Not long ago, I found out that John de Lancie, the guy who played Q on Star Trek, is dyslexic. As Q is one of my favorite characters, I thought that was pretty neat.
The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized there seem to be a lot of dyslexic and neurodivergent people active in the world of science fiction and fantasy. Octavia Butler, the first science fiction writer to win the MacArthur Fellowship was dyslexic, as is Orlando Bloom, who’s starred in some very well-known fantasy movies.
It got me wondering if those particular genres saw a higher percentage of neurodivergent creators than others. I personally don’t know, even though I’m a fan and writer of speculative fiction, but I do know creative fields do generally have more dyslexics and others with unique wiring than more linear oriented fields.
I highly doubt there have ever been any studies, but it does make sense that those genres would draw unique thinkers.
In my opinion, good sci-fi is a continuation of modern science and culture, which requires the ability to extrapolate and visualize. Good fantasy is a sort of parallel to our world. There can be fantastic creatures, like dragons, mermaids and elves, but they should fit into a culture that could possibly exist in some shape or form. That requires the ability to create feasible, though unrealistic in the realm of reality, answers to specific “what if” questions and the ability to make unexpected connections.
Ever since I first discovered it, I’ve always been fascinated with urban fantasy, which I guess is what a lot of comic books would be. Their worlds are a lot like ours, but they have an extra layer of magic, powers or mysterious mutations.
It takes a lot of imagination, logic and out of the box thinking to create those types of worlds. It takes an incredible amount of skill to construct deep, interesting characters and a unique story line.
Those all seem to be strengths associated with brains that fit into the neurological minority.
In the end, I don’t know if there are more neurodivergent creators in sci-fi and fantasy, but it would make sense if that was the case.