Alice Wong & Sam de Leve


guest editors' note

Greetings, corporeal crips and non-crips:

As guest editors for this special issue of The Deaf Poets Society, we are excited and honored to share the brilliant creations and perspectives offered by contributors to this issue.

Crips in Space was conjured by a mundane activity: Sam had reconceptualized their movement on wheels as an analogue to movement in zero-gravity, which in turn sparked speculation about the ways in which crips are particularly suited to life in space. Their tweet about #CripsInSpace went viral when Alice amplified it and encouraged community input.

The outpouring of interest from dozens upon dozens of people serves to highlight not only our enduring fascination as a species with space, but also how strongly speculation about the future resonates with d/Deaf and disabled people in particular. As more and more people suggested artmaking around this theme, Alice proposed a collaboration with The Deaf Poets Society. The expertise and interest of The Deaf Poets Society and its editors allowed the burgeoning idea of Crips in Space to come to life here in this issue. We are filled with gratitude for this opportunity and partnership.

While space may exist in a vacuum, the idea of Crips in Space did not come from a cultural vacuum: indeed, it can trace its roots to a long history within speculative fiction and within the d/Deaf and disability community. Despite the erasure or diminishment of d/Deafness and disability in major touchstone media, it is far from absent. Disability and d/Deafness, acknowledged or not, are present in stories from independent authors and publishers, all the way up to blockbuster media like Star Wars. Whether they #SayTheWord or not, there have always been stories about crips in space--and our presence in those stories underscores the underlying truth that d/Deafness and disability are and will always be a fundamental part of human existence.

By sharing these stories, poems, essays, and art, we offer a sample of visions that illustrate that existence. We hope that this issue will provoke further discussion, creation, and imagination. Space truly is the final frontier and our ingenious community of pioneers are prepared to explore it.

return to issue 4: may 2017