26 April 2007

The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon

The Speed of Dark is Elizabeth Moon's finest work. Usually, Moon writes about soldiers in fantasy setting, much like those of Dungeons and Dragons, or she writes about space ships. Her background in the US Marines gives these a certain amount of credibility.

The Speed of Dark is written with more passion. It clearly comes from the heart, and this is not surprising given Moon has a son who is autistic. Again, this personal association with her subject gives it credibility.

The Speed of Dark is set in the near future. Autism is nearly cured, in that there are no longer babies born with it. The story is about a group of autistic adults, born before the cure was found. They are too old for the cure, but they have been educated in such a way that they have been able to take their own, careful, place in society. They have jobs. Their employer has set up their environment so that they can be comfortable and therefore work well.

Into this environment steps a new and very ambitious manager, who has learned of a possible cure for autism in adults, and sets about pressuring his autistic workers to take it. They don't know if they want to be cured. Of course, the reader can also quickly see that this 'cure' could also be applied to the neurologically normal for greater gains in worker efficiency. The tension sets in.

The Speed of Dark is no effort to read, in fact, the ending is almost too simple. This is one of those books where the wonder is not so much in the text itself as in what it makes the reader think about. In this case, it makes the reader think about the nature of intelligence in Humans in a way that's interesting.

No comments:

Post a Comment