Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!

HUGO Winning Author Daniel Keyes Has Died

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the I-am-afraid-not-of-life-or-death-or-nothingness-but-of-wasting-it-as-if-I-had-never-been dept.

Books 66

camperdave writes Author Daniel Keyes has died at 86. Keyes is best known for his Hugo Award winning classic SF story Flowers for Algernon and the film version Charly. Keyes was born August 9, 1927 in New York. He worked variously as an editor, comics writer, fashion photographer, and teacher before joining the faculty of Ohio University in 1966, where he taught as a professor of English and creative writing, becoming professor emeritus in 2000. He married Aurea Georgina Vaquez in 1952, who predeceased him in 2013; they had two daughters.

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Sad, but... (1, Interesting)

able1234au (995975) | about 5 months ago | (#47268809)

Sad, but he was 86. I am just not sure of the "News for Nerds" angle here...

Re:Sad, but... (5, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | about 5 months ago | (#47268841)

Its perhaps not as newsworthy as the passing of Asimov, but its in the same general category.

Flowers for Algernon is easily one of the best and most influential short SF stories I've ever read.

The movie on the other hand, is pretty forgettable... its very much a 70s movie.

Re:Sad, but... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47268867)

>Flowers for Algernon is easily one of the best and most influential short SF stories I've ever read.

How? I read it a couple of years ago and I can barely remember anything but some tard becoming intelligent then stupid again.

Re:Sad, but... (4, Funny)

mmell (832646) | about 5 months ago | (#47269033)

It's okay, Charlie. You'll forget it completely before long.

Re:Sad, but... (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about 5 months ago | (#47269231)

I only read the short story in an anthology sometime in early 70s, didn't know there was a novel nor any other work by Keyes.

Re:Sad, but... (1)

antdude (79039) | about 5 months ago | (#47269289)

Yeah that (19)70s movie (VHS tape) was awful as a teen(ager) during my high school days. I don't remember it being science fiction?

Re:Sad, but... (1)

uCallHimDrJ0NES (2546640) | about 5 months ago | (#47269481)

Wow. I mean...wow. What makes something science fiction, antdude?

Re:Sad, but... (1)

retchdog (1319261) | about 5 months ago | (#47269553)

lasers and 'splosions. maybe some time travel. whoa.

Re:Sad, but... (3, Insightful)

postglock (917809) | about 5 months ago | (#47269497)

The movie on the other hand, is pretty forgettable... its very much a 70s movie.

It's all taste, I suppose, but the '70s was a fantastic film era IMO. It was the era where Hollywood embraced subversion to government and corporations, encapsulated by such films as Network, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, The Godfather, The Deer Hunter, A Clockwork Orange, MASH, Dog Day Afternoon, and, of course, The Life Of Brian.

I haven't seen Charly, but calling it "very much a 70s movie" is high praise indeed!

Re:Sad, but... (1)

vux984 (928602) | about 5 months ago | (#47273979)

I was going to reply to try and explain what I meant, but I started by looking up the movie and found it was released in 68, so by calling it a 70s movie I've inadvertently credited it with being ahead of its time.

I guess it was a bad 60s movie. :)

-sigh-

But I still maintain it was bad movie, it doesn't follow the novel well at all, and they crowbar in scenes that just don't fit, and it all seems very cliche... its like a director read the script and said its too boring, add a motorcycle ride, and some sex scenes.

Re:Sad, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47274043)

its like a director read the script and said its too boring, add a motorcycle ride, and some sex scenes.

Did they cast Richard Gere for that last part?

Re:Sad, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47269785)

Never read it or saw the movie myself. But there was a TV miniseries version in Japan that I did see
http://wiki.d-addicts.com/Alge... [d-addicts.com]

Re:Sad, but... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47268849)

He was a Hugo Award winner, whose fiction reflected technology, the effects of technology on human lives, and the nature of the human heart and human mind. I think it fits very well into Slashdot's stated goals.

Re:Sad, but... (-1, Flamebait)

Greyfox (87712) | about 5 months ago | (#47268851)

Many nerds were forced to read his book in grade school before going on to a non-English-lit major and making several times the salaries of the teachers who forced them to read it.

Re:Sad, but... (5, Insightful)

ClickOnThis (137803) | about 5 months ago | (#47269217)

Many nerds were forced to read his book in grade school before going on to a non-English-lit major and making several times the salaries of the teachers who forced them to read it.

And arguably are the better for it. (I remember the book fondly.)

Just about everything you read in High School is "forced" on you. I still appreciate the teachers who taught me, who knew full-well the majority of their students would out-earn them.

