Read Speed Of Dark by Elizabeth Moon Online


In the near future, disease will be a condition of the past. Most genetic defects will be removed at birth; the remaining during infancy. Unfortunately, there will be a generation left behind. For members of that missed generation, small advances will be made. Through various programs, they will be taught to get along in the world despite their differences. They will be maIn the near future, disease will be a condition of the past. Most genetic defects will be removed at birth; the remaining during infancy. Unfortunately, there will be a generation left behind. For members of that missed generation, small advances will be made. Through various programs, they will be taught to get along in the world despite their differences. They will be made active and contributing members of society. But they will never be normal.Lou Arrendale is a member of that lost generation, born at the wrong time to reap the awards of medical science. Part of a small group of high-functioning autistic adults, he has a steady job with a pharmaceutical company, a car, friends, and a passion for fencing. Aside from his annual visits to his counselor, he lives a low-key, independent life. He has learned to shake hands and make eye contact. He has taught himself to use “please” and “thank you” and other conventions of conversation because he knows it makes others comfortable. He does his best to be as normal as possible and not to draw attention to himself. But then his quiet life comes under attack. It starts with an experimental treatment that will reverse the effects of autism in adults. With this treatment Lou would think and act and be just like everyone else. But if he was suddenly free of autism, would he still be himself? Would he still love the same classical music–with its complications and resolutions? Would he still see the same colors and patterns in the world–shades and hues that others cannot see? Most importantly, would he still love Marjory, a woman who may never be able to reciprocate his feelings?Would it be easier for her to return the love of a “normal”?There are intense pressures coming from the world around him–including an angry supervisor who wants to cut costs by sacrificing the supports necessary to employ autistic workers. Perhaps even more disturbing are the barrage of questions within himself. For Lou must decide if he should submit to a surgery that might completely change the way he views the world . . . and the very essence of who he is.Thoughtful, provocative, poignant, unforgettable, The Speed of Dark is a gripping exploration into the mind of an autistic person as he struggles with profound questions of humanity and matters of the heart. Author Biography: Elizabeth Moon is a native Texan who grew up two hundred and fifty miles south of San Antonio. After earning a degree in history from Rice University, she spent three years in the Marine Corps, then earned a degree in Biology from the University of Texas, Austin. She is intimately acquainted with autism, through the raising of an autistic son, now a teenager. She lives in Florence, Texas....

Title : Speed Of Dark
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781841491417
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 432 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Speed Of Dark Reviews

  • J.G. Keely
    2019-05-21 14:29

    This book is about as 'sci fi' as an episode of CSI. Moon basically takes 'Flowers for Algernon' and hacks off the ending. The writing was alright, and there was some interesting characterization, but I suspect it only got the Nebula and Clarke because award committees love nothing as much as political correctness. This book is the equivalent of an actor making an Oscar bid by playing a mentally-challenged character.I know Moon is a sci fi author, but in this book, it feels like she just stamped on the 'Sci-Fi' label in order to draw an audience, or perhaps because her publisher refused to authorize a genre switch. I hope that isn't true, because that's always a cheap move. This is just modern pop-fiction, an 'emotionally confessional' book with a veneer of 'vaguely near-future'. This wouldn't have been a problem if Moon had used this opportunity to explore human psychology, which was how 'Algernon' and 'A Clockwork Orange' treated this same theme, but she didn't. She rehashed half of an interesting idea, and failed to capitalize on it. Speculative Fiction has always been obsessed with what makes us human, and how much we can change before we stop being human at all. While that should be the main theme of this book, it goes almost unexplored.The climax is rushed and inauthentic. We never actually see the character change, we don't witness the effects as they happen, instead they are lightly explained in choppy montage at the end. Compared to the rest of the book--an internal, step-by-step presentation of a fairly different mind--this sudden, convenient, external ending is disappointing and jarring.The denouement following the climax is particularly tidy, with all the subtlety of the end of an 80's college movie where we learn through super-imposed text that "Barry went on to win the Nobel prize" to the strains of Simple Minds.And it's a shame, because the story leading up to the climax is interesting enough, presenting the psychological workings of autism. Moon researched this disorder much better than Mark Haddon in his laughably flawed 'Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night Time', but then, Moon's son is actually autistic. There was also a part about fencing, which excited me at first, being a former competitive fencer and coach, but instead, it was just weird SCA dressup boffing. Not that I have anything against SCA dressup boffing (or do I?).It's an alright read, goes pretty quick, and it might give you some insight into brain disorders, but it doesn't tie human experiences together; which is really a shame, because other sci fi books have successfully used this topic to ask some very difficult and profound questions about how the future of technology might change the way we think, and about the different ways people process information.'Flowers for Algernon' tackled the exact same themes and was written sixty years before Moon's less profound attempt. You'd think we'd have something more to say after sixty years of neurology and psychology, but apparently not. It also pales in comparison with 'A Clockwork Orange', another good light sci fi which explores the morality of changing the way that people think.This book was light and fluffy, especially given its subject matter, and while it will probably make soccer moms feel proud of themselves for reading something so 'different', it doesn't endeavor to change the way they think about humanity, the mind, or the possibilities within us.

