Why Are Americans Afraid of Dragons?
I recently finished reading Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes. This was probably one of the saddest novels I’ve read in a long time. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s the story of Charlie Gordon, a mentally retarded man in his thirties who gets a second chance at life with by participating in an experiment that manages to increase his intelligence to an amazing level. His progression from mental retardation to genius is a sad journey as he learns how much abuse he’s taken his entire life. The book was written in the early 1960s and its really depressing to see how mental retardation was handled back then.
I also find it interesting because Flowers For Algernon is a fairly popular book, but not very many people realize that it’s a Sci-Fi (SF) novel. It won the prestigious Nebula Award in 1966. But most people who would be willing to read this novel probably wouldn’t read other stereotypical SF or Fantasy (you know, the kind with dragons, aliens, and other fantastic elements). I just don’t understand why so many people who read literature are so against SF. There are so many good SF writers out there that fall under the radar because they are stigmatized in mainstream and academic culture.
I just wish people would stop being snobs and open themselves up to something different every now and then.
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