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The Speed of Dark Mass Market Paperback – June 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.
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Top Customer Reviews
The central character is an adult man with autism. I don't have autism myself, but I am somewhat obsessive-compulsive, and certainly wierd by most people's standarrds, although I don't usually think about it. By the time I was halfway through this book I was seeing the world differently, thinking in shorter declarative sentences, looking for patterns, and acutely aware of my difference. It wasn't a very comfortable feeling, but I couldn't wait to get back to the book.
I'm not going to tell you how the book plays out, except to say that this is an imaginative and wonderful piece of excellent writing, that will affect you forever. I can't recommend it too much. Well done, Elizabeth, well done.
The story is told from the perspective and thinking of an autistic man. Autistic people think very concrete and detailed. I am NOT a concrete and detailed thinker - and I believe that is why it took me 100 pages to be able to "get into" that type of thinking. Because it took me so long to get into the thinking pattern I almost gave it 4 stars instead of 5. I would like to give it 4 1/2 stars.
The story is about a pharmaceutical company that has a group of autistic people who work for them - and the autistic people do an amazing job - but the section head resents the special accommodations that the autistic workers require. It seems there is a new treatment that can help autistic people no longer be autistic - and the new section head wants to force his autistic employees to have the treatment - even though it has only been tested on apes and not on humans.
After I got into the way of thinking, I enjoyed the insights about "pattern recognition"; I enjoyed the insights into the inner turmoil autistics suffer. I especially enjoyed the questions that Lou asked himself as he read the neuroscience book and thought about whether he wanted to change who he was or not. As I said - it took me awhile to get into the thinking style - once I did - I loved it
"Flowers for Algernon" was written in the 1960's. This was a great time for social change but it was still the not the best time for mental health. Consider that it was not until the 1980's that the major network media started doing PSAs for things like suicide, domestic violence, and abuse. The 1960's mental illness still had a massive stigma surrounding it. Anyone who did not fit the "American [stoic] Ideal" needed to go away and have a rest (poor thing). Anyone who was born different, sickly, slow, or challenged was not ever to be main streamed but kept protected from the world. Now, the social climate that "The Speed of Dark" is written in is quite different. We as a society have entered a new millennium where our biggest daily dangers are bombings and AIDS. In this age the medical community has concurred (not eradicated): Measles, Mumps, diphtheria. In first world countries many cancers are now treatable and survivable and we now have a way to survive heart attacks. When reading the two books consider the vastly different social climates.
Both time periods have had great medical advances but we now moving faster toward the impossible than every before, and as our sciences merge the risks of healing being as painful as the illness will become less and less.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
You learn about the way they think and relate to other people while reading a story you want to finish.
It had a plot but not a driven one.Read more
This book was different. There were 2 love triangles, and you might not even notice!