  • Lyn
    2019-05-16 14:31

    Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon tells the story of an autistic man in the near future where advances in medical technology have cured many diseases. The protagonist is in a small group of people who were born just before these advances and so have grown up in a world where their disability is a close anachronism. This is a subtle, introspective work that focuses on psychological, philosophical and theological questions about normality and quality of life. I could not help but cast actor Jim Parsons, from The Big Bang Theory, in the role of the hero, and throughout the book his was the voice and face that I imagined as Lou. I also was led to compare this work to Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's by John Elder Robison, his non-fiction autobiographical work about his life with Asperger’s Syndrome as well as Philip K. Dick’s work Martian Time-Slip. There is some very thin characterization, almost straw man, that weakens the larger credibility of the narration, but the ending is very good and well worth the time reading.

  • Sandi
    2019-05-22 16:33

    I may need to review my top-ten shelf and see what can be bumped. "The Speed of Dark" book moved me like few books ever have. I cried, I laughed, I didn't want it to end. Elizabeth Moon does an absolutely amazing job of making a reader walk many miles in someone else's shoes. In this case, the reader becomes Lou Arrendale, an autistic man in an era when autism can be cured in childhood. Unfortunately, he was born too soon for the treatment. A new treatment is developed for adult autists and he has to decide whether or not to participate in the clinical trials. At the end, I don't know that I agreed with his decision, but I understood it. I now understand the term "genre ghetto". I think this book should be more widely read, but it probably won't be because it's classified as science fiction. Believe me, it's not a space opera or a tech-geek novel, it's a novel with real heart that would appeal even to those who never set foot in the science fiction/fantasy section of the bookstore.

  • Bradley
    2019-06-07 18:33

    This is one hell of a fantastic SF and it hit me in all the right feels. It's not flashy, either, just really well made. It's also custom-made for anyone wanting to see and feel what life would be like as a high-functioning autistic. Its set in the near future, with talk of highly advanced treatments and AIs, but the real joy is in the narrator's outlook, the focus on patterns in everything, everywhere.For while this novel is pretty soft-SF, it actually has a hard-SF feel because of the character. And even though he goes to work, has hobbies, thinks about having a love life, and continually strives to be better, the difference within his perception of things is a real joy.I love this book. I really love this book. It's not even one I would have normally picked to love, either. It just slammed into me from out of nowhere. It even has sword fights. :) Well, fencing. And bombs! Um, dangerous pranks and jilted lovers. :)Yes, it is a joyous celebration of differences in humanity, but more than that, this novel is also a great story. :)I totally recommend it for anyone, anywhere.Even those of us who already "think differently". :)

