Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Musings Over Frankenstein

I ran across an old copy of Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley the other day. I started reading it again. I forgot what a good Victorian novel it was: dark and moody with all that over-the-top dramatic angst. When you think about it, the narrator, Victor, isn't so different from Bella from the Twilight saga: going on and on about the nightmare of his life.

Still, I enjoyed it immensely.

It raised some of the same questions I had the first time I read it:

1. How did the movies end up with a monster created in a castle?

2. How did lightening end up as the life force mechanism in the movies?

3. Where did Igor come from?

4. There is no mention of body parts when creating either creature. Victor talks about his chemistry tools. I wonder if he generates the flesh on his own and animates it?

5. If Victor can restore life to inanimate flesh, then why doesn't he bring back to life any of the people the monster kills? Particularly Elizabeth? Instead he just moans about how he should have never given life to the creature...hello!

Having asked all this, I wish someone would make a movie that is true to the book. How he created life could really be played with. I was thinking he perhaps found some forgotten truth in those philosophy books he started off reading before getting to real science. It would be as if some ancient druid had written down spells, incantations and potion recipes that actually worked. Victor used chemistry to recreate some spell that was hinted at in his earlier studies. When the light came on for him it was while once again considering his first studies.

Frankenstein is considered the first "science fiction" book. I can see why, although it is maddening how Mary Shelley doesn't give us any science to think about. No chemical, or electrical impulse is ever mentioned. We are really left to our imaginations as to how he was able to create the creature (body parts gathered, or did he form them somehow? Was it advanced cloning?), and how he gave it life.

Well, lots of questions, but I still recommend the book. It's a great ghost story/science fiction yarn either way.

I have a story concept which I began years ago called "Artificial Intelligence," which sort of explores similar avenues to Frankenstein. After re-reading the book, I'm thinking about having my story focus a bit more on similar themes. For example, I want my Taggart character to be more like the evil monster character, blinded by anger at his creator and bent on ruining his life, but he will try to accomplish it by trying to track down and kill the "benevolent" monster character of Genevieve for whom Taggart already has built-in animosity.

I also want to explore the idea of pain leading to either cruelty or love depending upon how it is perceived and how one is exposed to it. Or perhaps it is all determined because of some internal quality which you either have or you don't...hmm.

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