The Minds of Billy Milligan is Daniel Keyes’s 1981 nonfiction study of the case of Billy Milligan. When Milligan was arrested and charged with rape in 1977, he was found to have at least 24 distinct personalities. Milligan became the first person in U.S. history to be acquitted of a major felony by reason of multiple personality.
Theodore Sturgeon’s More Than Human, published in 1953, is a classic science fiction novel which, like Flowers for Algernon, is based on psychology and deals with the alienation of unusual individuals.
The character of Boo Radley in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, published in 1960, is another example of an emotionally disabled victim of childhood abuse who is shunned by society.
Novelist and critic Brian W. Aldiss has compared Charlie Gordon to Lenny, one of the main characters in John Steinbeck’s classic American novel Of Mice and Men (1940). Flowers for Algernon has also been compared to A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr.’s 1959 novel of the world after a nuclear holocaust, as an example of “quality” science fiction.
The original short story version of Flowers for Algernon was adapted for television as The Two Worlds of Charlie Gordon for CBS Playhouse in 1961. The novel Flowers for Algernon was made into the feature film Charly in 1968. Cliff Robertson won the Academy Award as Best Actor for his portrayal of Charlie Gordon. The novel has also been presented on the stage. David Rogers adapted the novel as a two-act play, Flowers for Algernon, in 1969; a dramatic musical, Charlie and Algernon, was first produced in Canada in 1978 and played on Broadway in 1980.
Flowers for Algernon has also been adapted for radio: as a monodrama for Irish radio in 1983, and as a radio play in Czechoslovakia in 1988.