Summary (Masterplots II: British and Commonwealth Fiction Series)
Frankenstein 1818), which can be considered the first real science-fiction novel, is subtitled “The Modern Prometheus.” Its author, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, was the mistress and later the wife of Percy Bysshe Shelley, the Romantic poet who wrote Prometheus Unbound (1820) and who was in part the model for Victor Frankenstein. In Frankenstein Unbound, Brian W. Aldiss combines the titles of Mary and Percy Bysshe Shelley’s books and sends a time traveler from the twenty-first century back to Geneva in 1816, when Mary was engaged in writing her as yet uncompleted novel.
Frankenstein Unbound begins in the summer of 2020, in a series of letters from Joseph Bodenland—a liberal presidential adviser ousted by right-wing extremists and now staying at his ranch in New Houston, Texas—to his wife in Indonesia. The world is at war, but Joe hopes that the news of a space-time rupture will stop further conflict. Meanwhile, he is enjoying the company of his grandchildren, who still believe in myths. Their mythic make-believe games cause him to think of the major myth of his own time: “that ever-increasing production and industrialization bring the greatest happiness for the greatest number all round the globe....”
The infrastructure of space has become unstable because of nuclear warfare above the stratosphere. Joe thinks that “the intellect has made our planet unsafe for intellect. We are suffering from...
(The entire section is 1222 words.)
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