‘Frankenstein’ is The Most Iconic Science Fiction Work Ever, Right?

If you had to pick one work, in any medium, to represent the core of science fiction, what would it be?

The answer is obvious. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818) is widely regarded as the first work of science fiction. The tale of a mad scientist whose meddling with the forces of nature leads to abomination has been hugely influential. 

Dr. Frankenstein birthed, not just one monster, but all of those other mad scientists—from Dr. Jekyll to Dr. Doom to Rick Sanchez to many other weaponized doctorate-havers. What is more science fiction than Frankenstein?

There’s one problem. Frankenstein wasn’t initially science fiction at all, because science fiction hadn’t really been invented as a genre. (If it had, Frankenstein couldn’t be the first!) In its own day Frankenstein was seen as a Gothic novel of mystery and terror, what with the reanimated corpses and the grisly murders.

It was also connected to the Romantic movement because of its focus on the monster’s intense, unusual inner life. And because Mary Shelley was married to romantic poet guy Percy Shelley.

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