Tuesday, December 11, 2012
The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon
The Speed of Dark, Elizabeth Moon. New York: Ballentine Books, 2003. e-book 312 pps.
Right on the heels of the news that the D.S.M. shrinks have axed Asperger's-- preferring to lump everyone together now under the broad spectrum of autism or autistic-like disorders (sigh)-- came talk about The Speed of Dark. I was annoyed. I was and am annoyed at the unknown shrinks. I was and am annoyed at the bookstores where I go at least once a week for between one and five hours at a time for not stocking this particular book. I love Elizabeth Moon's Paks series, liked much of her sci fi, but somehow The Speed of Dark escaped my notice. Apparently it escaped the notice of the buyers for the bookstores too. Grrrr. Had this book been anywhere in the bookstores that I frequent, I would have known it. I practically live in those bookstores. If not for the marvels of the Internet, specifically a Twitter(tm) feed-- and Twitter is cool except when Twitter does things like ban AnonOpsSweden which is basically a newsreel from a cold place where I hope some of my relatives are doing more than drinking hot cocoa with the reindeer. That is to say, I hope that some of my unknown relatives are radical, or at the very least doing stuff to change some of the crap in the world.
So, rather belatedly, I got to read The Speed of Dark. And I found it good. Actually, I found it excellent. Truthfully, I don't bother to write too many reviews of books that I've hated. That is why most of the books I review on here are books that I like or love. The Speed of Dark falls into the category of love. The main character in this book by the name of Lou is an Aspergian who, along with the rest of his unit in the company that he works for, is able to work exceptionally well at his job of "finding patterns." The work crew have special parking spaces, a gym with trampoline and music, and a few other consessions so that way they can work. Some folks are pissed about that. There is also a fencing group that Lou belongs to. A jealous normie man and an attractive woman. And a young disabled woman from a Center who is pissed off that Lou hangs out with "normies." All of these people and places and attitudes congeal to deliver a punch ending.
sapphoq reviews says: The narratives and the dialogues throughout the book were highly realistic. The Speed of Dark is well worth a read. Fans of Elizabeth Moon are sure to like Lou. Folks who like light science fiction or a peak into a not-too-distant future are sure to enjoy.
"...we (meaning society in its judgmental role) create aliens from humans by excluding them, by defining them as too strange, too difficult...Cultures have defined other races, religions, nationalities, and even economic groups as "not really human" and thus outside the rules that govern behavior in the group. And we've done it with disabilities. Sometimes the disabled are treated as children (We know what's best for you . . . ) and sometimes as monsters who must be confined or even killed."
Elizabeth Moon, from an interview towards the back of the book