Dissecting Dragons

Episode 243: The Mother of Science Fiction - The Life of Mary Shelley

October 9, 2020

At nineteen years of age, Mary Shelley (then Mary Godwin since she had not yet married her poet) invented a new genre of literature. Not that anyone was aware of it at the time of course but then hindsight is a wonderful thing. Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus went through several reprints during Shelley's own life time and its intense, disquieting and all too relatable themes have influenced many hundreds of subsequent writers in SciFi, Horror and the Gothic. What many may not be aware of is how Mary's own unconventional and often tragic life influenced her work. From an unusual, rather macabre childhood to a scandalous affair with a married man; from the events of the summer of 1816 at Villa Diodati on the shores of Lake Geneva to the tangled threads of her family life, Mary Shelley lived a life that ran contradictory to the socially acceptable mores of the time. Like many outsiders, this meant she saw more clearly than most. This week the dragons take a look at one of the Gothic genres heavyweight champions and how her strange and remarkable book shaped an entire genre.

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

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