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Sci-Fi Blindness

January 11, 2021

From Victorian novels to the latest Hollywood blockbusters, sci-fi regularly returns to the theme of blindness.
Peter White, who was heavily influenced as a child by one of the classics, sets out to explore the impact of these explorations of sight on blind and visually impaired people.

He believes a scene in The Day pf the Triffids by John Wyndham imbued him with a strange confidence – and he considers the power of science fiction to present an alternative reality for blind readers precisely at a time when lockdown and social distancing has seen visually impaired people marginalised.

He talks to technology producer Dave Williams about Star Trek The Next Generation’s Chief Engineer Geordi La Forge, Dr Sheri Wells-Jensen talks about Birdbox and world-building from a blind point of view in James L Cambias’s A Darkling Sea. Professor Hannah Thompson of Royal Holloway University of London takes us back to 1910 to consider The Blue Peril – a novel which in some ways is more forward thinking in its depiction of blindness than Hollywood now.

And Doctor Who actor Ellie Wallwork gives us her take on why blindness is so fascinating to the creators of science fiction.

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