Sunday, August 30, 2009
Happy Birthday, Mary Shelley
Of all the classic authors, those no longer with us, I think Mary Shelley is the one I'd most like to have known.
She certainly is the most influential to me, particularly through her novel Frankenstein, Or the Modern Prometheus, first published in 1818 which--very fortunately--has never been out of print. This cautionary myth of an unearthly, unwanted child was one of the earliest popular works of science fiction and remains the greatest example of its kind ever written. Remarkably, Mary composed the monstrous epic while still in her teens.
I was hooked by the cinematic versions of her tale from a very early age, then the Classics Illustrated comic book grabbed me, and finally the actual incredible novel itself, which I first breathlessly read when I was eleven years old, and have revisited many times since.
I was never the same again.
Mary's tragic, horrific adventure even inspired me to write my own graphic novel adaptation early in my professional writing career, atmospherically illustrated by Patrick Olliffe. It was a dream come true and remains one of my all-time very favorite projects.
I've no doubt in my mind that without Mary Shelley, I'd be doing something very different, and a lot less interesting, right now.
So, thank you, Mary, from the bottom of my heart.
And, Happy Birthday.