eldritchhobbit: (Frankenstein)
First of all, happy 199th birthday to what is perhaps my favorite novel and definitely the pioneering work of modern science fiction, Frankenstein! Here are five reasons to celebrate Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley today.



Also, the latest episode of StarShipSofa includes my new "Looking Back on Genre History," part one of a two-part discussion of the relationship of one of my very favorite authors, Lois McMaster Bujold, to fandom (and fan fiction, in particular). Here it is! If you listen, I hope you enjoy!

(And speaking of StarShipSofa, heartfelt thanks to those of you who have helped make Everyone: Worlds Without Walls a reality! We're most grateful to you!)

Last but not least, it seems that I've embarked on an in-depth study of the films of award-winning actor-director-writer Jiang Wen, sort of a personal (and multi-month-long) film festival that also includes reading the popular and scholarly analyses of his work that are available in English. (I've found that his films are kind of dream dining for someone who does intellectual history, though I'm having to brush up a bit on my knowledge of recent China, which, hey, is a good thing.) When that's all done, expect a report, including breakdown of his films with brief reviews/reactions. Consider yourself warned, ha!



I am still recovering from The Ick That Wouldn't Die, but I'm much better than I was. And we're expecting snow tomorrow, which makes me very happy indeed. I hope all of you are doing well, my friends!
eldritchhobbit: (Halloween/Haunted)
Speaking of the Year without a Summer...

In celebration of the 200th anniversary of the writing of Frankenstein, two new anthologies have just been published.


Eternal Frankenstein (2016)
Official Description: "Two hundred years ago, a young woman staying in a chalet in Switzerland, after an evening of ghost stories shared with friends and lovers, had a frightening dream. That dream became the seed that inspired Mary Shelley to write Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, a tale of galvanism, philosophy, and the re-animated dead. Today, Frankenstein has become a modern myth without rival, influencing countless works of fiction, music, and film. We all know Frankenstein. But how much do we really know about Frankenstein?

"Word Horde is proud to publish Eternal Frankenstein, an anthology edited by Ross E. Lockhart, paying tribute to Mary Shelley, her Monster, and their entwined legacy. Featuring sixteen resurrecting tales of terror and wonder by Siobhan Carroll, Nathan Carson, Autumn Christian, Rios de la Luz, Kristi DeMeester, G. D. Falksen, Orrin Grey, Michael Griffin, Scott R. Jones, Anya Martin, Edward Morris, Amber-Rose Reed, Betty Rocksteady, Tiffany Scandal, David Templeton, and Damien Angelica Walters."


In the Shadow of Frankenstein: Tales of the Modern Prometheus (2016)
Official Description: "The most infamous doctor of the Gothic Era once again delves into the forbidden secrets of the world, when literature's most famous creature lives again. Frankenstein... His very name conjures up images of plundered graves, secret laboratories, electrical experiments, and reviving the dead.

"Within these pages, the maddest doctor of them all and his demented disciples once again delve into the Secrets of Life, as science fiction meets horror when the world's most famous creature lives again.

"Here are collected together for the first time twenty-four electrifying tales of cursed creation that are guaranteed to spark your interest―with classics from the pulp magazines by Robert Bloch and Manly Wade Wellman, modern masterpieces from Ramsey Campbell, Dennis Etchison, Karl Edward Wagner, David J. Schow, and R. Chetwynd-Hayes, and new contributions from Graham Masterton, Basil Copper, John Brunner, Guy N. Smith, Kim Newman, Paul J. McAuley, Roberta Lannes, Michael Marshall Smith, Daniel Fox, Adrian Cole, Nancy Kilpatrick, Brian Mooney and Lisa Morton. Plus, you're sure to get a charge from three complete novels: The Hound of Frankenstein by Peter Tremayne, The Dead End by David Case, and Mary W. Shelley's original masterpiece Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus.

"As an electrical storm rages overhead, the generators are charged up, and beneath the sheet a cold form awaits its miraculous rebirth. Now it's time to throw that switch and discover all that Man Was Never Meant to Know."




Here's a chilling little excerpt from "Orchids by the Sea" by Rios de la Luz from Eternal Frankenstein:

"It was a ritual. He covered his entire body with white paint. He poured white paint into his hair. He combed it down with his fingers. He waited to dry. He wore white briefs, a white button-up shirt, and white slacks. He covered his feet with white sneakers and grabbed a lab coat to piece it all together.

