Yesterday was Halloween, so for the last month the themes of monsters, horror and spookiness has filled my podcast feed. One such podcast was last week’s episode of “Not Past It,” a historical podcast that looks at an event from “that week in history.” This particular episode focused on the origins of Frankenstein, or as their title put it, “Frankenstein’s Teen Mom.”
Now, my biggest teen influence was my high school British lit teacher and I have a degree in English Language and Literature. I love myself some British Romanticism and who can’t resist a gothic novel? And every teen English nerd wants to be with Mary and her companions Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and John Polidori when they dream up horror stories during a dreary holiday.
My obsession in my teens and twenties focused on vampires, so Polidori (as author of The Vampyre, supposedly the impetus behind Bram Stoker’s oft-cited classic, Dracula) holds a more treasured position in my heart and soul. But Mary I respect for her sheer accomplishment at such a young age.
My daughter is the same age now as Mary was when she had a dream that inspired Frankenstein, which she crafted into the second most adapted/retold tale in history, I’m told behind Sherlock Holmes. My kid better get moving.
The novel, of course, bridges horror and science fiction. The use of electricity as a potential source of reanimation was a serious scientific theory in the early 1800s, known as galvanism, “the therapeutic use of electrical currents.”
So this got me thinking. If someone wrote a modern version of Frankenstein, what would that look like? Would it involve stem cells? Cyborg technology? Androids? Would we literally transplant pieces of people together? Would it be some accelerated growth test-tube baby? Eugenics?
With this in mind, we have added a call for “Modern Frankenstein” stories on our submission page. It would be exciting to produce an anthology of them for next Halloween.
Why don’t you think about it? What would a modern Frankenstein look like?