“I have love in me the likes of which you can scarcely imagine and rage the likes of which you would not believe. If I cannot satisfy the one, I wil
“I have love in me the likes of which you can scarcely imagine and rage the likes of which you would not believe. If I cannot satisfy the one, I will indulge the other.”
I was walking along earlier today with Jacquie and discussing the important things like, you know... books. And the subject of our top favourite books of all time came up. Oddly enough, two of our top three were the same - Wuthering Heights and Crime and Punishment. Then Jacquie said her third was a book that I hadn't thought about in a very long time. That book was Frankenstein. It hit me like a shot of good literature: I had forgotten all about this classic that had so affected me, made me think and completely torn my heart out multiple times.
Frankenstein? I said. I must go review that right now.
You see, though, the best and worst thing about this novel is how distorted it has become by constant movie adaptations and misinformed ideas about the nature of Frankenstein and his "monster". For years I thought Frankenstein was the name of that slightly green dude with the bolts in his neck. Nuh-uh.
Did Frankenstein scare me? Did it have me staying awake and sleeping with the light on, jumping at every slight creak in the house? Was I terrified of the monster and technology and the dangers of playing God? No. Because the beauty of this story is that it isn't the one so many people think it is. Which is almost my favourite thing about it. This book is not a Halloween kind of story with Halloween kind of monsters. This story is nothing short of heartbreakingly sad.
“...once I falsely hoped to meet the beings who, pardoning my outward form, would love me for the excellent qualities which I was capable of unfolding.”
The book offers many interesting avenues of philosophical exploration if one is so inclined to ponder such things; for example, allusions to religion and Genesis, possible criticisms of using science to "play God", the relationship between creator and creation. All of these things interest me, yes, but it is the painfully human part of this book that has always so deeply affected me.
Because the sad thing, the really sad thing, is that pretty much everyone has heard of Frankenstein's monster... but so many don't know how human the character is. Created as a scientific experiment by an overly ambitious man, he comes into a frightening and hostile world that immediately rejects him on sight. Even the man who made him cannot look upon his creation without feeling horror. It's that same thing that gets me in books every time: things could have been so different. If people had just been a little less judgmental, a little less scared, and a little more understanding.
This being, created from different parts of corpses, seeks love and finds hatred, so he instead decides to embrace it. Fuelled by his own rage at the unfairness of the world, he gradually turns towards evil. Everyone knows him as "the monster" so it's hard for me to call him anything else, but I basically always saw him like this:
He belongs in my own little mind category with the likes of Heathcliff and Erik (aka The Phantom of the Opera). Scared, angry villains who were made so by their own unfortunate circumstances that plunged them into worlds where they couldn't find a place. The kind of characters you simultaneously hate and love, but most of all hope they find some kind of peace.
So call it science-fiction, if you will. Call it horror, if you must. But this story is brimming with some of the most realistic and almost unbearably moving human emotion that I have ever read.
This was the book that started my love affair with the dystopian genre. And maybe indirectly influenced my decision to do a politics degree. I was onlThis was the book that started my love affair with the dystopian genre. And maybe indirectly influenced my decision to do a politics degree. I was only 12 years old when I first read it but I suddenly saw how politics could be taken and manipulated to tell one hell of a scary and convincing story. I'm a lot more well-read now but, back then, this was a game-changer. I started to think about things differently. I started to think about 2 + 2 = 5 and I wanted to read more books that explored the idea of control....more
This is not the best book ever written. It is unlikely to affect you on any deep emotional level and you probably won't spend sleepless nights just thThis is not the best book ever written. It is unlikely to affect you on any deep emotional level and you probably won't spend sleepless nights just thinking about it.
But it's a simple, humourous sci-fi adventure. It won't do something for everybody but I'm a massive fan of Douglas Adams' and his sense of humour. Come on, like it or not, Adams' has some awesomely quotable sayings (not all of these are from this exact book):
"In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move."
"For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much—the wheel, New York, wars and so on—whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man—for precisely the same reasons."
"The Guide says there is an art to flying", said Ford, "or rather a knack. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss."
"A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools."
"Would it save you a lot of time if I just gave up and went mad now?"
"The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't."
A short, fast-paced book unlike any I've ever read before. It was so short and gripping I swallowed the entire thing in about the space of an hour. AnA short, fast-paced book unlike any I've ever read before. It was so short and gripping I swallowed the entire thing in about the space of an hour. And when I went to buy the next one, I got parts 2, 3 and 4 at once. This series is seemingly endless but you find yourself praying that it will never end because you are so caught up in a flurry of adventure and excitement and passion... but never fear. Gaia is one of the coolest characters ever, you're immediate perception of her is that she is cold and unfeeling but it doesn't take long to discover the truth behind this. The only thing Gaia doesn't feel is fear, but she has a whole torrent of other emotions swirling about inside of her. I've seldom found myself pulled in so closely to all the characters, with a desperate need to discover more and more about each. But with 30+ installments, there's a lot to keep going with....more