"He dragged the black plastic bags from the living room into one of the bedrooms. Stacks of notebooks and loose pieces of paper surrounded him. He wheeled in a metal table and dug into the plastic bags.

"He found the brain of the woman who jumped off the bridge. He came across her bloated body floating in shallow water. He swam with her on his back and brought her to shore. He mauled into her neck with a blade until the head detached. He wrapped the head in saran wrap and placed it delicately inside his backpack. He ran home at full speed that night. He kissed the forehead of the saran-wrapped face and stuck her in the freezer.

"He finally collected enough body parts to construct a life."
eldritchhobbit: (Frankenstein)
This past summer marks the 200th anniversary of the infamous Year without a Summer, during which the Villa Diodati near Lake Geneva in Switzerland served as the setting of a historic literary meeting of the minds. Two of the remarkable products of that gathering (which included Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, later to become Mary Shelley, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Claire Clairmont, Lord Byron, and John Polidori) were the novel Frankenstein, the pioneering work of modern science fiction, and the short story "The Vampyre" by John Polidori, the first great prose work of vampire fiction.

A new film dealing with the story behind the stories (A Storm in the Stars, starring Elle Fanning as Mary, Douglas Booth as Percy, Bel Powley as Claire, Tom Sturridge as Byron, and Ben Hardy as Polidori) is scheduled for 2017. But you don't have to wait until next year to see a movie about the events of 1816.


909b3b736f947bb81730c3bdd1112468.jpg 909b3b736f947bb81730c3bdd1112468.jpg 327134_838x1117.jpg


My Favorite: The Trippy One
Gothic (1986)
This has perhaps the best and most convincing cast of the three, with the late, great Natasha Richardson as Mary, Julian Sands as Percy, Myriam Cyr as Claire, Gabriel Byrne as Byron (I can't unsee this), and Timothy Spall as Polidori. It isn't for everyone, though. The more you know about what happened when the gang got together (such as Percy's drug-induced freak-outs and dreams), what inspired them (one part, for example, reenacts the scene from Fuseli's The Nightmare, as you can see in the above photo), and what ultimately happened to them (such as the nature of Percy's death), the more this will seem like a well-informed and evocative montage rather than a series of very trippy hallucination sequences. Mary's naive intelligence, Percy's eccentricity, and Byron's, um, Byron-ness aren't the easiest things to capture, and this film does the most successful job of it I've seen, while recognizing the complicated sexual dynamics of the group. It holds up as a psychological horror film in its own right.

Also Highly Recommended: The Dramatic One
Haunted Summer (1988)
This has a solid and subtle cast, with Alice "Borg Queen" Krige as Mary, Eric Stoltz as Percy, Laura Dern as Claire, Philip Anglim as Byron, and Alex Winter as Polidori. No complaints. This is a less fantastic, more intimate portrait of the Villa Diodati gathering. Gothic never loses the sense that these individuals were larger than life, half real and half legend; Haunted Summer moves more toward humanizing these brilliant and troubled souls. As this review notes, "Ivan Passer directs this beautifully photographed literary drama based on Anne Edward’s 1972 novel. In a very fluid and dreamlike way, Haunted Summer explores some of the dangers and a few of the exhilarations of living in an ivory tower world of art. Krige steals the film with her deft and nimble portrait of the woman who would eventually write Frankenstein."

Meh: *Shrugs*
Rowing with the Wind (1988)
This film was miscast, with Lizzy McInnerny as Mary, Valentine Pelka as Percy, Elizabeth Hurley as Claire, Hugh Grant as Byron (yeah, I know, right?), and José Luis Gómez as Polidori. As one review on Rotten Tomatoes puts it, this is a work of "music, scenery, girls getting out of bathtubs..." My favorite comment there is this one: "I give it a couple points for the giraffe." Speaks volumes, doesn't it? This film does have a few moments, but on the whole it's jumbled, unsure of what it wants to accomplish, a far cry from the other two.


