Thursday, June 19, 2014

Daniel Keyes (1927 – 2014)

A classic science fiction author now knows The Secret.

Daniel Keyes passed away at his home in Florida on June 15, 2014, due to complications from pneumonia. Keyes was best known for his short story and later novel "Flowers for Algernon," which became an instant and well-loved classic.

First published as a short story in my favorite magazine, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, "Flowers" won a Hugo in 1958, then as a novel won a Nebula award in 1966. A movie adaptation, "Charly," was nominated for an Academy Award.

Told from the point of view of progress reports written by Charlie Gordon, who is mentally-handicapped, Algernon is a laboratory mouse who has undergone surgery to increase his intelligence by artificial means. Charlie Gordon has also undergone the same surgery and these reports are a method of measuring the success of the surgery to the scientist who performed it.  The story has many moral themes, and like any classic story whether science fiction or not, it leaves the reader pondering those issues long after the last page.

As is typical with many controversial stories, this book has been challenged and banned in libraries and schools at various points in time. (That makes this a perfect title to consider during the next "Read a Banned Book Week.") Seems like all the greats always scare some small-minded people at some time or another.

Until Next Time...
Flowerly Yours,

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