I just made a video which is now on You Tube that features the 4th in a series of videos I’ve been doing on my novel titled Childless. Childless is about a childless child psychologist who tries to foil a U.S. government plot to have childhood declared as a medical disorder and removed from the human genome through genetic engineering. This particular video focuses on neurodiversity and the fact that I made several characters in the novel neurodiverse. I have characters in the novel with Williams syndrome, progeria, Aspergers, dwarfism, and schizophrenia. Also, I think the main character, Dr. Harvey Sumner, may have a mood disorder, I’m not sure (!).
The basic idea of neurodiversity is that we celebrate the diversity of people whose brains have previously been regarded as disordered, deficient, delayed, or dysfunctional. In Childless, I emphasize the strengths that these characters have. So, for example, Williams syndrome is a kind of intellectual disability that often has a profound impact on cognition and physical health, but also has assets such as musical ability. In the novel, the character with Williams syndrome uses her gift of music at critical moments to move the plot forward.
The character with progeria is particularly significant because progeria is associated with accelerated aging. In Childless, the boy, Stevie Shervaleski (also known as ”Bug”) is ten years old, but looks like someone in their eighties. His condition is linked to the plot in that the U.S. government is seeking to speed up aging so that people will be born and then a minute or two later they will pop into adulthood (somewhere in their early thirties). The book, of course, is a dark comedy or satire, and underneath the narrative it emphasizes the importance that childhood has to life itself, and what immeasurable vitality would be lost if it were to be ”removed.”
Anyway, here’s the six-minute video. I hope you enjoy it. And also that you buy a copy of Childless. Here’s the Amazon link to purchase it.
You might also like my non-fiction books on neurodiversity including The Power of Neurodiversity, and Neurodiversity in the Classroom.
If you’re interested in watching the other six videos in this series click on the links below:
- My New Novel is Out! Childless by Thomas Armstrong
- My Novel ”Childless: ”The Use of Human Endogenous Retroviruses as a Key Plot Element .
- Video: Childless and the Use of Neoteny as a Plot Device
- The Disappearance of Childhood: 15 Indicators of Childhood’s Demise in America
- The Journey to Publishing My First Novel at Age 72
- 12 Tips for Writing Your First Novel