Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes
In this Hugo and Nebula Award-winning novel, Daniel Keyes gives us the story of lowly bakery worker Charlie Gordon, whose low IQ leads to him being selected to take part in a medical experiment to increase intelligence. The procedure has been successfully used on Algernon the lab mouse, and now it is Charlie’s turn to become a genius.
Told as a series of progress reports, which become increasingly well written as Charlie’s IQ increases, we follow Charlie on a journey of self-discovery as his intelligence rapidly outstrips that of his doctors and Charlie begins researching his own condition. Unfortunately, Algernon begins showing signs of relapse and Charlie discovers that his increased IQ will not be permanent.
Charlie has flashbacks to his childhood, recalling how he was rejected by his mother, and tries to reconnect with his family, but he ultimately has to reject them, knowing he will soon revert to his previous condition and be a burden on them once more.
A truly award-worthy, poignant and tragic story of one man’s salvation, which ultimately is only temporary, this story is classed as a Masterwork of science fiction, and as such is a must read for any SF fan.
The novel was adapted into the Oscar-winning film ‘Charly’ in 1968.