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Accessing the Future: A Disability-Themed Anthology of Speculative Fiction

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The fifteen authors and nine artists in this volume bring us beautiful, speculative stories of disability and mental illness in the future. Teeming with space pirates, battle robots, interstellar travel and genetically engineered creatures, every story and image is a quality, crafted work of science fiction in its own right, as thrilling and fascinating as it is worthy and The fifteen authors and nine artists in this volume bring us beautiful, speculative stories of disability and mental illness in the future. Teeming with space pirates, battle robots, interstellar travel and genetically engineered creatures, every story and image is a quality, crafted work of science fiction in its own right, as thrilling and fascinating as it is worthy and important. These are stories about people with disabilities in all of their complexity and diversity, that scream with passion and intensity. These are stories that refuse to go gently.


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The fifteen authors and nine artists in this volume bring us beautiful, speculative stories of disability and mental illness in the future. Teeming with space pirates, battle robots, interstellar travel and genetically engineered creatures, every story and image is a quality, crafted work of science fiction in its own right, as thrilling and fascinating as it is worthy and The fifteen authors and nine artists in this volume bring us beautiful, speculative stories of disability and mental illness in the future. Teeming with space pirates, battle robots, interstellar travel and genetically engineered creatures, every story and image is a quality, crafted work of science fiction in its own right, as thrilling and fascinating as it is worthy and important. These are stories about people with disabilities in all of their complexity and diversity, that scream with passion and intensity. These are stories that refuse to go gently.

30 review for Accessing the Future: A Disability-Themed Anthology of Speculative Fiction

