Tuesday, November 01, 2016


Part of my Halloween weekend fun was watching Young Frankenstein for the first time in ages (probably since I've been adult enough to get all the jokes), and then I realized that I'd never actually read the original novel of Frankenstein. I've seen the old silent movie, I've seen numerous spoofs, I've seen more recent adaptations that were closer to the book, but I hadn't read the book. I decided this was as good a time as any to rectify that, and since it's in public domain, I got it on my tablet.

I have to say that for a novel that's considered one of the early works of horror, it wasn't that scary. I have to agree with those who classify it as science fiction. It really is more about the science and the implications of the science than it is about the scares. There's suspense, it's atmospheric, and some of the stuff happening is horrible, but I didn't find it all that scary. Also, most of the "classic" movie interpretations are so thinly based on the book as to be entirely different entities -- the look and behavior of the creature, the scope, the events, the time period.

I was a little amused by the very 19th century story telling style, something I'm coming to think of as Novel Inception, where it's a story within a story within a story within a letter. That seems to have been a common thing in early novels, where they couldn't just tell a story. It had to be a letter describing events. Sometimes, it's a letter describing a story told to the letter writer. In this case, it was letters describing events that led to meeting someone who told a story, and part of that story was a story told to that storyteller. At one point in the book, it's a letter relating a story told to the letter writer by someone who's telling a story someone else told him.

Now I think I need to read Dracula, since that probably bears little resemblance to all the adaptations that have become famous. Maybe next Halloween.

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