"And there, ladies and gentlemen, on the other side of the lake we have the famous Villa Diodati where Lord Byron, greatest living English poet, resides in exile. Romantic, scholar, duelist, best-selling author of Childe Harold, he was forced to leave his native land after many scandals including incest and adultery with Lady Caroline Lamb. 'Mad, bad and dangerous to know,' she called him.... Bedroom, top right."
- Tour Guide, Gothic
eldritchhobbit: (Skeleton)
Am I the only one who is delighted with American Horror Story: Roanoke thus far? This is shaping up to be one of my favorite seasons of AHS, and that's saying something.

Now on to my post...

If you're looking for some classic reading for this season, you can't go wrong with the excellent The Cold Embrace: Weird Stories by Women, published earlier this year by Dover Horror Classics and edited by well-known scholar S.T. Joshi.

Here's the official description: This original anthology presents 19 short stories that cover nearly a century of speculative fiction by women authors. Selections range from Mary Shelley's "Transformation" (1830), a pendant to Frankenstein in its themes and motifs, to "Where Their Fire Is Not Quenched" (1922) by May Sinclair, a tale of time travel that follows its heroine to Hell and back.

Gripping narratives include Virginia Woolf's "A Haunted House," in which a ghostly couple revisit their former home; "A Wedding Chest" by Vernon Lee, a story of romance and revenge that unfolds in Renaissance Italy; and Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper," recounting a woman's psychic possession by the previous occupant of her attic bedroom. Additional tales include E. Nesbit's "From the Dead," "The Eyes" by Edith Wharton, Elizabeth Gaskell's "Curious If True," and many others. Editor S.T. Joshi offers an extensive Introduction as well as notes on each of the authors.




One of the spooky stories included is "Death and the Woman" by Gertrude Atherton (1893).

You can listen to two different (and free!) Librivox recordings of the story here and here, and you can find an online version of the story here.

Here is a chilling little excerpt from "Death and the Woman":

"She knew that it was Death who was coming to her through the silent deserted house; knew that it was the sensitive ear of her intelligence that heard him, not the dull, coarse-grained ear of the body.

"He toiled up the stair painfully, as if he were old and tired with much. work. But how could he afford to loiter, with all the work he had to do? Every minute, every second, he must be in demand to hook his cold, hard finger about a soul struggling to escape from its putrefying tenement. But probably he had his emissaries, his minions: for only those worthy of the honor did he come in person.

"He reached the first landing and crept like a cat down the hall to the next stair, then crawled slowly up as before. Light as the footfalls were, they were squarely planted, unfaltering; slow, they never halted."
eldritchhobbit: (Frankenstein)
Happy birthday to Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (30 August, 1797 – 1 February, 1851)!

Portrait of Mary Shelley


“Life, although it may only be an accumulation of anguish, is dear to me, and I will defend it.”
- Mary Shelley, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus (1818)
eldritchhobbit: (Tori/I was here)
It's time for my year-end review post.

Apologies for being quiet of late. I've been dealing with both shingles and sinus-related nastiness for which surgery looms in 2016. Ick. I do hope your holiday season has been more enjoyable!

But back to taking stock of 2015...



What I Published in 2015

In Books

* “Seeking Dumbledore’s Mother: Harry Potter in the Native American Context” in Harry Potter for Nerds II, Kathryn McDaniel and Travis Prinzi, eds.

* “Harry Potter and the Dystopia After Tomorrow” in Ravenclaw Reader: Seeking the Artistry and Meaning of J.K. Rowling’s Hogwarts Saga, The St. Andrews University Harry Potter Conference, John Patrick Pazdziora and Micah Snell, eds.

* [Note: Also written in 2015 and accepted for 2016 publication: “His Fordship in the Capitol and Big Brother in the Districts: The Hunger Games and the Modern Dystopian Tradition” in Critical Insights: The Hunger Games, Lana A. Whited, ed., Grey House/Salem Press, forthcoming in 2016]

In Reason Magazine

*“Star Wars, Remixed: George Lucas’ Universe Is a Mashup Masterwork,” Reason (January 2016) online here

* “The Many Resurrections of Sherlock Holmes: Why the Great Detective Is Always in Fashion,” Reason (October 2015) online here

* “Feminism, Frankenstein, and Freedom: The Individualistic Works and Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley,” Reason (June 2015) online here


What I Read in 2015
What I Read in 2015 )
eldritchhobbit: (Frankenstein)
Happy birthday to Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (30 August, 1797 – 1 February, 1851)!

