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Today, instead of a shitty movie we’ll change things up a bit and review a novel. A good novel. In fact it’s my favourite novel of the period. Let’s take a look at ‘Frankenstein’ by Mary Shelly.
No, no no! Not that one! This one!
A little preface, Frankenstein is a novel written by an eighteen year old Mary Shelly but was published in 1818. The story behind the book goes Mary and her husband Percy and good friend Lord Byron were stuck in a villa for a few nights and decided to make contest to whom would make the best horror story. Mary’s story eventually became the one that was best know, despite having burned the first version of the novel and re-written it in three days.
It’s a good novel because there is so much depth into it. She herself called it ‘the modern Prometheus’ alluding to the Industrial Revolution and how science could doom mankind. There is a Oedipus Complex in there concerning Dr. Frankenstein’s mother and how her death played a huge impact on Victor, much like Mary’s mother, Mary Wollstonecraft. It could be seen as one of the first real SF stories, which it is in a way since this novel came before ‘War of the Worlds’ by HG Wells.
Why did I pick this novel to review? Simple....Victor Frankenstein is NOT a true mad scientist.
In fact throughout the novel he makes it very hard for us, the reader, to connect with him because of his actions. How do you ask, let’s take a look then.
First off let me point out Frankenstein is actually Doctor Victor Frankenstein, not the Monster. That mistake really pisses me off, no offense to Boris Karloff.
The story has a very cool narrative which I think should be used more often, framed narrative. It’s basically a story within a story, within a story.
We begin with the journey of a Captain called Robert Walton who wishes to reach the north pole in the hopes of getting to meet Santa Claus...and possibly to gain fame and fortune for finding the biggest pile of snow and ice known to man. Instead he finds the sled and nearly frozen body of a man and the sled-dogs, all but one dead.
While the crew help the man aboard, Walton sees a giant figure in the snowy mists. A few hours later the man, calling himself Dr. Victor Frankenstein, recounts he is looking for a creature that is somewhere around these parts. A creature HE created.
Mad scientist lesson number 1, if you created a creature always, ALWAYS, have a selfdestruct button when it becomes to self aware. Seriously, if every scientist had a self destruct button placed on their creations, we wouldn’t be ruled over by fucking Skynet.
Anyway, Victor wants to tell Walton his life story as a warning to overreaching ambition, to which Wanton writes it down. Here we go into the second frame, the story within the story; Kinda like Inception, except without Leo and a young mad scientist instead. Like Dexter.
Stay out of my room Deedee!
Victor’s story is rather good and fascinating. He is the son of Alphonse Frankenstein and Caroline Beaufort, who died of scarlet fever when Victor was young. Victor has two younger brothers William and Ernest, the first being a stupid kid who did the genepool a favour by dying and the latter has been named ‘Sir Who-Does-Not-Appear-In-This-Novel.’. Victor falls in love with a poor girl named Elizabeth, who became his adoptive cousin after his parents take her in.
I do feel bad for Elizabeth because her relationship with Victor is worse then Edward and Bella. This man who claims to love her barely sees her AT ALL in the course of this novel and when they actually do marry...he leaves her alone on the wedding night!
Seriously, if I were him I would’ve tapped her AND created a army of monsters...but then again all of the meaning the novel tried to give would be lost. Oh well, a man can dream. MOVING ON! As a young man, Frankenstein is interested in the works in alchemists such as Cornelius Agrippa, Paracelsus, and Albertus Magnus. Who are they you ask? Good question! ....and I don’t know. All I do know they are three dudes who did some work in their respective fields and such...
He longs to discover the fabled elixir of life, dude should’ve teamed up with Jack Sparrow if he was so desperate.
Yeh sorry, CAPTAIN Jack Sparrow. Sheesh, Pirates eh... He loses interest in both these pursuits and in science as a whole after seeing the remains of a tree struck by lightning. I know he easily loses interest...if anything he should’ve made a machine that harnesses the powers of lightning to zap entire armies away. You know for a story that is supposed to be about not overreaching ambition, he should’ve reached further. However, at the University of Ingolstadt, Frankenstein develops a fondness for chemistry, and becomes obsessed with the idea of creating life in inanimate matter through artificial means, leaving university to pursue this goal for the next two years. Two years of not seeing his family and supposedly great love of his life just so he could become a necromancer.
Dude should’ve played more D&D, that’s what you do at college right?
What’s even worse is Victor leaves for the university just AFTER his mother died because of Scarlet Fever. Yes, the thirst for science and wisdom is worth more then being there for your family when they need you. Wow, not even Doctor Eggman is that cold.
Dr. Eggman a self-professed romanticist, feminist, and gentleman...damn he looks so stylish. In those two years Victor creates the creature from body parts all over the place while doing classes. A arm here, a leg there, sort of like a puzzle gone completely wrong....or very very well. So Victor, thanks to the amazing powers of MAD SCIENCE shocks the assembled corpse and brings it to life!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xos2MnVxe-c NO, NOT LIKE THAT! Goddamnit people!
Anyway instead of film-Victor who shat his pants of excitement, this Victor just shat his pants in fear. Seriously, the moment Victor sees the thing move something in his head snapped and he fled the room, more looney and faster then the freakin’ Road Runner. Victor becomes sick and remains bed ridden for four months, where he gets strange dreams about Elizabeth and his dead mother. Again Oedipus Complex at work here. After he gets better he and his friend Henry go back home when he finds out his younger brother died. Henry I swear has a very close relationship with Victor simply because those two seem a bit...very close. In fact, little spoiler here, when Henry dies Victor is more upset about his death then any other death. Ah screw it, here is some song I always use for gay couples.
