Mary Shelley Makes a Monster

shelleyThis week I’ve got a long poem out at Strange Horizons! “Mary Shelley Makes a Monster” is inspired by Shelley’s life. I read a biography of hers recently – picked it up from the library almost at random, because it was on display and reminded me that I loved Frankenstein and didn’t know much about the author.

If you’ve come across my novella The Life in Papers of Sofie K., you’ll know that I’ve an interest in women and monstrosity – particularly historical, looking at women who bucked the expectations of their time and were often punished for it. Sofia Kovalevskaya, with her monstrous mathematical brain, was the first of my experiments on this theme.

Then along came Mary Shelley: most famous for a story of a constructed monster, and I thought What if it were you all along? What if the monster were truly your creation, not Frankenstein’s? What if  you were the monster, Mary?

Hence the poem. It’s really a thinly veiled allegory of the events of her life. It reads speculative enough, to be sure, but some years back now I studied English at university and this is probably the only chance I’ll ever get to show it off.

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