Re:Sad, but... (1)

ClickOnThis (137803) | about 5 months ago | (#47269259)

Clarification: I grew up in a country where High School started at grade 9 (not 10) and that was the grade in which this book was taught. The book did have somewhat mature content, but it was teachable at the upper-grade-school level (e.g., grade 8.)

Re:Sad, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47271419)

We were assigned this book in the fifth grade.

Then again I didn't attend a government school.

Re:Sad, but... (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 5 months ago | (#47269311)

In the mid 80s, my school forced us to read The Hobbit. It bored the shit out of me and my 12yo classmates.

15-20 years later and Peter Jackson becomes a zillionaire. After wading through Tolkien as a pre-teen, I had no curiosity for any of the movies.

My loss, I guess. *Hands in geek card*

Re:Sad, but... (1)

chthon (580889) | about 5 months ago | (#47269845)

I discovered 'The Hobbit' on my Speccy in 1984. The first adventure game I ever played. I then tried to solve it with a cousin of mine who had the book.

In order to stay on topic, I read the story when I was 11 yrs old in another book (for Dutch and Belgian Slashdotters: Het Bonte Boeketboek), a kind of single-topic book, but with the topic seen from different angles. This one was about the human body, and this story was part of the chapters about the brain and the nervous system. I must say that it did made an impression, but due it being written in the first person I did not completely understand it at the time. But I always felt sad after reading it.

Re:Sad, but... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47269555)

And arguably are the better for it.

Someone forced me to dig a giant hole in the ground using only a spoon. I'm arguably better for it.

If you make such ambiguous and subjective statements, they can be used for just about anything. Maybe that's where the "arguably" part comes in.

Just about everything you read in High School is "forced" on you. I still appreciate the teachers who taught me, who knew full-well the majority of their students would out-earn them.

Considering that public education is and was garbage, I didn't learn much in school. I learned through self-education. Perhaps you went to a private school, but most of those aren't (and never were) much better.

Re:Sad, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47270751)

Studies show that reading fiction helps develop social skills and empathy, thing many people on these boards like yourself are missing.

Of course you might be able to read all the books in the world and still be a giant asshole, so it's of arguable benefit without knowing more.

Re:Sad, but... (1, Funny)

JockTroll (996521) | about 5 months ago | (#47269625)

There is nothing that can make a nerd "better". A nerd cannot be anything but a nerd. The only improvement would be feeding it to a woodchipper.

Re:Sad, but... (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about 5 months ago | (#47270317)

"There is nothing that can make a nerd "better". A nerd cannot be anything but a nerd. The only improvement would be feeding it to a woodchipper."

The Billy-Bob Fargo version is without the woodchipper and way more fun.

Re:Sad, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47270155)

I had no idea who this guy was before the /. story.

Re:Sad, but... (1)

uCallHimDrJ0NES (2546640) | about 5 months ago | (#47269483)

Don't worry. No one will post on Slashdot when YOU die.

Re:Sad, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47269547)

The "News for Nerds" part is the difference between cognitive psychology and artificial intelligence. Charlie when he was without medication, was like a computer with AI. With the medication, he was genius. These are things you can't do with a computer (yet) although Watson may be getting close. There have also been significant technological strides that let people who are trapped in their own minds, to communicate through thoughts with people (these people can't otherwise move). Flowers for Algernon touches on some of this too.

Re:Sad, but... (1)

91degrees (207121) | about 5 months ago | (#47269883)

News that interests the Slashdot editors.

It's really been that way from the start.

Re:Sad, but... (1)

ET3D (1169851) | about 5 months ago | (#47269973)

I do think it's news for nerds, but I'm more saddened by the death of Jay Lake this month, just before his 50th birthday.

Re:Sad, but... (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about 5 months ago | (#47270307)

"Sad, but he was 86. I am just not sure of the "News for Nerds" angle here..."

It means we're still waiting for the Immortality 0.86 Beta version.

oops (0)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about 5 months ago | (#47268813)

At first I thought this was about Daniel Keys Moran

Great Author (5, Interesting)

relisher (2955441) | about 5 months ago | (#47268827)

I remember reading this book in 8th grade. In all honesty, this is the only book I remember reading middle school. This may have been the first book to physically effect an emotion in me, and I loved it. And now, I feel an emotion again, a feeling of sadness because the author has passed away. Daniel Keyes will truly be missed, may he Rest in Peace.

Re:Great Author (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47269369)

I remember it because I've never read anything published that needed an editor more than it..