  1. 5 out of 5

    Shadowdenizen

    This is a wonderfully poignant SF anthology; on the strength of the first half of this alone, I'd already felt strongly enough about this to recc it to many of my GoodReads friends. The best, most-rewarding part of this reading experience is that all the stories in this anthology are excellent, well-crafted pieces of fiction in their own right, with fully developed and fleshed-out characters. While the central theme IS centered around disabilites, thankfully they are generally treated as merely on This is a wonderfully poignant SF anthology; on the strength of the first half of this alone, I'd already felt strongly enough about this to recc it to many of my GoodReads friends. The best, most-rewarding part of this reading experience is that all the stories in this anthology are excellent, well-crafted pieces of fiction in their own right, with fully developed and fleshed-out characters. While the central theme IS centered around disabilites, thankfully they are generally treated as merely one component of a characters' full personality, and the stories are assuredly (and thankfully) NOT treatises full of moralizing on disability and diversity, but rather well-written SF stories in their own right 5 over-the-moon stars for this gem of an anthology; highly recommended.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    An important anthology, but so many of the stories just didn't work for me for various reasons, or were just okay. There were only a handful that I enjoyed, or at least admired. Just a heads up for how I personally interpret the star ratings: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ = Excellent ⭐⭐⭐⭐ = Good ⭐⭐⭐ = Average ⭐⭐ = Disliked ⭐ = Hated #1: Pirate Songs, by Nicolette Barischoff. A very poor start to this anthology (aside from the excellent preface and introduction). There was just nothing, aside from the disability rep, that made An important anthology, but so many of the stories just didn't work for me for various reasons, or were just okay. There were only a handful that I enjoyed, or at least admired. Just a heads up for how I personally interpret the star ratings: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ = Excellent ⭐⭐⭐⭐ = Good ⭐⭐⭐ = Average ⭐⭐ = Disliked ⭐ = Hated #1: Pirate Songs, by Nicolette Barischoff. A very poor start to this anthology (aside from the excellent preface and introduction). There was just nothing, aside from the disability rep, that made this story interesting or redeemable to me. And there were so many things I did not care for, such as Kell's entire existence. I also don't get how Margo could (view spoiler)[become friends with these people who basically threaten to rape her multiple times and are just shitty to her in general, and then help them out (hide spoiler)] ...just, no. RATING: ⭐ #2: Pay Attention, by Sarah Pinsker. Much better. An intriguing tech idea with plenty of social commentary. I liked the character and tone of the story. Really, a good story overall. RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ #3: Invisible People, by Margaret Killjoy. An engaging story, with a complex protagonist. Some of what happened around the climax is a little fuzzy to me ( a lot of action at that part), and I wasn't even sure how they escaped exactly, but all in all, I enjoyed this story pretty well. RATING: ⭐⭐⭐ #4: The Lessons of the Moon, by Joyce Chng Very brief and poignant. There wasn't quite enough to it for my liking. I think it could have been extended a little more and would have been excellent. There seemed to be a lot of potential, but in the end it didn't really go anywhere. Beautiful, emotional writing, though. RATING: ⭐⭐⭐ #5: Screens, by Samantha Rich. This story delved into some interesting themes and had a fascinating tech idea, but the execution just didn't quite live up to eithers' potential. It just didn't feel like much changed and the story kind of tapered off blandly. A shame. RATING: ⭐⭐⭐ #6: A Sense All Its Own, by Sara Patterson. I didn't care for this story. Too much action and not enough...anything else, really, other than some boring conversations. There just didn't seem to be much a point to the story, and I felt like the relationships were too simplistic and the interactions were sometimes off?? Another thing I didn't care for was the world-building. Changing a credit card to a cred card does not help to immerse me into this new world/new version of our world. I really didn't get a good grasp of very much in this setting—even the things Bren was using to fight with! And even though she's partially blind, there are tons of other ways to establish setting without visual description, and I was hoping for more of that, which would give a reader more insight into how she experiences the world. Just, overall this story wasn't my cup of tea. RATING: ⭐⭐ #7: Better to Have Loved, by Kate O'Connor. An alright story. I didn't really like the MC too much because of how she treated her dead wife's dog. I also felt like the story could have been better. The emotional impact just wasn't there—probably because I didn't like the character until around the end or so. All in all, it was just an okay read. RATING: ⭐⭐⭐ #8: Morphic Resonance, by Toby MacNutt. Clearly, the author loved the tech ideas in this story, because it, and having the characters discuss them for pages, was what made up the bulk of this story. And despite that, I had a hard time grasping how a lot of it worked. The author wrote in a way that assumed the reader was much more familiar with all the sci-fi ideas and we never got a proper introduction or explanation for how it worked, leaving this reader a little confused trying to figure out how all of it worked together. Just as a story, I had some problems with it. The protagonist seemed very passive and unsure of what he wanted, and then the other main character, just going by a “gut-feeling”, acts as though he knows what kind of changes the protagonist wants done to his body?? It just did not make sense and made me uncomfortable, honestly. Plus, despite the other character (named Ammon) trying to assure the protagonist that he can choose things, it still seemed like he was pressuring him (even using different pronouns for the protagonist without asking if the protagonist was okay with it, or, ya know, just asking what his preferred pronouns are -_-). So, yeah. It left a bad taste in my mouth and I didn't really care for it. RATING: ⭐.5 #9: Losing Touch, by Louise Hughes. Wow, okay, this was a good one! Very well-written, fascinating plot and setting, interesting characters. THIS is what we needed more of in this anthology. RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5 #10: into the waters i rode down, by Jack Hollis Marr. Um, what? What did I read here? This was very stream-of-conscious, which is something I'm not really a fan of, and overall it did not make a lot of sense (maybe it wasn't supposed to). It was nice seeing and older woman featured as the protagonist, and she had a lot of voice, for sure. One thing I'm rating it a little lower for was (view spoiler)[the death of the animal she was...inhabiting? (hide spoiler)] . A lot of interesting things went into this story, for sure, though I can't say it all worked well for me. RATING: ⭐⭐.5 #11: Playa Song, by Petra Kuppers. I asked myself “huh?” several times while reading this one too, though it was more due to some of the odd writing and descriptions that left me shaking my head. The story was mostly straightforward, though the author kind of uses techniques and devices to try to make it more “epic” than it actually was, such as jumping back in time and through different character's POVs. All in all, this had some interesting things going on, but kind of left me feeling meh by the end. Didn't live up to the hype it was trying to build. RATING: ⭐⭐⭐ #12: Puppetry, by A.C. Buchanan. This one was alright. It had some good themes, was written in an engaging way, and the characters were fine. It didn't quite grab me as much as I was hoping for, but it was an important story with plenty of merit. RATING: ⭐⭐⭐.5 #13: Lyric, by A.F. Sanchez. Very impressive. I love a story that can keep me engaged from several angles. And this one had great themes, characters, and world-building, and just the story itself was very moving and honestly gripping in a subdued, makes-you-think kind of way. And, of course, when something is written in second-person POV and it's done well, I always tend to really enjoy those stories. RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5. Personal favorite of the anthology! #14: Courting the Silent Sun, by Rachel K. Jones. Not sure what I think of this one. I am wondering why the author named her planet Vega, inhabited by, you guessed it, Vegans. So that equally made me grin and read possibly too much into that choice as I made my way through the story. Didn't care for the main characters (a couple who are in a relationship together), as both seemed toxic AF. Just some things that happened in the story made me end up not liking either of them. That's kind of my feeling about the whole story: I finished it and ended up not caring about any of it. The writing was quite good, in an abstract-y way. Otherwise...? RATING: ⭐⭐.5 #15: In Open Air, by David Jon Fuller. I found this one to be fairly boring until around the last third. It had a good ending. As an ending for the anthology, I would have maybe liked something a bit more, but all in all it wasn't a bad way to finish off. This one featured several types of rep, such as Indigenous characters and important characters (including the MC) who are 40+.RATING: ⭐⭐⭐ stars -- There we have it. Though many of these were just "okay" for me, I am so glad that this anthology exists, and I'm glad that I read it. As one can see from my notes, there were several stories that I thought had potential, which makes me think that they could have benefited from another round of editing. I'll be seeking out more from the authors of the stories I liked, for sure. Lastly, the illustrations sprinkled throughout the anthology were a wonderful touch! 2.5 stars, rounded up, for the anthology as a whole.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Danni Green

    THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD. SO GOOD!! Every single story and image (including detailed image descriptions for all visual images!) in this book is incredibly well-crafted and sent chills up my spine. I tried to read it really slowly so it wouldn't end so quickly, but it was just so good that I couldn't slow down! My heart nearly broke when I reached the end and there was no more book left. Hoping beyond hope for a volume two!!! THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD. SO GOOD!! Every single story and image (including detailed image descriptions for all visual images!) in this book is incredibly well-crafted and sent chills up my spine. I tried to read it really slowly so it wouldn't end so quickly, but it was just so good that I couldn't slow down! My heart nearly broke when I reached the end and there was no more book left. Hoping beyond hope for a volume two!!!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Suzi

    So so good. A brilliant anthology. The writing is top notch and themes are so on point. This book takes on disability by centering characters with disabilities as creators of their own narratives and subverts harmful sci-fi tropes such as "technology as cure." The stories avoid treating their characters as "inspirational" and instead create real, flawed people. The stories are subtle and complex in their handling of disability and the collection editors contextualize the stories within our ablei So so good. A brilliant anthology. The writing is top notch and themes are so on point. This book takes on disability by centering characters with disabilities as creators of their own narratives and subverts harmful sci-fi tropes such as "technology as cure." The stories avoid treating their characters as "inspirational" and instead create real, flawed people. The stories are subtle and complex in their handling of disability and the collection editors contextualize the stories within our ableist culture through their foreword and afterword.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Megan Daws

    I thought this was really wonderful – though, like most short story anthologies, it varies in quality, it has a good proportion of 5 star stories – for these authors to create such wonderful characters, such original worlds, each in less than 20 pages, is really something. Beyond that, this book is just important – Accessing the future aims to present disability in a realistic way, where the disabled characters aren’t just sidekicks or villains and where they’re just real people. I need to read m I thought this was really wonderful – though, like most short story anthologies, it varies in quality, it has a good proportion of 5 star stories – for these authors to create such wonderful characters, such original worlds, each in less than 20 pages, is really something. Beyond that, this book is just important – Accessing the future aims to present disability in a realistic way, where the disabled characters aren’t just sidekicks or villains and where they’re just real people. I need to read more books like this.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Review originally written for my blog So this was the third book I read for Sci-Fi month over on Twitter but I've decided to review it first just because it's so fantastic. I bought this a while ago on Amazon when I had some money left on a gift card then forgot about it for a while until this month. I've been trying to focus on reducing my physical TBR pile for Sci-Fi month (especially as then I can take a photo at the end of them all in a nice stack) but I just had to make an exception for this Review originally written for my blog So this was the third book I read for Sci-Fi month over on Twitter but I've decided to review it first just because it's so fantastic. I bought this a while ago on Amazon when I had some money left on a gift card then forgot about it for a while until this month. I've been trying to focus on reducing my physical TBR pile for Sci-Fi month (especially as then I can take a photo at the end of them all in a nice stack) but I just had to make an exception for this as it sounded fantastic. Before we even get to the stories, there is a fantastic introduction which discusses the fact that not only does this attempt to represent a diverse range of disabilities, but it wants to ensure the people portrayed are equally as diverse, acknowledging that a lot of disability awareness focuses on straight white people. I was very impressed with that and glad to know they were making a conscious effort to be as inclusive as possible. The range of disabilities represented is very interesting ranging from physical to mental, including even discussing how many disabilities are due to culture and so one story is focused on imagining what a future would be like where grief is considered a disability. I won't say too much about the stories themselves but there is a fantastic range and I really enjoyed them all. It's hard to pick a favourite since all the characters are brilliant and well portrayed. Along with short stories, there are also several pieces of artwork. Each piece of artwork is followed by a description of the image for those who are unable to see it, which I was particularly pleased to see in a collection focused on disabilities. Unfortunately, there is not an audiobook version yet but I hope there will be one eventually to make it even more accessible. Even though my sight is fine, there were details mentioned in the descriptions that I hadn't noticed which helped enrich my enjoyment of the art. My favourite piece of artwork though is definitely the cover, which was one of the reasons I bought the book in the first place. I highly, highly recommend this collection. It's incredibly diverse and full of great sci-fi. I've already got several friends to buy it just because I've been gushing about it so much and if it was possible to gift Kindle books in the UK, I'd definitely have bought it for several more.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Zara Rahman

    Absolutely wonderful anthology of disability-themed speculative fiction stories. It highlighted many areas of ignorance for me - like the fact that the large majority of speculative fiction that I've read imagines a future where disabled people are totally erased, their conditions "cured" or "corrected." I can't imagine how excluding that must feel for disabled people reading those stories, and I'm incredibly grateful to this book for imagining what some alternative futures might look like. The Absolutely wonderful anthology of disability-themed speculative fiction stories. It highlighted many areas of ignorance for me - like the fact that the large majority of speculative fiction that I've read imagines a future where disabled people are totally erased, their conditions "cured" or "corrected." I can't imagine how excluding that must feel for disabled people reading those stories, and I'm incredibly grateful to this book for imagining what some alternative futures might look like. The book touches on some political debates, some of which are going on today in one form or another - one reminded me of a (real-life) ongoing German court case where a doctor is taking the parents of a deaf child to court to force them to give the child a cochlear implant. How does the use of that technology affect the child and their family, and who gets to decide? I imagine we'll see more and more of these debates in the future, and this collection of stories provides some useful and interesting background for people who aren't yet familiar with the arguments on either side of those debates (such as myself!) All in all, seriously can't recommend this enough.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jeanne McDonald

