Happy October, and welcome to Spooky Stories month with the Datalogics Book Club!! This month we’re featuring all things bone-chilling and strange. H.P. Lovecraft, one of our featured authors, is quoted as saying, “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” Our book selections this month explore these fears and unknown terrors with a full cast of vampires, headless horsemen, creatures from the eldritch depths, mad scientists, and eternally beating hearts. We asked Book Club members to vote on which book they’d rather read this month, with the competition being “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley against Bram Stocker’s “Dracula.” It was close but “Frankenstein” was the winner!
The creation of the story of Frankenstein is as legendary as the creation of the monster itself. During the summer of 1816, an 18-year-old Mary Godwin vacationed with a group of writer friends in Lake Geneva, Switzerland. These friends included her future husband Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron. They spent their time sitting around a fire reading German ghost stories and, in age-old tradition, Byron proposed that they “each write a ghost story.” The famous tale of the scientist Victor Frankenstein and his obsessive drive to reanimate dead tissue and create new life basically began as a teenager’s campfire ghost story.
“Frankenstein,” (full title: “Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus”) was originally published in three volumes on January 1, 1818. It gained success and popularity in the following years and the first condensed “popular” edition was published on October 31, 1831. The DL Book Club will meet to discuss our thoughts on the nature of the monster, the morals of a god-playing scientist, and the influence of Frankenstein’s monster in popular culture. It will be an excellent lead-in to Halloween!