“Frankenstein” remixed

Wish I had come across this a little earlier in the term… too late it to add it to my “Media and Culture” new media seminar.

Morris — a novelist who has written graphic novels, games and, yes, Choose-Your-Own-Adventure stories for kids — has changed the original text in other ways, as well. (Let’s take a moment here to point out to all future narrative app developers that hiring a real writer who actually knows what he or she is doing is totally worth it.) He’s moved the setting to revolutionary France, a choice that shows shrewd understanding of the idealistic political climate that affected Shelley’s thinking; the new Republic is its own kind of Frankenstein’s monster. He’s also eliminated much of the 19th-century framing of the tale and converted it into two present-tense narrations. One is Frankenstein’s dialogue with either himself or a (possibly imaginary) companion. The other is a second-person account of the monster’s first weeks of life as it spies on a family of dispossessed French nobility and has the chance to observe the loving relationships it can never enjoy itself.

Morris presents the reader with choices I’ve not encountered in other interactive fictions. Is humanity mostly good, or mostly evil? Does the most recent development make you (the monster) feel hope or despair? Is the revolution the dawn of a brave new world or a descent into chaos and barbarity? While I’m usually skeptical that present-tense narration increases the “immediacy” of a story, in this case, it really does work, particularly in the sections concerning the monster. Depending on your own outlook, you may urge him to keep trying to connect with humanity, or promptly forward him on to homicidal rage.

via “Frankenstein” remixed – Salon.com.

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