Making the Monster

Making the Monster: The Science Behind Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

Published March 2018.

1818 saw the publication of one of the most influential science fiction stories of all time. Frankenstein had a huge impact on gothic horror and science fiction genres. The name Frankenstein has become part of our everyday language, often used in derogatory terms to describe science or scientists who have overstepped a perceived moral line. Frankenstein has also inspired fantastic scientific innovation in the form of medical devices such as defibrillators and pace-makers. How did a 19-year-old woman with no formal education come up with the idea for an extraordinary novel such as Frankenstein?

The late 18th and early 19th century was a time of huge advances in our understanding of electricity and physiology. Sensational science demonstrations caught the imagination of the general public and newspapers were full of tales of murderers and resurrectionists.

This book will explore the science behind the novel. From tales of mechanical man to electrical experiments on human cadavers I will examine the science and scientists that may have influenced Mary Shelley and inspired her most famous creation, Victor Frankenstein.