Portrait of Mary Shelley


“Life, although it may only be an accumulation of anguish, is dear to me, and I will defend it.”
- Mary Shelley, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus (1818)


Happy early birthday also to [livejournal.com profile] aragornlover, [livejournal.com profile] alii_s, [livejournal.com profile] beatonna, [livejournal.com profile] agameofthree, [livejournal.com profile] nowitsdark0, [livejournal.com profile] ekeppich, [livejournal.com profile] jinxed_wood, [livejournal.com profile] princeofcairo, [livejournal.com profile] chickenfried_jo, [livejournal.com profile] llembas, [livejournal.com profile] soonerwxgirl, [livejournal.com profile] delenn1960, [livejournal.com profile] sueworld2003, [livejournal.com profile] shagungu, [livejournal.com profile] xanath, [livejournal.com profile] northwestmagpie, [livejournal.com profile] curtana, [livejournal.com profile] sneakybea, [livejournal.com profile] litlover12, and [livejournal.com profile] mrua7. May you enjoy many happy returns of the day!
eldritchhobbit: (Books and text)
My latest essay debuted in the hard-copy issue of REASON earlier this month, and now it's online: "Feminism, Frankenstein, and Freedom: The Individualistic Works and Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley."



On a related note, my three-part "Looking Back at Genre History" series on StarShipSofa (also about Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley) is now complete.
Part 1 is here.
Part 2 is here.
Part 3 is here.
If you listen, I hope you enjoy!
eldritchhobbit: (Elsewhere)
Wow! The first weekend of my two-weekend "The Dystopian Tradition: What Worlds Gone Wrong Can Teach Us" event was spectacular, with amazing students and fascinating discussions. I'm very much looking forward to the second half of the event. Thanks to everyone who participated!

In other news that makes me happy, I've just proofed the final galleys for two of my essays which will be published soon. “Feminism, Frankenstein, and Freedom: The Individualistic Works and Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley” will appear in REASON, and "Seeking Dumbledore's Mother: Harry Potter in the Native American Context" will appear in Harry Potter for Nerds II (along with works by several of my current and former graduate students, I'm delighted to say).

In addition, my proposal for the essay "His Fordship in the Capitol and Big Brother in the Districts: The Hunger Games and the Modern Dystopian Tradition" has been accepted for the forthcoming 2016 scholarly volume Critical Insights: The Hunger Games.

Day 38/365 ~ We Read to Know We Are Not Alone


Speaking of publications, here are some Calls for Papers of possible interest.
- New Worlds, Terrifying Monsters, Impossible Things: Exploring the Contents and Contexts of Doctor Who
- Engendering the Disc – The Fantastic Worlds of Terry Pratchett
- Being Humans. The Human Condition in the age of techno-humanism: representations, practices, experiences

Happy early birthday to [livejournal.com profile] sarah531, [livejournal.com profile] vg_ford, [livejournal.com profile] tunes84, [livejournal.com profile] captnofmyheart, [livejournal.com profile] wildviolet4, [livejournal.com profile] savagedoc45, [livejournal.com profile] lalam, [livejournal.com profile] silveraspen, [livejournal.com profile] denorios, [livejournal.com profile] prettybirdy979, [livejournal.com profile] sakuraember, [livejournal.com profile] cherylmmorgan, [livejournal.com profile] muuranker, [livejournal.com profile] izhilzha, and [livejournal.com profile] justicemuffins. May all of you enjoy many happy returns of the day!
eldritchhobbit: (LOTR/Be At Peace)
* My friend Matthew Sanborn Smith (of the Beware the Hairy Mango podcast) has launched a new Kickstarter for his work-in-progress, Hive Five, which is a "weird and funny science fiction novel about five members of a hive mind who are not very good at being a hive mind." Matt's fiction has been published at Tor.com, Nature, and Chizine, among other places, and this new work sounds very promising. Please check out his Kickstarter!

* Are you in or near Boston? Check out this Lord of the Rings Movie Marathon, complete with Q&A and discussion with my fellow Mythgardian, Dr. Corey Olsen.

* Last, here's a new book recommendation: Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter Mary Shelley by Charlotte Gordon (2015). My review is here.

