June 17, 2014
Keyes wrote some other excellent SF and true crime, but will always be best remembered for “Flowers for Algernon,” which to my mind remains the greatest short story every written. It had a profound effect on me as a young reader, and it has never failed to move me to tears when I’ve reread it over the years. (Okay, when I read it out loud for Pizza & Prose at my office, I managed to hold off the tears.) I’ve never been able to read the novel or watch the film versions, because the story is so perfect I’m reluctant to experience it in any other form.
I mentioned Charlie Gordon in my Writers of the Future speech. The last line of my first published story was a deliberate paraphrase from the end of “Flowers for Algernon.” And it pains me that no one ever picked up on the fact that in my story “The Long View” in F&SF, the narrator is named Emzara Ghali-Gordon and refers to her husband as “Chuck.”
Farewell to a brilliant writer.