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.
Nebula Award, Best Novel, 2003
Listening is not the same as reading, but it is still fun
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
this book also offered some interesting insights into the world of autism.
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!
Reading Fantasy and SCI-FI on audible.
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.
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.
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.
Kea Giles (Asmus)
Well read by Jay Snyder, this book takes the reader into the mind and life of an autistic man in the near future. If you know someone who is autistic, or who has Asperger's syndrome, you'll feel at home with the character and get some good insight into how your friend, husband, son, or daughter might think. I especially liked the part about comparing an autistic person's facial recognition and other types of perception to that of a blind person. Also, good insight into how other people treat folks who think differently, who act differently.
Indie writer (Dana Reynolds - Wardenclyffe Trilogy, Rides Eyes of Ghost).
This story has so much depth and insight and vivid imagery of the 'every day' -- not limited to autism at all (and I don't think that was necessarily the intention). However the performance would have been better suited to a thriller or crime novel. Not a book like this with so much sensitivity and pathos. Had the story not been so intriguing I would have abandoned it. I wish I had taken the time to read it myself. I would have loved it without reservation.
This book is amazing! I highly recommend it. Exploritory, educational, entertaining. It didn't grip me and drive me forward as most books do, but when I put it down I didnt forget about. That has never happened before. It was a joy to pick it up again.
I don't think I'd give another Elizabeth Moon book a try, to be honest. This book felt like it was designed to accomplish something very specific that she set out to do, and whether or not the book was a strong book on its own was irrelevant to her goal of bringing attention to the concept of "healing" autistic people. I would be hard-pressed to imagine her other books being better-built.
The narrator, however, did an outstanding job of encompassing the many characters and voices he was asked to undertake. I was very happy with how the audiobook was presented.
I would not, no. There were some substantial flaws in the book despite its intriguing premise, and I found myself often exasperated at how those flaws colored my perception of the book at large.
I have not, but I would be willing to do so again. That said, I tend not to follow *narrators* from one book to another. I choose my audiobooks by whether I would have wanted to read the book itself.
It made me want to learn ASL, since I felt like the entire "autism cure" premise was a mediocre allegory for cochlear implants.
This book means well. It really does, and I have a lot of respect for the author for taking it on. But there were some fundamental issues. The characters are either saints or devils; there are no shades of gray. Everybody is either Lou's biggest supporter or actively trying to make his life difficult. Nobody is indifferent.
The ending of the book, from the "treatment" forward, progressed so quickly that I'm not entirely sure it was fully intended. It felt as though it was tacked on because an editor asked for it, not because it was key to the plot.
"The Speed of Dark" was a phrase often incorporated directly into conversations in the book, often shoehorned in. It felt like a reminder, "hey guys, this is what the book is called!" I don't think it served any compelling purpose other than to explain why the book was titled what it was.
Certain characterizations seemed to be repeated at every opportunity. I swear, I lost count of how often Lou described himself as "sweaty", generally for little or no reason.
This was an ambitious book, and a worthy attempt, but it could have stood another round of editing by a talented editor, who would have fixed many of these issues.
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