work. While disability is rarely treated in science fiction and fantasy, it is ubiquitous in Bujold's work. Most visible is Miles Vorkosigan himself, whose fetus was damaged by an insurgent's attack and who struggles with his brittle bones and other problems throughout the early decades of his life. But to Miles can be added many other characters whose physical or mental disabilities are a crucial part of the narrative, from the brain-damaged Dubauer in Shards of Honor to the one-handed Dag in the Sharing Knife sequence, and Cazaril, with a mutilated hand and a demonic stomach tumor, in the first Chalion book. Bujold has declared that she was never writing books about issues: they are about character. The disabilities with which her characters have to cope “do not comprise the sums of their characters nor the reasons for their existences, but are just plot-things that happen to them and with which they must deal, daily or otherwise,” and she adds that the letters she gets from disabled readers suggest that they prefer that approach.

Keywords:   disability, Lois McMaster Bujold, women writers, women authors, science fiction writers

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