  • Apatt
    2019-06-01 15:44

    Amazon's e-book samples are too short, only about 18 pages in length, good luck applying that ol’ “50 pages rule” here. Fortunately The Speed of Dark (2003 Nebula Award winner) is immediately intriguing and I was sold on it by the end of the short sample. I keep hearing good things aboutElizabeth Moon andElizabeth Bear in sci-fi websites and forums, I get them mixed up a lot as I have not read either one until now. Elizabeth Moon surpasses my expectations with this book, hopefully Elizabeth Bear can do likewise very soon.The title The Speed of Dark has a very sci-fi ring to it, it is actually a phrase to contrast the speed of light. The idea is that there is always darkness before light, therefore darkness must somehow travel faster than light because it is always ahead. This is a metaphor the author is employing to represent knowledge illuminating ignorance, so it not some kind of crazy bad science.The book is set in the near future, the protagonist Lou Arrendale is an autistic man working in a department of a company that exclusively employs autistic people for their superior concentration, greater pattern recognition or other cognitive abilities. Lou copes admirably with his autism and is generally happy – if not quite content – with his life, then one day he is informed that there is a cure for autism and his life immediately changes even without before the cure becomes available to him.The Speed of Dark is often compared to the classicFlowers for Algernon as both books deal with improvement of the brain through neuroscience. Both books are also poignant, brimming with compassion and tug at the heartstrings. Don’t worry about having your heart broken by the author though, Elizabeth Moon is notThomas Hardy. Prior to reading this book I knew next to nothing about autism, not having met any autistic person. I can not claim to know a lot about it now as this is a work of fiction but Ms. Moon’s son is autistic so I believe her depiction of autism to be realistic. In any case her portrayal of autistic characters has the feel of verisimilitude. Most of the novel is told in the first person from Lou’s perspective (with the occasional switch to a few secondary characters where Lou is not privy to what is going on in his absence). This is the first book I have ever read that take me inside the head of an autistic person. The very clever first person narrative of Lou is fascinating in and of itself. Lou’s stilted use of language is very formal, polite and precise. Here is an example:“ "Don can be a real heel," she says.“Don is not a heel; he is a person. Normal people say things like this, changing the meaning of words without warning, and they understand it. I know, because someone told me years ago, that heel is a slang word for “bad person”. But he couldn’t tell me why, and I still wonder about it. If someone is a bad person and you want to say that he is a bad person, why not just say it? Why say “heel” or “jerk” or something? And adding “real” to it only makes it worse. If you say something is real, it should be real.”More importantly Lou’s narration enables me to feel the gulf between himself and “normal” people. Social nuances or cues are entirely beyond his ken, as are voice intonations and most facial expressions. He is also hopeless with colloquial terms, idioms and metaphors. All the characters in this book are very believable, the autistic characters are particularly vivid and sympathetic. They all seem to have a pure heart, I don’t know if this is true for all “autists” in the real world but the selfish and prejudiced “normals” they come across raises the question of whether normality may be overrated. After all, only a “normal” person would consider hurting someone who has never done them any harm.Most of the book reads more like contemporary mainstream fiction than science fiction, the sci-fi component of it only comes into play well into the second half of the book. This is not a sci-fi thriller, this is not a page turner, I did not want to turn the pages quickly to find out what happen next, I wanted absorb the story page by page and hope that Lou will be alright. From what I have heard Elizabeth Moon generally writes action packed military sci-fi or fantasy so I guess this book is atypical of her works. It appears to be a heartfelt story based on her own experiences with her son that she wants to share with us. I feel privileged to have read it, it is a beautiful book that I will never forget.

  • Phrynne
    2019-05-17 12:39

    This is a very interesting book set in the near future when advancements in medical science have made autism curable in child hood. The story revolves around a group of adults with autism who were too old to be treated when the cure was found, making them the last of their kind. Eventually a possible 'cure' is found for the adults and the debate is raised whether they need to be changed or whether they are who they are and should stay the sameThere are lots of similarities between this book and the wonderful Flowers for Algernon. I also saw much of Don from The Rosie Project in this book's main character Lou. Lou actually holds this book together. For much of the time he is the narrator so the reader gets to view the world from his often very unusual stand point. It is an interesting, informative and often entertaining book and I enjoyed it very much.

  • Spider the Doof Warrior
    2019-05-26 13:30

    For some reason I couldn't like this book. The good things about it was the main character and how his autism was portrayed, but other than that, it just bothered me.The main thing that bugged me is, what is normal in the first place? This book takes place in the future, how far it takes place, I don't know, but I would think that by the future we'd understand autism better and wouldn't just dismiss it as abnormal but would try to empathize with people with autism and to understand their point of view.In this book you have a man with a life that's already rich and full of fencing, people who like him and respect him (and one enemy, but you get to that later). He has a good job, sure he has to do things like bounce and have pinwheels around, but why is that a big deal? It's hard for him to appreciate himself with this concept of normal hanging over his head. Could the world in the future expand to except other concepts of normal? Or will differences and variations be "cured" instead of taking care of the more difficult symptoms? This main character, after all, was incredibly intelligent, able to understand information about the brain the "normal" folks around him couldn't understand totally.But the main frustrating thing about this book is simply, even in the future, there's no way something like this would even be allowed. No way can a corporation FORCE a person to accept a cure or experiment on their brain because that sort of thing is just not ethical.So too many things about this book frustrated me.Rereading Flowers for Algernon makes me realize just how frustrating this book is compared to that book. And it makes me take away a star.For one thing, the character in Flowers for Algernon was more impaired than this main character in this book. As I said up there, he was autistic, but that's not the same thing as an intellectual disability. This character could function, think, remember. His brain functioned differently, but he could understand all sorts of books about neurology. So why did he have to be cured?Is this just wishful thinking on the part of someone who has a child with autism? That they find a cure and they become normal which doesn't really exist? Why can't you be an astronaut even WITH autism? Why can't folks learn more about autism rather than trying to wipe it out to the point that all you have are people who are normal when it doesn't exist? The spectrum must expand. Much as sexuality is narrowed in the minds of so many people to only encompass heterosexuality when you have a spectrum that goes from asexuality to bisexuality, normal must be expanded to include other people whose minds do not work the same way because there's really nothing wrong with that!Also, too many of my reviews, especially negative ones turn into rants.I also must add, what is wrong with Lou? He seems like a nice guy, he has cool hobbies like fencing. I'd hang out with him. I just didn't see that there was something wrong with him that needed to be cured. Maybe I am biased, but there really was nothing wrong with this guy. Now I could see if this was interfering with his life, his job and making it difficult, but there was nothing like this at all. The ending is satisfying for people who see autism as a horrible affliction you need to get rid of as soon as possible, but not for people who see autism as more of a human variation than a tragedy.

