Monday, July 11, 2005

Speed of Dark, by Elizabeth Moon

This was excellent.

Moon takes us into the head of an autistic man who is coping with life through treatment and therapy. His work takes advantage of his superior autistic pattern-matching skills and Moon explores both the possibilities and moralities of such a situation. At his work he deals with other autistics, and his interactions with them, seen through his own eyes, shows them as real people with different likes and dislikes, instead of lumping them together into a stereotype. And at work and in his hobbies we see how he interrelates with "normals" - how some people fear him, some pity him, some like him for who he is, and - most interestingly - some feel portions of all three. And finally, our character is presented with the possibility of a cure, and we get to see that from his point of view a cure is a terrifying choice; to gain access to worlds he doesn't quite understand at the risk of losing all that makes him who he is.

Moon paints a detailed picture full of deep, multi-faceted characters who feel real. I strongly suspect she has someone autistic in her life, because her insight is striking. Definitely come back to this one for another read.


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