Frankenstein

By Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley,

Book cover of Frankenstein

Book description

One of the BBC's '100 Novels That Shaped Our World'

'That rare story to pass from literature into myth' The New York Times

Mary Shelley's chilling Gothic tale was conceived when she was only eighteen, living with her lover Percy Shelley on Lake Geneva. The story of Victor Frankenstein who,…

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Why read it?

39 authors picked Frankenstein as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I think the best way to understand this novel is to read it as a story about a father and a son. Victor Frankenstein creates a son whom he immediately rejects. The son seeks love and receives hate. The father fears and loathes what he has created. He refuses to take responsibility for what he has done, and the results come back to haunt him.

I think this speaks clearly to the choice we fathers must make when we start down this road, and it shows what can become of unloved sons. I’ve read this story many times, and I…

I get it. This topic is low-hanging fruit, yet classic science fiction is always worth revisiting, particularly when it is the first of the genre. And the first was written by a woman.

It was 1818 when Mary Shelley explored what can happen when a laboratory experiment goes wrong. In this case, an experiment that eliminates the need for human propagation. Taking such an experiment to its logical conclusion eliminates the need for women. Or men for that matter. The prose holds up surprisingly well.

I recommend it because it illustrates why science fiction is as much an art form…

First published in 1818 this tale is a Gothic masterpiece of morality and mortality.

A haunting rendition of a creator and his creation, extolling the unforeseen and tragic circumstances of playing God. Elevated in status from a character in a novel into an icon of the horror and science fiction genres, I doubt there is a citizen of the modern world today who does not know the tale of Dr. Frankenstein and his monster over two hundred years after its publication.

Love, isolation, loneliness, and ultimately revenge and death all converge in this story from the mind of an eighteen-year-old…

Who’d expect a book written almost 150 years before computers were invented to be one of the best books to help us think about AI? In Frankenstein, Mary Shelley explores how good motivations can quickly go bad.

Scientist Frankenstein builds a monster with the best of intentions yet fails to foresee what could go wrong and to take the necessary precautions when what he has produced does go wrong. Then he tries to duck responsibility, ending up futilely trying to stop things from getting worse in a desperate bid to stop a chain reaction of destruction. 

Sounds like Silicon…

From Noreen's list on the dangerous future of AI.

Mary Shelly’s Gothic classic also shares many common spy elements, which is interesting as, due to its film representations and pop culture status, long been a companion/bookend to Dracula.

While the spy connections aren’t as strong as in some of my other selections, there are other aspects that do qualify it, the international travel being part of it. From the “megalomaniacal villain with a conspiratorial plot” side of things, it could be taken that Victor Frankenstein’s desire to create a new race that would look to him as its creator echoes some of what would later become a supervillain…

From Wade's list on the Gothic-espionage connection.

This brilliant book, first published in 1818, is one of our earliest and most famous birth narratives written by a mother. 

Mary Shelley’s mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, died giving birth to her, and four of her five children died as infants. She wrote Frankenstein while pregnant, as a “dilation” that happened amid those devastations, and it is eerily prophetic of our moment. 

In the book, an ambitious scientist, intent on discovering the source of life, reanimates a corpse in his workshop, only to discover with horror as his creation comes to life, that he has created a monstrous being who will…

Though Frankenstein seems an obvious choice, I firmly believe that more people should read this book.

The story has been butchered in many poor attempts to bring the story to the big screen. Most of these attempts fail to touch the original masterpiece.

Unlike most films and TV adaptations, the subtle brilliance of the book comes from the deep empathy you build with the creature, who has intelligent views and yearns for justice.

The story was written following a trip to an area close to the real-life Frankenstein Castle in Germany, the birthplace of Johann Konrad Dippel, whose experiments in…

At the age of eighteen, Mary Shelley was the wife of Percy Shelley.

Rumour has it Lord Byron, Percy, and Mary decided to all create a work. Mary’s creation was Frankenstein which was published anonymously when Mary was age twenty in 1818.

It became a sensation and was later published in France under her true name in 1823. Her thrilling novel is credited as the first science fiction book ever written.

This book is ideal for people who like to explore the dark side of scientific obsession devoid of context and the unexpected negative effects of research without any restraint or concern for the consequences in the shadowy figure of Dr. Moreau. One of the most intriguing villains in literary history in my view. When science pursues goals without any concern for how it affects the entire scope of persons involved or the wider field of influence around it, disastrous things can happen no one can predict. That being said, there is a lot of unknowns in pursuing cutting-edge research which…

Okay, I know Frankenstein’s Creature is generally viewed as a Monster rather than zombie but hey, he’s built from graveyard flesh and bone. His creator is generally seen as a ‘man of science’ but he dabbled in the occult and alchemy, too, even if he abandoned those ideas to try modern alternatives. It’s an amazing book using The Creature’s plight to challenge our ideas and morals. These ideas of how we should treat people and the results remain poignant but it is the loneliness of the Creature and its battle to survive its rejection by its creator and society…

From David's list on where the dead have something to say.

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