Re:Great Author (1)

pitchpipe (708843) | about 5 months ago | (#47269701)

I remember it because I've never read anything published that needed an editor more than it..

The same as your one sentence post.

Re:Great Author (1)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 5 months ago | (#47271459)

A perfect short story became a padded novel. News at 11.

Re:Great Author (1)

greenwow (3635575) | about 5 months ago | (#47274047)

About Daniel Keyes:

"He trid vry hard to lern evrything not like some of the pepul who dont reely care but dint mak much progris. He beeing famus for riten werds. Maid mush monie on wat he rote so he shud lern how to rite."

The man was an blithering idiot. Yes, Charlie Gordon was a likeable guy, but the fact it was written by a retard makes it painful to read. I don't understand why it sold so many copies.

Moderators on drugs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47294409)

Why was this voted down? It's a hilarious emulation of Keyes' style.

Sometimes one story is enough... (3, Interesting)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | about 5 months ago | (#47268885)

I have to admit that I haven't read any of his other stories, but Flowers was certainly an important one.

When I first read it, I was a smart/nerdy kid, and I thought that being smart was the most important thing in the world; naturally, something that could make you smarter would be the best thing imaginable, and then having that blessing taken back would be the worst. Flowers planted a seed of the idea that increased intelligence (whatever that means, really) wouldn't necessarily be an unalloyed blessing.

Re:Sometimes one story is enough... (3, Interesting)

Vyse of Arcadia (1220278) | about 5 months ago | (#47269329)

I got much the same out of Flowers when I first read it in middle school, and also learned a little about what sorts of things can make a good book. It was the first book I ever enjoyed in which the protagonist made questionable decisions, experienced things that never got explained, and didn't save the world. Charlie was the first character I encountered that I can recall who acted like a person and had nuances. It really broadened my horizons.

Re:Sometimes one story is enough... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47270125)

Precisely. That's why we're getting all these angry AC's trash-talking the book. Because it reinforces the fact that despite being intelligent, they are unlikable douchebags.

Nice novel (1)

Hamsterdan (815291) | about 5 months ago | (#47268891)

Still have it on my shelves

RIP (1)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | about 5 months ago | (#47268895)

Rest in peace you inspiration of mankind.

Re:RIP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47268961)

Sorry sir, I'm not dead yet. But I do appreciate the thought.

Ironic (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47268927)

It's a little ironic; this post:

http://science.slashdot.org/story/14/06/17/1746223/century-old-drug-reverses-signs-of-autism-in-mice

describes a drug that might produce just the sort of short-term brain boost that he described.

Re:Ironic (2)

OakDragon (885217) | about 5 months ago | (#47271841)

More like serendipitous, but yeah, nice catch.

I think the story affected me most as Charlie was on the downhill side, after his intelligence peaked. He could recognize what was happening to him, struggling desperately to find an answer that would stop the degradation. It was profoundly upsetting.

Placing flowers on Algernon's grave (4, Interesting)

ZeroSerenity (923363) | about 5 months ago | (#47268931)

Go in peace friend.

Re:Placing flowers on Algernon's grave (1)

johnnys (592333) | about 5 months ago | (#47269417)

Very well said indeed. Please allow me to say "Me too!".

Anal bleaching (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47268935)

Anal bleaching [wikipedia.org]

Flowers for Algernon (3, Interesting)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 5 months ago | (#47269017)

That has been my all time favorite story from the first reading.

Other variants (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | about 5 months ago | (#47269161)

I had a mini project looking for other variants of the same idea because Keyes got there first and hit an important theme.

Some other entries:

The Six Million Dollar Man - Burning Bright (1974) William Shatner ... Josh Lang
Phenomenon (1996) - George Malley - John Travolta

And a couple of newer movies that I am out of energy to track down.

Re:Other variants (1)

kcwhitta (232438) | about 5 months ago | (#47269223)

And a couple of newer movies that I am out of energy to track down.

Limitless would likely be one.

Re:Other variants (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47269933)

Limitless lacks any sort of consequence or downside; it's essentially "Guy takes magic pills that make him smart -> Guy is on track to be president".

Re:Other variants (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47269313)

Not to forget Jon Pertwee's final Dr. Who serial "Planet of The Spiders" in which the stolen Metebelis Three crystal turns Tommy from simpleton to genius by dint of its eerie blue glow.

Re:Other variants (1)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | about 5 months ago | (#47269341)

Hey may have hit it best, but he was far from first. Poul Anderson's Brain Wave [wikipedia.org] , for example, came out in 1953-54. I think there were a lot of even earlier examples, but I don't have them at my fingertips.

