Posts Tagged 'Frankenstein'

If there ever could be a patron saint of this website, it would be Mary Shelley.

Many have speculated on the influences that led to the conjuration of Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus and the birth of modern science fiction. Perhaps the author was influenced by tales of the experiments of Luigi Galvani, or the work of the “thunder and lightning man” Andrew Crosse. Or perhaps she did encounter reports of Jaques-Droz’s clockwork automaton in her childhood – a favourite theory of Drozbot, naturally.

Now there are ample chances to ponder the story’s origin in conjunction with a host of Mary Shelley related publications and activities planned for 2018.

A fully illustrated version of the tale is now available from Rockport Publisher with David Plunkert bringing his visionary style to the text. Or, if you’re more fleet of foot than the monster itself, you could nip down to Bournemouth University this February. Here you’ll find Professor Christopher Frailing kicking off the 2018 Shelly Frankenstein Festival with a lecture exploring how this massively influential novel has evolved into modern myth.

If all that has whetted your appetite for a more in-depth examination of the tale and it’s creator, Lucy Todd over at the BBC has pulled together an exemplary overview of Frankenstein, alongside a great collection of its many adaptations. Within this there’s also the welcome news that Universal Studios are filming a remake of the fan classic Bride of Frankenstein with director Bill Condon at the helm after his live action version of Beauty and the Beast. Hopefully, this adaptation will dig back into the pathos of the 1935 film and not be overly comedic – Mel Brooks has already been there and done that most excellently.

Whatever the inspiration for the novel, Frankenstein’s bicentenary underlines the importance of its themes in contemporary society. On a macro scale, we see the increased responsibility that comes as a result of stealing fire from the gods, while down in the microcosm of the everyday, there’s an increasing urgency concerning our attitudes towards our machine creations and how their introduction will affect humanity.

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Elegy for a Dead World

Words, words are all I have. True for Elvis, and pretty true for yours truly back in the day. Sci-Fi paperback covers, the occasional art book – if you were lucky enough to have a relative who could afford Spacecraft 2000 to 2100 AD – films, fanzines and that was pretty much it for nerdcore visual stimulus.

As with radio, the best images in the early days of video games were inside your own head. Companies like Level 9 Computing cleaned up in a world of block colours and basic gameplay, their clever, witty and descriptive text-based adventures generating a much greater sense of otherworldliness. Among the company’s catalogue was a title called Snowball. It was an exceptionally obtuse game, starting as it did with your character confined in a multi-tiered ice pack being hauled behind a guiding colonial starship. Once you’d navigated the initial maze and entered the gargantuan tow line, the game opened up into something exceptional.

Then came improved graphics and the slew of fighting fantasy novels that allowed you to take the text-based adventure anywhere you wanted. And so the genre languished. Until recently, that is. It seems as if narratives in the second person are on the rise once again. With that in mind… Indulge me.

You are reading a blog that you regularly visit. Its informative pages talk about many interesting things but, in the current article, you’re encouraged to consider the Internet itself as one massive text-based adventure. Drozbot is just the launching station. An enclave of words and technology that has many exits out to other, more exotic locations.

To the west lies Inkle, a mysterious land of articifers who have built such genre related experiences as Frankenstein and 80 Days. An open and generous people, they allow anyone to participate in their creative endeavours via their Inklewriter software.

Eastwards lies the multifarious population of Textadventures. It’s a bustling hive of restless activity. What it sometimes lacks in etiquette, it more than makes up for in sheer industrious output. They too freely share the chance for you to create within the boundaries of their realm via their Quest software.

South lies a commutative folk who have gathered under the banner of House Twine. Their principality is one of cork boards and cutting mats, but they too offer access to all the esoteric secrets of their word craft.

You tap a ponderous finger to your lips and wonder which direction to take. The option of rolling up your creative sleeves and carving your own world out of the ether seems a little daunting at first. Perhaps, you consider, it might be an idea to experience where the text-based adventure has progressed to before committing yourself. A friend once told you about an Elegy for a Dead World. Maybe that might serve to re-acclimatise you. You raise a finger, steel yourself for the jump into hypertext and… ::click::

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