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The Speed of Dark | [Elizabeth Moon]

The Speed of Dark

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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...

©2002 Elizabeth Moon; (P)2008 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

Nebula Award, Best Novel, 2003

  • Favorite Audiobooks of 2010 (Fantasy Literature)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (440 )
5 star
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3.9 (271 )
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4.1 (267 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Amazon Customer Jamaica 04-18-14
    Amazon Customer Jamaica 04-18-14 Member Since 2012

    Listening is not the same as reading, but it is still fun

    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
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    147
    9
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    8
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "This is such a good book!"
    Where does The Speed of Dark rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Normally I just go for straight Sci Fi and ignore everything else. It is my way of escaping the doldrums of this world. I rate this as one of the best I have ever listened to. My other time was the Girl with the Dragon Tatoo. I think this one is at least as good.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Its hard to pick a favorite character. You tend to like one or the other more or less depending on the situation. Just like life.


    What does Jay Snyder bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The thing about audio books is that having a single person reading to you is sometimes a little annoying. I do wish women read female characters and men the male characters. Everything else requires a bit of a mental shift. Still Jay Snyder made it work. In fact I took this book because he was the reader.His style keeps me interested.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Definitely could not put this one away. I had it playing while I was going to sleep so that I don't lose a moment.


    Any additional comments?

    I relate to these autistic characters in a way that makes me want to have my friends listen to this. Maybe they would understand me more. I hope there will be more books featuring these guys.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debbie 02-26-14
    Debbie 02-26-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    6
    5
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    Story
    "interesting concept"
    What did you love best about The Speed of Dark?

    As a parent of a son diagnosed with Autism - the book made me think. it was the basis for many interesting discussions at my house. If autism could be cured - would you take the treatment?


    Any additional comments?

    this book also offered some interesting insights into the world of autism.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Ithaca, NY, USA 02-11-14
    Michael Ithaca, NY, USA 02-11-14 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
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    197
    6
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    1
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    "A Tale of Neurodiversity"

    Want to know what it's like to have Asperger's? Elizabeth Moon shows a real understanding of the world from the eyes of the Neurodiverse. The story's solid, but not a nail-biter/page turner. While described as a science fiction, the story is about people, not tech. As someone who's worked with many individuals "on the spectrum," I believe this is a must read!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kevin Herndon, VA, United States 10-19-13
    Kevin Herndon, VA, United States 10-19-13 Member Since 2011

    Checking out Brandon Sanderson's work

    HELPFUL VOTES
    29
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    64
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    "Great story - sort of weak ending"

    This is a pretty interesting story, told from the point of view of a functioning autistic adult in a time when autism has been cured for those treated early enough. It is very well written and very well read. The performance does a great job with the various personalities in the book making it very enjoyable. The ending feels like the author was trying to get finished (but it still is interesting). While it is still a good ending, to many things are left undone. But overall, I really liked the story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robin 04-08-09
    Robin 04-08-09 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    76
    ratings
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    455
    75
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    2
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    Overall
    "Interesting perspective"

    I could relate to this book, having a condition that makes me need to think about my behavior being within the norm. Elizabeth Moon did a good job but the end was a little rushed.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brooke P. Anderson USA 04-17-09 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    72
    ratings
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    524
    11
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    "I gave up after 5 hours of listening"

    The summary of this book sounds intriguing, and it is rated well. I liked it at the beginning, as the author does an interesting and admirable job of getting the reader into the mind of a man who is mildly autistic and of developing his likable personality. I think the narrator does a fine job of portraying the main character as well.

    However, that portion of the book continues on long, long after it has ably done it's job -- entering and far surpassing the "OK, I GET it" stage.

    Finally, after 5 hours of listening, I felt that I was still in the exposition, and the the once-interesting techniques of portraying the autistic thought process had, through this overexposure, become as tedious as reading a parts catalog; and I gave up.

    This book might be one that polarizes opinion -- some enjoying it greatly, and some for whom it is not at all a good fit.

    13 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    rote 08-13-15
    rote 08-13-15 Member Since 2014
    ratings
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    9
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    Story
    "Incredible"

    The inside story of an autistic person. All the details and little quirks explained, it was amazing to listen to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hans 06-09-15
    Hans 06-09-15 Member Since 2014
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    13
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    "An eye opener"

    Very interesting look into a different way of seeing things. Then in the end the transition into normality. Very good book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Judy Moorer 05-25-15
    Judy Moorer 05-25-15
    ratings
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    81
    1
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    Story
    "Must read."

    Everyone needs to read this to help understand the true autistic mind. Ms Moon delivers an expansive picture of what such an individual feels, senses, and sees in his world.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Manuele Mayer 05-03-15 Member Since 2011
    ratings
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    4
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Original"

    Original story, I never heard anything like it. I liked it a lot. I have worked with people with autism all my adult life and this did not seem fake. Amazing! Great narration too.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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