  • Nancy
    2019-06-02 13:41

    I was very impressed by The Speed of Dark. Lou Arrendale is autistic and employed by a large company that requires his special skill of recognizing patterns that can't be seen by other people or computers. Despite the fact that he is gainfully employed and a brilliant fencer, autistics have a different way of interacting socially and perceiving the world.The author has written about autism with a lot of knowledge and sensitivity.

  • Ine
    2019-06-10 18:46

    Oh man. This book started out incredibly promising. The autistic first-person narrator is believable and authentic, and when an experimental cure for autism is acquired by the company he works for, the ethical ramifications are gripping and frightening. I mean, when people see autism as an illness, something to be cured, then resisting treatment is obvious grounds for firing someone. So I really wanted to see where the writer would take this.(view spoiler)[As the book progresses, the narrator becomes more and more a caricature of an autistic person. A friend he's known for years turns out to not be so friendly after all, but the narrator's reaction to that rings true: he feels he can't trust his own judgment about who is his friend and who isn't. However, all the crap about extremely literal thinking is just too much, and it gets worse and worse.The ending is what forced me to give this book one star. I can understand the narrator's motivation to try the experimental cure, as a way to learn new things about himself. And how he needs to relearn how to handle all sensory input, just like a newborn, makes sense as well. And it's intimated that because his sensory processing is different now, he doesn't recognise patterns in the way he used to... which was the basis of his unique learning style.So it makes absolutely zero sense that without that learning style, without those pattern recognition skills that enabled him to learn about organic chemistry and neuroscience in a couple of weeks, he's still able to become an astronaut and fulfill his dream and live happily ever after. Internal logic would dictate that in the process of becoming non-autistic, he would find that the one dream that he had as an autistic person would be forever beyond his reach, because that dream was a product of his autistic mind.Instead, the author lets her own wishes about a cure for autism spoil the entire book. (hide spoiler)]

  • Sarah Anne
    2019-06-16 13:45

    What does it mean to be normal? This book explores this concept much more than it tells a sci-fi story.It's interesting to me that we spend the early part of our lives rebelling against normality (Why be normal, right?) only to want so desperately to be normal when our normality is not in our hands. Lou is born autistic, and even with the advantages of a future where more is known about the illness, there is still an enormous amount of prejudice towards people with autism. I have strong objections to the word "normal" anyway. Watching what Lou went through throughout this book was heartbreaking. First the forced pressure to be cured and, on the other side, does he want to be? It's very difficult to watch this struggle and to see how he's been made to feel less and other all of his life. I loved that author allowed Lou to do research throughout the book that allowed us to better understand autism. I wouldn't really consider this to be a sci-fi story so much as a study of what makes a person who they are and what would happen if that could change. Would it change who they are? And how much would a desire to be normal shape this decision?

  • J.K. Grice
    2019-06-07 14:47

    One of the most brilliant books I've ever read. This novel still haunts me. I hope more people will discover THE SPEED OF DARK.

