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Thinking In Print: Top 5 Frankenstein Interpretations

While Frankenstein has no shortage of film adaptations, for better or worse, there’s plenty of novels that also rework the classic tale in new and exciting ways. Here are five of the best!

5. Frankenstein Unbound by Brian Aldiss (1973)

While its film adaptation leaves much to be desired, Albiss’s 1973 novel is a great read. Doctor Bodenland is transported from the year 2020 back in time to Frankenstein’s day as time and space unravel around him. Can he stop Victor and his creature with the knowledge of how their story ends, or will the world fall apart on him first? The novel’s critique on human advancement and the time travel aspect offers an interesting spin on the classic tale.

4. Pride and Prometheus by John Kessel (2018)

Frankenstein and Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice are the last two novels you’d think to mash together, but Kessel somehow makes it work. Taking place after the events of the original Pride and Prejudice and during Victor’s trip to England in Frankenstein, the novel follows Mary Bennet’s attempts to find a husband, and her eyes are on none other than Victor Frankenstein. Of course, Victor’s creature won’t let him rest until he fulfills his promise of creating his bride. Kessel strikes a great balance between both novels for a great mashup.

3. The Frankenstein Papers by Fred Saberhagen (1986)

The Frankenstein Papers follows the creature as he recounts his birth and what really happened afterward. Forget the fabricated lies Walton published in the novel you’re familiar with because the creature has his own version of events where he is innocent of the murders that plague Victor’s family. The novel takes advantage of the time period and has the creature interact with Benjamin Franklin in a fun twist, and the ending is out of this world. Literally. 

2. The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White (2018)

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein looks at the events of Frankenstein through the eyes of Victor’s childhood friend and eventual bride Elizabeth, making Walton’s familiar story far from reality. Given how Mary Shelley lived in a world dominated by men, it’s great to see a take on Frankenstein that challenges Victor’s narrative and tells what really happened through the main female’s perspective. 

1. Frankenstein’s Brother by Annette Shelley (2015)

Ernest’s lack of closure in Frankenstein leaves much to be desired. Thankfully, Frankenstein’s Brother is here to offer the novel’s events through his perspective. Watching the Frankenstein family slowly be picked apart and consumed by grief from the deaths around them offers a layer of depth to the characters who were sidelined in the original novel. As the murders pile up, Ernest struggles to make sense of who is responsible, and while the reader knows about the creature, Ernest can only wonder if Victor himself has gone insane. You should definitely check this one out if you want to see the story through the lens of an otherwise insignificant character. 

Charlene Pepiot is a senior studying English at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk more about it? Let Charlene know by emailing her, cp872117@ohio.edu.

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