    This was interesting, entertaining, but most of all, thought-provoking. Each entry centers around a character (or characters) with a disability. I rather enjoyed seeing how they all played out, and would definitely recommend it to anyone who wishes to break the mold of the picture-perfect protagonist in a world of imperfection.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Susie Munro

    Yes, yes, yes yes yes! Read this brilliant collection now, it might just be the best thing you'll read this year. Yes, yes, yes yes yes! Read this brilliant collection now, it might just be the best thing you'll read this year.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Acacia Ives

    3.5 but i'll talk on channel about it! 3.5 but i'll talk on channel about it!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Samantha (AK)

    Accessing the Future: A Disability-Themed Anthology of Speculative Fiction is one of those anthologies that is thematically important, but uneven in execution. I usually read a couple of anthologies or short story collections per year, so I’m used to their mixed-bag nature. There are 15 stories in this volume, addressing a range of visible and invisible disabilities. There are protagonists that most readers aren’t used to seeing. (e.g. a young woman with spina bifida in “Pirate Songs”, a blind pi Accessing the Future: A Disability-Themed Anthology of Speculative Fiction is one of those anthologies that is thematically important, but uneven in execution. I usually read a couple of anthologies or short story collections per year, so I’m used to their mixed-bag nature. There are 15 stories in this volume, addressing a range of visible and invisible disabilities. There are protagonists that most readers aren’t used to seeing. (e.g. a young woman with spina bifida in “Pirate Songs”, a blind pilot “A Sense all its Own”, and an aging HOH executive officer on a generation ship in “In Open Air”) There’s also a lot of focus on assistive technology: who owns it, who uses it, and how that which is developed and tested for the disabled may later be marketed to able-bodied consumers as enhancement. (Sarah Pinsker’s “Pay Attention” is one of my favorite stories in this volume.) Rachel K. Jones’ “Courting the Silent Sun” also makes a case for agency in the use of assistive technology, rather than universal enforcement of a ‘cure’ that not everyone may want. Finally, some of these stories address privacy concerns relating to technological assistance. (“Screens” by Samantha Rich, “Invisible People” by Margaret Killjoy, and “Morphic Resonance” by Toby MacNutt). However uneven it is as a collection, I’m glad that I read it. Disability in fiction is often ‘inconvenient’-- it tends to be brushed aside, ignored, or compensated for in such a way that it no longer makes a difference in the way that the story is told. But in sweeping visible and invisible disabilities under the rug, creators and consumers reinforce societal taboos rather than facing up to differential experience of the world. Full Table of Contents: Nicolette Barischoff “Pirate Songs” Sarah Pinsker “Pay Attention” Margaret Killjoy “Invisible People” Joyce Chng “The Lessons of the Moon” Samantha Rich “Screens” Sara Patterson “A Sense All its Own” Kate O'Connor “Better to Have Loved” Toby MacNutt “Morphic Resonance” Louise Hughes “Losing Touch” Jack Hollis Marr “into the waters i rode down” Petra Kuppers “Playa Song” A.C. Buchanan “Puppetry” A.F. Sanchez “Lyric” Rachael K. Jones “Courting the Silent Sun” David Jón Fuller “In Open Air” Props to The Future Fire for compiling these stories. They gave me a lot to think about, and that’s worth a fair bit. A Note About the Art: There are eight illustrations in this volume, each with a carefully-written image description on the reverse. With a couple of exceptions, I preferred the concept of each piece over the execution, but it was still a nice inclusion.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    There were beautiful illustrations in between the stories, accompanied by image descriptions which was really great! Pirate Songs by Nicolette Barischoff - 4* Pay Attention by Sarah Pister - 2* Invisible People by Margaret Killjoy - 3* The Lessons of the Moon by Joyce Chng - 3* Screens by Samantha Rich - 4.5* A Sense All its Own by Sara Patterson - 3* Better to Have Loved by Kate O'Connor - 3.5* Morphic Resonance by Toby MacNutt - 2.5* Losing Touch by Louise Hughes - 4* into the waters i rode down by Jack There were beautiful illustrations in between the stories, accompanied by image descriptions which was really great! Pirate Songs by Nicolette Barischoff - 4* Pay Attention by Sarah Pister - 2* Invisible People by Margaret Killjoy - 3* The Lessons of the Moon by Joyce Chng - 3* Screens by Samantha Rich - 4.5* A Sense All its Own by Sara Patterson - 3* Better to Have Loved by Kate O'Connor - 3.5* Morphic Resonance by Toby MacNutt - 2.5* Losing Touch by Louise Hughes - 4* into the waters i rode down by Jack Hollis Marr - 3.5* Puppetry by A.C. Buchanan - 3* Lyric by A.F. Sanchez - 4* Courting the Silent Sun by Rachel K. Jones - 4.5* Playa Song by Petra Kuppers - 2.5* In Open Air by David Jon Fuller - 2.5*

