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Frankenstein Dreams: A Connoisseur's Collection of Victorian Science Fiction

3.44  ·  Rating details ·  71 ratings  ·  19 reviews
From Mary Shelley to H.G. Wells, a collection of the best Victorian science fiction from Michael Sims, the editor of Dracula's Guest.

Long before 1984, Star Wars, or The Hunger Games, Victorian authors imagined a future where new science and technologies reshaped the world and universe they knew. The great themes of modern science fiction showed up surprisingly early: space
Paperback, 400 pages
Published September 5th 2017 by Bloomsbury USA (first published 2017)
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This collection works toward two main goals: It provides readers with a sampling of Victorian sci-fi, and it also provides a history of the science fiction genre throughout that period. An introduction briefly describes science fiction’s rise in the 19th century, and each story or excerpt is preceded by an analysis that both describes the author and grounds the work in its historical context. This book is all over the place, but since it’s an anthology, that’s not such a bad thing. Some of the s ...more
Sep 15, 2017 rated it it was ok

This review and others posted over at my blog.

I thought this would be right up my alley, but I almost DNF’d it. I kept on because it’s a shorts collection, so I reminded myself that even if I wasn’t enjoying one story, something by a different author would be up next.

This collection was a mixed bag for me. Most of the stories I really liked were snippets from classic novels that I would like to read someday. There were a few other true short stories that I liked, but many I found boring a
Joe Bliven
Oct 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
First of all I will say that I skipped the five chapters that were excerpts from novels as I had read two of the novels already and the others I prefer not to read out of context though I hope to someday read the novels they belong to. I also think an important disclaimer for this collection of "Victorian Science Fiction" is that many of the stories are only in the ballpark of the Victorian era. Some, like Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, were still very popular readings during the Victorian era all ...more
I finally picked this up and finished it! Hoorah!
As I thought, the whole book was interesting. There were a few stories that I did not enjoy but for the most part I really enjoyed these. The final story might have been one of the coolest, it was a Arthur Conan Doyle story so I'm not surprised by that. I highly recommend it if you want a sampler of SF from the Victorian period.
Matt Lambe
Feb 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Some of the short stories are fantastic and well written, others weren’t too interesting

Highlights for me were
-Dreams of Forgotten Alchemists
-Man-Bats on the Moon
-The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar
-The Telescopic Eye
-The Senator’s Daughter
-A Wife Manufactured to Order
-The Monster of Lake LaMetrie
-The Hall Bedroom (personal favourite)
- The Horror of the Heights
F Clark
Sep 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
To be clear, there were only a couple of stories that appealed to me in this collection. But my friend Michael Sims' contextualizing introductions to both the volume and the individual selections, I found very interesting.

Part of that interest is generated by Sims' engaging prose style and thorough research.

Sep 06, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: giveaways
Note: I won this book through goodreads giveaways.
I was super excited for this book. I love Victorian era fiction and pretty much anything deemed classical in novels and fiction. However, this book was a major letdown. There were strangely chopped up bits of classic novels such as Frankenstien, personal journal entries, magazine articles, newspaper articles (under stolen names), and in the case of Edgar Allen Poe's "story" the account of his dying insane friend that was to be the friends final
Casey Leigh
Jan 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I cannot express adequately how much how I enjoyed this collection. Not only were the stories thrilling but together they demonstrated the new sense of awe and terror towards science and technology which flourished during that age. Sims includes selections from well know authors such as Mary Shelley, Jules Verne, and Arthur Conan Doyle as well as those whom I am certain I never would have come across. It served as an excellent break from constant novel reading and an opportunity to sample some a ...more
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
As the title indicates this is a collection of Victorian science fiction.

There is a lot of good about the book and there were definitely some good short stories. Where did it fall down for me? The large number of stories that were actually chapters out of books (i.e. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea etc). I didn't want to read excerpts from novels, I wanted stand alone victorian science fiction stories.

So while the overall quality of the stories was good the let down of not have more stand alone s
Janina Woods
Apr 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
A great selection of classic SciFi - reminding us that SciFi doesn't equal spaceships! :) I particularly enjoyed 'The Senator's Daughter' for its effortless world building and alternate history aspects, and 'The Hall Bedroom' because... well, it felt very Lovecraftian.
Bill Wells
Nov 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Outside of a couple of stories, most of this collection was quite good with a number of pieces I had never read before. I did enjoy the excerpts from from some of the classic novels and it made me want to revisit those, "The Island of Dr. Moreau" in particular.
Nov 27, 2018 rated it did not like it
I had high hopes for this book, I wanted something with hort stories but this was more along the lines of cutting and pasting small bits of longer works. I think it's more worth it just the read the main book and not to read bits randomly.
Kara Peck
Sep 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely great for fans of classic sci fi. It's like a highlight reel of your favorite movies. Snippets and scenes that make you feel all the love you have for these books. Or help you discovery new stories you hadn't previously found. Loved it!
Mar 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Very enjoyable. A lot of short stories from authors I've never heard about, which made for a fascinating read.
Disa Marnesdottr
Mar 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The origins of the genre. Fascinating.
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book just wasn't for me. I can see why other people would love it, but while I enjoyed some of the works included, more of them just didn't do it for me.
Nov 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: for-review, own
Michael Sims has another stunning anthology to his name. This is the fourth in the “Connoisseur’s Collection,” Victorian-era stories on a theme. Here Sims has focused on early science fiction stories, though perhaps not the kind you would first assume. Using Mary Shelley’s seminal work, Frankenstein, as a starting point on the timeline, readers are given glimpse into the mindset of the day.

For the Victorian, science fiction was not so much about alien invasions or robots taking over the human ra
The Irregular Reader
So what did science fiction look like when modern science was still in its infancy? Michael Sims has put together a collection of 19th century short science fiction stories that illustrate not only the breadth and the creativity of the field prior to the turn of the 20th century, but also the creepy prescience of some of the writers (if not for strict scientific fact, then for topics that would remain scifi staples into the current day).

In this collection we find mechanical brides made to order,
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Michael Sims is the author of the acclaimed "The Story of Charlotte's Web, Apollo's Fire: A Day on Earth in Nature and Imagination," "Adam's Navel: A Natural and Cultural History of the Human Form," and editor of "Dracula's Guest: A Connoisseur's Collection of Victorian Vampire Stories" and "The Dead Witness: A Connoisseur's Collection of Victorian Detective Stories." He lives in western Pennsylva ...more

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