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Flowers For Algernon - The Blog
August 30, 2008 1:41 PM   Subscribe

Daniel Keys' classic 1959 Science Fiction story "Flowers for Algernon", which takes place in a series of diary entries, has been posted online as a blog. Of course, you'll need to read it backwards, from the earliest entry to the latest, to avoid giving away the ending... [via]
posted by Asparagirl (25 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Impressive, in this format the story spoils itself.
posted by TwelveTwo at 1:55 PM on August 30, 2008


Since it doesn't even spell Daniel Keyes's name right, and it's not mentioned on the author's official site, I strongly suspect this is a copyright violation.
posted by mcwetboy at 1:59 PM on August 30, 2008


Are there any epistolary novels that start with the most recent document and work backwards through time? That's how I usually read blogs. It could be an interesting artistic choice for a novel.

The wikipedia list of contemporary epistolary novels only mentions one that is in blog format.
posted by painquale at 2:01 PM on August 30, 2008


I've often wished that blogs had a toggle for "read forward/read backward." The normal new-entry-on-top format is great for keeping up with an ongoing story, but is terrible if you want to start at the beginning and work forwards to the present.

This story is a perfect example of right technology, wrong format. If it were more powerful when read in reverse, the author would have organized it that way from the beginning.
posted by Forktine at 2:11 PM on August 30, 2008 [3 favorites]


This story breaks my heart every time I read it. So good.
posted by EarBucket at 2:15 PM on August 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've often wished that blogs had a toggle for "read forward/read backward."

What a great idea.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:21 PM on August 30, 2008


Made into two movies at least

Charlie

Flowers for Algernon


But better in the written form

A good online audio interview is here.
posted by Sparx at 2:36 PM on August 30, 2008


Yeh i red this in the wrong order and wunderd wy charlie wuz so sad about getting dumb. Holy smoke i reely pulled a Charlie Gordon that time.
posted by infinitewindow at 4:04 PM on August 30, 2008 [5 favorites]


I've often wished that blogs had a toggle for "read forward/read backward."

"What a great idea."


I like it too! Every interesting new blog I discover has this built-in spoiler mode. The world is turned upside down and time travels backwards in the blogs of the people we read about.

We need to get word out to the blog programmers about the 'read forward/read backward' button!
posted by eye of newt at 6:22 PM on August 30, 2008


American Libray Association's The 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990–2000, number 47.

It's crap like that that makes me want to kick the living shit out of narrow minded dickheads.

Flowers for Algernon is easily one of the most heart ripping stories ever written.

You know, Diary of Anne Frank would be a good candidate for a blog form. Posting through a neighbor's unsecure wireless, a young Muslim girl blogs about her family somewhere in Texas...

Yeah, I am from Texas, so I can say that. See the second sentence I wrote in this comment.
posted by Xoebe at 6:22 PM on August 30, 2008


Don't forget Lawnmower Man.
posted by autodidact at 6:36 PM on August 30, 2008


I hesitate to say this is censored. It's abridged.
posted by greensweater at 7:05 PM on August 30, 2008


"Flowers for Algernon" was first a short story. Then Keyes expanded it to an novel.
posted by grumblebee at 8:49 PM on August 30, 2008


warning for those who have not read this before: it will make you cry.
posted by empath at 9:14 PM on August 30, 2008


The blog idea is weak, but thanks for the reminder about the book. It manages to evoke grief at the impending loss of self.

Unfortunately I really can't forget Lawnmower Man. I feel like I'm strapped into that virtual reality gyroscope every time it's mentioned.
posted by benzenedream at 9:38 PM on August 30, 2008


I've known of this story for years and years, and this is the first time I've finally read it. It's still effective, even knowing the ending first.

But here's the thing that was interesting to me, about reading it this way --

I have grown so used to reading on-line journals in blog format, reading the oldest entries first and scrolling up, that reading it this way felt completely natural and made it more real to me.
posted by webmutant at 9:51 PM on August 30, 2008


**Spoilers**

First time reader: is it normal that I found how it would end in April? Is there a twist I didn't catch? To me, this is Scarface, but not about power and influence.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 10:02 PM on August 30, 2008


I just finished reading this (in paper form) last night. Spooky.

It's brilliant, but pigeonholed as science fiction, which is sad given that it's so lightly SFnal. Look at the incredibly misleading cover for the SF Masterworks edition.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 6:09 AM on August 31, 2008


Charlie writes a lot of youtube comments, right? I totally recognize his spelling.

Kidding. Always loved this book as a kid.

posted by miss lynnster at 9:25 AM on August 31, 2008


I was wondering how they would get around the part where he mentions switching his journal writing from pen and paper to a typewriter in order to keep up with his now-racing thoughts.
posted by the jam at 10:18 AM on August 31, 2008


It ranks in my top ten stories of all time, alongside other powerful and inspiring works. I also think mcwetboy is correct, that this is a copyright violation. If it's not there with Keyes' permission, it needs to come down.
posted by illiad at 10:34 AM on August 31, 2008


I've often wished that blogs had a toggle for "read forward/read backward.

In this case, he could easily have forced the order by setting fake post dates in the Post Options.
posted by raygirvan at 5:36 PM on August 31, 2008


I've often wished that blogs had a toggle for "read forward/read backward." The normal new-entry-on-top format is great for keeping up with an ongoing story, but is terrible if you want to start at the beginning and work forwards to the present.

you don't need fake post dates, at least typepad allows you to sort posts by ascending or descending order. I've got a client blog set up with oldest post first for ease of following chronological order.
posted by infini at 10:20 PM on August 31, 2008


You could alternatively start from the beginning and keep using the 'Newer Post' link.
Or, use a Gresemonkey script. It'll only work on Firefox...but it would be a start. Can easily do it for any blog on blogger.com.
mcwetboy, I was wondering about the copyright as well, but it was published prior to 1960, so it's probably in public domain, right?
posted by neetij at 3:24 AM on September 1, 2008


It's brilliant, but pigeonholed as science fiction, which is sad given that it's so lightly SFnal. Look at the incredibly misleading cover for the SF Masterworks edition.

I think I'd go with: It's sad that more people don't realize the scope of what many think of as "just science fiction."
posted by Amanojaku at 11:52 AM on September 2, 2008


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