  13. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    As with any anthology, some stories in here spoke to me more than others. But it was a refreshing read — diverse in every way, from the authors to their characters to the writing styles. As opposed to almost every other media portrayal, the characters with dis/abilities in these stories are the heroes. And fittingly, the stories grapple with ideas about the role of technology in the lives of people with dis/abilities and even with the question of what makes something a “disability.” I truly enjo As with any anthology, some stories in here spoke to me more than others. But it was a refreshing read — diverse in every way, from the authors to their characters to the writing styles. As opposed to almost every other media portrayal, the characters with dis/abilities in these stories are the heroes. And fittingly, the stories grapple with ideas about the role of technology in the lives of people with dis/abilities and even with the question of what makes something a “disability.” I truly enjoyed many of the pieces in here, and all of them made me think a little differently about the way I perceive and interact with the world.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia

    Very disappointed. None of those stories explore in any meaningful way the topic, and not because of their length. There is just no depth or creativity to the examination of the way our world is built to be ableist (and racist and sexist and queerphobic), nor to the fictional integration of disability in any future society. And despite what the foreword and introduction say, the intersectionality is perfunctory at best.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Netanella

    My review is more of a minority report here, as I surmised while skimming the many reviewers who loved this collection of speculative fiction shorts featuring characters with disabilities. And although I loved the idea of this collection, the execution of a majority of the stories seemed to fall flat for me. There were a few standout pieces that I absolutely adored, but they seemed hit or miss.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Brianna Silva

    This was an interesting idea for an anthology! Short stories that are all (a) science fiction and (b) focus on disability? It is good that this exists. Shout-out to several stories I especially appreciated: 🚀 "A Sense All its Own" by Sara Patterson, about a pilot of animalistic robots trying to bypass rules about vision restrictions and adaptive tech. Super fun story to read! 🚀 "Puppetry" by A.C. Buchanan, about a soldier with an ulterior purpose; really turns the technology-as-cure trope on its h This was an interesting idea for an anthology! Short stories that are all (a) science fiction and (b) focus on disability? It is good that this exists. Shout-out to several stories I especially appreciated: 🚀 "A Sense All its Own" by Sara Patterson, about a pilot of animalistic robots trying to bypass rules about vision restrictions and adaptive tech. Super fun story to read! 🚀 "Puppetry" by A.C. Buchanan, about a soldier with an ulterior purpose; really turns the technology-as-cure trope on its head. 🚀 "Lyric" by A.F. Sanchez, a unique, really well-done story about a semi-non-verbal autistic character, written in second person, where you, the reader, are the character. 🚀 "Courting the Silent Sun" by Rachel K. Jones, a powerful story about the deaf community and its place in the future, with a love story that really hit me in the feels. Recommended!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Nadia

    Overall this was pretty good. There were quite a few I really enjoyed, but there were some that I found lacking and one that I ended up skipping half of because I literally didn't understand what was going on - which it seems from reading reviews has happened to others. But definitely a really interesting approach to discussing disability, would like to see more of this disability/SF combination. Overall this was pretty good. There were quite a few I really enjoyed, but there were some that I found lacking and one that I ended up skipping half of because I literally didn't understand what was going on - which it seems from reading reviews has happened to others. But definitely a really interesting approach to discussing disability, would like to see more of this disability/SF combination.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Shipofools999

