This is the fourth of three posts of excerpts from Elizabeth Moon‘s novel The Speed of Dark. (Part one – How normal are normal people?, part two – What does it meant to be “me”?, and part three – Do I need to be healed?)
Like any good story, The Speed of Dark has an antagonist that provides the main character his dilemma and challenge. I thought it might be worthwhile to share some of Mr. Crenshaw’s thoughts on Lou and his co-workers.
“Your guys are fossils, Pete. Face it. The auties older than them were throwaways, nine out of ten. And don’t recite that woman, whatever her name was, that designed slaughterhouses or something —.
“One in a million, and I have the highest respect for someone who pulls themselves up by their bootstraps the way she did. But she was the exception. Most of those poor bastards were hopeless. Not their fault, all right? But still, no good to themselves or anyone else, no matter how much money was spent on them. And if the damned shrinks had kept hold of the category, your guys would be just as bad. Lucky for them the neurologists and behaviorists got some influence. But still…they’re not normal, whatever you say.
“The law does not require a company to bankrupt itself. That notion went overboard early this century. We’d lose the tax break, but that’s such a tiny part of our budget that it’s worthless, really. Now if they’d agree to dispense with their so-called support measures and act like regular employees, I wouldn’t push the treatment – though why they wouldn’t want it I can’t fathom.”
As you might be able to gather, Mr. Crenshaw’s motives for pushing a cure are somewhat less than altruistic. But it is quite obvious what he thinks of autistics. Not all that different from how many view autism, and autistics, today.