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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 NormalLou 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 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 IsThoughtful, 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 From The Hardcover Edition 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. 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 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. 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. 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 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.