Friday, July 23, 2010

The Most Influential Book I've Ever Read

Is there a particular book, which you discovered as a kid, that completely changed the course of your future? There have been several for me, but for the moment I'm focusing just on works of fiction.

The very first time I read Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley, it was a life-defining moment, changing me forever. I was already a fan of the movies with Boris Karloff, but at that early age, and in spite of the fact that Forrest J Ackerman's Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine had repeatedly mentioned their origin, I didn't yet fully comprehend that the films were based on a classic English novel. I must have been about nine years old when I excitedly saw the paperback book (pictured above) on my cousin's dresser and I probably literally gasped with astonishment.

My cousin kindly gave me that book, which I stared at during the entire long drive home, mesmerized by its enigmatic Karloffian cover. Obviously, before even opening the novel, I was hooked. I would read it many times during the years to come, each time finding rich new layers that I had never dreamed of before. The horrific epic tragedy always seemed fresh and new every single time I fell under its phantasmagoric spell.

Ultimately, I was passionately inspired to write my own graphic novel interpretation of Frankenstein many years later, hauntingly illustrated by Patrick Olliffe. Happily, our book hasn't been out of print since its original publication, and was recently published again in a Spanish language edition.

My and Patrick's Frankenstein remains my favorite book I've ever written.

I mentioned all this to my cousin recently and she didn't remember giving me that paperback, little suspecting what she started.

At any rate, I want to take a moment and say:

"Thank you, Charlotte. So very much."

And, yes, I still have that same paperback book.

(Click on the pictures for a larger image.)


  1. Your graphic novel adaption is a classic.

  2. For me, I think it was Isaac Asimov's "Prelude to Foundation" that set me on a new course in life, which was to be a political science major with a mathematics minor. I love applying statistics to the human race, and election analysis is simply FUN.
    (Of course, then I became a lawyer, but there were other influences at work there.)

  3. I think I've got that Eternity comic around here somewhere, now I'll have to look and see.