22294061
eldritchhobbit: (Elsewhere)
* If 1) while reading C.S. Lewis you've ever been troubled by the problem of Susan Pevensie, and/or 2) you love Doctor Who, by all means read "The Solution of Susan." In less than half a page, it packs more of a punch than some novels I've read. Thank you, The Hero of Three Faces.

* In other news, my most recent "Looking Back into Genre History" segment is up on the latest episode of StarShipSofa, and in it I discuss the great Ada Lovelace. If you listen, I hope you enjoy!

* My inspiration for this episode is a new book for middle readers that I highly recommend to young and old alike.

wollstonecraft


In The Case of the Missing Moonstone (Wollstonecraft Detective Agency #1), Jordan Stratford brings together the mother of modern science fiction, Mary Shelley, and the world's first computer programmer, Ada Lovelace, as girls (14 and 11, respectively). In honor of the feminist writings of Mary's late mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, the two create the Wollstonecraft Detective Agency. They use science to solve the mystery of the missing moonstone. There is so much to love here: clever dialogue, evocative description, action, and intelligent young women using their reason.

For young readers, the novel serves as an introduction of sorts to the intellectual history of the Victorian era; for those who are already in the know, the inside jokes and loving homages are a treat. The mystery is a retelling of The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins, the first great detective novel in English. Percy B. Shelley and Charles Dickens play key roles in the tale, as do mesmerism and Newgate Prison.

The book ends with a discussion of the real history behind Ada, Mary, Wollstonecraft, The Moonstone, and the other ingredients of the story, and Stratford makes it clear when and why he's taken liberties with the past (for example, in narrowing the real gap between the ages of his protagonists so they have the chance to be young heroines together).

This is a perfect storm of inspiration, entertainment, and education. I'm already making plans to put a copy of this book into the hands of the young readers I know.
eldritchhobbit: (Frankenstein)
Once again for this Halloween season, National Theatre Live is offering encore performances of the brilliant Frankenstein (play by Nick Dear, directed by Danny Boyle, with Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller alternating the roles of the Creature and Frankenstein) in cinemas. To see if there's a venue near you worldwide, check the official website. I can't recommend this play highly enough.

Here is the original trailer for the play.



I have seen the performances several times. My reviews are below.

* These are my initial impressions of the Cumberbatch-as-Creature cast, including comparisons between Nick Dear's play as written and as performed.

* Here are my thoughts on the differences between the Cumberbatch-as-Creature and Miller-as-Creature casts.

Frankenstein6


Check out Frankensteinia: The Frankenstein Blog for all things related to all versions of Frankenstein!


"Paradise Lost excited different and far deeper emotions. I read it, as I had read the other volumes which had fallen into my hands, as a true history. It moved every feeling of wonder and awe that the picture of an omnipotent God warring with his creatures was capable of exciting. I often referred the several situations, as their similarity struck me, to my own. Like Adam, I was apparently united by no link to any other being in existence; but his state was far different from mine in every other respect. He had come forth from the hands of God a perfect creature, happy and prosperous, guarded by the especial care of his Creator; he was allowed to converse with and acquire knowledge from beings of a superior nature, but I was wretched, helpless, and alone."
- Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus

"All I wanted was your love. I could have loved you with all my heart. My poor creator."
- The Creature to Victor Frankenstein, Nick Dear's Frankenstein

Frankenstein14
eldritchhobbit: (Frankenstein)
Happy birthday to Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (30 August, 1797 – 1 February, 1851)!

Portrait of Mary Shelley


“Life, although it may only be an accumulation of anguish, is dear to me, and I will defend it.”
- Mary Shelley, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus (1818)


Happy early birthday also to [livejournal.com profile] aragornlover, [livejournal.com profile] alii_s, [livejournal.com profile] beatonna, [livejournal.com profile] agameofthree, [livejournal.com profile] nowitsdark0, [livejournal.com profile] ekeppich, [livejournal.com profile] jinxed_wood, [livejournal.com profile] princeofcairo, [livejournal.com profile] chickenfried_jo, [livejournal.com profile] llembas, [livejournal.com profile] soonerwxgirl, [livejournal.com profile] delenn1960, [livejournal.com profile] sueworld2003, [livejournal.com profile] shagungu, [livejournal.com profile] xanath, [livejournal.com profile] northwestmagpie, [livejournal.com profile] curtana, [livejournal.com profile] sneakybea, [livejournal.com profile] litlover12, and [livejournal.com profile] mrua7. May you enjoy many happy returns of the day!
eldritchhobbit: (Sherlock/NRK parody murder by death)
Good news! "Sherlock Returns for One-Off Special AND Series 4."

