Two incredible 1800’s-era scifi books – including Mary Shelley’s other novel
I do this thing where I share (or try to share) free scifi with the folks on my mailing list – and not just free stuff from Amazon, either, but stuff that I read and find genuinely intriguing.
One of these is Flatland . Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions is like the Gulliver’s Travels of scifi. Written by ‘A Square’, it uses the two-dimensional world of Flatland as a satire on hierarchy in Victorian society. It’s a difficult read but it’s both an excellent study of dimensions and society. Women are simple line-segments, while men are polygons, and so on.
But the real find of this week is The Last Man. Mary Shelley, mother of Frankenstein’s monster, wrote another book. It’s post-apocalyptic fiction set in a world destroyed by a plague. I hadn’t heard of it, and when I posted it on Facebook it turned out I wasn’t the only one.
Here it is from Project Gutenberg.
If I had to take a shot at why nobody seems to know or remember this book, it might be that Frankenstein was such a game-changer that it basically overshadowed her other work. But seriously – this should be worth a read, and apparently, according to those who have read it, it draws on some very true-to-life stuff on Percy Shelley (Mary’s husband) and Lord Byron (who seems to have been, ah, rather linked to them. Am I the only one thinking Resident Evil and Mad Max right now?