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The Speed of Dark Audiobook

The Speed of Dark

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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

4.0 (560 )
5 star
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4.0 (380 )
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Story
4.2 (377 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
 (9)
Performance
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  •  
    Britt 02-26-14
    Britt 02-26-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    315
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    Story
    "Captivating story"

    I typically listen to thrillers and adventurous science fiction stories, so this is not my typical reading material, but I've always liked Elizabeth Moon. I was a bit doubtful starting this book, but it immediately caught my attention and kept it. The narrator is great at portraying Lou's thought process, and his concerns and the things that made him relaxed and/or happy. Maybe part of what kept my attention was the adventure Lou experienced as his life changed, becoming more complicated, and requiring that he meet the new challenges and eventually make some tough decisions. His experience had many similarities to those of explorers on a new planet developing solutions to deal with unexpected dangers and alien landscapes. In any case, I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in psychology, social interactions, and also to readers who just enjoy an interesting adventure.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ado 08-09-17
    Ado 08-09-17 Member Since 2012
    RATINGS
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    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Easy listen, Story very slow"

    I don't know if the description gives us a good impression of an autistic mind, but that aside it's very slow developing and repetitive.
    It's very emotional based and the male characters seem flat and one dimensional.
    But it's a very easy listen.
    Dosen't deserve an award in my opinion though.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dana Springdale, AR, United States 05-14-16
    Dana Springdale, AR, United States 05-14-16 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    53
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    "Wonderful story. Mismatched narrator."

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel Potter 01-13-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    "Exploritory. Educational. Entertaining."

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anonymous 12-27-15
    12-27-15 Member Since 2015
    RATINGS
    REVIEWS
    24
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Well-performed, well-intentioned, but meh overall."
    Would you try another book from Elizabeth Moon and/or Jay Snyder?

    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.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Elizabeth Moon again?

    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.


    Have you listened to any of Jay Snyder’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    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.


    Did The Speed of Dark inspire you to do anything?

    It made me want to learn ASL, since I felt like the entire "autism cure" premise was a mediocre allegory for cochlear implants.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    rote 08-13-15
    rote 08-13-15 Member Since 2017
    RATINGS
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    15
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    "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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    25
    2
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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
    REVIEWS
    585
    1
    "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 05-03-15
    Manuele 05-03-15 Member Since 2011
    RATINGS
    REVIEWS
    11
    1
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    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
  •  
    Erika L Peterson Dorena, Oregon 04-20-15
    Erika L Peterson Dorena, Oregon 04-20-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
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    "Miscategorized"
    Any additional comments?

    I found this book in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy category, but it is neither. Instead, it's a bildungsroman about an autistic man. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't what I was looking for.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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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.

    2 of 2 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!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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