The Speed of Dark Mass Market Paperback – Jun 28 2005
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Corporate life in early 21st-century America is even more ruthless than it was at the turn of the millennium. Lou Arrendale, well compensated for his remarkable pattern-recognition skills, enjoys his job and expects never to lose it. But he has a new boss, a man who thinks Lou and the others in his building are a liability. Lou and his coworkers are autistic. And the new boss is going to fire Lou and all his coworkers--unless they agree to undergo an experimental new procedure to "cure" them.
In The Speed of Dark, Elizabeth Moon has created a powerful, complex, and believable portrayal of a man who varies radically from what is defined as "normal." The author insightfully explores the nature of "normality," identity, choice, responsibility, free will, illness and health, and good and evil. The Speed of Dark is a powerful, moving, illuminating novel in the tradition of Flowers for Algernon, Forrest Gump, and Rain Man . --Cynthia Ward --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
"If I had not been what I am, what would I have been?" wonders Lou Arrendale, the autistic hero of Moon's compelling exploration of the concept of "normalcy" and what might happen when medical science attains the knowledge to "cure" adult autism. Arrendale narrates most of this book in a poignant earnestness that verges on the philosophical and showcases Moon's gift for characterization. The occasional third-person interjections from supporting characters are almost intrusive, although they supply needed data regarding subplots. At 35, Arrendale is a bioinformatics specialist who has a gift for pattern analysis and an ability to function well in both "normal" and "autistic" worlds. When the pharmaceutical company he works for recommends that all the autistic employees on staff undergo an experimental procedure that will basically alter their brains, his neatly ordered world shatters. All his life he has been taught "act normal, and you will be normal enough"-something that has enabled him to survive, but as he struggles to decide what to do, the violent behavior of a "normal friend" puts him in danger and rocks his faith in the normal world. He struggles to decide whether the treatment will help or destroy his sense of self. Is autism a disease or just another way of being? He is haunted by the "speed of dark" as he proceeds with his mesmerizing quest for self-"Not knowing arrives before knowing; the future arrives before the present. From this moment, past and future are the same in different directions, but I am going that way and not this way.... When I get there, the speed of light and the speed of dark will be the same." His decision will touch even the most jaded "normal."
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
The protagonist of this story, Lou Arrendale, is a man who has autism. He works for a large company as a systems/patterns analyst. His cubicle is adorned with mobiles and other sensory treats that provide patterns for him to focus on when he goes on sensory overload. Visual patterns can be very soothing and this finding is not limited to people on the autism/Asperger's (a/A) spectrum. Many neurotypical (NT) people love watching fish in aquaria, for example.
I loved the way physics was included in this story; Lou's co-worker, Linda, who has severe autism and loves astronomy wonders if light as a speed and if its inverse, darkness does as well. Linda poses an interesting question: if light has a speed, would it not be pulled into a black hole by gravity? I think that light probably has a METAphysical speed, just as time is a metaphyiscal gauge and its counterpart space is a physical measure. I love that sort of thing.
Lou, while clearly autistic sounds closer to the Asperger's end of the spectrum. He is bright; verbal; independent and able to grasp very abstract concepts. His autism is manfested in his slavishness to routines, even when those routines are not practical.Read more ›
The story line starts off interesting, but finishes too deus ex machina for my taste. The secondary characters are generally fairly one dimensional. It is worth reading for the questions that Moon asks of her characters and her readers. However, it is a shame that the promise of the book finishes so disappointingly.
Most recent customer reviews
"The Speed of Dark" tells a story of an autistic man, Lou, in a near future. The date is not specified, but it should be around 2040. Read morePublished on July 1 2004 by Alexander Gitlits
This book is moderately interesting and mostly well thought out. It portrays the normal life of an autistic person credibly, and cautiously approaches some important dilemmas about... Read morePublished on July 1 2004 by Peter McCluskey
Every few years, I read an sf novel that resonates in my soul, making my life richer for having read it. A few years ago, such a book was The Sparrow, by Mary Doris Russell. Read morePublished on June 20 2004
The author took a novel and very interesting concept, and one with a lot of potential, and proceeded to come up woefully short after droning on and on about the minutiae of Lou's... Read morePublished on June 11 2004 by R. Myer
I have read Elizabeth Moon's novels before - her hard, military-type, sci-fi. Those were written with a novelist's pen. Read morePublished on May 31 2004 by SillowayWeavingStudio
This is a great book for all of us who feel as if we are just off-center of "normal" (and, let's face it, for those of us who love sci-fi and cyberpunk books, that's... Read morePublished on May 25 2004 by Randall Cabot
The Speed of Dark is a singleton SF novel. A couple of decades in the future, autism has become a treatable condition, first via special training of younger children and then via... Read morePublished on May 24 2004 by Arthur W Jordin
"Normal is just a dryer setting"--something several characters in this excellent novel repeat when autistic people are compared to those who are "normal. Read morePublished on May 2 2004 by Elizabeth Hendry
A moving, and at times very philosophical, look at a possible future where autism is better understood. Read morePublished on April 19 2004 by James E. Hartman