And here are a couple of other nifty things that may be of interest. (Thanks to Michael!)

- Living with Frankenstein, a web series: "Frankenstein’s Monster (aka Frank) is alive and living in Los Angeles with Mary Shelley, P.B. Shelley, and Lord Byron. In this dark comedy the Monster is not a fictional character. P.B. Shelley created Frank, and Mary Shelley wrote the novel Frankenstein to chronicle actual events." Check it out here and here.

- Finding Hogwarts: This is a documentary film about seven Harry Potter fans and their journey to find Hogwarts, as well as the stories and shared experiences they had as they followed Harry until the very end. More details are here.



Last but not least, happy birthday to [livejournal.com profile] lynn_maudlin, and happy early birthday wishes to [livejournal.com profile] morningapproach, [livejournal.com profile] gods_lil_rocker, [livejournal.com profile] splix, [livejournal.com profile] divadiane1, [livejournal.com profile] markbourne, [livejournal.com profile] sunshinedew, [livejournal.com profile] ithildyn, [livejournal.com profile] melissagay, [livejournal.com profile] faramirgirl, [livejournal.com profile] agentxpndble, [livejournal.com profile] arymetore, [livejournal.com profile] caster121, [livejournal.com profile] syrcleoftrees, [livejournal.com profile] ghislainem70, and [livejournal.com profile] johnjosephadams. May you all enjoy many happy returns of the day!
eldritchhobbit: (Re-Animator/Weird)
The "campus read" at Lenoir-Rhyne University for the 2014-2015 academic year is the excellent The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Author Rebecca Skloot will be speaking as part of the Visiting Writers Series.

On an intentionally related note, I will be offering the following undergraduate/graduate cross-listed seminar at L-R for Fall 2014.

"Monsters and Mad Science"

Course Description: How should medical science progress? What ethics should shape or even constrain experimentation? What is "good science"? How can new science be scary science? What may we make of science, and what may science make of us? This course will explore fiction that has expressed popular anxieties about the limits and ethics of scientific research and what experimentation means for the human body. We will consider how Victor Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll, Dr. Moreau, and other literary characters have made ethical questions and concerns part of an ongoing debate about the medical search for knowledge and what it means to be human.

Penguin Classics Book Covers
eldritchhobbit: (Frankenstein)
For the Halloween season, National Theatre Live is offering encore performances of the brilliant Frankenstein (play by Nick Dear, directed by Danny Boyle, with Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller alternating the roles of the Creature and Frankenstein). To see if there's a venue near you worldwide, check the official website. I can't recommend this play highly enough.

Here is the original trailer for the play.



I have seen the performances several times. My reviews are below.

* These are my initial impressions of the Cumberbatch-as-Creature cast, including comparisons between Nick Dear's play as written and as performed.

* Here are my thoughts on the differences between the Cumberbatch-as-Creature and Miller-as-Creature casts.

Frankenstein6


Check out Frankensteinia: The Frankenstein Blog for all things related to all versions of Frankenstein!


"Paradise Lost excited different and far deeper emotions. I read it, as I had read the other volumes which had fallen into my hands, as a true history. It moved every feeling of wonder and awe that the picture of an omnipotent God warring with his creatures was capable of exciting. I often referred the several situations, as their similarity struck me, to my own. Like Adam, I was apparently united by no link to any other being in existence; but his state was far different from mine in every other respect. He had come forth from the hands of God a perfect creature, happy and prosperous, guarded by the especial care of his Creator; he was allowed to converse with and acquire knowledge from beings of a superior nature, but I was wretched, helpless, and alone."
- Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus

"All I wanted was your love. I could have loved you with all my heart. My poor creator."
- The Creature to Victor Frankenstein, Nick Dear's Frankenstein

Frankenstein14
eldritchhobbit: (Frankenstein)
Happy birthday to the mother of science fiction and one of my favorite authors, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (30 August 1797 – 1 February 1851).

