Nurodiversity and World Building

Last week I talked about NeuroTribes by Steve Silberman.

Predictably, this got me thinking about world building.

When everyone has magic or whatever, how does the world change to accommodate that? And what does it say if they don’t? (If 1/10th of the population basically has super senses, why is it impolite to wear ear-plugs at the school dance?)

Why are so many students at Hogwarts muggle born, and yet there is no ‘wizarding world orientation class’? What’s the real reason no wizards learn to use cellphones? (And don’t say they weren’t invented when the story was written, that is all together too true, too strange, and totally not a fun reason.)

How are cities build differently if we are expecting regular attacks by the undead?

How big does a minority have to be before people start changing to accommodate them?

How long until it is okay for people to wear noise canceling headphones and earplugs in public spaces?

I read this one web-comic once, (Atomic Laundromat, it was silly and I don’t remember it well enough to say if I recommend it) about this guy who ran a laundromat for superheros, specializing in all those nasty hard to get out stains like magic goo and radioactive laser waste and stuff.

I really enjoyed that. I mean, it was cool that the author thought about the mess. Plus, the guy dated a super-hero defense lawyer, a lawyer who specialized in super-hero problems like accidentally smashing buildings and flashing people (while changing) and that kind of thing. It made me laugh. It was so sensible. Because, well, the world CHANGES if people are flying around smashing buildings with their eyes. Culture responds to stuff like that. I don’t know how fast, I don’t know all the mechanisms. I guess it probably depends on a lot of stuff.

But like… how many of us grew up with Code Red drills in school? Know (approximately) how to barricade a room, and that you are supposed to zig-zag when you are being shot at, if you have to run?

Like, HOLY F-CK. Isn’t that crazy?

But here we are. Culture changing to try and accommodate the school-shooter phenomenon.

Life guys.

It’s nuts.

One thought on “Nurodiversity and World Building

  1. One of the things I think is really interesting about fantasy is what writing it says about what you think about the essential nature of reality. See, if you say “people wear rubber boots so they don’t get shot by magic lightning from wizards” that says a lot of things. First of all, it links causally the boots and wizard lightning, which says something about how people make decisions. Also, the fact that the solution is boots, a violent, confrontational solution, says something about the prevalence/feasibility of non-violent solutions like murder laws. It also says something that ‘people’, the most general and normalizing of groups, *wear boots*. Access to rubber, quite expensive in our world, is apparently either nearly universal or it is somehow *normal* to have the financial clout or physical access needed to acquire them and poor people are thus abnormal– not just within the social frame of the work but within the author’s conception of the essential reality of the work as a whole. Like, if I say “People usually take a wife, raise 3 kids, one of whom on average will leave the church, and leave their house to their oldest son” that doesn’t usually indicate that people do those things, it indicates that only adult religious men are people.

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