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Frankenstein: or the Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley

October 23, 2017

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I liked Frankenstein when I read it in high school. Last year I read a book about artificial intelligence that mentioned Frankenstein and it gave me an itch to read it again. It’s a great book, and a little maddening that it was written by Mary Shelley when she was just a teenager (first published anonymously in 1818).

Frankenstein has been somewhat ruined by Hollywood, with its lumbering, dim-witted version of the monster. In the novel, Frankenstein is the name of the protagonist—Dr. Victor Frankenstein, who creates life through a scientific experiment and is then horrified by what he has created. The creature in the novel is athletic and intelligent. Shunned by his creator, driven out by other people, the monster teaches himself what it means to live, though he comes to understand that he’ll never be human. He’ll never be accepted by society. He’ll never understand love or have a creator who loves him. But beyond these weighty themes, Frankenstein is also just an enjoyable horror story and maybe the first great science fiction novel.

 

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