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The Speed of Dark

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  10,127 ratings  ·  1,229 reviews
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 ma ...more
Paperback, 369 pages
Published June 28th 2005 by Del Rey (first published 2002)
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Mari Stein I think it is quite good. We are all different, so I feel the 'cardboard cutouts' opinion could be said of any characters in any book. I think she did…moreI think it is quite good. We are all different, so I feel the 'cardboard cutouts' opinion could be said of any characters in any book. I think she did a good job of showing us without really understanding us
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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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 ·  10,127 ratings  ·  1,229 reviews


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J.G. Keely
This book is about as 'sci fi' as an episode of CSI. Moon basically takes 'Flowers for Algernon' and hacks off the ending. The writing was alright, and there was some interesting characterization, but I suspect it only got the Nebula and Clarke because award committees love nothing as much as political correctness. This book is the equivalent of an actor making an Oscar bid by playing a mentally-challenged character.

I know Moon is a sci fi author, but in this book, it feels like she just stamped
...more
Lyn
May 29, 2013 rated it liked it
Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon tells the story of an autistic man in the near future where advances in medical technology have cured many diseases. The protagonist is in a small group of people who were born just before these advances and so have grown up in a world where their disability is a close anachronism.

This is a subtle, introspective work that focuses on psychological, philosophical and theological questions about normality and quality of life.

I could not help but cast actor Jim Pars
...more
Sandi
Aug 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: 2009, sci-fi, cross-genre
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bradley
Oct 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi, 2016-shelf
This is one hell of a fantastic SF and it hit me in all the right feels. It's not flashy, either, just really well made.

It's also custom-made for anyone wanting to see and feel what life would be like as a high-functioning autistic. Its set in the near future, with talk of highly advanced treatments and AIs, but the real joy is in the narrator's outlook, the focus on patterns in everything, everywhere.

For while this novel is pretty soft-SF, it actually has a hard-SF feel because of the characte
...more
J.K. Grice
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, favorites
One of the most brilliant books I've ever read. This novel still haunts me. I hope more people will discover THE SPEED OF DARK. ...more
Ine
Jan 03, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, english
Oh man. This book started out incredibly promising. The autistic first-person narrator is believable and authentic, and when an experimental cure for autism is acquired by the company he works for, the ethical ramifications are gripping and frightening. I mean, when people see autism as an illness, something to be cured, then resisting treatment is obvious grounds for firing someone. So I really wanted to see where the writer would take this.

(view spoiler)
...more
Colin
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Spider the Doof Warrior
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Apatt
May 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi, favorites
Amazon's e-book samples are too short, only about 18 pages in length, good luck applying that ol’ “50 pages rule” here. Fortunately The Speed of Dark (2003 Nebula Award winner) is immediately intriguing and I was sold on it by the end of the short sample. I keep hearing good things about Elizabeth Moon and Elizabeth Bear in sci-fi websites and forums, I get them mixed up a lot as I have not read either one until now. Elizabeth Moon surpasses my expectations with this book, hopefully Elizabeth ...more
Donna Backshall
My son has Asperger Syndrome and while this book was enlightening and incredibly insightful, it was also painful to read, which is why it sat in my "Currently Reading" list for so long. I had to pace myself, taking in a little at a time, so I did not get overwhelmed by how close to home Lou's struggle with daily life hits.

In addition to the "learnings" I encountered on every page, I did love the story and the characters, and enthusiastically give this book five stars for its eloquence, heart, a
...more
Phrynne
Jun 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a very interesting book set in the near future when advancements in medical science have made autism curable in child hood. The story revolves around a group of adults with autism who were too old to be treated when the cure was found, making them the last of their kind. Eventually a possible 'cure' is found for the adults and the debate is raised whether they need to be changed or whether they are who they are and should stay the same
There are lots of similarities between this book and
...more
Nancy
I was very impressed by The Speed of Dark. Lou Arrendale is autistic and employed by a large company that requires his special skill of recognizing patterns that can't be seen by other people or computers. Despite the fact that he is gainfully employed and a brilliant fencer, autistics have a different way of interacting socially and perceiving the world.

The author has written about autism with a lot of knowledge and sensitivity.
...more
Jim
May 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Moon has an autistic son, which clearly informed her writing of this book. The Speed of Dark tells the story of Lou Arrendale, an autistic man living in a near future very similar to our own time. The back of the book blurb focuses on:

"…an experimental “cure” for his condition. Now Lou must decide if he should submit to a surgery that may change the way he views the world–and the very essence of who he is."

But the book is so much more. This isn’t an action or adventure novel, and the treatments
...more
Sarah
What does it mean to be normal? This book explores this concept much more than it tells a sci-fi story.

It's interesting to me that we spend the early part of our lives rebelling against normality (Why be normal, right?) only to want so desperately to be normal when our normality is not in our hands. Lou is born autistic, and even with the advantages of a future where more is known about the illness, there is still an enormous amount of prejudice towards people with autism.

I have strong objectio
...more
Stephen
5.0 stars. This is an incredible novel and one that I highly recommend to anyone one liked Flowers for Algernon. Emotionally powerful science fiction at its best. Superb writing, excellent plot and an unforgetable main character.

Nominee: Arthur C. Clarke Award for Best Science Fiction Novel
Nominee: Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel
Winner: Nebula Award for Best Science Fiction Novel

...more
Kelly H. (Maybedog)
This book is outstanding. Moon's believable hero is a genius trapped in an autistic shell. The characterization was vivid and touching, I grew to love the man and feel very strongly about the things he dealt with. I even found myself getting angry with the bad things people were doing thinking, "they can't do that!" even though the book was just fiction. It was outrageous and yet believable. I loved how the author didn't relegate the autistic man to being stupid or unable to comprehend big words ...more
Lisa  (not getting friends updates) Vegan
Mar 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lisa (not getting friends updates) by: Sandi
It’s going to be a challenge to write a review without using a spoiler box but I will do it, as I have written all my other reviews without spoilers.

