James Bradley’s futuristic novel Clade (2015) is not chiefly a story about human disability. It is a novel about climate crisis set across the course of the twenty-first century. But midway through the novel, we are introduced to a seven-year-old boy, Noah, who becomes a key character in the second half of the narrative. Noah is on the spectrum. Autistics decry their portrayal in fiction as aliens, as outsiders, as harbingers of disease and disorder, as beings without agency. As we get to know Noah as a boy, through his teenage years, and later on as an astronomer, his autism is neither denied nor made the defining characteristic of his personhood. Noah is given voice, perspective, and centrality as a rounded character, emerging as someone well suited to a future world reshaped by environmental crises and new social relations. He is not pathologized but socialized across the course of the novel into a world of family, friends, and work. Like his biblical namesake, Noah becomes a survivor in the new environmental and social spaces of the latter part of the twenty-first century.
"Climate Fiction and Disability: Enabled Futures in James Bradley’s Clade (2015),"
Antipodes: Vol. 36:
1, Article 15.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/antipodes/vol36/iss1/15