Re: far from first (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | about 5 months ago | (#47271569)

"Hey may have hit it best, but he was far from first. Poul Anderson's Brain Wave [wikipedia.org], for example, came out in 1953-54. I think there were a lot of even earlier examples, but I don't have them at my fingertips."

Okay, fair. I might have slipped up on my wording.

It's been decades since my old days as a young'un reading all the old Pre/Gold/Silver age stuff. I certainly know who Poul Anderson is, but that exact story is the kind of thing that used to be really tough to find. It's still a little tricky, maybe six web links in Amazon can do it, but back even in the 80's trying to find a then-thirty-year-old story was really tough and I wouldn't have known it even existed to hunt it down.

D. K. and Flowers showed up because it was aggressively highlighted in some school class's curriculum. To be sure, it was worth the exposure, but that's different from trying to make a quick post and hold it to "researcher standards". At 1958 it is reasonably close to the top of the chain and I bet the writers of my examples had at least a phone call advising them "You know you're re-making Flowers for Algernon, right?"

But then there's your note, and if you moved the theme just a little, you might even get some slightly different earlier but not unrelated takes on the theme.

Re:Other variants (1)

Harvey Manfrenjenson (1610637) | about 5 months ago | (#47274173)

Really hated Brain Wave.

As I recall, the novel centers around a group of scientists who are supposed to be unusually intelligent to begin with-- at one point Anderson proudly declares that their average IQ is about 165, or something-- and who become freakishly intelligent as the novel progresses. The problem is that we have a not-terribly-intelligent author trying to portray characters who are freakishly intelligent, and he fails spectacularly. He has them engage in witty repartee which isn't even as witty as an average episode of Seinfeld; he has them pepper their speech with foreign words and phrases (because that's what really smart people do, right?); and so on. Of course, it doesn't help that the characters are cardboard cutouts to begin with.

Re:Other variants (1)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | about 5 months ago | (#47274953)

Yep, that's the great barrier to intelligence-enhancement stories -- it's nearly impossible for an author to write a convincing character who's smarter than the author. Vernor Vinge quoted a rejection letter from John W. Campbell on the topic: "You can't write this story. Neither can anyone else."

Having said that, I'll admit that as a child I enjoyed Brain Wave. But, yes, it was full of holes. It's nearly impossible to retain your willing suspension of disbelief when the super-intelligent protagonists are missing things that you see clearly.

Re:Other variants (1)

_merlin (160982) | about 5 months ago | (#47270437)

The 1992 Lawnmower Man film is about increasing intelligence (but not the short story it shares a title with)

Re:Other variants (1)

ejWasTaken (64290) | about 5 months ago | (#47274029)

Another variant on this theme is in the short story "Understand" by Ted Chiang. It is in the short-story collection "Stories of Your Life and Others". Even though this story has a very different ending, I instantly thought of Flowers.

-ej

Good riddance (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47269349)

That novel was nothing but a gimmick, with the stupid writing style changing as he got smarter. The plot was lame and predictable. Glad to see he won't be producing anymore shitty novels in this world.

Re:Good riddance (1)

uCallHimDrJ0NES (2546640) | about 5 months ago | (#47269511)

That novel was nothing but a gimmick, with the stupid writing style changing as he got smarter. The plot was lame and predictable. Glad to see he won't be producing anymore shitty novels in this world.

Hello, flamebait. When you die, your comments will not be missed. This reply is the most use your life has ever served. Give to the poor now while you still can.

Re:Good riddance (1)

horm (2802801) | about 5 months ago | (#47270861)

Agreed. I hated this book, and cringe whenever someone mentions it as an example of great writing.

It's not an acronym (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47269597)

It's Hugo, not HUGO. Hugo Gernsback, you know?

Go in peace my friend. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47269645)

For your life has enriched mine.

Casey Kasem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47269923)

Was better known. A lot. And it's sort of like Robert Blake's story, only in this one the wife kills the husband and gets away with it.

That that is (1)

bbasgen (165297) | about 5 months ago | (#47270921)

Perhaps one of the more important works in the geek lexicon of art. The book and the film were very inspirational for me. For the first time as a child, I understood and could relate to that thing we have called pattern recognition. The moment in the film at the chalkboard was etched into my mind -- that that is is that that that is not is not is that it it is. Understanding the differences between people, and understanding them in their depths without glorification, is such a positive thing.

We are lucky to have art such as this and for all you old folks (over 30, naturally), ask the geek kids you work with or know to read the book or see the film. They may never have heard of it!

Go Buckeyes! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47273935)

Ohio University!

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?