  • Jim
    2019-05-26 13:36

    Moon has an autistic son, which clearly informed her writing of this book. The Speed of Dark tells the story of Lou Arrendale, an autistic man living in a near future very similar to our own time. The back of the book blurb focuses on:"…an experimental “cure” for his condition. Now Lou must decide if he should submit to a surgery that may change the way he views the world–and the very essence of who he is."But the book is so much more. This isn’t an action or adventure novel, and the treatments and potential cure for autism is pretty much the only real SF element in the story.The most powerful thing, to me, is the way Moon brings you into Lou’s perspective:It is hard to drive safely in the hot afternoon, with the wrong music in my head. Light flashed off windshields, bumpers, trim; there are too many flashing lights. By the time I get home, my head hurts and I’m shaking. I take the pillows off my couch into the bedroom, closing all the shades tightly and then the door. I lie down, piling the pillow on top of me, then turn off the light.This is something else I never tell Dr. Fornum about. She would make notes in my record about this…As the father of a boy on the high-functioning end of the autistic spectrum, I spent a fair amount of time reminding myself that Lou’s experiences aren’t meant to be a universal representation of autism. Lou works with other autistics, doing pattern-analysis for a large corporation, and Moon does a very good job of showing Lou and the other characters as individuals. Autism is a significant part of who they are, but it doesn’t define them.Moon shows many of the challenges Lou faces, both the internal and the external. A new supervisor wants to eliminate the “special accommodations” Lou and his unit receive at work. A man from Lou’s fencing group blames Lou for his problems, accusing people like him of stealing jobs from “normal” people. (Sound familiar? Much of this book could be set in today’s world.)And then there’s the potential cure, the chance for Lou to be normal, whatever that means. Moon does a decent job of exploring the moral messiness and complexities of “curing” autism, though I would have liked to see more of this part. Should we cure someone who’s able to function? What about someone we define as low-functioning? How many of the challenges autistic people face are inherent to the condition, and how many of those challenges are externally created?The Speed of Dark is a book that makes you think. Lou is a wonderful, sympathetic, beautiful protagonist. This isn’t a plot-oriented, action-packed book, but it’s one I definitely recommend reading.

  • Kelly H. (Maybedog)
    2019-05-30 11:40

    This book is outstanding. Moon's believable hero is a genius trapped in an autistic shell. The characterization was vivid and touching, I grew to love the man and feel very strongly about the things he dealt with. I even found myself getting angry with the bad things people were doing thinking, "they can't do that!" even though the book was just fiction. It was outrageous and yet believable. I loved how the author didn't relegate the autistic man to being stupid or unable to comprehend big words. She clarified the difference, making me think about the how we think intelligence means being able to think and process quickly when capacity is even more important. The only problem I had with the book was the ending which I felt was rushed and unsatisfying. While I didn't agree with all the choices the characters made, that wasn't the problem. I just felt that the ending was too pat, too cut and dried and it left me discombobulated.It wasn't enough to dissuade me from giving the book five stars. I really loved the book and wish there were a whole series based on this character. Of course, the nature of the issue in the book is necessarily a one-book plot. Alas.

  • Colin
    2019-05-29 16:33

    The last forty pages of this fucking sucked. Up until that point, it was an awesome anti-ableist critique of normalcy and "cure" with what felt to me like a pretty authentic narrative voice. Then, rather inexplicably, the main character does an about-face and decides that in order to truly fulfill his dreams of being an astronaut and be able to date, he needs to be cured. Sick. It totally knocked it down from a 4 star to a 2 star. I'm still giving it 2 stars because this horrible ending was tacked onto the end of what otherwise was a pretty amazing book. Moon, the parent of an autistic son, totally let her "parental fantasy of cure" win out in the end. Soooo disappointing. I'd actually still recommend it to people with a serious caveat about the last 40 pages. The rest of it rocks though.

  • Stephen
    2019-06-08 10:39

    5.0 stars. This is an incredible novel and one that I highly recommend to anyone one liked Flowers for Algernon. Emotionally powerful science fiction at its best. Superb writing, excellent plot and an unforgetable main character. Nominee: Arthur C. Clarke Award for Best Science Fiction NovelNominee: Locus Award for Best Science Fiction NovelWinner: Nebula Award for Best Science Fiction Novel

  • Alex
    2019-06-02 12:46

    The Speed of Dark is an eloquently written examination of the internal life of an autistic man, as he considers whether or not to try an experimental cure for his condition. It is told from the first person point of view of Lou Arrendale, and his voice is so strong and unique that I found myself becoming personally involved in his dilemma. I didn't want to loose his voice, or any of his uniqueness. Through the window of Lou's experience, the novel examines the consequences of the medicalization of human difference and the increasing ability of modern medicine to treat or cure neurological and psychiatric conditions. The novel has plenty of flaws, however. It's more speculative fiction than true science fiction, a sort of Flowers for Algernon for autism. The narrator is obviously very high functioning, and doesn't represent the reality of most autistic people's experience. Many of Lou's limitations and abilities ring completely true, but some fall far outside the usual autism spectrum. The ending is less than satisfactory, and could be taken to imply an easy solution to what is, in reality, a very complex problem. But, The Speed of Dark presents us with many questions that are worth answering. I am glad to have read it, I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in the genre or the subject.

