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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

3.8 (350 )
5 star
 (124)
4 star
 (107)
3 star
 (76)
2 star
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1 star
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Overall
3.8 (190 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.0 (188 )
5 star
 (77)
4 star
 (59)
3 star
 (37)
2 star
 (9)
1 star
 (6)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Brooke P. Anderson USA 04-17-09 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    69
    ratings
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    510
    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 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robin 04-08-09
    Robin 04-08-09 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    68
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    68
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    "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
  •  
    Amazon Customer Jamaica 04-18-14
    Amazon Customer Jamaica 04-18-14 Member Since 2010

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

    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    6
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    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debbie 02-26-14
    Debbie 02-26-14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Ithaca, NY, USA 02-11-14
    Michael Ithaca, NY, USA 02-11-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    Story
    "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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Sacramento, CA 01-31-14
    Amazon Customer Sacramento, CA 01-31-14 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    "The first half was good"
    What did you like best about The Speed of Dark? What did you like least?

    The second half of the book was ridiculous and so seemingly disconnected with the beginning. There was so much time in developing the main character as likable and sympathetic. He was well grounded and the author seemed to make him self sufficient. Then when he was at his strongest the author makes him feel fallible and want to change. Then the whole change thing was horribly developed and just ended.


    What was most disappointing about Elizabeth Moon’s story?

    Second half


    Which character – as performed by Jay Snyder – was your favorite?

    The main character before the change


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    Don't bother

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Will Gray 12-15-13
    Will Gray 12-15-13

    Will

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Science fiction as literature"
    What did you like best about this story?

    The story succeeds on the strength of the first-person narrative voice. It makes the protagonist, Lou Arrendale, completely believable while also creating a view on the world that is believably autistic.


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

    Jay Snyder's voices were believable and the differences between characters clear. His nuanced depiction of Lou Arrendale was perfectly balanced between flatness and a sort of geeky excitement.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    There is a moment towards the end when Lou asks his manager if the manager's brother is going to take the treatment for autism and the manager's response reveals a great deal about him and his brother in few words.


    Any additional comments?

    This is not a book about action or adventure, but about people and situations.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kristin 10-24-13
    Kristin 10-24-13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fascinating Viewpoint"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This book is different from most of Elizabeth Moon's other books, but just as enjoyable. The viewpoint is unique and really interesting.


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

    The reader does a great job also--I liked this audio rendition even better than the print book. He captured the struggle of the main character in dealing with the rest of the world very well.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kristen Giles Boulder, CO, USA 02-03-13
    Kristen Giles Boulder, CO, USA 02-03-13 Member Since 2011

    Kea Giles (Asmus)

    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    9
    6
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    "Fantastic, especially with storyline around autism"

    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.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wende J. Sharrock 12-27-12

    MBaggins of Blue Star Mage.com

    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    717
    7
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    Story
    "Need a lot more more stars for this one"

    This very thoughtful book is not for folks looking for blowing up - there is only one almost blowing up. Nor is it for folks looking for steamy sex scenes.
    This is a great book for us rocking chair philosophers, and for those looking for new amazing "here's the problem now, what if in the future . . . " science fiction.
    It is a crucial book for looking at relationships. And of identifying the issues of how to read emotions. I was mesmerized by the careful, fearful, gentle thinking of the main character. So much of what he noticed in this chaotic world are things I have also noticed and thought about.
    I have always liked this author.
    This book took some fine research, The subject has been so hidden from us because of prejudice and fear of the unusual. She did such a clean and thought provoking job.
    I really love it.
    And Jay Snyder was perfect. The reading was often tough to clearly show who is speaking, and to signify the dichotomy of the characters: balancing what some perceive as problems of relating and speaking with the often brilliant abilities that they also exhibited. He did it beautifully. I was so impressed.

    This is one I am keeping to re-read several more times.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 11-20 of 28 results PREVIOUS123NEXT
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  • Helen
    stockton on tees, cleveland, United Kingdom
    10/23/09
    Overall
    "Gripping story"

    Having ordered this audio book without much forethought only noticing author and title, I had presumed this would be a sci fi resd. Imagine my suprise to listen to a story about autism. Do not mistake me I was enthralled. The narration is superb, really fitting the character and the storyline has me gripped. I was disappointed when I had to pause for part 2 (forgot to download it to my ipod!) and am looking forward to the concluding part and would reccomend this to all, perhaps if you ever read Skallagrigg by William Horwood you would like this, but it does differ quite a bit from that type of telling.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Bridie
    Victoria, Australia
    4/16/11
    Overall
    "Pulled me in"

    I've read a few of Moon's books and enjoyed them all. This one took some getting used to.

    At first I found Ray Snyder's narration hard to take but after I settled into it I decided that he did a good job expressing the characters and conveying their emotions.
    The story was a little repetitive in some aspects of the main character but I suppose that was to represent his autistic nature and I came to think of the repetitiveness as a kind of fugue, colouring my overall impression of the book with a sense of of urban otherworldliness.
    The style in that regard reminded me a little of JG Ballard!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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