    This anthology has some good stories but I really love is the representation aspect. There are a variety of disable characters in a variety of settings and it helps make it "normal" as in part of our regular experience instead of something special. I think accepting difference and working with it is a good thing. The quality level of the stories is mixed. The type of stories are mixed and I didn't like all of them. But the experience of reading characters where what is considered a disability her This anthology has some good stories but I really love is the representation aspect. There are a variety of disable characters in a variety of settings and it helps make it "normal" as in part of our regular experience instead of something special. I think accepting difference and working with it is a good thing. The quality level of the stories is mixed. The type of stories are mixed and I didn't like all of them. But the experience of reading characters where what is considered a disability here is just a characteristic of someone's nature was a delight. I appreciate the exposure and thought experiments. I would like more of this. I am sad that it had to be funded via an Indiegogo campaign and that there isn't more of a call for stories like this. These are not nitche stories. They are accessible and enjoyable by everyone. Going through my reviews of each story, it appears that I really like the ones that have an element of conflict/contrast between the Haves and the Have Nots. I did not like the more experimental story telling ones. Pirate songs / Nicolette Barischoff - Kick ass space story, loved it. 5 stars.(view spoiler)[ A girl without a spine rescued by smugglers without her wheelchair. And they don't care. She is from the rich side, they are from the poor. She is introduced to reality. (hide spoiler)] Pay attention / Sarah Pinsker - Really good story from the perspective of someone who is not NeuroTypical. 5 stars. (view spoiler)[A high school student without family and without money that has a hard time focussing their attention gets an opportunity to have an experimental implant that makes her hyper aware. And the battery goes dead. (hide spoiler)] Invisible people / Margaret Killjoy - Good story, I liked it. 5 stars(view spoiler)[Homeless man with PTSD and paranoia does some illegal hacking to support himself and the corporate police raid... (hide spoiler)] The lessons of the moon / Joyce Chng - Written in such a way I wasn't really sure what was going on. A review helped me understand what was going on. 2 stars. (view spoiler)[unnamed character in ‘The Lessons of the Moon’ is transferred to a Pod (spaceship) body against the character's wishes, who is then forced to serve as a soldier, for ‘something noble rather than dying of a terminal disease. (hide spoiler)] Screens / Samantha Rich - This one left me a little lost on how the world handled the turning invisible disabilities into visual ones. I would have liked a little more direction about what came up around it. But it was a good idea. 3 stars. (view spoiler)[ Samantha Rich's ‘Screens’ imagines an environment where individuals' emotional status is broadcast via digital displays so that no emotional distress, disability or mental health issue goes unnoticed. When a depressed student removes their screen, it prompts conflict between questions of self-determination and the disability rights-centred rallying cry of the screen movement: “We will make the invisible disabilities visible. You will not be able to pretend we don't exist. (hide spoiler)] A sense all its own / Sara Patterson -Great story, well told. 5 stars. (view spoiler)[Bren, in ‘A Sense All its Own’, avoids corrective surgery for her eyes, lest it prevent her from droid fighting (‘a test of human skill, not of human-enhanced-with-robotics skill’),3 instead illegally competing in droid fights from which pilots ‘with physical limitation (hide spoiler)] Better to have loved / Kate O'Connor -This was on ok story. I don't feel it touched any depth. It could have explored the value of feelings or the cost of removing feelings but it stuck to just the process of choosing to do it or not. It was missing thought. 3 stars. (view spoiler)[Kate O'Connor's ‘Better to Have Loved’ imagines a society that medically removes grief as an inefficient and ‘selfish’ process. Take meds and skip the entire grief process (hide spoiler)] Morphic resonance / Toby MacNutt - I enjoyed this one. I think it could have gone much farther. Why was the tech so underground, why weren't people more concerned about exposure if it was so verboten? But a good exploration, 4 stars.(view spoiler)[mass governmental tracking of citizens—a government that presents gender as determined at birth, where androgyny or anything other than cisgender positions are illegal. From the story, I got the illegal bit but not the cigender aspect. Just any modifications were "wrong." (hide spoiler)] Losing touch / Louise Hughes -Interesting idea, robots supporting individual human consciousnesses but don't know what to do to help them. 4 stars. (view spoiler)[‘Losing Touch’, where human consciousness is preserved in intelligent, well-intentioned, and autonomous droids after an apocalyptic event—and where the droids are unable to comprehend the human need for memory or grief. (hide spoiler)] Into the waters I rode down / Jack Hollis Marr -OK story but written in a way I am not fond of. There is a lot of piecing things together to try an understand what is going on. 3 stars. (view spoiler)[neural atypical woman in an experiment to connect with brain of an animal to explore some planet to collect into on aliens because we want to mine the planet. (hide spoiler)] Playa song / Petra Kuppers -This story didn't make any sense to me, even after reading reviews. It has great detail about how people were escaping the end of civilization from the Bay Area. But it was disjointed and some things ended up somewhere unrelated to anything else and unexplainable. Didn't like it. 1 star. (view spoiler)[Petra Kupper's ‘Playa Song’ involves the abandonment of a wheelchair amidst a surreal and beautiful post-apocalyptic landscape. People leaving Berkeley as civilization comes apart. One of them ends up making a lake by singing? Another has a brother die and therefore a girl he picked up becomes super important to him? (hide spoiler)] Puppetry / A.C. Buchanan - Good story, I liked it. 4 stars (view spoiler)['Puppetry’, Merie Jae Tanner volunteers as a soldier, with the promise that in return for 8 years in service she will receive a neurological override for her mobility disability—a position that, without spoiling the plot, is fundamentally challenged by the narrative, alongside a discussion of science fiction and colonialism. (hide spoiler)] Lyric / A.F. Sanchez -This one bothered me. It seemed to focus on the set up and stop before it got to the story. 3 stars.(view spoiler)[The narrative centres around the connection between the autistic narrator and their unnamed ‘Lyric’ animal, an experimental companion animal bought by the narrator at great expense (even after discounts for injury).Things were a little confusing when we were with the autistic character but that was ok. It stopped right when there was work to be done with the animal and there was zero groundwork laid out that there was any hope that this animal would be workable. (hide spoiler)] Courting the silent sun / Rachael K. Jones -Pretty good story a major motivational element was not clear enough for me. The story took on depth after reading a review. 3 stars.(view spoiler)[deaf children are forced to receive a ‘neural implant shortly after birth until the secession of a rebel (deaf) colony offers an alternative; (hide spoiler)] In open air / David Jon Fuller -This had the bones of a good story but the story got lost by focusing on the experience of the main character. 3 stars. (view spoiler)[in ‘In the Open Air’ Soraiya Courchene is a translator with a hearing impairment—where the merging of languages in a slow colony ship has led to the irrelevance of implants, until an interruption from the sending planet (hide spoiler)]

