Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

 TBR2010 - August Theme - Author(s) you’ve never read before

"You hate me but your abhorrence cannot equal that with which I regard myself."

Frankenstein is as part of the pop culture zeitgeist as much as Dracula and all the sparkly goodness that descended from Stoker's creation. Mary Shelley is often cited as the mother of horror and science fiction and it's no doubt why from her wonderful first novel.

I'm a huge fan of the Universal movies from the 30s and still watch them to this day. Like many, my influence of horror and the two timeless monsters are from these movies. Only now am I getting to read the original sources that inspired the movies and I'm having a blast seeing how things changed over the ages.

Frankenstein is a novel of many layers. On the surface, it's a monster tale of creation gone wrong but deep down there is a plethora of philosophical ideas touching upon what it means to be human and the responsibility humans have to the creations they make. I was reminded of Philip K. Dick a lot while reading this. Shades of Roy Batty came back to me because the creature often held his 'father' and creator accountable for creating him just to sate his own desire to make and control something. The creature is a killer, a monster and often times despite his horrific descriptions, I felt sorry for him because he was like a child who was created and then let go into the world without a primer on the rights and wrongs or on how to live. He was a product of his own flawed human creator's upbringing and thus found beauty as much as darkness in the world, even at his own hands.

Listening to the audio with George Guidall was amazing. I loved the descriptions that the creature gave of his journey in the woods, the people he met, the experiences he had and all the feeling she gathered and explained back to Frankenstein. The ending as especially haunting with a final scene on Victor's deathbed as well as a last shocking appearance by the creature.

Some may find the read a bit slow and outdated but the themes are very much relevant to today's world in which science is developing at a phenomenal rate. The opening of this edition of the book had a female narrating Mary Shelley's life a little before and during the time she penned the story behind the legend with her husband Percy and company on that stormy night which set a nice mood for the timeframe of the story and the haunting tale. I highly recommend this book (especially the audio version) to all Frankenstein fans, classic horror fans and fans of gothic literature.

The Little Prince (Graphic Novel) by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry with Illustrations by Joann Sfar

2010 - Young Adult Reading Challenge #12 (After the excellent Heist Society #11)

The Little Prince is a beloved classic French children's story that many continue to love well into their adulthood. Even today I hear friends and peers of mine talking about wonderful memories they had of the little prince that came from outer space. I still have fond memories of the animated movie that I grew up loving.

That's why I jumped on the chance to check out a recent incarnation of The Little Prince in graphic novel formats, also considering I love GNs.

That said, I would say this version of the novel is more fit for those like me who are familiar with the story they grew up loving. The essence of tale is here in that The Little Prince has his adventures and an immense imagination as he tries to understand grownups and the new world he landed in, but the style of the narrative seems more fit for adults who may also be fans of philosophy. There are a lot of things that I tripped over a bit that may be tough for a little kid to get into.  Plus there are also a few existential and somewhat trippy topics that often jump from one situation to another before ending abruptly. The narrative is written in a very dream-like scenario and even beginning the story felt like a dream that was already in progress. It reminded me of Linklater's Waking Life in that narratives stop and start with no defining end or beginning, it just is.

Coupled with illustrator Joann Sfar's whimsical Moebius inspired artwork, younger readers may be uncomfortable with the overall unsettling style. Characters are drawn in an exaggerated style often out of symmetry which adds to its dream-like quality. Older fans will definitely be interested in adding this to their collector's shelf (especially in hardcover edition) as another take on a beloved children's tale that carries it's own charms to add to the awesome legacy that is The Little Prince.

This review is based on a galley received by NetGalley courtesy of the publisher.

Guest posting today at Book Faery!

Heads up!

If you haven't grabbed a copy of the first two books in my Ashen Twilight series, now's your chance to win printed versions of both! Today I'm guest posting at Book Faery's for Day 24 of the Battle of the Sexes. I invite you to come on down to check out my post, Rascals, Rogues and Really Bad Boys: The Allure of the Alpha Hero and enter to win both copies in the series.

Click the pick to zoom on over to the website! Contest ends Sept. 4, 2010!

Rae Lori Kindle UK Store now open!

A mini belated message. ;-)

All my books available at the Amazon US store are now available in the Amazon UK! A few readers were interested in grabbing the books in their area and I hope this will make it more accessible to them. The prices should be in the equivalent of the US prices. Plus there is no DRM whatsoever! So feel free to trot on over to grab yourself some reads.

Click the button to visit the store:

Classic Inspiration

Lately I've been MIA offline taking care of some things. Sometimes when I write, I usually take 'extended leaves from offline' to get the clutter out of my head. (Apologies to all who had comments in moderation. I put the modding up due to some of my posts being spammed. Argh).

While away, I started getting back to the things that I really enjoyed as a kid. One of them is checking old horror movies and books. In addition to my SFR books I'm currently reading, I started reading Frankenstein after watching the original Boris Karloff/James Whale Universal classic movie. I hadn't seen it in awhile and it was good to check it out again with all the scenes that were usually cut. I also watched Bride of Frankenstein which I also enjoyed, especially the beginning which showed Lord Byron, Mary W Shelley and her husband Percy Shelley (where was Polidori?) around the fire telling ghost stories while it rained. I always wondered if someone would make a movie about that moment because it's always alluded to as a classic moment in horror/gothic literature. Mary W Shelley created Frankenstein and John Polidori (Byron's physician) wrote The Vampyre, technically the first vampire novel ever penned. This is one reason one of my characters had a surname of Polidori. ;-)

Although I love the Bela Lugosi Dracula as my fave Universal horror movie, Frankenstein is a close second.

Seeing it again reminded me of the stories I used to tell when I was younger. I used to write some pretty dark stuff back in the day (I guess most teenagers did!) and I sort of got away from that in my later years. I still miss the dark castles, cobwebbed corners, hidden shadows and old tapestries of gothic literature. I rather wish it would make a comeback!

Even still, there's short stories to play in which is the best venue for testing out storylines and different experimental prose. In that sense, I'll be working on a few short stories to stretch out my genre legs for a bit.

All this month I'll be teaching a short story workshop in Second Life (Weds. 6 pm SLT at the Gypsy Camp in Milk Wood) so that'll help me get my mind into the short story mode. :-)