So Victor after two years comes back home to be at his younger brother’s funeral only to find out he was actually...murdered! Quick question, who do you think killed him? You got five seconds, go! .... If you guessed the Monster, congratulations you win the internet no-prize which consists of me saying ‘No shit Sherlock!’. I hope you like it. Anyway a few days later the nanny, another stray woman Frankenstein senior picked up and was William’s nanny, Justine, is tried for the murder because of a locket William owned was found with her. Victor saw the monster on the way and could have mentioned to the authorities that Justine, a member of the family really, was innocent. But then again how do you convince the police your eight foot tall experiment to spit in the eye of god ran loose and end up killing your younger brother because you couldn’t be arsed to raise it? So Victor goes a bit more loony then usual, he really likes to go mad doesn’t he, and goes off into the mountains where he –le gasp- finds the monster! The monster motions for Victor to STFU for five minutes and to hear his side of the story, this is where our story within story within a story begins. Told ya it was like Inception!
Of course the creature after being born was more confused and scared then Neo after he was unplugged from the Matrix. So he ran into the wilds and spend a long time spying on a family where he learned how to speak, cloth and feed himself. He helps the family with their chores from afar, knowing his hideous face and looks would scare them away like so many others.
The family had been wealthy, but was forced into exile when Felix De Lacey, the son, rescued a Turkish merchant wrongfully accused of a crime and sentenced to death. The man rescued by Felix was the father of his beloved, a girl named Safie. Once rescued, the father agreed to allow Felix to marry Safie. Ultimately, though, he could not stand the idea of his beloved daughter marrying a Christian and fled with his daughter. Safie returned a few months later, eager for the freedom of European women. Yeeah....freedom, right....o-kay...
Eventually after a year the monster goes on a visit to the blind father in a attempt to be part of the family, to which the father agrees. So finally after a year of being alone the monster seems so glad and happy to be a part of a family...only to find out ten minutes later that the family does not share the father’s idea and tries to kill the poor thing. People are dicks sometimes aren’t they? So the creature flees and of course is a bit pissed off at Victor for leaving him, so he travels after Victor to terminate him.
[img] http://static.skynetblogs.be/media/159798/dyn004_original_378_480_pjpeg_2598557_4bfe8895bb5c44d1bbb371643e8ca35e.jpg[/img] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXQTzJgU6qc I’m making a lot of Terminator references here aren’t I?
Along the way, the creature meets a boy named William, who is of course Victor’s baby brother. William is of course an idiot and instead of running away from the eight foot tall reanimated corpse or try to be nice, he INSULTS it and starts screaming like a girl. So like I said before, the creature did the genepool a huge favour. Seriously, don’t piss off things that are larger then you. EVER. The creature of course steals the locket of William and places it on Justine to throw the lead of him. Wow, spying on a family makes you a good killer? Awesome! Hey Ezio, Altair, come check this guy out! Anyways the creature finds Victor , which brings the story back to where we were, and asks him to make him a female so he wouldn’t be lonely anymore. In exchange the monster will leave Victor and his family alone. Victor agrees and sets off to England with his friend Henry and promises Elizabeth when he comes back they will marry.
Why England? No idea, but since it’s far away from his ‘loved ones’ well why the hell not? That and Tea with Scones are bitching. In England Victor creates the female version of the monster while Henry decides to fart around somewhere. When he creates the female however, Victor has a sudden change of heart and fears about any offspring, so he destroys it, much to the creature’s anger.
Victor....if you don’t want them to reproduce, why don’t you just not give it a womb? And even if you did, there would be just three maybe four of them! That would mean inbreeding, which isn’t only sick but it also means the already weakened genetics would make them weak and barely worth any threat to mankind! Dude, even your greatest life’s work sucks when it would try to take over the world! Honestly, I know more about biology then you do and I haven’t even raised any living dead!...yet.... Frankenstein sails far out to sea to dispose of the parts of the unfinished project, and remains adrift and alone. Yeh, I’m sure Elizabeth would love to hear that Vick....
Meanwhile, the monster murders Henry Clerval and leaves the corpse on an Irish beach, coincidentally near where Frankenstein finds himself washed up after his unintentionally long voyage. Arriving in Ireland, Frankenstein is imprisoned for the murder of Henry, and falls violently ill in prison. After being acquitted, and with his health renewed, Frankenstein returns home with his father. How did he get released you ask? Simple...money and plot reasons, money and plot reasons... So Victor comes back with Frankenstein Senior and marries Elizabeth. Here you would think Victor would start to become a nicer man and actually protect his family and loved ones from the creature or actually recreate the female creature, but nope!
On his wedding night, when he is supposed to ‘seal the deal’ with Elizabeth, he leaves her be and prepares to fight the creature. Except the creature kills her and Victor goes off on a worldwide hunt which leaves Frankenstein senior dead from the stress and Ernest who maintains his ‘I’m to cool for this novel’ status. Eventually years pass where the cat and mouse game ends up in the north pole where Victor’s narrative ends and it ends with Captain Walton finishing writing down the story.
Victor eventually dies in his cabin, where he creature appears and takes the body. Walton demands the creature to give the body back and die, as you would, but the creature demands to explain himself first. True, the monster hated Victor for what he did, but he was also his father, his creator. And now the main reason of the creature’s existence was gone, the creature lost the will to live. He says he will burn himself and Victor’s body in a funeral pyre before leaping off the boat, to Robert’s shock, never to be seen again. And that was Frankenstein, one of the best novels ever, next to Dracula and War of the Worlds. Despite some plotholes, it’s a good story and one you should have read. There is everything in there and has so much depth. It also gives a insight in Mary’s mind since the death of parents and loved ones are similar to her own life story. I hope you lot liked this review and i see you lot later.