“And then, you start feeling sharp”. The first science fiction character based on a Paralympic Athlete

Chiara Montalti


The essay is focussed on discourses on disability within an Italian science fiction novel. The selected novel is entitled BeBlade, written by Pierdomenico Baccalario (2018). It represents a unique publishing initiative. The co-protagonist, in fact, is based on wheelchair young fencer Bebe Vio. After introducing the novel with respect to science fiction genre, we will briefly illustrate the plot, and how our character of interest is depicted. Obviously we will propose several quotes from the book, translated from Italian. We will present some possible stereotypical representations of disability, employing several disability scholars who deal with this literary genre; for example, Michel Bérubé and Kathryn Allan. In addition, we will also consider science fiction writers and consumers close to disability identity. As we will observe, an example of stereotypical and problematic representation is the “supercrip”. We will briefly examine how the connotations of gender are played, too. Through the analysis, BeBlade potentialities regarding disability narrative will emerge. In fact, the book presents some original characteristics. They arise in particular with respect to “curing narratives” and to usually problematic intersections of future and disability – as outlined for example by Alison Kafer.


Keywords: Bebe Vio, stereotypes, representation, prostheses, future, Italian science fiction


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