Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus
Genre: Literary Classic / Science Fiction/ Speculative Fiction.
A fevered young scientist pushing the limits of his trade beyond ethical boundaries; a creation more than human who strikes fear and horror into all those who see him; a world not ready for either ‘being’ and neither able to die while the other lives.
While this book has long been considered one of the greatest in the horror genre, by today’s standards Frankenstein is simply science fiction. For years I avoided reading this literary classic because of the Hollywood interpretation – it scared the socks off me and I never finished watching the film, so why would I read the book? But it’s not like that. Yes, the monster is labeled as grotesque and hideous but it is also clearly described as being that way because it is larger than life itself. At 8 feet tall it is disproportionate to the smaller humans of the era. Doctor Frankenstein pieced this creature together with the best elements of humanity in an attempt to make the perfect being.
It is remarkable the way Shelley shows readers the ethical implications the scientists of her day faced. And this stands true for today just as much as it did in days past. The idea of cloning, growing new organs genetically compatible to our own, and so much more is just as wondrous and frightening as a man re-animated from the flesh of the newly dead.
The humanity Shelly imbues the monster with, the emotions, hopes, and dreams, make this creature all the more frightening in a metaphorical sense. She reveals what we are capable of through the trials and tribulations of a monster asking the very question, “Who is really the monster here me or Dr. Frankenstein?”
My only warning for modern readers who look at picking up this book would be that it is not what you are expecting. It is a philosophical contemplation of the ethical outcomes of science and not a scare-me-silly monster story. Yes, choices the creature makes are horrific but as readers we can understand his reasoning, his child-like behaviour and yearning for love as well as his isolation at being ‘the only one of his kind.’
Frankenstein is a truly exceptional look at the human condition and the implications of pushing science too far. It is infused with passion, love, remorse, death, murder and revenge just as any good piece of fiction should be – it is life personified.
Review by M.J. Moores, Author, Editor, Freelance Writer.
Categories: Book Reviews