Re: Pride and Prometheus

In a double pastiche of Jane Austen and Mary Shelley, John Kessel‘s “Pride and Prometheus” introduces Mary Bennett to Viktor Frankenstein. Being a tortured romantic hero,  Viktor fits neatly into Mary’s world, seeming at first merely to be a moody, intelligent young man who is unaccountably intrigued by what Mary’s interest in natural philosophy. But we know what he’s really done. Bwa-ha-ha, indeed.

It’s been years since I read the originals, so it was fun to see the characters from their respective books portrayed so well.  Back in those days, I preferred gothic angst to mating rituals, but now I think I can appreciate the Austen aspect, which seems to be largely scenes of family life that would be excruciatingly boring if told in full narrative (which implies the narrator’s suffering) that are summarized and enlivened by the narrator’s sharp observations.

This story is mainly about a collision of worlds and the unhappy results. Near the end, mating angst tells off gothic ritual, in a scene I loved so much I went back and read it again.

Nicely done.


5 thoughts on “Re: Pride and Prometheus

  1. I can’t resist setting this to music.

    One thing that bothers me about youtube videos is that in so many of them, the video and audio are not synched. I mean, sheesh, here it is 2009. In 1990 I was writing animation software that got it right (audio audio uber alles, you must render your audio, but you can skip video frames).

    Okay, end of rant. I bet I fall into the bin again!

    All right, I’d better think of something to say to get on topic. Sadly, it’s been so many years since I read Frankenstein that I have almost no recollection of actually doing so. By Austen, I’ve read only “Emma,” and that only through the coercion of freshman lit.

    I remember seeing an interesting TV miniseries called “Frankenstein The True Story.” I saw it only once, but the phrase “Beautiful Victor” has stuck in my head ever since. Somehow in thinking about it now, I am confusing it with the movie “Orca.” Not sure why — did both end with some sort of catastrophic scene in the arctic? I mean, it’s for sure that Frankenstein’s monster did not bite off Bo Derek’s leg.

    I think I’d like to see both Orca and Frankenstein The True Story again.

    Can you think of any science fiction with orcas? No? How about Startide Rising?

    Okay, now I want to go to SeaWorld.

  2. I believe that Orca is not a rip off of Jaws, but is a retelling of the novel Frankenstein with the whale in the place of the monster. It’s amazing how many similarities there are from the beginning of the movie until the end.

  3. I haven’t seen Orca, and of the zillion Frankenstein movies, I’ve only seen Young Frankenstein and the James Whale classics. While these are more inspired by than based on the book, they are all wonderful, especially Bride of Frankenstein.

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