  19. 4 out of 5

    Derek Newman-Stille

    I have to admit that I was hesitant to review Accessing the Future because I wrote the afterward for it and I felt as though it would seem self-serving to review it, but as a disability scholar and a speculative fiction fan who is disabled, I felt that this book needed to be reviewed… well, that and IT IS A REALLY FANTASTIC BOOK. There is nothing so pleasing as finding a collection where every story is appealing. When I read the collection, I kept waiting with worry for the one story that would I have to admit that I was hesitant to review Accessing the Future because I wrote the afterward for it and I felt as though it would seem self-serving to review it, but as a disability scholar and a speculative fiction fan who is disabled, I felt that this book needed to be reviewed… well, that and IT IS A REALLY FANTASTIC BOOK. There is nothing so pleasing as finding a collection where every story is appealing. When I read the collection, I kept waiting with worry for the one story that would disappoint me… but it never arrived. I was incredibly pleased that every story in the collection spoke to me, entertained me, and interrogated the notion of disability in a powerful way. As a disability scholar, I always fear that people will write “inspiration porn”. For those of you who are not in disability scholarship, we use the term “inspiration porn” to refer to media that use disabled people to make able-bodied people feel better, often by talking about how inspirational we disabled people are. This is, of course, infantalising and insulting to disabled people. I was incredibly pleased when none of the stories in Accessing the Future was “inspiration porn”. I should have known that the brilliant Kathryn Allan and Djibril Al-Ayad would make sure that the collection was free of this trope of disability, but it has gotten to the point where when I see disability in any title, I respond with some hesitation, always worried that I am about to be inundated with problematic tropes about disability. Not only does Accessing the Future represent stories that avoid this trope, the collection features stories that actively resist tropes and present disabled characters as complex and complete… as actual people instead of symbols of something that author is trying to represent. And isn’t it about time we are treated as real people instead of someone’s dream about what we should be or what they imagine us to be? To read a longer version of my review, visit my website at https://speculatingcanada.ca/2016/03/...

  20. 5 out of 5

    Eggp

    You can't ignore them disabled, but not broken a worthwhile message. You can't ignore them disabled, but not broken a worthwhile message.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Natasha

    Accessing the Future is a collection of worlds created by 15 authors, 9 artists and edited by Kathryn Allan and Djibril al-Ayad that is much needed in our small world. This book brings the views of those with disabilities or mental illness to the forefront of storytelling. through the creation of inclusive spaces, readers get an in your face view of what life is like and can be like for some in a science fiction setting. This book is a refreshing contrast to the majority of books that feature ch Accessing the Future is a collection of worlds created by 15 authors, 9 artists and edited by Kathryn Allan and Djibril al-Ayad that is much needed in our small world. This book brings the views of those with disabilities or mental illness to the forefront of storytelling. through the creation of inclusive spaces, readers get an in your face view of what life is like and can be like for some in a science fiction setting. This book is a refreshing contrast to the majority of books that feature characters with disabilities or mental illness. As they are no longer a side character, the depressing pity story or the inspirational porn that everyone needs to read. The authors inside these worlds have place their characters at the forefront of every story showcasing the down and dirty reality of how life can be depending on your situation from those in privileged settings to those in the slums. Readers can relate to characters, connecting with the stories on a deeper level because these worlds were created with the understanding of what true inclusion means, which allows you to immerse yourself in each short story. At the end of every story, I found myself aching for just a few pages more of each world, which as an avid reader knows will never be enough. Something truly incredible that is included along with each wonderful piece of artwork inside the book is a detailed description of the art. Showcasing just how inclusive literature can be made for everyone, by allowing those visually impaired to share in every part of this fantastic collection. Warning this book will introduce you to a new style of writing through so many amazing authors that you will need more shelf space for all the new books you just have to read. It will also make you look at how disability and mental illness are portrayed in stories in a whole new way when reading books by nondisabled writers.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Shona

