5 Frankenstein-Inspired Stories That Recontextualize the Monster

No sympathy may I ever find. […] The fallen angel becomes a malignant devil. Yet even that enemy of God and man had friends and associates in his desolation; I am alone.

Frankenstein’s monster—the miserable creature that Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley dreamed up before she even envisioned his maker—has always felt misunderstood. Shunned by society, turned bitter by rejection and fear, denied his request of a mate, this creation feels truly alone in the world—a theme that has resonated through two hundred years’ worth of updates and adaptations.

From the formula of a family-friendly sitcom to the pages of a comic book, whether drawing from Shelley’s original text or riffing upon the archetypal Universal Pictures monster, these five stories recontextualize Frankenstein within contemporary conversations about war and annihilation, sexuality and gender identity, artificial intelligence and humanity. In some retellings, the “monster” yearns for acceptance, while others reject the entire systems in which they are written—all doing their part to keep Mary Shelley’s horror story relevant today.

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Revealing The Memory of Souls, Book 3 in Jenn Lyons’ A Chorus of Dragons Series

Kihrin is the bastard son of a treasonous prince. Drawn into the intrigues and ambitions of his father’s family, his dreams of overcoming his past to become a heroic leader are shattered when he discovers his true destiny isn’t to save the kingdom, but to destroy it…

Jenn Lyons’ epic fantasy series A Chorus of Dragons began with The Ruin of Kings, and continues later this month with the release of The Name of All Things. But we’re not stopping there! We’re excited to reveal the cover for book three, The Memory of Souls, publishing in August 2020 with Tor Books.

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Music, Mayhem, and the Making of an Audiobook: The Future of Another Timeline by Annalee Newitz

Question: What happens when you combine a book about feminist time-travelers, a punk-rock narrator, and an enthusiastically nerdy audiobook production team?

Answer: One kick-ass, geoscience fiction audiobook adventure.

Annalee Newitz’s novel The Future of Another Timeline is an exhilarating science fiction adventure about time-travel, murder, Riot Grrrl punk bands, and so much more. When it came to translating Annalee’s world into an audiobook, the team at Macmillan Audio jumped on the opportunity to make it special.

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Ragnarok and Ruin — Thor: Ragnarok

After buggering off at the end of 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, Thor had been conspicuously absent from the next appearance of the Avengers as a team, 2016’s Captain America: Civil War (which we’ll cover next week). This was, in fact, a minor plot point, as Secretary Ross pointed out the absence of both Thor and the Hulk.

Thor finally showed up in the other 2016 release, Doctor Strange, and that was to set up his third movie, released in 2017.

[“I don’t know how to fly this thing!” “You’re a doctor, you have PhDs, you should figure it out.” “None of them are for flying alien spaceships!”]

Series: 4-Color to 35-Millimeter: The Great Superhero Movie Rewatch

Them’s Good Eatin’! — Star Trek’s “The Trouble with Edward”

In 1967, Star Trek aired “The Trouble with Tribbles.” Written by David Gerrold, the episode quickly attained legendary status, as pretty much any list of best episodes of the original series is likely to have the numbers one and two spots occupied by some combo of it and “The City on the Edge of Forever.” It’s one of the funniest episodes of Star Trek, and remains beloved to this day, with the image of Kirk being buried in tribbles falling out of the storage compartment one of the most iconic visuals in Trek history. When Deep Space Nine celebrated the franchise’s thirtieth anniversary in 1996, they celebrated it via that episode.

The latest Short Treks is the secret origin of the tribbles. It features H. Jon Benjamin—Sterling Archer his own self—so you know much wackiness will ensue.

[I’m not dumb.]

Is Gemini Man a Movie? Or Something New?

Gemini Man might be a movie? It’s definitely an experiment. It’s about a covert government sniper named Henry Brogan who (heavy sigh) thinks retiring is a good idea, and gets into all manner of scrapes after he hits send on his resignation email. Brogan is played by Will Smith. He is soon being targeted by a younger sniper, who knows all of his moves, looks exactly like him, and is played by a CGI-de-aged Will Smith.

