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The Speed of Dark

by

The Speed of Dark Cover

ISBN13: 9780345472205
ISBN10: 0345472209
All Product Details

 

Awards

2003 Nebula Award for Best Novel

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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 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.

Review:

"A remarkable journey...[that] takes us into the mind of an autistic with a terrible choice: become normal or remain an alien on his own planet." Mary Doria Russell, Author of The Sparrow

Review:

"Splendid and graceful... A lot of novels promise to change the way a reader sees the world; The Speed of Dark actually does." The Washington Post Book World

Synopsis:

Journeys inside the mind of Lou Arrendale, an autistic man, who is asked to undergo a new, experimental treatment designed to cure autism, as he struggles with the question of whether or not he should risk a medical procedure that could make him "normal." Reader's Guide included. Reprint.

Synopsis:

An exploration into the world of an autistic man who is offered a chance to try a brand-new experimental 'cure' for his condition. He 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.

About the Author

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.

From the Hardcover edition.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

flared0ne, December 8, 2009 (view all comments by flared0ne)
If you are searching for ways to make sense of the personal world of an autistic individual, OR just interested in experiencing reality from a different viewpoint, this book has something to offer. It gives an reasonably realistic "view from the inside" of a life given to struggling toward a "main stream" of "unimpeded" functioning. Except, in a very real way, Lou's adaptations to adult life do seem fairly functional (if a bit lonely) and a meaningful component of his "personality" and "identity". A VERY good case is made for redefining conditions like autism as differences rather than disabilities, for "commonly interpreted as handicaps" being reframed as significantly useful "strengths" (in this case a strong focus on pattern recognition).

Notice that this book DOES postulate a reasonable mechanism for at least a small portion of the observable symptomology of autism: a combination of neural processing "delays" and "thresholds" such that things happening too quickly are just not perceived -- things like consonants, and facial expressions, etc.

AND, if you trust in "the invisible hand" of the market, it appears to be "time" for the fictional case presented here to appear in the real world -- an article on msnbc.com under health-mental_health (can't give the actual link due to review restrictions, apparently) gives the full text, which boils down to noting that several "specialized staffing" companies (in Denmark, the company Specialisterne, and in the United States, the non-profit Chicago company Aspiritech) are starting up to help enable productive lives for autistic individuals in high-tech environments.

This book describes a reality which is entangling more and more people, while offering insight and even some productive "direction" forward into real life.

Note, too, that perhaps it is also "time" for those corporate tax codes and incentive structures (mentioned in the book as significant plot elements) to start to appear as well. Now, before the flood hits.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780345472205
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Subject:
General
Author:
Moon, Elizabeth
Author:
Elizabeth Moon
Subject:
Fiction-General
Subject:
Fiction : General
Subject:
Fiction : Technological
Subject:
Fiction : Science Fiction - High Tech
Subject:
Autism
Subject:
Patients
Subject:
General
Subject:
Medical novels
Subject:
Autism -- Patients.
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Audio Books-Literature
Subject:
Audio Books-Science Fiction and Fantasy
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Science Fiction and Fantasy-A to Z
Subject:
main_subject
Subject:
all_subjects
Publication Date:
20040302
Binding:
ELECTRONIC
Language:
English
Pages:
368

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » Adventure

The Speed of Dark
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 368 pages Random House Publishing Group - English 9780345472205 Reviews:
"Review" by , "A remarkable journey...[that] takes us into the mind of an autistic with a terrible choice: become normal or remain an alien on his own planet."
"Review" by , "Splendid and graceful... A lot of novels promise to change the way a reader sees the world; The Speed of Dark actually does."
"Synopsis" by , Journeys inside the mind of Lou Arrendale, an autistic man, who is asked to undergo a new, experimental treatment designed to cure autism, as he struggles with the question of whether or not he should risk a medical procedure that could make him "normal." Reader's Guide included. Reprint.
"Synopsis" by , An exploration into the world of an autistic man who is offered a chance to try a brand-new experimental 'cure' for his condition. He 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.
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