Disabled people don’t make it through the apocalypse. At least that’s the conventional wisdom of both speculative fiction and our own world: If the biomedical industrial complex collapses, so do all the people who rely on its products. Corporations need us to believe this, yes, but it’s hard to deny the truth of it. If pharmaceutical companies like Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi were unable to continue manufacturing insulin, or if it became so scarce as to be affordable only to the investors and technocrats packing their bags for Mars, I’d be done for in a matter of weeks. It’d be nice to think some miracle collective of anarchist scientists could pop up to take their place, but that’s not how we tend to imagine the end of the world going down. So, while people with disabilities have historically populated film and literature more regularly than any other minority group—frequently as “narrative prostheses” where their bodies become plot-driving problems—they disappear from our postcapitalist futures. That is, unless they’ve been mutilated or mutated by the same catastrophe that caused the world to collapse or they’ve gained some kind of supercrip cyborg body in the chaos. (Think of the double-entendre-ish firearm worn by Furiosa in Mad Max.) Those of us with the kinds of everyday illnesses, dependencies, and access issues that more typically define disability can’t hope to make it into the fast-paced, social-Darwinist worlds of apocalypse movies.
But what if my experience in my disabled body is what saves us?