Frankenstein in the 21st Century: A Book List

It’s October 30th; are you feeling spooky yet? Not only is Halloween tomorrow, but this year is also the 200th anniversary of FRANKENSTEIN, by Mary Shelley.

If you haven’t read this heart-stopping tale of science and horror, now’s a better time than ever. But if you have read it, and are hungry for more, check out these contemporary books along the same theme.

Frankenstein in Baghdad: A Novel By Ahmed Saadawi Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143128793
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Penguin Books - January 23rd, 2018

Frankenstein gets a contemporary Middle Eastern take with Sadaawi’s book. Hadi, an oddball and city scavenger, takes on the role of Dr. Frankenstein as he collects body parts from the war-torn streets of Baghdad. He sews them together — not for science, but to push the government into recognizing the hewn-together corpses as people, thus giving them the right to a proper burial. In a shocking plot twist (well, it’s a Frankenstein story, so maybe you’re expecting this), a corpse goes missing from his shed. And a monster is created.

Sadaawi’s take on Frankenstein is steeped in cultural tradition, all the while pointedly referencing the contemporary political state in Iraq. It’s dark and funny, with singular characters — everything we want for a good, thought-provoking halloween read.

Desirable Body (The Margellos World Republic of Letters) By Hubert Haddad, Alyson Waters (Translated by) Cover Image
By Hubert Haddad, Alyson Waters (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780300224368
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
Published: Yale University Press - August 21st, 2018

While Frankenstein in Baghdad is a darkly humorous side-eye at our political situation, Hubert Haddad’s book takes on the ethical and psychological ramifications of body transplants. In Desirable Body, our protagonist is the “Frankenstein’s Monster” himself, a journalist named Cédric Allyn-Weberson.

When Cédric is paralyzed from the neck down, he becomes a perfect candidate for a full-body transplant. While he physically survives the surgery, he comes out with a new set of troubles, both physical and existential. This book has all the gory details you need, plus a good helping of provocative philosophical musings.

I.D. By Emma Rios, Emma Ríos (Artist) Cover Image
By Emma Rios, Emma Ríos (Artist)
ISBN: 9781632157829
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
Published: Image Comics - June 28th, 2016

Dig deeper into body woes with Emma Rios’ touching and thoughtful graphic novel, I.D. This slim volume focuses on several individuals who consider a body transplant the solution to their struggles. This remarkable read digs into dystopia, dysphoria, and more.

Emma uses the visual format to dig deeper into her theme with a totally monochromatic layout: “Choosing the reds was basically because this kind of palette on one hand feels very delicate and on the other nastily fleshy. I wanted to work in an emotional level from within these characters but I also wanted to slice brains and make some images uncomfortable, so pink and red felt quite accurate of that.” (check out the rest of her Multiversity interview here).

Frankenstein Alive, Alive: The Complete Collection By Steve Niles, Bernie Wrightson (Illustrator), Kelley Jones (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Steve Niles, Bernie Wrightson (Illustrator), Kelley Jones (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781684053377
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: IDW Publishing - October 30th, 2018

If you’re a comics fan, there are some incredible Franken-options. FRANKENSTEIN ALIVE, ALIVE is the product of a collaboration between Steve Niles, horror writer, and Bernie Wrightson, iconic comic illustrator for both DC and Marvel. This edition collects all four issues of ALIVE, ALIVE, with images scanned from the original art. At Wrightson’s untimely passing, artist Kelley Jones stepped in to complete the illustrations for the final issue.

This volume, including an extended gallery of never-before-seen layouts and pencils, is perfect for the comics connoisseur.

Spare and Found Parts By Sarah Maria Griffin Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062408884
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
Published: Greenwillow Books - October 4th, 2016

Frankenstein is often considered the first science fictional novel. With Sarah Maria Griffin’s new book, she pushes Frankenstein further with developed technology and biomechanical limbs.

After an epidemic, all survivors are missing body parts. Luckily, a famed scientist pioneers mechanical limbs. Nell, our main character, is his daughter — and she’s also the only one with her machinery on the inside. She has a biomechanical heart that ticks, and it’s made her an outsider all her life. The world of SPARE AND FOUND PARTS brings dystopia to a coming-of-age Young Adult novel.

Victor LaValle's Destroyer By Victor LaValle, Dietrich Smith (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Victor LaValle, Dietrich Smith (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781684150557
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: BOOM! Studios - March 6th, 2018

Victor Lavalle combines the science fiction of Frankenstein with very contemporary US issues. Dr. Jo Baker is the descendant of Dr. Frankenstein. After losing her young son, Akai, to senseless police brutality, she seeks justice in science: she creates a Frankenstein’s Monster figure who, instead of craving affection, craves the total destruction of humanity.

Victor Lavalle merges history, technology, and fantasy; he uses script from the 911 phone call that occurred before Tamir Rice’s death and inspiration from Michael Brown’s autopsy. The cybernetic body parts on Frankenstein-Akai are where Akai was injured. DESTROYER is a dynamic portrayal of Frankenstein with a deep political weight.

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein By Kiersten White Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525577942
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
Published: Delacorte Press - September 25th, 2018

Elizabeth Lavenza hasn't had a proper meal in weeks. Her thin arms are covered with bruises from her "caregiver," and she is on the verge of being thrown into the streets . . . until she is brought to the home of Victor Frankenstein, an unsmiling, solitary boy who has everything –– except a friend. If you're looking for a spooky Halloween horror that will get your heart pounding (whether you typically read YA or not), this is it.

As our Children’s Specialist Laura says, “It’s so good… and it’s DARK.” So take that as you will.

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