By Joshua Bainbridge

Creating Monsters

Mary Shelley was a mere 18 years old when she began writing what we know today as one of the all-time great literary works—a work which gave birth to the genre we now call “science fiction”. The maturity of her writing brought forth skepticism from critics and publishers and it took years for her work to not be questioned as her own. Now, Shelley’s influence can be found in any story where a being, or a race of beings, exists beyond our power to control or destroy. From The Terminator to Poor Things, our pop-culture zeitgeist is brimming with Shelley’s creative offspring.

Through the years, Frankenstein has been adapted time and time again. Made famous was the image of Boris Karloff with bolts in his neck and a thirtysomething Victor bellowing the infamous “it lives” into the air.  Our Frankenstein lives much closer to Mary Shelley’s original, whose Victor was her contemporary, beginning his journey at the age of 17 and pushing the boundaries of what is possible with the arrogance of youth on his side. At her young age, Mary understood loss, pain, ambition, and madness. She wrote well beyond her years, exploring themes of creation, identity and hubris, stitching them all together in something that would live far beyond her, far beyond all of us. Mary’s creation, like the creature in her story, breathes and moves with just as much relevancy now as it did in 1818. Quite simply—it lives.

Frankenstein Synopsis

In 1816, Mary Shelley, her husband Percy Shelley, and her stepsister and companion Claire Clairmont take a holiday to the Swiss villa of Lord Byron. Each is challenged to write a horror story, and Mary begins her novel, the story of Victor Frankenstein, a scientist who creates a living being from bodies of the dead. However, the creature Victor creates is a hideous and deformed being who is rejected by both his creator and society. As Mary writes, her fated novel becomes a reflection, manifestation, and exorcism of the tragedy and horrors haunting her and her loved ones.