Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes

Satisfactory Essays
This is the fifteenth in a series of reviews of those pieces of written science fiction and fantasy which have won both the Hugo and Nebula awards. I had some reservations about including "Flowers for Algernon" in this series. It is an unusual case in that different versions of the story won different awards; the original short story, published in Fantasy and Science Fiction in 1959, won a 1960 Hugo, while the novel length expansion jointly won a 1966 Nebula. So to do it justice I would have to review two separately published versions of the story in one web page.

However it is pretty clear to me that the story must be the best known of any Hugo or Nebula winner, partly because it is on many junior high school reading lists in the United States and Canada, but also because it is quite simply of outstanding quality. I also had to acknowledge that I had personal reasons for not wanting to write about "Flowers for Algernon", which I will come to at the end, and perhaps doing this article is a kind of useful therapy. I am going to assume that you have also read "Flowers for Algernon" and there will be no attempt to conceal plot details below. If you have not read it, you should go somewhere else now.

Member of MagiCon, the 50th World Science Fiction Convention in 1992, were asked also to vote for the best of all previous Hugo winners in each of the established categories. In three of the four fiction categories the results were rather close; there was little distance in the novel category between The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Dune, and Stranger in a Strange Land; in the novelette category, "The Big Front Yard" was only just ahead of "The Bicentennial Man", "Sandkings", "Unicorn Variations" and "Blood Music"; and in the Short Story category, "I Have No Mouth and I must Scream" was a little more convincingly ahead of "Neutron Star", "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman", and "The Star".