2018 D Franklin Defying Doomsday Award

Posted By on Oct 6, 2019 |

Thank you to those who submitted nominations for the 2018 D Franklin Defying Doomsday Award. This award is for media that deserves recognition for work in disability advocacy in SFF literature.

The 2018 winner… is… what’s this? It seems we have two winners!

Congratulations to R.B. Lemberg for the blog post: “Sergeant Bothari and Disability Representation in the Early Vorkosiverse” published in Strange Horizons and to Ace Ratcliff for the blog post: “Staircases In Space: Why Are Places In Science Fiction Not Wheelchair-Accessible?” published in iO9.

The judges appreciated that Ace Ratcliff’s article draws attention to something basic that still needs to be shouted from the rooftops. We also appreciate that the they took pains to investigate different elements of disability inclusion in science fiction and considered how representation matters, how it affects our real world experiences and vice versa. The article is well-researched and demonstrates, from a basic starting point, how ridiculous mainstream attitudes to these issues are and how far we still have to go.

The judges felt that R.B. Lemberg’s article was important because it noted how easy it is to veer away from criticising the representations that we do see throughout the Vorkosigan series because honestly, we’re just glad there’s something focusing on disability at all. But ignoring these issues means we risk having these continue, now and in the future. R.B acknowledges the importance and value of these books, but also encourages us to question them. In fact, the article encourages everyone to question books and the representations in them; this shouldn’t be something readers wish to avoid, simply because we have been desperate for visibility for so long.


The D Franklin Defying Doomsday award is judged by the Twelfth Planet Press publisher, Alisa Krasnostein, and the Defying Doomsday editors, Tsana Dolichva and Holly Kench, and was made possible by our wonderful Pozible Patron of Diversity, D Franklin. The award grants the winner a cash prize of $200 each year, for three years. Our previous winners are:

Thank you to everyone who took part in the award these last few years, and thank you once again to D Franklin for making it all possible.