Ang Lee directed, using a very, very old script that was worked over by David Benioff, Billy Ray, and Darren Lemke, and he shot it in digital, at the higher-than-normal frame rate of 120 fps, in 3D, on ARRI Alexa M cameras that were adapted for the purpose. The result is a simulacrum of a movie. An echo of a movie shouted into a well. A video game that occasionally reaches out an stabs you in the eye. Instead of spending your money on this you could just watch Looper and then all three John Wicks.

I will say in its favor, though, that the audience I saw it with seemed pretty invested in a certain third-act twist, so, YMMV. Also, this movie made me really really want a rocket launcher.

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Five Books About the Lives of Artificial Objects

There are the small objects that clutter our lives, that clutter the cities that hold us; things as intimate as the coffee cup that meets your lips to systems that move mountains and split atoms, that climb skies with hundreds of tons in tow. In many ways, we are them and they are us, and neither would have the shapes they do without the other. They are the world we’ve made; the literal world-building that surrounds us. Only, when we tell stories, they are often background matter. At once set and dressing, but most of all, inert without a person putting them into action.

They don’t have to be, though. They can transcend being merely things to become architects of destinies all their own. Some of these characters are robotic—familiar aliens wearing bodies much like our own, but that see the world(s) through very different eyes. Some are more fundamentally other, ranging from thinking furniture to sentient starships, digital entities that never leave the realm of code and signal; that seem so much closer to the thing side of the thing/person spectrum, but that can’t seem to escape the many trials of being alive. Here are five stories about the lives of artificial objects, finding their own paths, making their own mistakes.

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Series: Five Books About…

From the Zombie Post-Apocalypse to a Haunted Underworld: Where to Start with Seanan McGuire’s Books

Over nearly a decade, Seanan McGuire has established at least seven different fictional worlds, from faeries in the San Francisco Bay Area to examinations of what happens after “happily ever after,” and how civilization might survive and even (gasp) thrive after the zombie apocalypse. She regularly writes for at least five of these universes—so many that she needs another name to write them all!

Part of what makes McGuire’s work so engaging is that she pulls from preexisting folklore and pop culture and remixes these elements into wholly original worlds: St. George vs. the dragon, superheroes, marketing agencies, killer mermaids caught on camera, medical scares and scandals, fairy tale narratives that decide what the characters do instead of the other way around. Head below and see which of her worlds suit you best!

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Popular Webtoon Series Lore Olympus Being Developed as an Animated Series

According to Deadline, the webcomic platform Webtoon has partnered with The Jim Henson Company to develop Rachel Smythe’s Lore Olympus into a YA animated series. The popular webcomic series is a fresh and modern interpretation of Greek mythology, centered on the relationship of Hades and Persephone. In Smythe’s retelling, the couple meets at Zeus’ party, and romance blossoms from there.

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Science Fantasy in SPAAAACE: K Eason’s How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse

In How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse, K. Eason takes a classic fantasy script—of a royal daughter being given gifts by Faeries and the consequences thereof–and upends it right from the get go. For, you see, this Royal Family rules not a typical Secondary World fantasy kingdom, but a Space Kingdom (actually technically a Consortium).

How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse leans heavily and often on its boundary position between science fiction, fantasy, and folklore, continually defying expectations by clever genre switching. Our protagonist is the titular heroine, Rory Thorne. Born to a line that has had only sons for generations, her parents set up the fairy ceremony thinking that faeries are not real, and that the proceedings are a pro forma fantasia. When thirteen (including the antagonistic last of their number) faeries show up to give baby Rory Thorne their blessings, the novel becomes delightfully unclear about which genre bucket it falls into. The fairies exit the narrative quickly and permanently, but the mixture of science-fiction and fairy tales continues on throughout the book. 

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