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is the biologist autistic? because I feel like she could be but she has just been written by someone who has 0 knowledge about ASD and didn't no research and thus wrote the biologist as a walking stereotype, making her one of the most boring characters I've ever had the displeasure of reading (and I'm saying this as an autistic woman)

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Anne C. I am not autistic, nor a specialist on autism. I did, however, identify with her desire for solitude, her detached observations, and her need to be self-reliant. I don't think that makes one autistic.
I also didn't find her boring, but part of that was because she is an unreliable narrator, which one of my favorite kinds of narrative strategies, because life is full of unreliable narrators.
Abinadí Flores Nope, you're wrong, she's not, it's just your view of the book pampered by your own experiences, I believe she's the only character that can really understand the Area X, because of the same personality that you've described as boring, she's actually really interesting because she's not easy to read, she doesn't bend to your expectations of her, she resists.
Trinity Dickinson Imagine thinking you need to be autistic to be a solitary person who enjoys nature
Beth I didn't get an autism vibe from her, just an introvert one. I think most of what she says is between the lines, or from what she chooses to say or leave out.
Mayka This contemporary need to pathologise all behavior that slightly deviates from the (imagined) norm is utterly terrifying . Like she just ...has a personalty ?
Andrew Scott She's definitely not autistic. She's just not a very social person.

With some regularity, she's able to infer the emotions and thoughts of the other characters based on their facial expressions or vocal inflections. This would be incredibly hard for most people on the spectrum to do, especially with the regularity and ease with which the biologist does.

Source: I'm on the spectrum.
Haley Rose Honestly I don't think so. From my experience with my friends who happen to have autism, they have to think and analyze human behavior a lot and mimic social ques that don't come naturally. (This is not the case for all people with autism btw) The Biologist seems to fully grasp and understand human behavior. It's not that the social cues don't come naturally to her, it's that her view of other people is through a scientific lens and she just doesn't seem to bother. She seems much more introverted and exhausted by people more than being on any kind of spectrum. I think the book was meant to really focus on her objective scientific observations, which is why she seems boring. She even mentions at times that she has a personality and she has a plethora of experiences she can draw upon and that she loves her husband, but she purposely chose to leave those emotional details out because they are not objective. It's more scientific process to me than a legitimate mental issue.
Lisa I didn't get autism either, Beth, and I've taught adults with autism.
813 Reads I have an autistic son, and while that doesn't make me an expert on autism in any way, shape or form, and all people with autism are different, I did not get the feel from her that she was on the spectrum.
Stephanie Keep in mind she's narrating the book as someone who has been in Area X for a while. Once you know what Area X does to people, her behavior (which does seem spectrum-y) looks different. Observe her husband's behavior, after his return to the ordinary world. I think she is an introvert and highly attuned to non-human life—which makes her especially suited for this world—but that world itself changes her.
Jenny She's anti-social, as explained in a later book. And I loved her as a character.
Brian C I don't think she was autistic. I don't know a lot about autism but I know that I'm NOT autistic and her thoughts, reactions and general world view represent my own to the tune of about 95%+. I would say she's introverted, literal and sees everything through the lens of a very empiricist world view. This sort of existence is perhaps very foreign to most people but it is how a few of us are built for whatever reason.
Rose I definitely thought she was meant to be on the spectrum, yeah, and IA that she was thoroughly unlikable because of the questionable writing.
Maureen I don't think so at all.
Kel Midthnaetitulla My thoughts exactly, Lilith, about the autism/spectrum.
Jonathan I didn't get that impression from her, moreso that she is engaged with her work and somewhat introverted. Very common personality traits both within and outside asd. I also did not find her boring, but rather found her perspective to be crucial to the powerful combination of scientific rigor and mysticism that made the book powerful and beautiful.
Raven According to Anne C.'s comment combined with yours, it sounds more like a sociopath.
kei I definitely got a vibe at a few points in the book that nodded toward that but I didn't really find her to be a stereotype, either. I don't think she was that likable as a character but I'm also not entirely sure she's meant to be (I'm answering while at the end of the first book, only, mind you). More than autistic I felt like she's the stereotype of the eccentric scientist?

Autistic woman here as well, by the way.
Cendaquenta I am autistic and I got this vibe too! (Though I didn't find her boring and honestly thought she was quite well-written, so... 🤷‍♀️) I identified with the slightly odd, wordy tone of her inner monologue and all the nature imagery she thought in even before Area X.
Katherine Copas I don't believe that she was. She actually displays a great understanding of those around her, and is able to pick up on nonverbal cues, which is often difficult for those who fall onto the spectrum.

For the story to work the main character needed to be a self-rooted individual. She didn't want/need other people around her, and was entirely sure of who she was as an individual, which was essential for her character.
Robert Trout I'm glad I'm not the only one who got that vibe from her. Her obsession over calling it a tower was driving me insane. Like who cares?

Furthermore, what's with the psychologist? What kind of person asks someone "do I need to calm you down?" No one says that, not even to a child. Is the author on the spectrum?

I'm only on page 32, so if this pays off later, I would love to know.
Nish I thought she was, as an autistic person myself. She is a walking stereotype imo. Jeff Vandermeer does teach ASD/ASC teens (though he uses BS person-first language rather than identity-first) but that doesn't qualify him to understand autism, especially autistic women (I have presumed she's cis?).

@Andrew Scott - I also find that those socialised as women at better at inferring emotions based on facial expression and vocal inflections because we've had to learn those through years of observing and masking. Also - the spectrum allows for diversity & variation; her inability to socialise and connect with others may be what's she's less able to do, instead of struggling to read people.

But to answer your question - I don't think Vandermeer was describing someone who was necessarily autistic (and I can't find any evidence that he was trying to create an autistic character either). But that doesn't mean that that's a fact.

I also found the character shallow at first too, but she grew on me a lot. I felt I could identify with her a lot on her connection to the environment over connecting with people as a child, but also her descriptions of rewilding, etc struck a chord.

I think the main character of Authority (which I'll admit I only just started reading) seems far far more boring to me.
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by Jeff VanderMeer (Goodreads Author)
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