  • Wealhtheow
    2019-05-27 13:45

    I was intrigued because this book was mentioned several times at WisCon’06 as an example of disability in science fiction and austism in general. Congoers had varying opinions—some touted it as the Best Writing About Autism Ever, while others said it was unrealistic. I have little experience with autism (besides being in fandom and reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time), so I can’t comment on how realistically Moon recreates an autistic experience. As a book, it’s quite good, albeit overly simplistic at parts (the ending feels rather at odds with the rest of the book, as well). There’s not a whole lot of plot, but there is a good deal of character development.

  • Stephie
    2019-05-26 11:37

    Me resultó muy atractiva la temática: un futuro en el que el autismo puede ser curado y el dilema de el grupo de autistas que aún no saben si curarse o seguir tal cual están. Tiene reflexiones y puntos de vista que te llevan mirar el mundo con otros ojos.

  • Kaethe
    2019-06-10 18:29

    I thought the author did a great job of presenting a character with autism, but the idea of a cure is weird to me.

  • Lisa Vegan
    2019-06-16 12:29

    It’s going to be a challenge to write a review without using a spoiler box but I will do it, as I have written all my other reviews without spoilers. This is kind of a cross between The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time and Flowers for Algernon, both books I also really liked.The writer is the mother of a son (adolescent at the time of this book’s publication) that has autism. The main character in this book has autism, but it takes place in the future where he has received better early intervention and treatment than exist today.It is speculative fiction that takes place in a (not too distant) futuristic world but this story is one hundred percent character driven so it was easy to forget the science fiction aspects. The science fiction aspects are somewhat subtle: there are definitely more advanced medical interventions and treatments available; occasional things are mentioned that make it clear global warming has gotten worse.I found this story very moving and I really loved the main character and all the characters are well drawn. The author tells a very engrossing story.I loved the main character's musings on various pieces of classical music; it was fascinating.There was some unexpected, for me, humor that made me laugh & smile and I really appreciated that because much of the story was sad and there was quite a bit of suspense as well.It’s the mark of a wonderful storyteller when I become very interested in some subject I’d never had interest in – fencing in this case – I did get an intro in high school gym/drama and two of my friends continued and took intermediate fencing, but really I haven’t been at all interested since then.This book reminded me to never judge or underestimate anyone based on their disability or appearance, and it did make me think what exactly makes someone who they are and what makes a human being valuable. It also said a lot about change and about risk.I thought that the story very nearly fell apart at the end, but then it ended ok, I guess, but I did not like the end; I did not like the end much at all, and it also felt kind of rushed. However, it was still a remarkable achievement. I just loved Lou’s voice, so very much! It wasn’t a flawless book and the end was not as good as the majority of the book, but I’m giving it five stars anyway.I got a library copy that had tons of notes and also underlining/circling of the text and it took quite a bit of effort for the “autistic” part of me to ignore it and focus on just the text of the book, but for the most part I managed to do that.Edit: I loved this book so much that I recommended it to two friends when I was still in the early pages. While it did go a bit downhill at the end, I would still recommend this book.

  • KatHooper
    2019-06-04 13:38

    ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.In The Speed of Dark, Elizabeth Moon blends science fiction, neuroscience, and her own experience to speculate about a future in which scientists have nearly eliminated the symptoms of autism. Lou Arrendale’s cohort is the last of the impaired autistics. Thanks to early intervention programs, Lou and his colleagues are verbal, take care of themselves, and work for a pharmaceutical company that makes use of their savant abilities, yet they lack the social understanding needed to integrate into “normal” society. But that could all change because Lou’s company has just received approval to begin clinical trials on a procedure that may cure them of their disorder, and the boss wants to use Lou and his co-workers as the first guinea pigs.Because Elizabeth Moon has a teenager with autism, a background in science (and science fiction), and has done a lot of research, The Speed of Dark feels like an authentic account of an autistic man’s cognitive processes. I was completely fascinated by Lou’s revelations about the way he thinks, the things he understands and remembers, the environmental stimuli that he either doesn’t notice or can’t ignore, and the way he uses music and motion to help him integrate and regulate sensory input. This was really well done (except that I feel pretty sure that Lou wouldn’t use the term “object permanence” to explain “shape constancy”). Few readers could fail to become emotionally attached to Lou and to root for him as he struggles to understand who he is and how he fits in, tests his strengths and challenges himself to excel, makes friends and enemies, falls in love, learns how his brain works and, most importantly, decides who he wants to be.The focus on Lou deprives the other characters of some depth, but perhaps they seem this way because we view them mainly from Lou’s perspective. Marjory, the girl Lou has fallen in love with, exhibits very little personality, and Mr. Crenshaw, the “villain,” is so completely over-the-top that I kept thinking of Mr. Waternoose from Monsters, Inc. In fact, in Brilliance Audio’s version, the reader, Jay Snyder, sounds just like Mr. Waternoose (who was played by James Coburn). By the way, I highly recommend this audiobook because the novel is written in the first person and Snyder’s voice, which so perfectly captures Lou’s social awkwardness, adds to the emotional impact and makes Lou’s stilted language not only easier to “read,” but actually quite charming.The Speed of Dark, which won the Nebula Award, is one of those novels that makes you feel the whole spectrum of emotions, changes the way you think, and stays with you forever. Its portrayal of a devastating behavioral disorder is all at once beautiful, humorous, enlightening, heart-wrenching, poignant, and hopeful.

