Quote:Wow, that review appalls me in the way that it treats a real person on the spectrum as a prop in Callahan's critique of Hickman's failings as a writer. Asperger's and aneurotypicality aren't synonymous with "lack of empathy," not least because empathy isn't a unidimensional concept (there's behavioral, cognitive, etc.). They've much more to do with different modes of processing and producing social cues like facial expressions, tone of voice, body language, and so on.
Thank you. I agree wholeheartedly that the reviewer is being an ass and betraying his student's confidence (even if anonymously) as a back-handed compliment towards/against Hickman. It's also worth noting that very few if any young writers, autistic or otherwise, tell decent stories without prior life experience and training. And it's not like Callahan's student's father can finance self-publishing a la Christopher Paolini, allowing them to completely skip paying their dues before becoming famous. (But I digress)...
However, it's unfortunately common to see autism used as an insult, including in the context of creative writing. This isn't the first time I've seen an author known for their opague, convoluted plotting at the expense of characterization called "autistic". This isn't even the first time I've seen this insult levied against Jonathan Hickman. Perhaps i'm just sensitive to that label, especially when perhaps the most prominent openly autistic person in comics is a quagmire of plagiarism and perversion. Still, that's not Hickman's fault, and perhaps I need to take a step back.
What is his fault, however, is his disinterest in creating any pretense that characters are more to him than interchangable pawns. I recently re-read the first five issues of Infinity, and unless I missed something in the sixth and in the tie-ins, it reads like little more than an illustrated plot summary.