Elizabeth Moon The Speed of Dark read by Grover Gardner

Elizabeth Moon The Speed of Dark read by Grover Gardner

Pattern recognition is the theme of this second millenium. Knowledge is pattern recognition. Love is pattern recognition. Beauty is pattern recognition. Those who can recognize patterns get to recognize more patterns. Hi, ho. Class struggle.

Now, lets get flush. A few small and weary ancestors hammered away at a short list of ideas. They are museum quality, priceless, with some entertainment value.

But you don’t want to get behind an idea. Not in heavy traffic. It is all over the road. It is in your face. In the right lane. In the left lane. In the right lane. Then, suddenly, without warning, it stops. In the middle of the road. Miles in front of the light. Sitting pretty on some double line, any double line.

For ideas, substitute patterns. Pro cogito ordo est.

Lou the autistic works for a company that makes weapons systems and other good stuff. He spends thousands of hours in front of a computer screen recognizing mathematically gross patterns within data fields. Patterns take the place of knowing how to think.

Lou sees patterns, Lou makes patterns, Lou is patterns.

28% of Lou’s patterns span Margot: a very pretty normal he talks to when he goes fencing at Tom’s house every Wednesday. 5% span shopping for groceries (Tuesday), 5% span driving to work (8:02 -8:25), 1% span cleaning his car (Saturday), 7% span going to Church (Sunday morning).

This is a monstrous book. A brilliant book. A good book.

It shows us inter alia that normality depends on the undaunted recognition of patterns: social signals, facial expressions, vocal tones, and on the order and organization of appropriate reactions to such patterns….


I just looked up “undaunted” to see whether it means the same as dauntless. The OED reads: undaunted: not daunted. No! You think? We autistics protest. Why don’t normals say what they mean? Why don’t words mean exactly? Why should mathematically coherent, numerically aligned, literal, pattern-recognizing beings kowtow to semantic ninniness. Aarrrrgh.

But we do.