Everybody knows Mary Shelley as the author of that book most of us had to read in high school or college. What most of us don’t do, is give credit where credit is due. Yeah, she wrote Frankenstein, and EVERYONE knows Frankenstein – or thinks they do. Most people mistakenly call the creation by the name Frankenstein, and that’s one of my big pet-peeves and I’m seriously restraining myself right now . . . . . . . . . there . . . . . . . . . better . . . but have you ever stopped to consider how influential the novel has been on science fiction? No, there’s not a lot of science in the book. I can hardly recall any. But that’s beside the point. The point is that her presence resonates today in any story where man pushes the limits of knowledge, where man shirks the responsibility of his own doings.
I heard or read a comment (I don’t know where and that makes me sad) suggesting that any science fiction story is simply a retelling of Frankenstein. I remember testing it. Blade Runner, my favorite film, came immediately to mind. Yeah, that one was easy: replicants same as the creation. Then I thought – what about 2001: A Space Odyssey. It’s nothing but symbolic mysticism stuff. Hal. Oh, yeah. What about Gibson’s Neuromancer? Okay. How about Ender’s Game? Check. (How’s that, you ask? Isn’t Ender himself a creation?) Try it. It’s fun and passes the time waiting at cons. (I’m actually going to test it agains Ben Bova’s Grand Tour series as soon as I get this posted.)
I would like to add that I feel bad not mentioning Shelley’s Last Man, in which she destroys humanity with a plague. Sadly, it’s been lost beneath Frankenstein’s far-reaching shadow.
So, nerd props to you, Mary Shelley!
1a) Never throw shit at an armed man.
1b) Never stand next to someone who is throwing shit at an armed man.
Larry Niven, N-Space
Kickstarter is one of those things that can be good or bad, like any tool, depending upon how it’s used. By bad, all one must do is recall the joker (“Who’s more foolish,” said Obi Wan, “the fool or the fool that follows him?”) who raised oodles of money for potato salad. Then I think how unfair that is compared to a project by Clear Water Aquarium (home of Winter the Dolphin) which unable to make their goal. Anyway, I’m sure there’s been lots of good, bad, and ugly, but one thing’s for sure, Kickstarter has been an asset to the nerd community: novels get written, rpgs get published, and films get produced. For example, Ken Whitman has funded a film based upon the classic Traveller rpg. Gaming master Monte Cook funded his new rpg masterpiece Numenera. Living Legend Larry Elmore funded a beautiful tome of his life’s work. For all the good and bad of it, Kickstarter has opened the door for artists and fans. Nerd Props Kickstarter!