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Flowers for Algernon was the first occasion that our Neurology Book Club participants agreed that the book was too short! A classic of science fiction from 1958 (figure 1), it tells the story of Charlie, a man with learning difficulties who undergoes a procedure to enhance his intelligence. The procedure was tested on a mouse called Algernon but Charlie is the first human to have it. Unfortunately, it becomes apparent that the benefits of the procedure are not permanent, and as Charlie sees Algernon deteriorate he faces up to his own impending deterioration. The story is told as Charlie's diary, documenting his hopes, fears and experiences.
Its style is reminiscent of Ray Bradbury or other classics of the 1950s and 1960s. Despite this, it is not …