  • PhilorChelsy
    2019-06-14 13:23

    "Sometimes I wonder how normal normal people are, and I wonder that the most in the grocery store." Started the book thinking it was simply a novel about a man with autism. After I few incidents I had to shift my thinking to that of it being an almost science fiction novel. Then I could read it more easily, and the black and whiteness of the characters made more sense to me. A fiction based on imagined, or hoped for, future science (which is actually not so very future anymore). I really enjoyed seeing the world through the eyes of a man with autism. Some favorite excerpt from the book:"I do not think God makes bad things happen just so that people can grow spiritually. Bad parents do that, my mother said. Bad parents make things hard and painful for their children and then say it was to help them grow. Growing and living are hard enough already; children do not need things to be harder. I think this is true even for normal children. I have watched little children learning to walk; they all struggle and fall down many times. Their faces show that it is not easy. It would be stupid to tie bricks on them to make it harder. If that is true for learning to walk, then I think it is true for other growing and learning as well. God is suppose to be the good parent, the Father. So I think God would not make things harder than they are. I do not think I am autistic because God thought my parents needed a challenge or I needed a challenge. I think it is like if I were a baby and a rock fell on me and broke my leg. Whatever caused it was an accident. God did not prevent the accident, but He did not cause it, either....I think my autism is an accident, but what I do with it is me.""...I pay attention to color and number more than most people. They don't notice, so they don't care....What am I missing, as they miss seeing the beautiful numeric relationships? ....What I have in my head is light and dark and gravity and space...and colors and numbers and people and patterns so beautiful I get shivers all over."

  • Megan Baxter
    2019-05-26 16:17

    Writing with a main character on the autism spectrum is a tricky path, one that I feel like I've seen many people stumble off, falling down on amusing or adorable instead of giving their subjects any kind of complexity or autonomy. These characters need to be jolted out of their routines and it's hilarious as they learn to do more. They feel like books written for neurotypical readers, with autism less a different way of thinking than a prop in a comedy. (The more I think about The Rosie Project, the more I am bothered.)Note: The rest of this review has been withheld due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook

  • Mike
    2019-06-12 13:31

    4.5 *s If I were in the mood to buy books just, now, I would purchase it. Definitely a reread, which is unusual for me these days

  • Lisa
    2019-06-13 16:40

    What a special and beautifully written book. It presents autism from the autistic person's point of view, and he is someone you can really relate to and begin to understand. Through Lou, readers also see ourselves and our social group interactions--"normals"--from an outside perspective, which has caused me to think about some things in my life differently. The book has a great plot, all while asking profound questions. It challenges readers to think about what makes them who they are--are we really OK? If we had a chance to change fundamental things about ourselves, would we? Are we OK with the things that make us different from others? Does that threaten our identity?This edition also has a reader's guide at the end. I found the Q&A with the author interesting and helpful in understanding where we are in autism treatments today. Because she has an autistic son, it's also good to have answers to the inevitable questions about the parallels with her son.

  • Melissa
    2019-06-04 10:44

    Really, really liked this book. Told (for the most part) from the perspective of a high functioning autistic adult, it was a look into the different thought process of someone who "normals" think of as disabled. The thing I loved was the Lou is so normal! The things that he does that normal people would see as affected (seeing patterns in colors of the cars in the parking lot, counting things, focusing on music) don't seem all that odd when you know the thoughts and the decisions that go along with the acion. In addition to making the reader aware of the misguided judgement of autistic individuals, it also adds a great moral element that anyone can struggle with. If we are okay with what we are and how things are - should we want to change? What are the right and good reasons for wanting to change? I thought it was wonderful.