    Very pleased with this anthology, not because it’s particularly fantastic — it’s just pretty good — but because there’s so much nuance, and realism, and room for failure, both for characters and also for the authors. This isn’t one of your pandering anthologies, and definitely isn’t here for your inspiration; it’s just here to exist, and I love it for that. That said, the stories were a mix of really good, not-so-great, and meh. But that’s because I enjoyed some concepts, was completely confused Very pleased with this anthology, not because it’s particularly fantastic — it’s just pretty good — but because there’s so much nuance, and realism, and room for failure, both for characters and also for the authors. This isn’t one of your pandering anthologies, and definitely isn’t here for your inspiration; it’s just here to exist, and I love it for that. That said, the stories were a mix of really good, not-so-great, and meh. But that’s because I enjoyed some concepts, was completely confused by others, and found a few that really didn’t impress me. That’s a good thing! This anthology is disability-themed, it’s not about disability. My favourites: • Better To Have Loved, by Kate O’Connor. I seem to really like stories about loss, going by recent reviews 🥺 (Mild spoiler: Would you take a pill to forget your pain?) • Morphic Resonance, by Toby MacNutt. Very cool concepts! Very, very cool concepts. • Losing Touch by Louise Hughes. Took me a minute to figure out what was going on, but — yes, wow. What if? • into the waters i rode down by Jack Hollis Marr must be the most original short story I’ve ever read. • Puppetry, by AC Buchanan rather disappointed me in the end, but I would read the novel, I think. • Lyric, by A.F. Sanchez was not a fave, but was just very wild, and I liked the protagonist. • In Open Air, by David Jón Fuller had such a fun ending. 3.5/5.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    What a lovely anthology. Often anthologies suffer due to the chaotic nature of including works by different authors on different subjects, but the highly focused nature of this anthology led it to be a very cohesive collection. The editors did a wonderful job of communicating their message and choosing works that best suit this message. Naturally, I liked some works better than others and didn't feel that the illustrations contributed meaningfully, which is why I gave this work 4 stars out of 5. What a lovely anthology. Often anthologies suffer due to the chaotic nature of including works by different authors on different subjects, but the highly focused nature of this anthology led it to be a very cohesive collection. The editors did a wonderful job of communicating their message and choosing works that best suit this message. Naturally, I liked some works better than others and didn't feel that the illustrations contributed meaningfully, which is why I gave this work 4 stars out of 5. But overall, I think an anthology of this nature is so incredibly important and I was very comforted by it.

  24. 4 out of 5

    TinySalutations

    This is the best short story collection I’ve read in a long time. So many good stories. Every short story collection is likely going to have a few you like less than the others, but there were none that I hated here and I really liked an overwhelming majority. I especially loved “Pirate Song”, “A Sense All Its Own”, “Circling the Silent Sun”, and “In Open Air”. I also liked “Screens” and “Lyric”. There were a few that just didn’t take the time to explain the tech enough (or some other situation) This is the best short story collection I’ve read in a long time. So many good stories. Every short story collection is likely going to have a few you like less than the others, but there were none that I hated here and I really liked an overwhelming majority. I especially loved “Pirate Song”, “A Sense All Its Own”, “Circling the Silent Sun”, and “In Open Air”. I also liked “Screens” and “Lyric”. There were a few that just didn’t take the time to explain the tech enough (or some other situation), but still overall good storytelling.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Magelaner

    A fairly underwhelming collection of stories, and definitely not what I was hoping for. The majority of the main characters seemed to be struggling with their disability in exactly the same way that they would now, and face the same types of discrimination. I suppose I was hoping for stories about characters who aren't primarily defined by their disabilities, or stories that push the definition of what society considers a disability or mental illness. A fairly underwhelming collection of stories, and definitely not what I was hoping for. The majority of the main characters seemed to be struggling with their disability in exactly the same way that they would now, and face the same types of discrimination. I suppose I was hoping for stories about characters who aren't primarily defined by their disabilities, or stories that push the definition of what society considers a disability or mental illness.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Miri M.

    This book I read in parts every so often, and i can say that I have already forgotten some of the beginning stories, but I still have vivid scenes of certain ones. I do know that i loved most of these stories or at least liked them, and that was surprising to me bc typically w anthologies I expect to only like a few. I will definitely reread.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kaila

    I could go on and on about how refreshing it is to read about disability without reading about disability--that is, these stories are so good on their own, the characters are great, and their disabilities are a facet of their character, not the single defining trait. Creative, well-written, and the illustrations are great too.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kir

    2⭐, Okay. Accessing the Future is an important anthology, but a number of the stories weren't my cup of tea, and I enjoyed the foreword, introduction and afterword the most. Stories that ticked the enjoy interest box for me were 'Pay Attention' by Sarah Pinsker, 'Better to Have Loved' by Kate O'Connor, 'Losing Touch' by Louise Hughes, 'Puppetry' by A.C. Buchanan. 2⭐, Okay. Accessing the Future is an important anthology, but a number of the stories weren't my cup of tea, and I enjoyed the foreword, introduction and afterword the most. Stories that ticked the enjoy interest box for me were 'Pay Attention' by Sarah Pinsker, 'Better to Have Loved' by Kate O'Connor, 'Losing Touch' by Louise Hughes, 'Puppetry' by A.C. Buchanan.

  29. 4 out of 5

    P.

    Really really enjoyed this, and after Kaleidoscope, I wasn't expecting to read another well balanced collection of short stories that have a focus, but aren't stuck on the focus. This proves its point that including disability in sci fi can only lead to richer, more interesting narratives. Really really enjoyed this, and after Kaleidoscope, I wasn't expecting to read another well balanced collection of short stories that have a focus, but aren't stuck on the focus. This proves its point that including disability in sci fi can only lead to richer, more interesting narratives.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Nice assortment of SF dealing with various forms of disability and it does a good job of seeing the characters as individuals rather than focusing just on their disability like so much literature does.

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