Just finished reading The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon, the book about the autistic man in a sort of "Flowers for Algernon" vein. I liked it very much. I was deeply, personally affected by it because of my son, particularly because in the future world it's set in, he could be someone very much like the main character. But personal interests aside, it's a good book on its own merit. The protaganist is real, three-dimensional, someone who can be sympathetic without being pitied; who is strong and smart and insightful, and also happens to be autistic. The autism is a very integral part of his character, though, so it's heart-breaking to see him struggle with whether he wants to be "cured" or not. The meaning of "normal" is brought up again and again, and my favorite quote of the book is the subject title. I want to make an icon or a button out of it. It's so expressive. Well, the plot is pretty gripping, what with a scummy executive who's trying to exploit the autists in his group, and the tension between the protaganist and both those who care for him and those who resent him. No one is perfect, neither "normal" people nor autistic, and everyone is believable. The ending is satisfying, but very thought-provoking. I'm still not sure whether I'm happy about what happens or not, but it is a satisfying and fitting conclusion, and I won't soon forget my experience reading this book. I'm going to recommend it to everyone who asks me about books about autism, because it was more affecting for me than any non-fiction text. Which is ironic, because an actual autistic person would be much more likely to want non-fiction than fiction. I'm not autistic. But I hope I can understand, to some extent, those who are.