"Whence, I often asked myself, did the principle of life proceed?"


Happy birthday also to [livejournal.com profile] funkyturtle, and happy early birthday to [livejournal.com profile] marthawells, [livejournal.com profile] aragornlover, [livejournal.com profile] alii_s, [livejournal.com profile] beatonna, [livejournal.com profile] agameofthree, [livejournal.com profile] nowitsdark0, [livejournal.com profile] ekeppich, [livejournal.com profile] jinxed_wood, [livejournal.com profile] princeofcairo, [livejournal.com profile] chickenfried_jo, [livejournal.com profile] llembas, [livejournal.com profile] icarusfall1ng, [livejournal.com profile] soonerwxgirl, [livejournal.com profile] delenn1960, [livejournal.com profile] sueworld2003, [livejournal.com profile] shagungu, [livejournal.com profile] xanath, [livejournal.com profile] northwestmagpie, [livejournal.com profile] curtana, [livejournal.com profile] sneakybea, and [livejournal.com profile] litlover12. May you all enjoy many happy returns of the day!


And last, a quote for the day, from a passage by Mary Shelley that I simply love:

"What a sea is the tide of passion, whose fountains are in our own nature! Our virtues are the quick-sands, which show themselves at calm and low water; but let the waves arise and the winds buffet them, and the poor devil whose hope was in their durability, finds them sink from under him. The fashions of the world, its exigencies, educations and pursuits, are winds to drive our wills, like clouds all one way; but let a thunderstorm arise in the shape of love, hate, or ambition, and the rack goes backward, stemming the opposing air in triumph."

"Yet," replied I, "nature always presents to our eyes the appearance of a patient: while there is an active principle in man which is capable of ruling fortune, and at least of tacking against the gale, till it in some mode conquers it."

"There is more of what is specious than true in your distinction," said my companion. "Did we form ourselves, choosing our dispositions, and our powers? I find myself, for one, as a stringed instrument with chords and stops--but I have no power to turn the pegs, or pitch my thoughts to a higher or lower key."

"Other men," I observed, "may be better musicians."


from Mary Shelley, The Last Man (1826)
eldritchhobbit: (Frankenstein)
Happy Friday the 13th!

Beginning in June, National Theatre Live is showing encore screenings of 2011's amazing production of Nick Dear's Frankenstein with both starring performances: Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller as, alternately, the Creature and Victor Frankenstein. (You can read my review from last year here). I've got tickets for both versions, and I can't wait! To see if there's a venue near you (in the USA, UK, Canada, South Africa, Australia, or New Zealand), check this list.

And here's the trailer:



In other news, the publishers have released more detailed information about J.K. Rowling's new novel.


"Paradise Lost excited different and far deeper emotions. I read it, as I had read the other volumes which had fallen into my hands, as a true history. It moved every feeling of wonder and awe that the picture of an omnipotent God warring with his creatures was capable of exciting. I often referred the several situations, as their similarity struck me, to my own. Like Adam, I was apparently united by no link to any other being in existence; but his state was far different from mine in every other respect. He had come forth from the hands of God a perfect creature, happy and prosperous, guarded by the especial care of his Creator; he was allowed to converse with and acquire knowledge from beings of a superior nature, but I was wretched, helpless, and alone."
- Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus
eldritchhobbit: (Frankenstein)
Today's stunning picture is by the fabulous [livejournal.com profile] lizziebelle.

unhappy


How fascinating is this? According to the new November 2011 issue of Sky & Telescope, Dr. Don Olson, an astrophysicist at Texas State University-San Marcos, claims to have used textual clues to pinpoint the precise moment, down to date and hour, when Mary Shelley conceived of Frankenstein. Read more here.

Text of the Day: This gives me an excuse to highlight another work by Mary Shelley (one of my favorite authors!), the chilling 1831 story "Transformation."

