The Speed Of Dark
by Elizabeth Moon
Category: Fiction / General
340 pages; ISBN: 0345447549
Rating: 10/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
The Speed Of Dark
Ballantine, March 2004, $13.95, 340pp.
Though Lou Arrendale suffers from autism, he refuses to allow that condition from stopping him from living a fruitful “normal” life. Lou works at a pharmaceutical company and has many friends. He has adapted to the troubles his condition causes him in a non-autistic society by adopting polite mannerisms such as shaking hands and using salutations. Lou tries very hard to behave “normal” when he is in the urban wilderness.
However, the CEO of his firm wants to cut costs by firing the autistic work force that needs special assistance to perform. Lou is given an option of taking an experimental drug that will allegedly turn him into a normal, but he hesitates. He worries that if he becomes normal is he Lou? Adding to his dilemma is his deep feelings for Marjory Shaw, a normal who probably will never love the present Lou. Would the revisionist Lou still love her? Before he can decide what to do, Lou must hide from a stalker who wants to harm him.
THE SPEED OF DARK is an incredible novel that captures the essences of an intelligent autistic person struggling to independently survive in a constantly changing world. Though the stalking angle adds suspense, the excitement of the subplot takes away from the powerful themes of focusing on autism and the ethical issue of chemical cures to the mind and body changing the essence of the person. This strong tale with powerful characters will remind the audience of Flowers for Algernon and Rain Man as Elizabeth Moon takes the reader inside the soul of the hero.
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