  • Chris
    2019-05-28 10:25

    The first book I ever ready by Elizabeth Moon was Sheepfarmer's Daughter. I'm more of a fantasy reader than a science fiction reader. I liked the book and so read, over the years, Moon's work. Her sci-fi books are better than her fantasy. Of all her books, The Speed of the Dark stands out as her best work.It is a touching story; it raises questions about what it means to be human, what it means to be who you are. The fact that Moon doesn't fully answer such questions, but allows the reader to think them over, is wonderful.This book should be used along side Flowers for Algernon in schools.

  • Rosa
    2019-05-22 13:31

    I loved everything about this book except for the last chapter or two. I hated, hated, hated the ending, not because it was poorly written but because it seemed to betray the spirit of the novel.Otherwise, I found this an enjoyable read that was hard to put down. Moon does a great job in assuming the voice and perspective of someone with unusually high functioning autism (due to futuristic advances in treatment). I do wish she'd done a better job of bringing in tidbits about the future world that extended beyond medicine - the people in her book still drive cars, push grocery carts, etc.

  • Laura
    2019-05-18 15:32

    In the future, a cure for autism has been developed and is given to all babies (still in the womb or just born) that test positive for the disorder. Lou is born a few years to early for the treatment and is therefore in the last generation of autistics. After going to therapy for most of his childhood, he is now a functioning adult with his own apartment and a steady job with a pharmaceutical company that uses his advanced pattern recognition abilities. He has "friends" who are both autistic (his co-workers in his special division) and normal (in his fencing group he goes to once a week). Although he labels these individuals as friends, he struggles with all the nuances a friendship entails.A new treatment is developed that will "cure" autism in adults and Lou is offered the opportunity to be one of the first test subjects. Because autism affects all aspects of Lou's life and personality, will he still be himself without the disorder? With input from his autistic and normal friends, Lou attempts to deal with his regular problems and the decision of whether or not to take the treatment.This book is paced very slow, but I thought that was in context with how Lou thought through personal interactions. I also enjoyed how Lou progressed as an individual through different experiences. Even with his structured life and routine, life still pushed him to change and adapt. After reading the book, I felt I had a better insight into autism, but also felt that the author made some leaps to truly explain what it felt like to be autistic. It works in the context of the story (in the future with advanced therapy available) but not so much with where we are right now with autism knowledge and research. This book made me more aware of our social nuances. Right after I finished the book, I was at a family get-together and found myself paying more attention to how "normal" people interact socially. Like the rules for helping to clean up after dinner. What is the right number of times to offer to help when the host refuses? Not offering is rude. Offering to many times when the host refuses is pushy. The perfect amount is somewhere in the middle. How silly that we offer to help when we may or may not actually want to help and the host initially refuses regardless of whether or not they want the help. Lou would have been mystified by the whole process and felt it was stupid. Watching it play out with Lou's perspective in mind, I had to agree!Also note that this is a story about what it is like to be autistic, so plot wise, not much ever happened. The "events" in Lou's life would be non-issues in a book about a non-autistic person. The story was set-up to have some corporate thriller aspects, but these went nowhere. The ending of the book is pretty sloppy. It felt like the author was slowly building up to a major event through 300 pages and then suddenly got tired of the book and tried to wrap everything up in the last 20 pages. There were no loose ends exactly, but several plot lines that built up throughout the book were shoddily explained in a sentence or two and tacked at the end of the story. One particularly irritating one was the mystery of why Lou's workplace was so pushy to have him take the treatment. This was answered in a single throw-away sentence that didn't even really make sense. Overall, an ok book to read. It did change how I perceive social situations and gave me some insight into how an autistic person thinks about things. Normally I would give an extra star for my changed perceptions but the ending was executed so poorly, I take off a star for that. Overall: 2.5 stars.

  • Emily
    2019-06-16 15:18

    This book loosely resembles The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time in that they both have narrators with autism, but there they diverge. The narrator of The Speed of Dark is Lou Arrendale, a man living in the near future when major developments have been made in treating individuals with autism. His work group consists entirely of people with autism. The group splinters when a new manager at the company learns of an experimental treatment that could cure autism, and demands that all the employees with autism participate.In Lou's struggle to avoid being compelled to be treated, major questions of ethics are raised. Even deeper, however, are more basic questions: if a person has always had an illness, a difference, who are they without that? If my depression were erased tomorrow, I don't know who I would be. Lou faces the same sort of void--the complete unknown.