How Science Fiction Got Its Start with Frakenstein

It’s not completely fanciful to say that science fiction began with three things: a dead frog, a volcano, and a teenage bride.

The dead frog was one that an Italian physician named Luigi Galvani was experimenting with in the 1780s, when he found that a mild electric shock could cause the frog’s leg to twitch. It was just an induced muscle reflex, but it suggested that there might be a connection between electricity and life.

The volcano was Mount Tambora in Indonesia, which exploded in 1815 in one of the largest eruptions in recorded history. It threw up a huge cloud of ash that circled the world for more than a year, lowering global temperatures and causing crop failures. It led to such a cold and rainy climate that 1816 was sometimes called the “year without a summer.”

In that same year, the English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley brought his 18-year-old wife, Mary, to visit his friend Lord Byron at Byron’s summer home in Switzerland. Because the weather was too miserable to go outdoors, Byron suggested an indoor activity: Each of the guests would make up a ghost story and read it to the others in the chilly evenings.


Folksonomies: history science science fiction

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 How Great Science Fiction Works
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Wolfe, Gary K. (2016), How Great Science Fiction Works, The Great Courses, Retrieved on 2016-12-28
Folksonomies: science fiction