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 made active and
contributing members of society. But they will never be
Lou Arrendale is a member of that lost generation, born at
the wrong time to reap the awards of medical science. Part
of a small group of high-functioning autistic adults, he
has a steady job with a pharmaceutical company, a car,
friends, and a passion for fencing. Aside from his annual
visits to his counselor, he lives a low-key, independent
life. He has learned to shake hands and make eye contact.
He has taught himself to use "please" and "thank you" and
other conventions of conversation because he knows it makes
others comfortable. He does his best to be as normal as
possible and not to draw attention to himself.
But then his quiet life comes under attack. It starts with
an experimental treatment that will reverse the effects of
autism in adults. With this treatment Lou would think and
act and be just like everyone else. But if he was suddenly
free of autism, would he still be himself? Would he still
love the same classical music--with its complications and
resolutions? Would he still see the same colors and
patterns in the world--shades and hues that others cannot
see? Most importantly, would he still love Marjory, a woman
who may never be able to reciprocate his feelings? Would it
be easier for her to return the love of a "normal"?
There are intense pressures coming from the world around
him--including an angry supervisor who wants to cut costs
sacrificing the supports necessary to employ autistic
workers. Perhaps even more disturbing are the barrage of
questions within himself. For Lou must decide if he should
submit to a surgery that might completely change the way he
views the world . . . and the very essence of who he is.
Thoughtful, provocative, poignant, unforgettable, The Speed
of Dark is a gripping exploration into the mind of an
autistic person as he struggles with profound questions of
humanity and matters of the heart.