Excerpt:
I have heard it said, that, when any strange, supernatural, and necromantic adventure has occurred to a human being, that being, however desirous he may be to conceal the same, feels at certain periods torn up as it were by an intellectual earthquake, and is forced to bare the inner depths of his spirit to another. I am a witness of the truth of this. I have dearly sworn to myself never to reveal to human ears the horrors to which I once, in excess of fiendly pride, delivered myself over. The holy man who heard my confession, and reconciled me to the church, is dead. None knows that once —

Why should it not be thus? Why tell a tale of impious tempting of Providence, and soul-subduing humiliation? Why? answer me, ye who are wise in the secrets of human nature! I only know that so it is; and in spite of strong resolve — of a pride that too much masters me—of shame, and even of fear, so to render myself odious to my species — I must speak.


Read the complete story here.

Download an unabridged narration from Librivox.org.
eldritchhobbit: (Fringe/Walter/Strawberry death)
The PotterWatch 2011 scholarly conference was fantastic! Cheers to everyone involved. It was especially great to see [livejournal.com profile] gods_lil_rocker again and meet [livejournal.com profile] amedia in person at last.


Don't miss book blogger Book Chick City's annual All Hallow's Eve event, which runs for the entire month of October and celebrates all things that go bump in the night! Check it out here (or on Livejournal, [livejournal.com profile] bookchickcity).




What's the most Halloween-friendly television show currently on the air? For my money, it's Fringe.

Here's the trailer for the new fourth season of Fringe:



View the famous/infamous "Friday Night Re-animation" trailer for Fringe.

Text of the Day: For a limited time (that is, until Thursday, 6 October), my essay "In Search of Fringe's Literary Ancestors" (from Fringe Science: Parallel Universes, White Tulips, and Mad Scientists, 2011) is available online in its entirety from Smart Pop Books. Whether or not you like/know Fringe, I invite you to check it out, as it covers Shelley, Poe, Lovecraft, and other Halloween-friendly topics. If you read it, I hope you enjoy it.

So, if you'll kindly excuse my self-indulgence, let's delve into the spooky ancestors of a spooky series...

Excerpt:
In this segment, Abrams explains that the original vision for the series entailed revisiting “the Frankenstein idea, but told as legitimately as possible.” Telling the story “legitimately” included updating a central character by turning the aristocratic Genevan medical student Victor Frankenstein into the eccentric U.S. scientist Dr. Walter Bishop. Like Victor, Walter shuns the scientific consensus of the day, following his own genius into unorthodox, even illegal experimentation.

It’s easy to see parallels between the two characters.... To reach their desired goals, both use unethical methods. Victor plunders fresh graves to find human body parts for his laboratory and refuses to provide even the most basic of necessities to the life he creates. Walter escalates experiments with nootropic drugs on innocent children, leaving them with after-effects that continue into adulthood, and wholly ignores warnings that acting on his untested theories could, as his assistant Carla Warren tells him, “rupture the fundamental constants of nature” (“Peter,” 2-16). Furthermore, each genius single-handedly makes decisions that determine the fate of many. Victor’s neglected creation slays his friends and family members. Walter’s recklessness costs the life of his assistant, drives his wife to suicide, and plunges an alternate world into chaos.

Perhaps most importantly, both Victor and Walter are haunted by their past scientific endeavors, pursued by the evidence of their own mistakes. Everywhere Victor looks, he finds the creature. Everywhere Walter looks, he finds evidence of an upcoming violent collision between our Universe and the other one Over There, a cataclysm that he set in motion when he opened the door between worlds and took the alternate Peter as his own son. Neither Victor nor Walter can escape the consequences of science pursued with intellectual arrogance, personal selfishness, and moral unaccountability. It’s all too appropriate that Peter asks Olivia in that first episode: “You’re telling me what? My father was Dr. Frankenstein?”


Read the complete essay.


Tomorrow, back to classic texts!

Bonus quote:
Dr. Walter Bishop: When the Victoria, the last surviving ship, returned to its harbor of departure after the first circumnavigation of the earth, only 18 of the original 237 men were on board.
Small Child: What happened to them?
Dr. Walter Bishop: They all died, young lady. Horrible and most likely painful deaths. You see, when you open new doors, there is a price to pay. Now imagine... tonight, you look under your bed, and, lo and behold, you find a monster! And you're immediately eaten. Now, if you hadn't looked for the monster, you wouldn't have found it and you'd still be happy in your bed, instead of being slowly digested in the stomach sack of the creature. But, with any luck, your sister or your brothers might have heard your screams, and your endeavor will serve as a valuable lesson to them.
- from "What Lies Below," Fringe

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