This is kind of a cross between The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time and Flowers for Algernon, both books I also really liked.

The writer is the mother of a son (adolescent at the time of this book’s publication) that has autism. The main character in this book has autism, but it takes place in the future where he has received better ea
...more
Libby
Mar 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lou Arrendale is a high functioning autistic main character in ‘The Speed of Dark’ by Elizabeth Moon. I was very interested in Lou as a main character; my grandson having Williams Syndrome may have something to do with that. Lou works in an office, has a car, and takes part in a fencing community. He has autistic co-workers but is very drawn to ‘normals.’ Being engaged with the Williams Syndrome community, I have learned to question the use of the word ‘normal.’ The word typical is used more fre ...more
Wealhtheow
Jul 30, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
I was intrigued because this book was mentioned several times at WisCon’06 as an example of disability in science fiction and austism in general. Congoers had varying opinions—some touted it as the Best Writing About Autism Ever, while others said it was unrealistic. I have little experience with autism (besides being in fandom and reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time), so I can’t comment on how realistically Moon recreates an autistic experience. As a book, it’s quite good, ...more
Kaethe Douglas
May 08, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: scifi, fiction, autism
I thought the author did a great job of presenting a character with autism, but the idea of a cure is weird to me.
Alex
Sep 16, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: science fiction fans, health professionals
Shelves: fiction, sff
The Speed of Dark is an eloquently written examination of the internal life of an autistic man, as he considers whether or not to try an experimental cure for his condition. It is told from the first person point of view of Lou Arrendale, and his voice is so strong and unique that I found myself becoming personally involved in his dilemma. I didn't want to loose his voice, or any of his uniqueness. Through the window of Lou's experience, the novel examines the consequences of the medicalization ...more
Mike
4.5 *s If I were in the mood to buy books just, now, I would purchase it. Definitely a reread, which is unusual for me these days
Megan Baxter
Feb 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Writing with a main character on the autism spectrum is a tricky path, one that I feel like I've seen many people stumble off, falling down on amusing or adorable instead of giving their subjects any kind of complexity or autonomy. These characters need to be jolted out of their routines and it's hilarious as they learn to do more. They feel like books written for neurotypical readers, with autism less a different way of thinking than a prop in a comedy. (The more I think about The Rosie Project ...more
The Captain
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
Ahoy there me mateys! After reading the vatta’s war and the vatta’s peace series, I wanted to check out one of her standalone novels. Apparently this one won the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 2003. I can certainly see why. This novel was heart-warming, thought-provoking, and superb.

Set in our close future, genetic testing and treatment has cured most diseases including autism. But what about those born too late for treatment? This book follows Lou, a high-functioning autistic man who is part of
...more
Laura
Oct 28, 2010 rated it it was ok
In the future, a cure for autism has been developed and is given to all babies (still in the womb or just born) that test positive for the disorder. Lou is born a few years to early for the treatment and is therefore in the last generation of autistics. After going to therapy for most of his childhood, he is now a functioning adult with his own apartment and a steady job with a pharmaceutical company that uses his advanced pattern recognition abilities. He has "friends" who are both autistic (hi ...more
Kat  Hooper
Dec 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, favorites
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

In The Speed of Dark, Elizabeth Moon blends science fiction, neuroscience, and her own experience to speculate about a future in which scientists have nearly eliminated the symptoms of autism. Lou Arrendale’s cohort is the last of the impaired autistics. Thanks to early intervention programs, Lou and his colleagues are verbal, take care of themselves, and work for a pharmaceutical company that makes use of their savant abilities, yet they lack the social u
...more
PhilorChelsy
Mar 03, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: chelsys-readings
"Sometimes I wonder how normal normal people are, and I wonder that the most in the grocery store."

Started the book thinking it was simply a novel about a man with autism. After I few incidents I had to shift my thinking to that of it being an almost science fiction novel. Then I could read it more easily, and the black and whiteness of the characters made more sense to me. A fiction based on imagined, or hoped for, future science (which is actually not so very future anymore).
I really enjoyed
...more
Christine
The first book I ever ready by Elizabeth Moon was Sheepfarmer's Daughter. I'm more of a fantasy reader than a science fiction reader. I liked the book and so read, over the years, Moon's work. Her sci-fi books are better than her fantasy. Of all her books, The Speed of the Dark stands out as her best work.

It is a touching story; it raises questions about what it means to be human, what it means to be who you are. The fact that Moon doesn't fully answer such questions, but allows the reader to th
...more
Kara Babcock
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lisa
Apr 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone. Think about how you deal with people who are different from you.
Recommended to Lisa by: Jennifer
Shelves: 2008
What a special and beautifully written book. It presents autism from the autistic person's point of view, and he is someone you can really relate to and begin to understand. Through Lou, readers also see ourselves and our social group interactions--"normals"--from an outside perspective, which has caused me to think about some things in my life differently.

The book has a great plot, all while asking profound questions. It challenges readers to think about what makes them who they are--are we re
...more
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2,208 followers
Elizabeth Moon was born March 7, 1945, and grew up in McAllen, Texas, graduating from McAllen High School in 1963. She has a B.A. in History from Rice University (1968) and another in Biology from the University of Texas at Austin (1975) with graduate work in Biology at the University of Texas, San Antonio.

She served in the USMC from 1968 to 1971, first at MCB Quantico and then at HQMC. She marrie
...more

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