Utopian stories and neurodiversity

I adored the writers panel at the Goldsmiths audio drama festival. Writers always have such interesting thoughts!

One strong motif in their discussions was about dystopias. In the past decade, fiction has been dominated by them, for good reason. We are holding up a mirror to the news, and we need to. One writer, Sarah Woods, also said she feels that artists are now helping everyone to ‘rehearse for the end of capitalism as we know it’.

But they also talked about the duty of society’s storytellers to provide new possibilities for humanity, perhaps even map the path to these destinations. They all agreed that they should be trying to conceive of utopias also, and not just reinforce and entrench the pessimism.

Now obviously, utopias have narrative challenges because of the lack of tension and resolution. As a musician I get that. All the writers agreed that utopias were kind of boring.

But I would be really interested if audio drama, a medium where literally any concept is possible, could be brave enough to try out some novel _routes_ to new ideas of utopia.

One that immediately came to me, as someone with a lot of neurodiversity in her life – in particular some wonderful autistics, who are very dear to me – was how the emerging autism pride movement could influence the rest of the world to be better.

Imagine if we were led by people who care more about the things that interest them than in what other people think of them? Whose sensory experience of the world makes them feel it differently and so they notice things about our universe that many would miss? Who know deeply how it feels to be unseen, misunderstood or underestimated? What kind of decisions would they make, and would the people who follow them learn to seek different kinds of outcome?

If anyone has a go at writing this, I hope they will let me score it

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