Bewilderment (novel)

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Powers, Richard. Bewilderment. New York City: W. W. Norton & Company, 2021. An audiobook has been referenced on line, and the film rights have been acquired.[1] For e-book and other print editions, see Internet Speculative Fiction Database, as of December 2022 at link here.[2]

Environmentalist and political SF with psychological aspects from Daniel Keyes's "Flowers for Algernon" (short story 1959, as novel 1966;[3] theatrical film version CHARLY [1968];[4] TV movie FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON [2000][5]).

In a Facebook post, Keith Booker summarizes

The narrator and central character of Bewilderment is astrobiologist [...] who finds himself the single parent of Robin, a troubled nine-year-old boy, after the boy's mother and Theo's wife (an important environmental and animal rights activist) is killed in an auto accident while swerving to try to miss an opossum in the road. Byrne's professional work involves trying to identify planets that could support life, which also leads him to appreciate the fact that earth is so hospitable to life — or at least was until we started to ruin it. [...] Doctors have been unable to agree on the nature of Robin's condition, but they all want to throw psychoactive drugs at him, which Theo resists. Instead, he seeks an experimental computer-based treatment that produces remarkable results and puts Robin on the road to becoming an important environmental activist in his own right [...].

The brief Wikipedia entry identifies the treatment as "an experimental neurofeedback therapy."[6]

See for a positive human/machine interface, offering healing and preferable to drug therapies — and science-based healing opposed by, and stopped by, an "anti-science president and his right-wing supporters" (Booker), as an important part of Bewilderment as political SF.


RDE, with thanks to Keith Booker, finishing, 3Dec22