Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Frankenstein

Character created by Mary Shelley in Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus (1818; rev 1831; vt Frankenstein 1897): he epitomizes the scientist who experiments first and thinks about the consequences afterwards. The Monster he creates is not monstrous because of physical appearance (although Shelley indicates this is grim) but – at least in later versions of what has become a Legend – because he lacks a Soul; he proves intelligent and (later) highly articulate, but becomes embittered and vengeful as his ugliness leads to repeated rejections. The novel can best be read as either a Gothic Fantasy or a Technofantasy, or preferably as both. This has not stopped Brian W Aldiss and many others from treating it as the first Science-Fiction novel, which it manifestly is not: scientific rationalization is entirely missing from the first version, and only a token is provided in the revision. The Frankenstein Movies – of which there have been many – generally rely on cod technology to explain how Frankenstein could have made the Creature from dead material, and often portray the Creature as intrinsically evil. A version of the Creature appeared as Herman in the popular tv series The Munsters (1964-1966), and the Creature has had various incarnations in Comics; the many Sequels by Other Hands include the juveniles Frankensteins faster (1978; trans Joan Tate as Frankenstein's Aunt 1980 UK) and Frankensteins faster – igen! (1989; trans Tate as Frankenstein's Aunt Returns 1990 UK) by Allan Rune Pettersson (1936-    ), plus Frankenstein's Bride (1995) by Hilary Bailey (1936-    ). The Creature, an Underlier figure himself, is in turn underlain by the Golem. [JG]

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This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.