200 years ago a young woman was drifting to sleep on a cold night when she was suddenly roused from a terrifying waking nightmare about a mad man that had reanimated a corpse made of spare human parts. It was 1816, Mary Shelley was only 18, visiting a friend’s home in Geneva, or rather, taking shelter there from the storms that had raged the greater part of that year.
They called it “The Year Without a Summer“. It was during this extended stay that this waking nightmare would grow into a novel unlike any before; the Gothic epic Frankenstein. Many people have credited Mary Shelley with writing the first modern science fiction novel, a literary work that to this day inspires homage and replication.
Even though its been 200 hundred years since Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein we still love it because most of us have known or can sympathize with feeling outcast or different. I know for myself, being a young bookworm obsessed with R.L. Stine and Steven King whose favorite TV show was Tales From the Crypt; I didn’t have many friends. I was fascinated by the fantastical, by what the world deemed monstrous and weird, and in some ways maybe my love of horror made me feel less penetrable by the terrors of real life.
The monsters I loved so dearly in my youth followed me, as they often do, into my adulthood with a love for science fiction that led me to pursue an education in literature and later, writing.
There, again, I was re-introduced to Frankenstein in the early spring of my sophomore year of college and since it has been a constant inspiration in my life, even to the extent I keep a copy next to my desk at all times. It reminds me that sometimes feeling different, as Mary Shelley did (as the highly educated daughter of a famous Victorian era Feminist) can become something greater than oneself, something that will inspire generations to embrace their uniqueness and pursue the oddity of self-expression and reflection.
Thank you Mary Shelley for delving into your greatest terrors and bringing them to life for the world. Yours is truly a legacy deserving of remembrance, even after two centuries.
What novel or author inspires you? Let us know! And if you’re a fan of horror check out this awesome list of spooky comic books to put in your noggin!