I delve into the history of the fantastic because it fascinates me. I like to learn a little something about ancient cultures and why they believed in what they believed in. How their creations of the fairy, vampire, werewolf or Frankenstein’s monster all came to be. I use those creatures in my own stories to link my characters to our ancient ancestors who created them as a manifestation of their hopes and fears.
So as part of my burning desire to learn about these creatures, where they came from and why, I’m starting on new Monday project, called Monday Monsters. Every Monday I’m going to share a little something about those monsters and creatures that I’ve come to enjoy. Maybe you will too.
A friend once laughed when I told him I owned the book The Elemental Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures. Why wouldn’t I, it’s research, I said. I also own Tarot Cards, but that’s for another time.
So here’s a little peek into the life that I’ve immersed myself into as I craft yet another story seeped in the fantasy. And in honor of Halloween, the first Monday Monsters will be a little bit about Frankenstein.
So what do you do if you’re an author in the early 19th century and it’s too cold to go outside and play with your writer buddies. Mind you, your friends are Percy Bysshe Shelley, you’re visiting Lord Byron and oh yeah your name is Mary Shelley, but hey. So as it’s too cold to participate in the summer activities you had all planned, you remain in doors and someone comes up with the idea to tell stories. More specifically, who can tell the scariest story of them all.
Her story came out of a conversation the friends had while confined to the indoors, a discussion about how likely it would be that electricity could reanimate a corpse, a corpse created from the body parts of more than one deceased person. The conversation spawned a dream and it was from that dream, that Mary Shelley created Frankenstein’s monster.
It is a story about an eccentric scientist who creates a monster as a result of an unorthodox experiment to reanimate dead body parts with electricity. The story is chilling now as it was when first published in January 1818. Not so much as changed as society must find a way to keep up with science and ask the question should we be doing this and why.
Almost 200 years after it was first published it is still a work that is read; a monster that is still well-known as many works of fiction and movies have been inspired by the original. Think Young Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein, Franken Berry So here’s to one of the first horror novels and the genre it inspired. And Happy Halloween!