(Dis)Ability in Genre Fiction: A Small List

A few weeks back I asked my Facebook if they could recommend books to me which depicted protagonists with disability in genre fiction where the story wasn’t an ‘issues’ story (like Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time) or where the person with disability wasn’t depicted in a stereotypical, superficial way or a ‘I’m a disability, not a person’ way. Disclaimer: I have not read most of these stories so cannot vouch for how sensitive they are toward depicting people with disability. I am trusting the people I have asked to have led me true. I have removed suggestions from the list if they are not genre stories or if I can tell from the synopsis that they are not what I am after eg a number of comic book characters were suggested but these characters were arch villains with disability. Hello othering.

My interest is predominantly in depictions of people with intellectual and/or sensory disability and autism but the complete list is below and includes, authors, book titles, publishers and specific short story or anthology suites. I hope to build on this list as I go and review the books on the list. Contributions are definitely welcome! This has a strong Australian focus given that most of my list knowledge here comes from the Australian writing scene.


Vorkisigan saga by Lois McMaster Bujold – features a physically impaired protagonist (Sci fi)
Gridlock by Ben Elton – the protagonist has cerebral palsy (Sci fi/Ecological Disaster)
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes – the protagonist has intellectual disability (Sci fi)
More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon – two of the protagonists have intellectual disability and Down’s Syndrome (Sci fi)
Diamond Eyes and Hindsight by Anita Bell – depicts protagonists with vision impairment (Sci fi)
The Homecoming Saga by Orson Scott Card – a mainish character, Issib, is in the world equivalent of a wheelchair (Sci fi)
Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert – the main protagonists is blind (Sci fi)
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simpson – the protagonist has Asperger’s Syndrome (Romance)
The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon – the protagonist has autism (Sci fi)
Hover Car Racer by Matthew Reilly – an important secondary character has autism (Sci fi/action/thriller)
The Starkin Crown by Kate Forsyth – a protagonist has epilepsy (Fantasy)
The Starthorn Tree by Kate Forsyth – a protagonist has a physical disability (Fantasy)
The Beast’s Garden by Kate Forsyth (Forthcoming 2015) – has a protagonist who has synaesthesia (Historical fiction)
The Obernewtyn Series by Isobelle Carmody – a mainish character is blind (Fantasy)
The Twelve by Justin Cronin – has a protagonist with autism (Horror)
A Song of Ice and Fire by George R R Martin – has multiple protagonists with physical disability at various points (Tyrion, Bran, Arya, Jaime) (Fantasy)
The Millennium Trilogy by Steg Larson – Salamandar has Asperger’s Syndrome (Crime)

Short Stories

‘Tam Likes Green Bananas’ by Kate Eltham – the protagonist has synaesthesia (Fantasy)


Marvel Universe, Hawkeye is blind


Visibility Fiction


Kaleidoscope (Twelfth Planet Press) (YA Fantasy and Sci fi)

About InkAshlings

Maureen, Australian, young aspiring writer.
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5 Responses to (Dis)Ability in Genre Fiction: A Small List

  1. You might be interested in my book, Synthesis:Weave. Aryx Trevarian is a double through-knee amputee. He’s not terribly limited by his disability, and the story doesn’t hang on it. Of course it’s used to provide obstacles but the book isn’t about how he deals with his situation.

    • InkAshlings says:

      Thanks for your suggestion. Is your book self published? I tried to look it up on Goodreads but it looks pretty new! Either way, congrats on publishing πŸ™‚

  2. paulaacton says:

    I had to go check the authors name but Forrest Gump by Winston Groom, not sure whether Rain Man was also based on a novel

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