Autism News, 2016/02/17

Posts about books, writing, and media:

Events in the actual news:

  • For the first time, a U.S. court ruled that it was illegal to pay disabled workers less than minimum wage in sheltered workshops.
  • Shannon des Roches Rosa on Hillary Clinton’s autism plan
  • Kayden Clarke, an autistic self-advocate whose video about a support dog went viral, joins the long list of autistic people killed by police.

Other things:

February news and reviews

The Scrape of Tooth and Bone” has garnered some delightful attention from reviewers.

Maria Haskins added it to a list of weird and wonderful science fiction and fantasy short stories, along with work by Ursula Vernon, Angela Slatter, Nnedi Okorafor, and more:

This is a highly entertaining and uniquely imagined short story that mixes archaeology, dinosaurs, spiritualism, and…robots.

Charles Payseur had some kind things to say about it at Quick Sip Reviews:

The story just does a great job of really fleshing out the world and making Lilian, the main character, deep and layered and compelling… The way in Lilian is both kind of unreliable and yet entirely genuine is charming and endearing and gets across a nice sense of danger and adventure and wonder.

Bogi Takács featured the story on #diversestories on Twitter.

“The Scrape of Tooth and Bone” has also somehow sprouted its own Goodreads page. I think because GigaNotoSaurus stories are also released individually as ebooks?

Penny Stirling added an older story of mine, “How My Best Friend Rania Crashed a Party and Saved the World“, to their list of free online aromantic and asexual fiction. “Rania”‘s narrator is an aromantic teenage girl.

Since the year began, I’ve sold two new poems – one to Breath & Shadow, and one to Asimov’s. More on them later.

Finally, this news is a bit old, but I have an author tumblr account now. For the foreseeable future, I plan to use it pretty lightly (mostly for reposting my WordPress posts, and occasionally reblogging autism stuff), but anyone who likes tumblr and wants to follow me there is free to do so!

About that awful SF Signal post

So this happened. (It would be better to link to a summary by an autistic person, but my time/spoons for trawling around to find one are very limited right now, and Jim explains it well.)

I’ve been very swamped with school. Last night I got home late after running a study with a bunch of people as part of my graduate research, peeked on to Twitter, and found everybody yelling about something.

A lot of people were very angry, triggered, shaking with rage. They’re not wrong to feel that way. My own response to the article was more muted. I was not very angry. I was too tired to be angry. To me it just read like more of the same BS that we get from well-intentioned, but VERY CLUELESS people… all the time. There’s too much of it out there for me to even feel very disappointed by it anymore – except that I was disappointed, profoundly disappointed, that it was showing up in a column which was supposed to be about disability representation.


I took another look at all my angry friends, but was too exhausted to respond or even note that I was there, aware of what was going on. Instead I went “fuck this shit,” ate some fruit, read some Darths & Droids because that’s all I had any brains remaining for, and went to bed.

I feel like I should be saying something, because I’m the Autism In SFF Person? But other people have already explained what the problems are. SF Signal has also apologized and taken down the post. (I am more triggered by arguments about whether or not a particular apology was “enough” than I was by the post itself, so I won’t be getting into that side of the discussion.)

Just know, if you’re non-disabled and reading this, that if people’s anger seems disproportionate it’s because we literally get this all the time. There is no escaping it; even bailing out and turning off the computer, as I did, is temporary.

I also want to write a brief note about empaths, because unfortunately, the author of the article opens by claiming to be one. Look, I’m someone who knows and loves empaths. It’s an actual thing. It involves picking up on people’s emotions so strongly that it becomes a sensory experience, sometimes a painfully overwhelming one. (It’s a thing that occurs a lot to people on the autism spectrum, and contributes to sensory overload. It’s not as helpful in dealing with social situations, or even in treating people with respect and courtesy, as one might think – because knowing or even feeling a person’s emotions doesn’t mean you necessarily have a fucking clue what you’re supposed to do about it. It’s also a concept that gets thrown around, distorted, and used unhelpfully in many New Age and neopagan communities, but eh, you could say that about a lot of things.)

When I read the opening of the article, I was actually kinda excited, because I thought, wow, maybe we’re going to have an interesting discussion of empaths from a disability perspective. Unfortunately, instead of describing her experiences and as an empath and how they interact with ableist expectations, the author goes on to just sort of meander around saying condescending and clueless things about people with other disabilities.

I’m not saying we should give the author a free pass for claiming to be an empath. Or anything else. But I’d be happier if we were able to discuss the very large problems with her article without a lot of the snide comments I am seeing about how empaths are not real, or assholes, or how their empathy should work differently, or whatever. Just as how I’d hope that we wouldn’t be making snide comments about any other group identity that the author of this bullshit happened to have. That would be great. Thanks.

The Scrape of Tooth and Bone

Out today in GigaNotoSaurus, is my new novelette, “The Scrape of Tooth and Bone“. It is set in a steampunk fossil expedition in the badlands of western Canada, and features an autistic protagonist. There are also giant robots, dinosaurs, Spiritualism, lesbian romance, and ghosts.

This is an older story, and one where I suspect I might do a few things differently if I was writing it again today. I’m still rather fond of it, though, and am very pleased to be able to share it with you at last. Enjoy!