What are some characteristics of gothic science fiction?

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parkerlee eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As the name suggests, this is a hybrid of the best/worst of both genres. When I checked this out on the Internet, serveral sites came up. One common denominator is the grafting on of such literary prototypes as Frankenstein's monster and vampires based on the model of Stoker's Dracula. However more upbeat, modern scenarios appear. Some favourite "problems" deal with mismanaged genetic engineering (particularly cloning), space colonies, computers (particularly artificial intelligence), and ecology.

As a whole, most science fiction stories are cautionary tales; that is to say that they convey a warning about future consequences of technology and scientific "advancement" gone awry. (Sometimes social problems of an urban nature are also addressed, although this aspect is secondary.) Because of their "gloom and doom" message, sciene fiction stories are inherently "gothic" anyway; just pour in a little more gore, one of the 'modern problems' mentioned above, a pinch of radioactive waste, and stir!

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missjenn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You need to look at each component. First, Gothic literature. Gothic literature is really the beginning of the horror genre, but it focuses a lot on landscapes. There are a lot of dark places and locations in Gothic novels, think about castle ruins. There is also typically a pinnacle evil; a phantom, monster, or evil person. Second in the science fiction genre. Some traits would be fictitious events based in science occurring, again possibly ghosts(phantoms), monsters, or crazy scientists.

In regards to Frankenstein, there is the strong science element, a monster, death of the innocent, and wild, yet ruined landscapes.

mkcapen1 | Student

Gothic literature has certain qualities the influence the story or paper.  It usually has a mystery involved, secrets, curses, murder, and the illusion of ghosts or the supernatural.  The setting often entails components such as castles, mansions, secluded streets, fog, chilly air, and remote areas.  Writers from the Victorian era began to include the dynamic of psychologically confused or torn characters.  Romantic undertones are also present.

In the book "Frankenstein," we have a doctor who is driven by his own desire to succeed at creating the perfect man, free from disease or ill health.  Victor has a love interest who he is engaged to be married.  They love each other but the "secret" threatens to destroy his relationship.  The creature is an emotionally torn being and so is Victor Frankenstein.

The setting places us in a lab and the streets and settings all correlate to make the story dismal and dark.  Once the secret is revealed the events that unfold create a conflict in relationships and death of Victor's wife.

Victor is also representative of the gothic hero.  He is brooding and his vision is of a man torn between his need to create the perfect being, having made a horrid vile creature, and his life ending as a consequence of his choice.


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