02 January, 2010


"The Animorphs freak out after their identities are discovered by the evil Yeerks — and they decide to recruit some more kids to join their team, in case the original members all get captured. So they decided to recruit disabled kids to be the new group of Auxillary Animorphs, because they figured the Yeerks wouldn't have bothered to infest a disabled kid. (So the Animorphs could skip the three-day screening period for new recruits.) And they figure the morphing powers would cure any disabilities. The leader of the Auxillary Animorphs, James, is paralyzed, until he becomes an Animorph and regains full mobility."--20 Science Fiction Characters Who Got Their Legs Back (linked at FWD)


Animorphs was my fucking life when I was a kid. If you have ASD you maybe know what I mean, like I carried the books everywhere and constantly wrote fanfiction about them and always bought them on the first day they came out and talked to the characters and sat on the playground looking at birds and pretending they were Tobias. This went on for about two years, from the summer of 1998 when I was nine to maybe fall 1999/spring 2000 when I was eleven. By the end, I would still get excited when the books came out, but I didn't think about them constantly. Eventually I stopped reading them because they got really formulaic, but I held on longer than was really necessary because I didn't want to lose the joy of that devotion. I'm not sure I've ever loved anything that much.

But for Christmas this year my dad gave me a box with a card that said "From Ax" and it was the final book! I haven't read it yet but it's a pretty good example of how my dad is wonderful. Anyway, look at this unfortunate shit that I just found. Apparently the Yeerks don't infest physically disabled people! K.A. Applegate? HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME?



I'm just going to try to believe it was the ghostwriters, because this makes me sick.

P.S. This actually doesn't even make sense because they're assuming that all physically disabled people are disabled in accidents. What about genetic disabilities? What about "accidents" that happened before you were born, like CP? Also, the idea that there's some "true self" that you return to after you've morphed--instead of returning to your physical state before you morphed--well, that doesn't make any sense, because explain how the Animorphs didn't end up with different haircuts or something that were more fitting for their "true selves." And they could morph clothes (well, leotards). LEOTARDS ARE NOT GENETIC.

ETA ETA: This means that if any of the Animorphs had braces, their teeth moved back. AAARGH.


  1. Ettina (Abnormal Diversity) was/is quite an Animorphs fan, and she mentions it a lot on her blog, especially in her Letter to a kid like me, which she wrote back in May 2008.

    Another interesting book uses the idea of the Sharing. It is Brian Caswell's early masterpiece Cage of the Butterflies which is essentially science fiction with a lot of human interest between Micki and Mike, and Susan and Eric, and the six Metamide Babies and the eight from the thinktank.

    And yeah! Grrr and argh! Though I never did read Animorphs, when they were popular or later on. I would sometimes read Goosebumps and R. L. Stine novels in Point Fiction.

  2. R.L. Stine is awesome. I wrote this really long dorky novel where half the plot is about the main character rediscovering her joy in life by reading Animorphs and Goosebumps books.

  3. I also LOVED, loved, loved Animorphs as a kid, up to and a little bit beyond their end. I made my boyfriend read most of them; that's how much I still have an attachment to them.

    I interpreted this story as *Yeerks* not thinking that people with disabilities make good Controllers. Which is just their own messed-up perceptions, not reality. Since the Yeerks, especially Visser Three, weren't exactly very efficient or effective most of the time, I don't think we're to see this decision as good or natural or anything.

    While there are certainly some problems with KAA's presentation of disability issues, I think she actually has a lot of good things to say about how humans segregate and devalue people with disabilities. We're shown that the Andalites have highly bigoted views about disabilities (#40), but in #50 she does a good job of showing how humans aren't really much better, despite our claims. There are certainly some problematic aspects of that storyline, including the magical cure, but there are also a lot of really cool things there. And *not* all of the new Animorphs with disabilities were cured. Just those who had become disabled since birth. Admittedly, KAA doesn't have a very good grasp of what a lot of these disabilities actually are, including the fact that congenital does not always equal genetic. But I mostly attribute that to bad or nonexistent research, either on her part or the ghostwriters'. But the story do have characters with disabilities fighting. Unfortunately, though, they aren't really there very much in #51-54.

    I think there are some other interesting ideas about disability in Animorphs--the descriptions of the Yeerks' natural state, the Hork-Bajir, etc. I could go on for a while about most of this stuff. And I admit that I have a tendency to try and read KAA in a favorable light, because she is (IMO) awesome. There are certainly problems with Animorphs and disability, but I'm not sure Yeerks' dismissal of PWD is one of them.